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Rising tide

Giants' momentum should submarine sinking Pats

Posted: Friday January 25, 2008 11:51AM; Updated: Friday January 25, 2008 1:38PM
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Since catching six passes, including two TDs in Week 17 vs. the Giants, Randy Moss has all but disappeared from the Pats' attack.
Since catching six passes, including two TDs in Week 17 vs. the Giants, Randy Moss has all but disappeared from the Pats' attack.
Dr. Z will answer select user questions each week in his NFL mailbag.
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You're going to find this hard to believe but there are some people out there who actually are challenging my selection of the Giants to beat Patriots in the Supe XLII. This surprises me, too, but I'll get those people out of the way first; is this OK?

Geoff of Cortland, N.Y., a renegade Giants fan, for shame -- "Pats have proven all year long, including in a game against the Giants, that they can take any challenge and find a way to leave with a win. What makes you think this game will be any different?" The Giants are better now, with the three playoff contests under their belts. They're a team on the rise, and it's always a good thing to be peaking right before the Super Bowl. The Patriots, on the other hand, seem to be down a little bit from the days in which they were regularly scoring in the 30s. Randy Moss is going through some strange kind of walkabout. He has caught one ball in each of the last two games, either by design of the offense or the fact that maybe he's a little tired or maybe his enthusiasm is waning, much as I hate to accuse anybody of something like that. At any rate, I favor the team on the rise against the team that has flattened.

Bobby B. of Santa Fe -- "I gotta tell ya, Doc, that didn't read like a pick. It read like, 'Well, maybe the Giants could win if all the breaks go their way.' With two weeks off to prepare, and playing in the sun, something tells me the Patriots are going to go back to playing like Martians." They won't be playing in the sun, they'll be playing in the moon, well, most of the time, anyway. Kickoff is 4:21 p.m. Mountain time, which is pretty high. Weirdness counts. Bela Lugosi will call the coin toss.

Anand of Kokomo, Ind. -- "Can you please explain to me how the Giants stop Wes Welker and some of the screams" (they keep their hands over their mouths) ... wait a minute ... "some of the screens [sorry] against the pass rush that the Pats will employ?" They don't stop Welker, they limit his gains to single digits and whack him hard once he's caught the ball -- if they can find him. They stop the screen the same way Antonio Pierce did on one memorable play against the Packers -- just fight through the block. They've got guys tough enough to do it.

Norman of Dallas -- "If the SB were played this coming Sunday, I'd go along with the GMen, but with a momentum-killing Sunday off and two weeks for the Pats to game plan, I think the NFC winds up a bridesmaid again. What's the Flaming Redhead's take?" I wouldn't begin to guess, but I'll ask her for you, in fact, I'll give her a whole new paragraph for herself.

"The week gives the Giants chance to rest," she says. "It also gives Brady a chance to get his foot back in order. Between you and me, I think New England's going to win. They've done it all season. Wouldn't it be great to let them have the whole shebang?"

Damion of San Jose -- "What makes you think this Giants team is going to beat the Pats, when they played their hearts out three weeks ago, in their own stadium, with the crowd behind them, in cold weather, and they still couldn't do it? Now, we are about to believe they are going to out-grit the team that invented grit in the Super Bowl? C'mon Dr. Z." Ah, that's a load of grit! No, no, I don't mean it. Just wanted to be clever. Giants are better now, Pats are worse. Seems that I've already advanced that argument.

Gordon of Richmond, R.I. -- "How do you think Eli will handle all of the hype and attention he'll encounter in the biggest showcase in the football world?" Biggest showcase? How about the Pro Bowl? I think he'll handle it with a twinkling eye and a better sense of humor than anyone gave him credit for ... uh, for which anyone gave him credit.

Bye, bye Supe Bowl preguntas, hello generics.

Here's my E-mailer of the Week, Daryn Ohta, of Las Vegas, whom I feel sorry for because he just blew a big paycheck in the skeeball alleys along the Strip. He discounts a lot of factors that influence the success of a team, and concludes, "The one consistent factor in all the championship teams is their offensive line. The teams that limited sacks, loss of yardage plays and hurried passes throughout the playoffs are the ones that dominated." Yes, kind of. It's a pretty one-dimensional view, but I like your isolating on the O-line as the greatest source of strength, or, conversely, problems, if something happens. Weakness in that department is something that can infect an entire operation.

Hmmm, pretty mild stuff for our prime award, but what the heck, Daryn needs friends after what he's been through.

And here's a man who needs no friends, Jeff of Oakland, who says my Marino-Montana Supe matchup was topped by Favre vs. Elway and even Montana vs. Elway. I won't argue it. I wrote it quickmarch style, without doing a breakdown of all the pretty faces who have shown up. Your stars better than my stars? Sure, if you say so. There's never been a halfback like Dutch Clark, though.

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