What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Let’s start with my original playoff predictions:
New England Patriots
Why They Can Win:
Because Tom Brady is still Tom Brady; one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history on the NFL, and he isn’t far enough past his prime to be discounted.
Why They Can’t Win:
To see the future in Foxboro, just look toward Indianapolis. Don’t look right this second, because you may notice the Patriots are beginning to get old before your very eyes. They are the worst 13-3 team I’ve ever seen – they define over-rated. They can’t run the ball and their defense couldn’t stop a Pop Warner team, yet somehow they are top-seed in the AFC.
All this team has is Tom Brady, and that’s just enough to hide the real defects in this team. There’s a reason I call this the “Manning Rule.”
Odds of Winning: 18 to 1
New York Giants
Why They Can Win:
Take a coin out of your pocket. This coin represents the streakiness of the New York Giants. Flip the coin. Heads, Giants win.
Why They Can’t Win:
That complete lack of consistency drives me batshit crazy. Flip that coin Again. Tales, Giants lose. Eli Manning is easily my favorite player to watch in the NFL; he is like a poker player who loses a shitload of $50 pots, and just enough $10,000 ones to stay above water. This time, Eli is all in with two pair.
Odds of Winning: 20 to 1
Now that we are down to a head-to-head matchup, there are three categories to analyze.
1) What Vegas Thinks
Anybody who loves to bet knows professional gamblers pay attention to five key categories:
This discussion falls into the classic “more than meets the eye” department because it would seem to be a clean sweep for the Patriots. But the number get more curious when you consider that the above bulleted stats are from the regular season. The numbers change quite a bit when you keep them to the post-season.
Now instead of being a distinct advantage for New England, there has been a definite closing of the gap by the Giants. The numbers still point to the Patriots being a better bet, but consider the environment in which this significant statistical improvement occurred.
Boil it all down, and it means the Giants have been far more impressive than the Patriots in the post-season. This is why despite the picture painted by the numbers, the Patriots are only a 3 point favorite.
2) The On-the-Field Matchups
The Giants go as far as their offensive line, which is a unit that has played out of its mind the last three playoff games. The Patriots can’t offer anywhere near what the 49ers did, and New York handled San Francisco with relative ease. Meanwhile, the front four of the Giants are going to make themselves well-know to Tom Brady’s face.
Brady vs. Manning II: This time it’s personal. Actually, this time it is without David “Helmet Catch” Tyree. So now it’s likely to be less about Eli getting lucky, and about Brady finally showing how over-rated of a quarterback he really is. Try this one on for size: Who would had a better season – Tim Tebow with the Patriots or Tom Brady with the Broncos?
Not to mention, even sportswriters have figured out how to beat Brady. And like it or not, a lot of Brady’s passing stats are heavily padded by the yards-after-catch of the Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski’s of the world.
Neither team runs the ball particularly, but the Giants have picked up their game as of late. Neither team is really worth discussing in the defensive backfield. Both teams rely on their offensive lines, big-play quarterbacks, and a couple of downfield play-makers. To me, the Giants pass-rush will make the difference.
3) A Comparison of the Cities
The trouble here is that by judging where these teams respective stadia are located, there really aren’t any cities to compare. I know that it is petty and anal retentive, but it has always been a pet peeve of mine that the “New York” Giants actually play in New Jersey. I’ll even admit it is a double-standard; I don’t apply this to the Jets, probably because they were treated as the little brother of New York football for decades. I get that East Rutherford is a mere six miles from mid-town Manhattan, but the concrete canyons of the city might as well be a world away from the partially-drained swamp they call Meadowlands.
At least the Patriots are sort of honest about it. They aren’t trying to get you to believe that some jerkwater hick town somewhere in greater New England where they likely still burn witches is still somehow “Boston.”