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PFT’s Super Bowl picks

New England Patriots' Green-Ellis is congratulated by teammate Branch after scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter of the NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough Reuters

On Friday, we made our Super Bowl picks on PFT Live, at the end of a show featuring Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Super Bowl XXXV-winning coach Brian Billick, now of FOX and NFL Network.

But since some of you still don’t watch PFT Live on a regular basis (we know who you are), we decided it would make sense to put our official picks in print for the purposes of posterity.

And while I was tempted to disagree with Rosenthal simply for the purposes of having a chance to beat him, I decided in the end that I’d rather be right than victorious in a meaningless contest, which has even less meaning given that he won it this year.  And last year.  But not the year before that, primarily because we didn’t do it.

Florio’s take:  The Giants are the better team.  I made that same concession before the NFC title game, right before picking the 49ers to win.  It was the third straight time I’d picked against the Giants in the postseason.  I’d also picked them to lose to the Cowboys in Week 17.  And so I’m risking a Bradshaw-style berating if I do it again.

Apart from that reality, I can’t see how the Patriots will effectively defend the Giants passing attack.  As Greg Cosell, executive producer of ESPN’s NFL Matchup, predicted this week on PFT Live, the Pats likely will target Victor Cruz with a linebacker in the slot, who’ll hit Cruz before rushing quarterback Eli Manning.  Similar attention likely will be given to Hakeem Nicks, which will create openings in the running game (something Mike Martz refused to exploit 10 years ago).  It also will make it easier to throw to guys like Jake Ballard and Mario Manningham.

On the other side of the ball, a depleted Rob Gronkowski could end up being a decoy, or perhaps a glorified offensive tackle, helping take the steam out of a pass rush that regularly put Tom Brady on his behind four years ago.  Brady will have to get rid of the ball faster, or the blockers will have to buy him more time.

Somehow, the Patriots remain favored to win.  And that comes from the perception that Brady and coach Bill Belichick will find a way.  That determination finds a significant boost from the memory of Myra Kraft, whose initials are stitched to the players’ jerseys.  I’ve been saying for weeks that the desire to honor her in a proper way and to bring some temporary happiness to a still-grieving Robert Kraft will galvanize the locker room.  When I saw running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis touching the patch after scoring a touchdown against the Ravens two weeks ago, my pick for the Super Bowl had been made.

It won’t be easy — it may even require overtime — but it’s impossible to imagine anything other than the proper ending to this story.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Giants 27.

Rosenthal’s take: This Patriots team doesn’t make a lot of sense. But they didn’t make a lot of sense in 2001 when Antowain Smith was their starting running back or in 2003 when every game was game was close and Troy Brown was playing cornerback.

Bill Belichick was relaxed this week because he loves this team. He knows his defensive line is playing its best football and has an advantage against the Giants. He knows Tom Brady is ready for one more signature performance.

I wrote earlier this week that the Giants have the advantage if both teams played their absolute best. But teams don’t play their best against the Patriots, especially when Belichick and Brady get a second chance at them.

Eli Manning is having a great year. He’s not an all-time great.

Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 23, Giants 20.

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39 Responses to “PFT’s Super Bowl picks”
  1. joshfitness says: Feb 5, 2012 8:20 AM

    Hmm, idiots!!!!! Giants 35, Pats 17

  2. hooks024 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:21 AM

    On behalf of giants fans everywhere, thank you for this, gentlemen.

    Btw-those of us who don’t watch the video would if we could watch it in the android app. That’s just science, man.

  3. plarkin88 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:21 AM

    My thoughts exactly. 1. B & B usually thrive second time around 2. MHK 3. Patriots O-line and tempo will thrive. Running with Hernandez against nickles/dime & passing against run set with Woodhead split out. Giants will fake injury to substitute, but it won’t be enough. Pats 34-20.

  4. sterling7 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:29 AM

    The Patriots defense will be better than people will give it credit for, too many people get caught up in statistics particularly regular season stats. Look for the Patriot offense to run the ball in first half and pass in the second half. The Patriots will score more than the Giants final score 27-17.

  5. wooooo8732 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:31 AM

    Nothing like a morning bj wooooo

  6. dempsey63 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:32 AM

    I can’t watch PFT Live because my children won’t allow me to stay up that late.

  7. boblavoie says: Feb 5, 2012 8:41 AM

    I like your picks (Patriots win) but I am going to say that Bill’s smile reveals a game plan that will help his team win by more than seven. Belichick appears very confident in this team and plan and is playing SB situational football in his practices – including half time preparation. Five SB appearances with this franchise equals experience.
    Patriots 30 Giants 17

  8. hebertespinosa says: Feb 5, 2012 8:42 AM

    Gonna be a FG differential, I agree, but I’m siding with Big Blue. Go Giants!

  9. crimhollingsworth says: Feb 5, 2012 8:49 AM

    Have the Giants lost any games this year?

  10. brutus9448 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:56 AM

    disagree. I think giants win this one. They are more talented and they have brady’s number. The pats are lucky they are even in this game. Missed 30 yard field goal?

  11. dirtmcgirt24 says: Feb 5, 2012 8:58 AM

    But teams don’t play their best against the Patriots, especially when Belichick and Brady get a second chance at them.

    —-

    Really? Where did this myth come? It’s the best excuse given to pick tha Pats all week. And it’s a myth.

    Since ’05, Pats are 3-5 in playoff rematches. Giants are 5-2.

    And with a 2 week break in that span, where Belichick is supposedly given too much time to destroy you, he’s 2-2 in such rematches.

  12. theandy59 says: Feb 5, 2012 9:06 AM

    This game, like most, will be decided in the trenches. But contrary to popular thought, the Patriots will own the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

  13. guestsinger says: Feb 5, 2012 9:21 AM

    There is no way either team is kept under 30 points.

  14. thetooloftools says: Feb 5, 2012 9:27 AM

    COMMENCE WITH THE BEATINGS !

  15. 6ball says: Feb 5, 2012 9:31 AM

    .

    Patriots and Giants have a recent history of playing one play / one possession games. With 5 minutes left, the outcome will still be in doubt.

    .

  16. sizzleballsohardu says: Feb 5, 2012 9:33 AM

    It should be the ravens in this game…

  17. cubsisles72 says: Feb 5, 2012 9:39 AM

    Manning will be sacked 3-4x more than Brady.

  18. grogansheroes says: Feb 5, 2012 9:49 AM

    brutus9448 says:
    Feb 5, 2012 8:56 AM
    disagree. I think giants win this one. They are more talented and they have brady’s number. The pats are lucky they are even in this game. Missed 30 yard field goal?
    ———————————————————
    Did you watch the NFCC game? If the 49ers, just let the punts drop on the ground, they win. The last ten possessions for the Gmen: 8 punts, a 29 yard TD drive, and 4 handoffs for a FG.

  19. bingobrown12 says: Feb 5, 2012 9:50 AM

    This what I would love to see.
    Pats 35
    Giants 14

    But I figure Eli will get his garbage time points
    Pats 35
    Giants 28

    Giant Fans will be ridiculed by Jet Fans tomorrow.

  20. rj88888 says: Feb 5, 2012 10:00 AM

    Giants win because of great play on both sides of the ball. History will prove that Eli is an all time great QB.

  21. kingcarlbanks says: Feb 5, 2012 10:03 AM

    The Kraken is coming for the Pats!

  22. nannymcsack says: Feb 5, 2012 10:11 AM

    that missed field goal would have only tied the afc championship game. and didnt the giants have to beat the cowboys at the end o the season just to squeak in to the playoffs?

  23. bkeating51 says: Feb 5, 2012 10:13 AM

    grogan
    Did you watch the NFCC game? If the 49ers, just let the punts drop on the ground, they win. The last ten possessions for the Gmen: 8 punts, a 29 yard TD drive, and 4 handoffs for a FG.
    _________________________________
    Did you watch the NFCC game? The last ten possessions for the 49ers: 8 punts, a 54 yard TD drive, and a 25 yard FG.

  24. 8man says: Feb 5, 2012 10:17 AM

    Odd, since most, if not all, of the experts and prognosticators are picking the Giants. I won’t be surprised at any outcome. This isn’t your father’s NFL, anything is possible.

    I can’t argue with the fact that the Patriots are lucky to be here. Pittsburgh and Houston were too beat up to go deep into the playoffs. Peyton missed the entire year, dooming the Colts and the Ravens, who may be the best team in the AFC, couldn’t get the job done. So it’s the Patriots. I’m hoping that there is still some magic left in that Patriot locker room and they can get it done.

    To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the defense, stupid!”

  25. Henry says: Feb 5, 2012 10:19 AM

    Glad to see that most are now coming to their senses in this one.
    The Patriots are clearly the better team.
    The Giants’ post season luck has finally run out and they are what they are, a 9-7 regular season team.

    Pats 31
    Giants 17

  26. 3octaveFart says: Feb 5, 2012 10:29 AM

    Giants – 24
    Referees – 30

  27. ahostiletakeover says: Feb 5, 2012 10:35 AM

    The Giants are are going to get to Brady much better than my Ravens did 2 weeks ago. I don’t care how “galvanized” the Pats defense is, the Giants o-line has watched plenty of tape of Wilfork bullrushing Matt Birk all game and that was honestly the difference in that game then. They’ll be ready for him and the rest of the Pats defense won’t have a chance, need I remind that Eli and his passing game is much better than the Ravens’ game in that aspect. If the Giants’ front seven can at least get Brady off his spot in the pocket, this game won’t even be close.

  28. raiders757 says: Feb 5, 2012 10:44 AM

    The NFL is already plotting with the officiating crew on how they can rig this game to have a championship team play in London next season. It’s the only way the Patsies can win this game. They’re outmatched.

    All I can say is go Giants. The vast majority of the football world is pulling for you today. Nobody like s the Patriots, or their fans.

  29. phillyrick22 says: Feb 5, 2012 10:46 AM

    NJ Giants 38, NE Pats 35

  30. heyooo says: Feb 5, 2012 10:59 AM

    nannymcsack says:
    Feb 5, 2012 10:11 AM

    that missed field goal would have only tied the afc championship game. and didnt the giants have to beat the cowboys at the end o the season just to squeak in to the playoffs?

    ________________________________

    Forget the missed field goal. What about the sure touchdown dropped by Lee Evans? That would have won the game for the Ravens. Don’t act like the Patriots didn’t squeak by.

  31. bleed4philly says: Feb 5, 2012 11:14 AM

    Gronk wont make it to halftime. Gints 24, Pats 23.

  32. tb12eatitbitches says: Feb 5, 2012 11:29 AM

    As clearly illustrated by these comments NJ fans are nervous. Film at 11

  33. threegriffons says: Feb 5, 2012 11:56 AM

    Does anyone remember the beginning of the season?
    Pre-lockout, BB said if he won a Superbowl this year he would retire. Could that be why he so relaxed?

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  35. situsavaisprier says: Feb 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    Both teams had injuries the first time around, no doubt about that, but Giants injuries were worse IMO. Giants were without their top WR, top RB, Center (when this happened Giants had to have a back-up guard play there) and the only FB on the team Henry Hynoski. What we saw, Patriots paid special attention to Cruz. So far when that has happened the first two play-off teams, Nicks kills the team, and Manningham makes some big catches too. All the while the teams still don’t limit Cruz much.

    49ers did the best job on the Giants WR’s IMO espcially in the 2nd half. Cruz went over 100 yards anyway though, and Manningham caught a td in his 3rd straight play-off game. This isn’t the same offense that New England faced in Week 9. They are at their healthiest.

  36. sunlion333 says: Feb 5, 2012 2:32 PM

    Preparation + Opportunity = Luck. Enough of the nonsense talk about “luck”. If this happened that would have been the result. What idiocy! If my aunt had balls she’d have been my uncle. The Giants are playing way better in all facets of the game since week 9. I don’t think you can say the same for the Pats. I will say that I am a fan of Bill Belichik and firmly believe that Brady is one of the best ever. However, the BB/TB factor is not that much better than the Coughlin/Manning factor to be a worthy argument. Also, week 9 had several key Giants players inactive, including Bradshaw, Nicks, Baas and Hynoski plus Tuck & Boley were playing hurt. Welcome to Deja Vu, Pat’s fans. Blood, sweat & tears will flow. It will be a great game with no truly dominant outcome, but the Giants will prevail with the fight they have shown for the last 5 games.

  37. norseman69 says: Feb 5, 2012 7:32 PM

    removed 12 times oh that proves it

  38. norseman69 says: Feb 5, 2012 7:32 PM

    giants win

    like the steelers

  39. norseman69 says: Feb 5, 2012 7:33 PM

    like the steelers did agaoinst the seahawks

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