Point-counterpoint: Breaking down The Big One

Point-counterpoint: Breaking down The Big One
February 3, 2012, 1:21 pm
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By Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran
Redskins Insiders
CSNwashington.comThe Giants and Patriots are meeting in the Dont call it a rematch Bowl. Yes, they met four years ago when the Giants spoiled New Englands bid for a perfect season in Glendale, Ariz. But of the 106 players on the combined rosters, only 22 were on the rosters for that game. So its rematch only of the laundry, if you will.Rematch or no, it looks like it should be an entertaining game with two of the best quarterbacks in the game directing a pair of potent offenses. And, as Frank Herzog once said, its The biggest football game in the history of Western civilization for this year, anyway.Who will win and why? Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran hash out that question in this weeks edition of Point-Counterpoint.Rich Tandler: The key player in the game is Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. He is a genuine threat to score from anywhere on the field as shown by his 99-yard touchdown against the Jets. Cruz will frequently line up in the slot and that is a problem for the Patriots. For much of the latter part of the season, New England had Julian Edelman lined up against the slot receiver and that is a problem. Edelman is a wide receiver by trade and while he makes a fine effort out on defense he will not be able to slow Cruz down, much less shut him down.Ryan OHalloran: Thankfully, the coverage Ive seen and read, the Revenge Factor hasnt been much of a topic for the aforementioned reasons. On to this game, I cant get over how a bad team like the Redskins could control the Giants in Week 15. I know we saw the same trend in 2007, but I cant go against the Patriots tight end combination of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski (even if hes 56 percent). Plus, Tom is terrific and Belichick was my favorite coachs conference call this year.Tandler: The only thing this Giants team seems to have in common to the one that pulled a no-show in the swamps of Jersey in December is they wear the same helmets. New York has found its defense since then. The Redskins scored 23 points (an offensive explosion for them). Since then, the Giants five opponents have mustered an average of just 13.4 points per game. Tom Brady is one of the best who ever donned cleats but he cant pass when hes on his back.OHalloran: Tom will be terrific, Gronk will be great, Bill (OBrien) will be brilliant, Aaron will be awesome, Mayo will be magnificent and Vince will be victorious.Tandlers prediction: Giants 24, Patriots 20
OHallorans prediction: Patriots 27, Giants 23.You can reach Ryan OHalloran by email atrohalloran@comcastsportsnet.comand you can email Rich Tandler atRTandlerCSN@comcast.net. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanohalloran and follow Rich @Rich_Tandler.