Like Huey Lewis said, “So, this is it.” It’s the last Degenerate column for the 2011-12 NFL season. And you know what, I think this season was pretty successful. Yeah, we had some rough patches (like losing 5 in a row at one point), but we are ending the season on a nice streak, hitting 9 of our last 11 picks. Sweet.
We had a winner in the AFC Championship with the Ravens +7 over the Patriots. Now let’s end the season on a high note with a Super Bowl winner. That would make me happy, and it would put us at 26-18 (59%) on the season. Not too shabby. And as an added bonus, we also solicited Super Bowl picks from some “Friends of SpikeEskin.com”, including meteorologist/sports nut John Bolaris.
Yesterday, I posted my picks in some Super Bowl props, The Degenerate: The Super Bowl Props – Fishnets, Gatorade and Belly Buttons, check it out here.
The ‘Friends of SpikeEskin.com’ picks:
Spike Eskin – 94WIP, CBS, this site (@SpikeEskin):
Prediction: Giants – (-12) over Patriots (-17)
In the worst Super Bowl of all time, the Giants prevail with a negative score. The refs will discuss for over an hour whether -12 is actually greater than -17. Eli Manning will look like he’s smelling a fart. At least the hoodie will go to sleep sad.
Cranekicker from CraneKickChronicles.com (@Cranekicker)
Prediction: Patriots 27 Giants 20
Rationale: I want both teams to lose but I have come to grips with that being impossible. And despite what a local shockjock wrote in a recent column, I cannot root for the Giants. The only time you will catch me cheering for the Giants is when they are fumbling or throwing interceptions.
The truth is, Eli Manning is really good and the Giants run a great organization and I can’t stand it. I’d rather have Boston fans yucking it up from a far than loud mouthed New Yorkers right around the corner professing their love for Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning when really they tried to run both of them out of town. So I lay my hopes with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. This all makes me sick. Thank God for buffalo chicken dip and block pools. Brady with a late TD to Hernandez for the win. Here’s a picture of Andre Tippett.
Pat Gallen from Phillies Nation and 97.3 ESPN Radio (@PatGallen_PN):
Prediction: Giants 30, Pats 26. It pains me to go this way, but the Giants D is playing really well right now, and the Patriots D isn’t really all that great. Eli wins…dammit
John Bolaris (@JohnBolaris):
Prediction: Giants 27, Pats 24. Don’t like Pats D. Giants going in Hot. Eli has been huge this year especially 4th quarter. Brady can still cut u up like a fine surgeon. And what is against the Giants, the pure probability factor that it’s really tough to beat any NFL team twice in the same year especially when you’re dealing with Pats & Brady. That being said Pats defense should be their downfall. JB
Meech – the guy who killed The Fightins (@meechone):
Prediction: Giants 30, Pats 24 (OT)
CBS3’s Chris May (@chrismayphilly):
Prediction: Patriots 27 Giants 21. Brady’s your MVP.
Zoo With Roy (@zoowithroy):
Prediction: YEAH GIRL PUT IT IN THE BANK: Giants 37, Pats 34
CSN’s Marshall Harris (@mharrisCSN):
Prediction: I got the Giants 35-31.
Philly.com’s Ryan Petzar(@petzrawr):
Prediction: 21-10 Pats.
Dan Roche – Daily News Live Producer (@RochesRWinners):
Duration of Kelly Clarkson’s National Anthem:
Will be delayed until she finishes her sandwich √
Will Clarkson show her midriff?
My eyes!! My eyes!! √
What will be higher on Super Bowl Sunday?
LeBron James points vs Raptors (-115)
Drexel University’s campus (no line) √
What will be shown more frequently?
Peyton Manning’s Face
The “Eli Manning Face” √
Oh yeah, the game:
Patriots 27 (-2½) √
Kevin Cooney of PhillyBurbs.com (@KevinCooney)
Too many people are taking Eli and Coughlin… I’m going with opposite world. I can’t see Brady and Belichick losing two Super Bowls to the same team. Plus, the Giants won’t be able to cover the two tight ends.
Prediction:Patriots 31, Giants 24
Ok, not that my pick carries any more weight than those above (who am I kidding, this is the only one that matters), but here we go…
Bet #1: (a.k.a the “I only watch it for the commercials” pick)
New England Patriots -2½ over New York Giants
In a ‘lesser of two evils’ selection, I’m going with the Patriots.
Picking this game is kind of like choosing between stubbing your toe or banging your funnybone. Neither one is too appealing. On the one hand you have the Patriots. God’s gift to the NFL (or so their fans would make you think), they have a Hall of Fame QB, an evil wizard coach and no defense, yet they are scoring at a record pace and went 15-3. The Pats have 7 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Lombardi Trophy’s. On the other hand you have the Giants. Yeah, no further explanation necessary. I’ve been raised since day 1 to
hate strongly dislike the Giants, and it seems like every few years they just go out of their way to rub my face in it. They have 3 Super Bowl titles in 5 appearances. (But I thought we were the Dream Team?)
I put my personal biases aside and I looked at this game with a neutral eye. And when I broke it down I just think the Patriots are the better team with the better coach and the better QB. Yeah, their defense stinks, but that isn’t news. The Gronkowski injury is distracting people from the bigger picture, even without Gronk the Patriots have another very good tight end (Aaron Hernadez) and Wes Welker, the receiving corp is going to be fine. Brady is going against the 21st ranked pass defense, he’ll do alright. The Broncos had the 24th ranked pass defense and you saw what he did to them, twice. Two weeks ago they played the Baltimore Ravens (the best defense in the NFL) and they were able to put up 23 points. The Pats running game is pretty good too, 4th ranked overall. BenJarvus Green-Ellis should be able to move the ball against the Giants 19th ranked rush defense. Pats Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is leaving New England to coach Penn State, so there is some extra motivation (if it was even needed) to send him out a winner.
I expect the Giants to try to take advantage of the New England pass defense, so expect lots of Eli Manning passes, and he has some pretty good weapons to work with. Manningham, Cruz and Nicks. That’s three solid receivers right there. And the Giants running game is decent, Bradshaw and Jacobs should see alot of touches, especially if New York gets an early lead. I’m not saying the Patriots will shut down Eli and the Giants defense, I just think that the Patriots defense will be ready.
I’ll keep it short, here are 3 reasons why I like the Patriots to win and cover on Sunday:
This is a revenge game (times two) for New England. Not only did the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII to ruin the Patriots undefeated season, they also went into Foxboro this season in Week 9 and beat New England. After that loss the Patriots went on a 10 game winning streak. Brady isn’t going to forget that Week 9 loss, nor has he forgotten that 2008 Super Bowl upset. He has a chance to right a wrong on the biggest stage of all.
- Everyone is betting the Giants. So, naturally I have to look to the other side. The early money came in on the Giants, which makes sense. The early bettors grabbed the Giants at +3½ and the line dropped to +3. And even more money came in on the Giants, forcing the line to drop further to 2½ on Friday morning. And laying 2½ is where you bang the Patriots. From Covers.com: “The majority of the early money, both sharp and square, has been on the Giants. CNBC’s Darren Rovell tweeted that 80 percent of the max $25,000 bets at the offshore sportsbook BetOnline.com were on the Giants”.
- The Patriots are the better team. Yes, everyone says “the defense stinks”, “Eli is gonna light them up”. Well, they’ve had the same terrible defense all season, and they’re 15-3. They average 32 points per game, and they only give up 20 points. Compare that to the Giants. New York scores 25 and gives up 23. So, shouldn’t we be saying the Giants defense stinks? I don’t know, this seems like a pretty even matchup and if I’m laying down my money on either Eli or Brady, I’ll take Brady.
I’ll say, the Patriots get their revenge in front of an enormous TV audience, in the most anticipated Super Bowl in recent memory, in Peyton Manning’s living room. Brady and the Patriots win, 27-20.
The Line: New England -2½, O/U 54
The Pick: New England -2½
Game Trends (via Covers.com): New England: 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss. 1-7 ATS in their last 8 playoff games. New York: 8-1 ATS in their last 9 playoff games.
Thanks for reading the NFL picks column all year, good luck!!
(Yes, I’ll be back with some other stuff, March Madness, baseball, NBA playoffs, etc.)
Season Record: 25-18. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.
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