Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Something Has To Give

So it's all set. The Team Of Destiny vs. The Team That Loves To Travel.

The Patriots haven't lost all year (18 wins and counting). The Giants have set their own NFL record with 10 straight road wins.

Super Bowl 42 (look, I'm OK with Roman numerals when we're talking V, X, or even XX, but when it gets up to XLII, let's stop the madness, OK?) sets up a collision between two teams riding hot streaks.

Conventional wisdom (read that: the Las Vegas bookies) says the Patriots will win. That's probably a safe bet. But don't be too shocked if the New Yorkers pull this thing off.

The Giants, like the Steelers two years ago, have taken the hard road. They've been forced to win three straight playoff games away from home. And they've done it the smart way: no offensive turnovers in those three games, including the frost-fest in Green Bay. That's the kind of team that can win a Super Bowl.

Some crabby types don't like the idea of a wild card team winning it all. Their tortured reasoning is that a team that can't even win its division shouldn't be in the playoffs. This, of course, is silly. With the NFL's unbalanced schedule, you're never measuring apples against apples when assessing win-loss records anyway, so the addition of two wild card teams is easily defensible. What's a little odd about this season is the fact that two divisions (NFC East and AFC South) sent 3 of their 4 teams to the playoffs.

It's all about peaking at the right time. The Giants started 0-2 this season, and have since won 13 of 17 games, including those 10 straight on the road. Don't forget: the Super Bowl is an away game.

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