Super Bowl XLVI: New England Patriots (15-3) vs. New York Giants (12-7)
Sunday, 2/5/12, 6:30 PM EST, TV: NBC
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Opening Point Spread: New England -3
Current Betting Line: New England -3
Opening Total: 55.5
Current Total: 54
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Four years ago, the unbeaten New England Patriots were trying to become the first team in NFL history to complete a perfect 19-0 season while the New York Giants were licking their chops at the opportunity to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history as double-digit underdogs. A 17-14 win by the Giants in Super Bowl XLII caused Las Vegas sportsbooks to suffer their worst beating ever, as bettors who took the dog straight-up and against the spread cleaned house.
Super Bowl XLVI has a much different feel even though the teams are the same because it is indeed a super rematch with super revenge on the line. Many believe the wrong team is favored despite the fact that the Patriots (-3, O/U 54) are riding a 10-game winning streak. Maybe it’s because the Giants have covered the spread in their last seven games against winning teams and are the last team to hand New England a loss, defeating the Pats 24-20 in Week 9 at Gillette Stadium.
It’s hard to argue whether or not New York actually had a tougher road to the Super Bowl this year, but the team is clearly full of confidence and knows what it takes to beat New England. Ironically, playing on the road has been one of the keys for the Giants, who have been involved in elimination games ever since they lost to the Washington Redskins for the second time this season in Week 15. Even though they were swept by the Redskins, they completed a sweep of a more important NFC East opponent in the Dallas Cowboys the last week of the regular season after essentially knocking their Big Apple rivals the New York Jets out of the playoff race in their previous game.
The Patriots have no doubt had an easier path to their fifth Super Bowl appearance in 11 years. However, they certainly deserve a lot of credit for jelling at the perfect time following back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Giants right after their bye week. While New York was just fighting for an opportunity to play in the postseason over the final two weeks of the regular season, New England was busy battling back from large first-half deficits against the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins with the AFC’s top seed on the line.
Revenge also can’t be underestimated in a game of this magnitude for the Pats, especially with a head coach like Bill Belichick and a quarterback like Tom Brady, who are both destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Together, they are the most successful head coach-QB combo in league history and have much to prove on Sunday in front of what could be the biggest television audience of all-time. Another loss to their New York counterparts Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning could sour their legacy a bit. The fact of the matter is that Belichick and Brady are 43-13 SU when trying to avenge a loss (36-17-3 ATS), and teams playing with same-season revenge have won three straight Super Bowls.
Defensively, the Giants seem to have a huge advantage with their ability to rush Brady now that their line is fully healthy. The status of New England tight end Rob Gronkowski could very well be the difference as he recovers from a high ankle sprain that has prevented him from practicing leading up to the game. Gronkowski and fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez each scored touchdowns in the first meeting vs. New York, and both were in college the last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl.
Brady still found a way to pass for 342 yards against the Giants earlier this year, and he reportedly had a broken foot the last time he played them for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He and his teammates continue to play in honor of the late Myra Kraft, the wife of New England owner Robert Kraft who passed away nearly two months before the season started. One more victory would complete their mission and give Brady four Super Bowl rings, tying him with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most ever among QBs.