The Giant X Factor
I believe that for the Gints to have ANY shot of winning on Sunday they MUST have help from the officials early and often.
Before you jump to conclusions and think I'm talking about the Pats being victimized by an inordinate number of dubious penalties (phantom PI calls in the Indy game anyone?), please understand that I'm actually referring to a lack of yellow laundry on the field when the Patriots are on offense!
IMO, the will Pats come out in a spread offense and attempt to sling it all over the field. If successful, I see them taking an early lead and cruising to a comfortable (double digit) victory because...
a). They will take away the Giant's running game and force Eli to play from behind.
b). Forcing Eli to play catch-up (or even try to match scores with TB) will make him more prone to making the kind of mistakes that can quickly compound the deficit he'll be facing.
c). It will wear out the Giant pass rush early in the game clearing the way for Brady to have another big fourth quarter passing the football (should we need it).
For this reason, I see the X Factor being how the officials call the game with regard to their db's covering our wideouts. Sam Madison, like Ty Law, has made a living punishing WR's all over the field. Take that away and, at this point in his career, he is average at best. IF they call it by the book, Pats will absolutely DOMINATE. Where it gets interesting is if they allow lots of contact down the field like vs. Baltimore this year. The Ravens were the only team that actually was able to "pound" the Patriots with their running game, control the clock, minimize Brady's possessions, and thus manage to maintain a lead for almost the full 60 minutes.
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