Why the New England Patriots can't lose, Reason 1: Lose? They never lose. They're 18-0. Undefeated. Nobody's ever done what they've done so far. They're indestructible.
Why the New York Giants can win, Reason I: Hang on. I have to come up with 10 reasons why the Giants can win? Are you serious? Can I count something like "Patriots might all get severe food poisoning, have to forfeit game"?
2: Tom Brady is a dreamboat. And yes, you can.
II: That's not a reason.
II: Well then that's my IInd reason. The Patriots are cheating cheaters who cheat, and cheaters never win, notwithstanding those 18 wins so far, achieved by cheating. By the cheaters. Who cheat.
3: The Patriots have a great offensive line, which will neutralize the pass rush that's been a key to the Giants' playoff victories so far.
III: Oh, changing the subject, I see. You want to talk about football now? Don't you know this is the Super Bowl? Football is incidental. The Pats line is great, but you're underestimating Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. They'll tax that great line, force the Patriots to keep an extra man in and cut down on Brady's options and flush him from the pocket, outside of which he's ineffective.
4: You mean like they did in Week 17, when the Patriots line, now healthy, had two starters out with injuries and the Giants pass rush bumped Brady around a little but sacked him just once and "held" him to 346 yards, a cool 8.0 per throw? Brady, who is a dreamboat, is a genius at moving in the pocket to avoid even the fiercest pass rush and make his throws.
IV: Yeah, but the blueprint for beating the Patriots is to hit them hard, to play smashmouth, and that's what the Giants are best at. They're a bruising, blue-collar team.
5: Fascinating blueprint. Its success rate is 0 percent. Any chance the architect also drew up the plans for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? Brady -- the dreamboat -- won't get rattled by the Giants big rush the way both Tony Romo of Dallas and Brett Favre of Green Bay did in the last two games.
V: You know, your last three reasons have all pretty much been the same, and the one before that was completely nonsensical. And yet I keep coming at you with reasons, punching away, piling up points. This is how the Giants will chop down the Patriots! Like Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson! Like the Jets over the Colts in Super Bowl III! So here's another: Eli Manning is playing mistake-free football. The Giants don't have a turnover in the postseason.
6: You're right. I'm Cadillackin' at this point. Reason 1 was a first-round KO. You've been dreaming the whole rest of this. And speaking of dreams, did I mention that Tom Brady's dreamy?
VI: Bip! Bip! Jab! Cross! Double hook! Ahmad Bradshaw's speed! The Patriots linebackers overplay, they gamble. That opens up seams that Bradshaw can exploit on short passes or draw plays. Bam!
7: And then Brady throws one to Randy Moss for an 86-yard touchdown. Now, you're going to lift your head from the canvas long enough to say that Moss hasn't done much in the playoffs --
VII: Don't put words in my mouth! And don't try to keep me from saying one of my reasons.
7: Sorry, go ahead.
VII: Moss hasn't done much in the --
7: That's because teams have been double- and triple-teaming him, saying to the Patriots, "Beat us with someone else." To which the Patriots have said, "Have you met Messrs. Walker, Stallworth, Gaffney, Maroney, Faulk, Watson and not that Brady but the other Brady? Say hello to them, and hark! Was that the final gun? Let's check the scoreboard, shall we?"
VII: I don't think the Patriots say "Hark."
7: They should. It's fun. Hark! And while I grant you that it looks like the terrible Giants secondary has been playing well lately, that's because the pass rush has been forcing Romo and Favre into bad throws, as discussed. The truth is, the Giants secondary is terrible. Brady will avoid the rush and calmly, dreamily pick them apart.
VIII Plaxico Burress is like 8 feet tall and can be a devastating weapon. All Manning has to do is put the ball up in the air and let Burress go get it. Did you see him abuse Al Harris in the Green Bay game? Eleven catches, 151 yards. He also had a 52-yarder and two touchdowns in the Patriots game last month.
8: Going to Disneyland. Going to Disneyland. Sorry, you say something? I was rehearsing. Oh, we're still doing the reason thing? Look, if Reason 1, the thing about the Patriots being unbeatable and probably the greatest team in NFL history isn't enough for you, how about we pair it up with a little thing I'll call Reason 8: The Giants are one of the worst Super Bowl teams ever.
They only went 10-6. They barely outscored their opponents during the season and they've squeaked through the playoffs in the weaker conference. And it's not even like they started terribly and finished strong, like, say, the San Diego Chargers, who, you may have noticed, are no longer playing. The Giants are playing well now, but they're not scorching hot or anything. They're 7-4 since their bye week, and their current three-game winning streak is their longest since October. They're a good team. They're just not an elite team. And they're playing the elitest of the elite.
IX: Who cheat.
8: Hey-o! Well played!
IX: Thank you. The Giants are legit. They've won three straight playoff games on the road, the last two against the teams that were widely considered to be at least on par with the top AFC teams, Patriots excepted, for most of the season. They overcame the Ice Bowl II cold and won in Lambeau Field. People have been predicting their collapse since the summer. Remember how this season was just going to be a lame-duck death walk for Tom Coughlin? Or was it a lame-death duckwalk? Whatever. At every step, the Giants have risen to the occasion. They played the Patriots to a standstill in Week 17.
9: And lost. Like every other team that's played the Patriots this season. Have I mentioned that? Undefeated. I also don't think I've mentioned the Patriots' very good defensive line, which we'll call, in rhyme, Reason 9.
10: And one big reason they all lose is Bill Belichick. Yeah, Eli Manning's been playing well, not making mistakes. But Dr. Hoodie's had two weeks to prepare for him. Think the Patriots will just show Eli the old 3-4? They'll be throwing all kinds of schemes at him to confuse him. And it'll work.
Since Belichick took over as Patriots coach in 2000, New England has gone 6-0 in playoff games following an off week, including two of their Super Bowl wins. The Pats have also gone 6-2 in the games following their regular-season bye. The only games they've lost with two weeks to prepare were in 2000 and 2002, the first and third years of Belichick's tenure as coach and the only two times his Patriots teams have failed to make the playoffs.
Give Bill Belichick an extra week, he's going to beat you.
X: Any idea where the Patriots will be eating dinner Saturday night?
This column's prediction: Patriots. Since New England is a 12-point favorite, my son, Buster, is denied his first chance to pick a winner as the game-pickinest 5-year-old in the Western Hemisphere. He and his sister, Daisy, coin-flippinest 2-year-old on two legs, take all favorites of six points or more.
Previous column: The Johan Santana trade
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