It would seem to be the easy way out to just say that the New England Patriots will defeat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII to become the first undefeated team to go 19-0, and possibly be declared the 'Greatest Team of All Time.'
However, I'm not going to take the easy way out this week. Today, I'm going to pick the team, the spread and the total points. After all, ending the season by making the correct pick would be a fitting end to this season, where my total is currently sitting at an efficient 61% (107-68). At the same time, all I really want to see after all the hype and other buildup is a good, competitive game, in which the fourth quarter still matters. A game winning field goal would be just fine w/ me.
I am rooting for the Patriots to win the game and finish the season with perfection. Anything that knocks those smug, obnoxious 1972 Dolphins off their thrones and ends their yearly ritual of popping the champagne every time the final team loses its first regular season game would satisfy me. Of course, yes I know, it would all start again with the Patriots faithful.
I see this game much closer than the 12 point spread dictates. If the Giants play the way they have for the postseason so far, and the Patriots do the same, I believe the Giants will at least easily cover the spread, and perhaps even be in position to win the game into the fourth quarter. Eli Manning has played like his brother, and led his team in a precise, efficient, mistake-free manner. The defense has stepped up, overcoming their injuries in the secondary to put a ton of pressure on the quarterback, which has led to interceptions and short fields for the offense to take advantage of.
On the other side, the Pats have certainly played well enough to win, but have not looked like the invincible team that virtually teased with their opponents and breezed to their first nine wins. Since then, they have looked vulnerable, yet still managed to pull off victories when defeat looked eminent. Perhaps this is the mark of a true champion, but perhaps it is also the sign of perfection beginning to crack and may well crumble this evening.
Unfortunately for the Giants, I see it as the former as opposed to the latter. I am predicting that the Giants will keep this game close to the end, even leading well into the fourth quarter. However, as they have done all season, the Patriots will step up and Tom Brady will lead them down the field one last time for the game winning touchdown, cementing their place in history. This will not be a perfect game, as both teams and quarterbacks will feel the heat of the defenses and turn the ball over. The placekickers will play a big role as well, as special teams will determine the all important field position.
The New England Patriots have been here before, and their poise will lead them to not panic as the clock ticks down. They will just do as they have all season, and take care of business. While the Giants will cover the spread, and the game will go over the total, the New England Patriots complete the first ever 19-0 season and edge the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42.