Everyone is thinking it. But nobody wants to come out and say it. So I will.
Bring on the New York Giants in Super Bowl LI.
Ok, so I realize the New England Patriots have to get there first. But I’ve been very outspoken about the fact that I don’t think anybody in the AFC is going to knock off the Pats, especially since they’re the No. 1 seed and the road to Houston on Feb. 5 goes through Foxboro.
With a first-round bye, the Patriots will play either Houston, Oakland, or Miami in the Divisional Round at Gillette Stadium. And if it plays out the way I think it will play out, they’ll host either the Kansas City Chiefs of Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship.
I’d say Kansas City has the full body of work that’s good enough to call them the biggest threat to the Pats in the conference. But the Chiefs still don’t have enough to derail Tom Brady’s Deflategate revenge tour.
Which brings me to the Super Bowl. My NFC predictions have the Seattle Seahawks hosting the Giants in the NFC Championship. I’m also predicting the Seahawks to win that game and give us a rematch of Super Bowl XLIX.
But I hope I’m wrong. Because I want the Giants. I want a rematch of Super Bowl XLII and XLVI.
The thought of this might spark fear into some New Englanders who still have nightmares of the Giants’ two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots in 2007-08 and 2011-12. I’ve had some people tell me they wouldn’t watch. Others have just straight up rejected the notion that New York could win three playoff games on the road to get there.
No question about it, the No. 5-seeded Giants’ road to the Super Bowl is a whole lot tougher than that of the Patriots. For this rematch to happen, New York would have to go into Green Bay in the Wild Card round and knock off the red-hot Packers. Then the Giants would have to go into either Dallas or Atlanta and pull out a win. Then they’d have to go win the NFC Championship on the road, unless the No. 6-seeded Detroit Lions went on an improbable run of their own. But Detroit won’t make it out of Seattle alive, so if New York wants to get to Super Bowl LI, it will have to win three road playoff games as a wild card team.
That’s not such an impossible task though, considering the Giants were the No. 5 seed in 2007-08 and won three road games to get to the Super Bowl; and then were the No. 4 seed in 2011-12 and won three more games — two on the road — to get to the Super Bowl again.
The Giants have won nine of their last 11 and their 17.8 points-allowed per game rank second in the NFL. That’s behind the Patriots, of course, who rank No. 1 in the league, allowing just 15.6 points per game. Those numbers add to the storybook scenario that is Patriots vs Giants in Super Bowl LI.
I wouldn’t put my money on New York getting there. But I’ll be praying for it.
This idea that the previous two Super Bowl losses to the Giants would somehow affect Brady and Bill Belichick in a negative way is somewhat preposterous. What, you mean to tell me that they’d be scared of the challenge? The only team they should not want to play in the Super Bowl is Seattle, a team that went into Gillette Stadium and beat them just a month-and-a-half ago.
I’d prefer to see the Giants on Feb. 5 because they’re just not as good as the Seahawks. But there’s also a sense of closure that I’d like to get from beating New York in the Super Bowl. And I think you’re crazy if you truly believe Brady and Belichick would be afraid of that challenge.
So bring it on. Show me the flashbacks. Cue up the David Tyree catch. Keep rolling that Mario Manningham grab. Put those highlights on loop.
This is the Patriots’ revenge tour. And nothing would be more revengeful than defeating the Giants in Super Bowl LI.