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Discount the hype, there's a Super Bowl to be played

February 3, 2012
By Keith Shelton - Sports Reporter ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - This year's Super Bowl should be a barnburner. Forget all the hype and all the made up storylines. Throw them out the window and turn off the talking heads on ESPN.

This is simply two of the hot offenses the NFL has to offer and two of the NFL's better teams in the last half decade.

The New York Giants and New England Patriots are each worthy, there's no doubt about it. Neither is an upstart with stars in their eyes, trying to figure out if they belong on the biggest stage in sports.

Article Photos

Keith Shelton

Typically when you have a team like the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl, you see a team with jitters that needs half a quarter to settle in and remember how they got there.

The Giants and Patriots have been there before, against each other as a matter of fact, a point the mass sports media has been repeating ad naseum.

Forget about that though, it's baloney. There is no merit in the so-called "revenge factor."

When New York ruined New England's perfect season in 2008, it was...well, 2008. The major sports media has been fantasizing all week of a Tom Brady who has stewed in anger for what, four years? Just waiting for an opportunity to exact revenge.

There's been a lot of turnover on each team since then. Imagine how much turnover a typical NFL team goes through in just one year. Danny Woodhead bears no grudge, neither does Chad Ochocinco, Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski. On the Giants, there was no Victor Cruz or Osi Umenyiora.

No, this is a new game, not a rematch.

A lot this week has centered around Gronkowski, the ailing Patriots record setting tight end. He hasn't practiced in over a week. I'm sure he will play in the big game, but even without him, the Patriots aren't necessarily doomed.

New England has, for the most part, an interchangable offense. They didn't skip a beat when Randy Moss left. When Ochocinco didn't have the season many expected, they turned to Gronkowski and Hernandez, who became the stars of the passing attack. You can bet the Patriots have a plan B if Gronkowski isn't himself on Sunday.

The Giants passing attack is every bit as good. Their three big receivers, Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham could all be No. 1 wideouts on a lot of teams and each has big play potential.

Tom Brady is Tom Brady, though he is reaching a point where his best years are behind him. Eli Manning has risen to become one the NFL's elite quarterbacks and already has one title on his belt.

This Patriots defense isn't the caliber it was in 2008 either. They give up yards on the ground and in the air. While capable of coming up with the stop when needed, the Giants strong offense could put up some big yards with running back Brandon Jacobs and possibly even Ahmad Bradshaw if his fractured foot is healthy enough to play.

The Giants defense however, is legit, and that could give this team the edge. New York's pass rush is strong with Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. The Giants like to rush four at times, so count on Brady getting hit a lot, and sacked a few times as well.

New York, in a lot of ways, are like this year's version of the 2010 Packers. They won their final two games of the season just to get into the postseason, then won back to back games on the road in hostile environments against the top two teams in the NFC. They will again be the designated road team in the Super Bowl.

Giants 34, Patriots 28



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