Las Vegas bookmakers have picked the Giants to lose on Sunday, but coming in as the three-point underdogs (depending on the sportsbook) is just the way Big Blue likes it.
So, what should the G-men watch out for on Sunday, other than Tom Brady?
The answer here is something.
What to look for exactly is a crapshoot, as Patriots coach Bill Belichick or as his players call him “The Belistrator” surely has something up his sleeve.
And considering this Patriots team is by far Belichick’s most vulnerable group, you have to presume he didn’t come up with something this past week.
Now lets say the Pats do have a sneak attack, whether it will work who knows, but my guess is the Giants coach Tom Coughlin hasn’t wasted too much time inventing possible conspiracy theories.
Admittedly, I cannot say the same for myself as I did come up with one possible long shot.
And it’s the emergence of #85 Chad Ochocinco (Johnson).
I am well aware of how bad Ochocinco has been since arriving in New England, but the excuse of him getting to know the Patriots system in the beginning of the season is well passed its due date.
Ochocinco came to the Patriots as a six-time pro bowler, with 10 years experience as the star wide receiver of the Cincinnati Bengals. He is no slouch, as just ask any teammate of Ochocinco’s and they will attest to how hard he works.
Yes, Ochocinco did just turn 34 years old about two weeks ago and there is no denying that he is on the other end of his career, but this sudden decline just seems way too premature.
Just look at his career stats:
There is no doubt that, even with 15 catches on the season, Ochocinco can still be a vertical threat.
And if I remember correctly during the Giants vs. Patriots game from earlier this season, Ochocinco looked efficient. He still ran routes skillfully and broke away a few times from the Giants secondary, regardless that he didn’t have one catch but was targeted five times by Brady.
Since the Giants biggest liability this season was their secondary, my guess is that is what Belichick will make a point to exploit. And that could entail a secret wide receiving asset.
Big Blues defensive backs will already have their hands full trying to consistently cover WR Welker, TE Gronkowski, TE Hernandez and WR Branch, while keeping a big eye out of RB Green-Ellis coming out of the backfield.
With the lack of film to watch on Ochocinco as a Patriot, the Giants could be dealing with something they couldn’t prepare for and that could be because Belichick made sure of it.
And don’t forget about Gronkowski’s bum ankle heading into Sunday, as it leaves more room for #85 to get in the game more.
This is Ochocinco’s first trip to the big show as a player, and even as ineffective as his season has been, there is a reason he is still wearing a Patriot uniform today.
And I bet Belichick would even have a surprise sombrero waiting if Chad scores a TD on the sidelines.
The reason I think Belichick will go big is because the opportunity his Patriots have in front of them rarely happens. And that is the chance to even the score after finishing 18-1 in 2007-08 season at the hands of Big Blue.
- Super Bowl XLVI: 4 Reasons Tom Brady Will Rule Sunday Yet Again (bleacherreport.com)
- Oh Chad Ochocinco, Where Did You Go? (bleacherreport.com)
- The Fifth Down: The State of Chad Ochocinco (fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Bill Belichick Motivates His Players By Embarrassing Them Over And Over And Over Again (businessinsider.com)
- Belichick: Gronkowski sits out Pats practice (espn.go.com)
- Mazz: The thrill is back for the Patriots (boston.com)
- Ochocinco content outside of Super Bowl spotlight (reuters.com)
- Belichick remembers rival Coughlin as a partner (reuters.com)