Maybe it should not have come as such a huge surprise, but I admit to being sort of in disbelief over the number of Eagles fans who claim they flat out are not watching the Super Bowl. Some of the chatter is undoubtedly hot air, but at least one poll indicated 30% of you have alternative plans. Even if two-thirds of respondents were lying, one in ten serious football fans -- serious enough to visit an Eagles blog in February -- won't watch the biggest game of the year.
In the interest of full disclosure -- not that this should qualify as some big shock -- I've grown to kind of like the Patriots, so I can take some small, impersonal satisfaction in a New England victory. That said, I've not missed a single Super Bowl during my conscious memory, haven't even flipped the channel early... and there have been plenty of loathsome match-ups and plain bad games.
It's the biggest sporting event on the planet, and it's the game I love. So, yeah, I'm watching, and I'm interested.
Still not buying the Giants as a great team, and the Patriots have the ability to mitigate one of New York's biggest strengths: their defensive line. New England has a solid front that can slow the vaunted pass rush, and Tom Brady shouldn't need a ton of time to dissect one of the worst pass defenses (29th) in the NFL this season.
Reflecting on the Week 9 meeting between the two, the only reason the Giants were even in the game was due to a subpar performance from Brady, who threw two bad picks. In all, the Pats turned the ball over four times, plus missed a chip-shot field goal -- and New York still needed Eli Manning to lead a touchdown drive in the final 1:36 to steal the win. The Giants will be able to put some points on the board, especially with Hakeem Nicks in the lineup this time around, but as long as Brady doesn't give them extra chances, they shouldn't be able to score enough to top New England.
Final: Patriots 45, Giants 27
MVP: TE Aaron Hernandez