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Patriots-Giants prediction

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Feb. 04, 2012 @ 1:02 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Sure, if it was Ravens-49ers, we'd still be lauding the matchup, but I don't think we could have asked for much of a better Super Bowl than Patriots vs. Giants.

The story lines abound. You have two Super Bowl-winning head coaches, two of the game's best quarterbacks and defensive playmakers and unknown players who have broken out in 2011 on both rosters.

The Patriots had the AFC's best record of 13-3, but the league's 31st-ranked defense makes them very mortal.

The Giants needed a win in Week 17 just to make the playoffs and are one win away from completing the same feat the Packers did last year in winning the Super Bowl.

The G-Men are trying to play the "underdog" card, the "no one believes in us," but many people have jumped on the Giants' bandwagon, and why not? Eli Manning is having his best season and has a stellar receiving corps. The defensive line is one of the best in the game, and you need that to beat the Patriots. Oh, and the Giants already beat the Pats once this season.

As good as the Patriots looked in beating the Broncos, they escaped with an AFC title-game win over Baltimore. Tom Brady had one of his worst performances in recent memory and the defense struggled to stop Joe Flacco.

The Patriots are the favorites though, due in large part to the man under center and the man under the hoodie, and when games look as close as this one does on paper, it's time to look at two of the most important figures on the field.

Sure, Tom Coughlin had Bill Belichick's number the last two times these two teams met, including Super Bowl XLII, but it's hard to beat the same Patriots team twice in a season, which is what the Giants are attempting to do.

Intangibles mean only so much — the players on the field will decide the outcome of the game — but when two teams are evenly matched, it's worth looking at the emotion factor. This Patriots team has looked like the "team on a mission" that some dubbed it in the preseason, when they were Pro Football Weekly's pick to win it all. Dedicating the season to the late Myra Kraft has rallied a team that might not have all the talent, but has it in the right places.

The Patriots' defense has played its best football in the playoffs. It is healthier than it was in Week Nine and should have a better game plan to counter the Giants' attack. This should be a close affair, but I'm sticking with the Patriots, by a slim margin, because of the pair that would take home its fourth Lombardi Trophy, Brady and Belichick.

Prediction: Patriots 30, Giants 27

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