We are finally down to the last game of the 2011-’12 NFL season and, I honestly cannot wait. I’m not the type of guy that usually gets too “over-hyped” for a Super Bowl, but with this match-up, how can you not? Even though it is a rematch, the duel between Tom Brady and Eli Manning can’t get any better. Both the New England Patriots and New York Giants have been at each other since Super Bowl XLII, creating a little rivalry. With this being said, here are my five bold predictions for Super Bowl XLVI.
1) Patriots WR Wes Welker will have more than 10 catches.
New England likes to use the short-passing game, and with New York’s attention on their dynamic tight-end duo, I expect Wes Welker will see a lot of targets his way. If you don’t recall, the last time they met in the Super Bowl, Welker ate them up for 11 receptions for 103 yards. I expect a similar output from the Texas Tech grad.
2) Giants WR Victor Cruz will get his first post-season touchdown.
Cruz surprisingly hasn’t had a touchdown reception yet this post-season. He’s arguably been the biggest surprise all season with his big play ability. With Hakeem Nicks getting all the touchdowns lately, I am waiting for Cruz to break out of his drought and I think this will be his moment.
3) QBs Tom Brady and Eli Manning will pass for over a combined 700 yards and five touchdowns.
Both of these quarterbacks have been slinging the ball all season long and I expect to see that in the Super Bowl. They have had nearly two weeks to prepare, and these two guys are the one of bests at execution. The fact the Brady and Manning both just set franchise highs for single season passing yards should say enough.
4) Eli Manning will turn the ball over more than once.
Manning has been stellar all season and I have a feeling he’s going to make a few costly mistakes in this one. Not many people have talked about the Patriots defense, but they too, have playmakers that can force turnovers. I expect New England to come into this game with a game plan that will force Eli into some mistakes. If you recall watching the San Francisco game, Eli should have thrown at least three interceptions, but the Niners’ defensive backs were unable to haul in the football.
5) The New York Giants will not have any more than one sack.
The past two times the Giants have beaten the Pats, they recorded two and five sacks. New England understands that if they want to win this time, they must keep Brady upright. I think they will have a set game plan that will help with blocking schemes and use their short passes. If they continue to get to Brady like in previous meetings, the Giants will prevail.
6) TE Aaron Hernandez will be the better tight-end.
The ankle shouldn’t slow Gronk down, but I see the Giants doing their best to eliminate him, opening things up for Hernandez. I’ve always liked Hernandez better because of his athleticism and the things he can do in space after the catch. He is really shifty and can make turn a small gain into a big gain. Hell, at times the Patriots have him play tail back. I have a feeling that Hernandez is going to have a big night.
7) New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLVI 31-24.
The Giants have beaten the Patriots the past two meetings and I just have a hard time seeing them beating the Pats three consecutive times. Manning has outplayed Brady the past two meetings, and for that matter, I think Brady will come out firing on all cylinders. I think he will have his best Super Bowl ever and will not allow Manning to outplay him this time. The Giants have been talking a lot of smack during this media week and that’s going to come back to kick them in the ass.