I can’t leave any suspense about the pick, since I already placed my low stakes wager on the Giants (money line and +3) the Monday after the championship games before the sharps bet the Giants payouts down more. The line seems like an obvious botch for a relatively even-matched game on a neutral field. The difference in records is largely a product of the Pats’ much easier schedule, and the Giants right now are a different team than the one earlier in the year that didn’t have Osi and only had Tuck in the most formal sense. This isn’t to say that I think that the Giants are overwhelmingly likely to win the game or anything. Eli, while championship quality, isn’t Brady, and the Giants (benfitting from Harbaugh’s inability to adapt to the Ginn injury and a lucky — not wrong, necessarily, but lucky — call on the Brandshaw near-fumble) were just as lucky to win the championship game as the Patriots. Still, I like the macthup of the Giants receivers against the Pats secondary, and while New York’s secondary isn’t a lot better the Gronkowski injury is a huge factor for an offense that lacks a deep threat. Had the Patriots signed a real wideout rather than a reality TV star in the offesason, I’d probably see them winning this game; but they didn’t and I don’t. Certainly, getting points to take the Giants is an easy call.
I am rooting for OT not only because it would mean a close game because I would take a perverse pleasure in Gregg Easterbrook types launching into less-funny-than-Frank-Caliendo routines about the Incredible Complexity of the new postseason OT rules. Here, let me explain it: “it’s sudden death unless the first team to receive a kickoff kicks a field goal in its first possession.” Sooooo complicated! Can I have my PhD in astrophysics from MIT now? Also, I think the rules are fine; certainly infinitely preferable to the abominable NCAA rules, which are almost as bad as penalty kicks/shots. I have little patience for equity whining; If you can’t stop a team from scoring a TD after a kickoff, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo. And that goes triple for Steelers fans inclined to whine; if you can’t beat one of the three weakest playoff teams in NFL history in regulation and then start the OT with a defensive scheme that will allow the other team to score if their QB can make a throw half the tailbacks in the league can make, tough shit. [To clarify, I’m not saying that Steelers fans are uniquely whiny or anything; it’s an illustrative hypothetical.]
…Refs deserve a lot of credit for that safety call; obviously correct, and gutsy. Having praised Bellichick, I should not that the first quarter — most glaringly his Don Cherry homage — has been ugly; Patriots looked grossly unprepared.
…Shorter Clint Eastwood: vote for Mitt Romney? Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?