For whatever reason, the Giants seem to have figured out the Patriots better than anyone else. I put less stock in the fact they beat them in the Super Bowl four years ago, than that they beat them again this season (24-20). It was a huge upset when the Giants surprised the Patriots (17-14) in Super Bowl XLII, preventing New England from having an undefeated season. This time, the Pats are a 3-point favorite but it is New York that is a popular pick to win again. I think the Giants will win too.
This has the potential to be a high-scoring game with neither pass defense very effective this season. Add a pair of QB's that combined for over 9,000 yards passing during the season and it should make for an interesting game. Although Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski will either be out or badly hobbled by a high-ankle sprain, New England still has plenty of weapons to move the football. New York has perhaps the NFL's best receiving duo in Hakeem Nicks (former Independence HS star) and Victor Cruz. I also like the Giants ability to run the ball with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and to get a pass rush to knock Tom Brady out of rhythm at times as deciding factors.
Maybe by as soon as next year we will be talking about the Panthers as at least a playoff contender. With Rob Chudzinski returning as offensive coordinator after touring the NFL for head coaching jobs, the Panthers offense should again be top notch. The Panthers defense needs a health and talent transfusion which is sure to happen this off-season. Some key offseason dates to keep in mind, NFL free agency begins March 13, player combines are March 30-31, and the NFL Draft is April 26-28. For the first time in their 18 years, the Panthers will have a slightly adjusted logo in 2012. Not a dramatic difference as you can see above, but defintely looks more updated and kind of a comic book type feel to it. NIKE has taken over from Reebok as apparel designer, so you can expect some minor tweaks to the Panthers uniforms along with some other teams around the league. Gotta keep pushing out new product for the marketing machine