The 2012 Super Bowl is almost here and after a week of talking about the game, Rob Gronkowski's ankle, and a little bit more about the game, it's time to make some predictions. SB Nation's NFL bloggers all weighed in with a pick on the game and 56 percent of the bloggers are picking the New York Giants to beat the New England Patriots.
But they still expect it be a very close game. In fact, take the average score of the picks provided by SB Nation bloggers and you actually have the Patriots winning, 27.6 to 26.4. That tells us that, while the majority are picking the Giants to win, some of those bloggers who feel the Patriots will win believe they'll do so in a landslide.
Among those who picked the Giants, the most lopsided prediction was 41-17. And among those that picked the Patriots, the most lopsided prediction was 31-13. The rest were in between and the vast majority picked a three-point game.
We also talked with the bloggers from the two teams in this game -- Pats Pulpit and Big Blue View. Unsurprisingly, each of them picked their own team to win -- would you really pick against your team in the Super Bowl? -- but they also recognized the potential pitfalls their team could face.
We asked each blogger why their team is capable of winning Super Bowl XLVI and why they could lose, as well as an official prediction. Here's what they had to say along with SBNation.com's analysis.
Why The Patriots Will Win: "While it isn't a stretch to say that the Giants are a more talented team than the New England Patriots, the Patriots have two major factors in their favor: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Those two are the very best at what they do. Bill Belichick is sure to come up with some type of wrinkle in his game plan, and Tom Brady, more than ever, will have a chip on his shoulder, as he looks for revenge on Super Bowl XLII. The Patriots defense, as well, has shown a lot of improvement as of late. Although they've struggled a lot throughout the year, they played well before Brandon Spikes went down in Week 9, and they should have confidence heading into this game."
Why The Giants Will Win: "The Giants will win for two reasons: they have the better defense and they have too many receivers on the outside for New England to handle."
SB Nation Analysis: All valid points here. The key, as Pats Pulpit alluded to, is the wrinkle in the game plan that's undoubtedly coming from Belichick. We don't know what it is yet but Belichick will have something that the Giants aren't expecting in the game plan and the key for New York will be how they make adjustments and respond to that. Aaron Hernandez at running back? Chad Ochocinco playing a major role? A focus on the run? Something will happen that we aren't expecting and the Giants have to be on their toes to respond to it.
Why The Patriots Will Lose: "While the team is on a 10-game winning streak and has an improved defense, the Patriots are slightly outmatched in terms of talent. Eli Manning has been on fire as of late, and the Patriots will have a lot of difficulty covering Victor Cruz in the slot. If the Patriots can't apply pressure with their front four without blitzing, it could be a long day for that defense."
Why The Giants Will Lose: "Overconfidence, and the fact that everyone other than Patriots fans seems to think the Giants will win. The Giants seem to do better when no one believes in them."
SBNation.com Analysis: The last point by Big Blue View is spot-on. The Giants are better as an underdog, us-against-the-world type of team. That's a role they've thrived in during the Tom Coughlin era. But they know they're not the big underdogs in this game as they were four years ago. The idea that a lot of the public is picking the Giants is a departure from how they were portrayed at the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Pats Pulpit Prediction: "New England has, in my mind, gone from borderline overrated, to severely underrated. The Patriots, last time I checked, are still the hottest team in the NFL with 10 straight victories. Of course, the team's last loss came at the hands of the Giants, but this is also a team that rarely loses to the same team twice in a season. I think the scoring does pick up, as many have predicted, but the Patriots defense makes the final stop to preserve the Super Bowl XLVI victory. Patriots win, 31-27."
Big Blue View Prediction: "I have been calling for Giants over Patriots. It will be a close one late, and I think Eli Manning gets it done in the final minutes. Giants win, 24-21."
SBNation.com Prediction: Like plenty of others, I think this is one of those games that comes down to whoever has the ball last. Neither side has a major, game-altering advantage either way. That said, the Patriots have won 10 in a row and I don't see the momentum being stopped right now. Patriots win, 30-27.