Well, the time has come, after this two weeks of hype and hoopla, to pick a winner. It's time to put aside the walking boots, the Spygate video cameras, the restraining orders, the Senators from Pennsylvania and the wedding gown-clad reporters, and finally think about playing the game.
As has been recalled to death, the Patriots only beat the Giants 38-35 in Week 17. The Giants did a great job, especially considering they had nothing to play for, other than to provide the Patriots with a little resistance against finishing the regular season with a perfect record.
Tom Coughlin had his club playing well and Eli Manning indeed appeared to come of age as a quarterback in the National Football League. Even with the close, entertaining victory, it wasn't anything certain that the two teams would meet again Sunday in the Super Bowl. The Giants had to win two playoff games on the road against two teams -- the Cowboys and the Packers -- who had better seasons.
But here they are and the question is: Can the Giants avenge the earlier loss, spoil the Patriots' undefeated season and win Super Bowl XLII?
Well, they could; the Patriots' margins of victory seem to be getting smaller and smaller lately. But my feeling is they won't. New England's quest of perfection will be realized.
I consider Patriots coach Bill Belichick to be, quite frankly, a weaselly human being and I really wouldn't mind that much seeing him lose. But I also consider him to be the best coach in the NFL.
Giving Belichick not only two weeks since his last game to prepare, but also to play a team he's played before, is just too much. I really don't see any way Belichick can lose in that situation.
Then there are the two quarterbacks, Manning and the Patriots' Tom Brady. The Mannings may be the "first family of football" and yes, they have sons who will have played in back-to-back Super Bowls and Eli may indeed have "found himself" since Week 17, but I just don't think he can match Brady in this one.
On top of all this is that 19-0 thingy. The Patriots, being this close to history, will be too determined to let it slip away. It would be incredibly difficult to come this far and then cope with not being able to seal the deal.
All that considered, I see Super Bowl XLII going to New England. Some people think the 12-point spread is too much, but in the end, it'll probably be just about right. Let's say Patriots 34-21.
We'll be back here Sunday night for a wrapup. Hope to see you then. PLEASE feel free to rebut my pick in the comments area.