Ahhhh, an exciting time for any young quarterback, the superbowl. Maybe even a nerve racking time, but my question going into the superbowl is, will Eli and his team be able to compete with the Goliaths of New England? Or was New York the wrong team to go into the superbowl. Well, lets find out!
Marquee Matchup of the week:
Eli Manning vs. Himself?
Eli has performed amazingly over the past few weeks, a great showing in Green Bay, an amazing outing in Dallas, but where did this turn around happen? It came when Eli discovered he could rely on his playmakers on offense. Before, like in week 2 against Green Bay, he was forcing throws, trying to win the game himself, he didnt trust his players to be there. But now, he is letting Plaxico make moves to the ball, he is leading Amani into open space and letting Smith work in the open field. All of that has added up to some major wins to get the Giants to the superbowl. However, this being his first time even out of the first round, I dont know how he will handle to pressure of the spotlight. The whole football world is watching his every move, and if he even gets the slightest "giddy disease" the game will go down the drain.
It's on your shoulders Eli, make me proud!
Edge: Eli's subconcious will get the best of him.
Scott O'Hara vs. Vince Wilfork
Wilfork will probably be lining up on O'Hara most of the time and this could cause some big offensive problems for the Giants. Wilfork is one of the nastiest DT in the game, he quick but strong, and has weight that will crush you. O'Hara needs to be able to get a good first punch on him, I know that is usually a cornerback term, but I think if O'Hara can stun Wilfork at the line with a hard push he will be dominating him all night.
Plaxico Burress vs. Asante Samuel
Plaxico is hampered by a torn ligament in his right ankle, but that didnt stop him last week, and I severly underestimated his talent. Plaxico was physical with Harris all game, he was bumping as much as Harris was. Plaxico was going up and getting the ball, finishing routes and hitting after the play, adding up to very dominating performance. But Samuel is as good as there is and the Patriots will no doubt be scheming how to stop Plaxico with some double coverage.
Madison Hedgecock vs. Linebackers for NE
With the power running game NY likes to run, the fullback must get big blocks on the second level to let the RB run free. Hedgecock has been great most of the year and played a decent game in Green Bay, but I think to even have the slightest chance to run the ball on the NE defense, he will need to block the inside backers on the power plays. Unfortunatley for him he will be going up against one of the best Linebacker core's in the league. They are all experienced, and crafty linebackers, plus NE has the depth to keep them all at full strength. I have a feeling we will be seeing a whole lot of the passing game because the run game will be out of the picture.
Edge: Linebackers for NE
Wes Welker vs. R.W. McQuarters.
I would have Moss against Ross or Madison, but I think this is a bit more of a key matchup. Welker is leading the team in receptions and is Brady's go to guy when he is in trouble and when he looking for 3rd down plays. Welker is shifty, quick and strong, if you give him an inch of room he will convert for that first down. So, McQuarters needs to play him close, dont give him a cushion, play him tight and bump at the line and you might be successful. But...
Light vs. Umenyiora
Osi has been slippery all season, it seems like tackles can't get a hand on him and are letting him run by, which has led to his great sack season. But, Light is one of the great LT's in the game, he will no doubt be all over Osi, especially in the run game when it seems Osi takes the down off. Yet, we still must consider Osi a threat because of the slight injury to Brady, he will be a little more of a sitting duck than usual, and give Osi more time to beat Light. Still....
Edge: Light and Brady
Final Takes: I am not quite sure if New York can match the Patriots, yes I know what happened in week 17, but I dont think Plaxico will be healthy enough to be the mind games that Samuel and the Patriots will throw at him. And Eli will take all this criticism, good or bad, to mind and that would engulf him during the game. I am not quite sure they are the right team to be playing New England, but hey! They beat Green Bay fair and square. But I dont hold much chance for them in the SuperBowl.
Final Score: 42-0 I am going out on a limb, you know what, its actually that dead twig on the end of the tree, but I just dont see the Giants measuring up to the Patriots who think of this as "the final step to history".