New England Patriots (16-2) vs. New York Giants (12-7)
A mere four years after one of the greatest upsets in sports of the last 25 years, the same two teams are back in the Super Bowl. The Patriots are 3-3 as a franchise in the big game and the Giants are 3-1.
I believe the Giants will win, though it will be close. Part of it is in the numbers. It's been 25 years since the Giants won Super Bowl XXI and 21 years since the Giants won Super Bowl XXV.
More seriously, the Patriots' strength is their passing game, led by Tom Brady. He has weapons in Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, who has an ankle injury. New England's running game is solid, led by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but they tend not to stick with the run.
The Giants have a good passing game as well. Eli Manning is not in the class of Brady, but he has more weapons. Victor Cruz has emerged this season. Hakeem Nix and Mario Manningham are two other quality receivers. The Giants have a better running game than the Patriots. Ahmed Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are the Giants' two running backs and represent a change of pace from one another.
New York's running game and their defense will make the difference. Jean Pierre Paul has had a wonderful year of the Giants defense and with Osi Umenyiora, New York should be able to pressure Brady. New England's pass defense is very weak. The Giants will be able to hold the ball in order to keep Brady off the field when they see fit and pass deep when they need to. Brady's greatness will keep his team in the game.
In the end, the Giants will win 24-21. Bradshaw will be the MVP.