NFL: Staff throw their Super Bowl picks into the mix

Super Bowl XLVI is Sunday and pits the New York Giants against the New England Patriots. The Giants stunned the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII our seasons ago. Do the Giants have the Patriots’ number again? Or will Tom Brady win his fourth ring? The sports writers for the Gilroy Dispatch, Morgan Hill Times and Hollister Free Lance weight in with their predictions.

Scott Adams

New York Giants 23, New England Patriots 20

There is no debate that New York is a team of destiny at this point, much like the Patriots were the last time they met in the Super Bowl in 2008. This Giants team, however, looks choke proof.

Eli Manning has turned his receivers into big-time playmakers, while New York’s D has conjured memories of some of the storied defenses in Super Bowl history. That front four alone will cause problems for Tom Brady, allowing New York’s linebackers and secondary to focus on New England’s vaunted tight ends.

The Patriots defense is ranked 31st. Enough said.

Josh Weaver

New York Giants 34, New England Patriots 24

A New York Giants-New England Patriots rematch of the 2007 big dance isn’t exactly what I wanted to see this Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI – the San Francisco 49ers should be playing. But since it’s what we are stuck with, may as well put a little thought into the proceedings.

I don’t expect New England’s defense to bottle up the Giants offense like it did against the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. The Giants trio of receivers – Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and speedster Victor Cruz will shred the Patriots secondary. And, somehow, Eli Manning will continue his steady postseason play in orchestrating at least three touchdown passes.

Tom Brady and the Patriots will get their fair share of points, too. Though all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski may be less than 100 percent with a bum left ankle, he will keep the Giants second level honest – as will fellow tight End Aaron Hernandez and receiver Wes Welker.

The key for both defenses will be pressure on the quarterback. The Giants front-four linemen have the edge there.

Neither team possesses an eye-popping rushing attack, so the squad that manages to get the ground game established could gain an advantage.

A rematch and a repeat.

Kollin Kosmicki

New York Giants 30, New England Patriots 27

One team is balanced and on a roll. The other team is unbalanced and on a roll. I see the Giants playing with a lead and holding off the Patriots.

Connor Ramey

New England Patriots 27, New York Giants 17

With all the breaks the Giants have recieved in the past month, it’s hard to disagree with them being called a team of destiny. But that run ends in Super Bowl XLVI.

Both offenses create nightmare matchups for the opposing defenses. How the Giants slow down Gronkowski, Welker and Hernandez will be a key. And the same goes for New England and slowing down the Giants’ receiving trio. Both teams are flawed – the Giants allowed more points than they scored during the regular season and the Patriots have the 31st ranked defense – but the best unit on the field will be the New England offense.

So the game will come down to coaching and it’s hard to pick against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

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