2011 Super Bowl XLVI Picks and Predictions from WhatIfsports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

2011 Super Bowl XLVI Picks and Predictions

Super Bowl XLVI box scores and stats included

By Joel Beall - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: January 31, 2012

Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com's NFL simulation engine will provide you with predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week. The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win %), average score and comprehensive box score link. If you want to share your new found NFL knowledge with friends and family, make sure to check out our NFL Widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or click on the social networking share bar located at the top and bottom of the article.

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Super Bowl XLVI: Patriots vs. Giants


Super Bowl XLVI
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New York Giants45.025Boxscore
New England Patriots55.027Simulate Game
<a href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ba83431a-adbd-4827-a973-80ecbc9ac9cd&src=v5:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Whatifsports.com: Super Bowl Simulation'>Video: Whatifsports.com: Super Bowl Simulation</a>

There's little in sports that inspire excitement like the prospect of a rematch. A sequel was summoned after the epic fall clash between LSU and Alabama. The Boston Red Sox conquered their Ruthian demons in 2004 thanks to the platform of a follow-up from their 2003 ALCS disaster. The Lakers-Celtics rivalry has rendered its' share of repeats, most recently in 2010. And we'd be remiss if forgetting to note the legendary battle between Balboa and Creed in Rocky II. With dramatic wins over the Ravens and 49ers this weekend, we can add another tale to this narrative, as the Patriots take on the Giants in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII.

Just like 2007, the G-Men's arrival into the Big One was far from expected. Even the prospect of surviving the NFC East seemed farfetched, as a "dream team" was assembled in Philadelphia and Dallas finished the 2010 season on a roll with new coach Jason Garrett at the helm. Meanwhile, the only noteworthy offseason transactions in the Big Apple saw primary targets Kevin Boss and Steve Smith take their talents elsewhere. Worse, New York was inundated with an injury epidemic on defense during the preseason. Before the onset of September, the season already appeared doomed.

A 6-2 start appeared to alleviate these concerns for Tom Coughlin's squad, as the offense under Eli Manning flourished despite the losses of Boss and Smith or contributions from a bruised and battered backfield. Alas, four straight losses quickly quelled this enthusiasm. The Giants sneaked into the playoffs thanks to a 3-1 record down the stretch (including two wins over the rival Cowboys to clinch the division crown), and their recuperation from their rash of health issues made New York a formidable foe in the postseason. Yet there's a fine line between "daunting" and "dominant," and the G-Men certainly swayed toward the former, making the endeavor of reaching Indianapolis seemingly unattainable.

Fitting, then, that the Giants took care of business against the Falcons at home in the Wild Card Round before knocking off the defending-champion Packers in Lambeau and the Niners in hostile Candlestick Park. Manning and the offense lived up to their end of the bargain, but New York's catalyst for their conquest was an authoritarian defensive front. Headlined by Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, the Giants harassed opposing signal callers throughout the month of January, accounting for nine sacks during the postseason.

If New York intends to leave the Hoosier State with the Lombardi Trophy, the defensive dexterity will need to continue in order to keep Tom Brady and the Patriot passing attack at bay. So far in the 2011 campaign, it's an exertion that's easier said than done. Last season's MVP submitted another stellar performance this year, tossing for over 5,200 yards with 42 scores (39 passing, three rushing). Peyton Manning's command of the offense has led pigskin pundits to signify the Colts field general as a master of his craft. With his surgeon-like execution and precision, it's a safe proclamation to put Brady in this echelon as well.

Not to say the perennial Pro Bowler didn't receive some assistance this season. Rob Gronkowski turned in a record-setting performance at his position, hauling in 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 excursions to the end zone. Fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez was no slouch himself, accumulating 79 receptions for 910 yards and seven scores despite missing two games in the first quarter of the season. Wes Welker slightly cooled off in the second half of the season (well, at least from his ridiculous commencement to the year) but still managed to lead all receivers with 122 receptions, and his 1,569 yards were good enough for second-best behind Calvin Johnson.

The aerial assault of New England receives most of the credit for the team's success, and with due reason. However, the Patriots defense can hold its' own, regardless of the unit's reputation. Granted, the Pats did surrender a conference-high 293.9 yards per contest, but the team also posted 23 picks on the year, best in the AFC. New England added 40 sacks as well, one of just six squads in the conference to post 40 or more quarterback drops.

So which team comes out on top in this rematch of Super Bowl XLII? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the New England Patriots win 55 percent of the time by an average score of 27-25. Check the box score below to see how the game unfolded:

Super Bowl XLVI
Giants emblemGiants
vs.
Patriots
Sun., Feb. 5
Patriots emblem
NFC
New York
AFC
New England
25GAME PROJECTION (Jan. 23, 2012)27
Win % 45.0 Win % 55.0
Over/Under 55.0 Spread -3.5
Win % ATS 58.1 Win % ATS 41.9
Over % 34.9 Under % 60.3
First Downs 21 First Downs 23
Rushing 6 Rushing 6
Passing 14 Passing 17
Penalty 0 Penalty 1
3rd Down Eff 6/13 3rd Down Eff 6/12
4th Down Eff 0/1 4th Down Eff 0/1
Rushes-Yards 27-108 Rushes-Yards 24-98
Avg Rush 4.0 Avg Rush 4.0
Comp-Att-Int 22-33-1 Comp-Att-Int 25-35-1
Passing Yards 267 Passing Yards 296
Sacked-Yards 2-12 Sacked-Yards 3-17
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 Fumbles-Lost 1-0
Punts-Avg 4-43 Punts-Avg 3-42
KR-Avg 5-20 KR-Avg 5-20
PR-Avg 3-10 PR-Avg 4-12
Penalties-Yards 3-21 Penalties-Yards 3-22
Time of Possession 29:54 Time of Possession 30:47
Rushing ATT YDS TD
Ahmad Bradshaw 13.5 59.0 0.5
Brandon Jacobs 9.8 43.4 0.4
D.J. Ware 1.0 3.1 0.0
Eli Manning 2.4 2.0 0.0
Rushing ATT YDS TD
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 11.0 45.9 0.4
Danny Woodhead 8.1 35.4 0.4
Stevan Ridley 2.0 10.1 0.1
Tom Brady 2.4 1.9 0.0
Receiving REC YDS TD
Victor Cruz 4.5 69.5 0.5
Hakeem Nicks 4.0 57.4 0.4
Mario Manningham 3.6 54.0 0.4
Jake Ballard 3.2 32.2 0.2
Ahmad Bradshaw 2.4 20.9 0.2
Travis Beckum 1.8 19.5 0.2
Brandon Jacobs 1.4 12.9 0.1
Receiving REC YDS TD
Wes Welker 5.6 79.9 0.5
Rob Gronkowski 4.7 64.8 0.4
Deion Branch 4.5 63.7 0.4
Aaron Hernandez 3.6 45.8 0.3
Danny Woodhead 2.1 21.9 0.2
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1.7 15.7 0.1
Julian Edelman 1.4 12.8 0.1
Passing YDS TD INT
Eli Manning 278.9 2.0 0.8
Passing YDS TD INT
Tom Brady 312.5 2.2 1.0
Field Goals Made Missed
Lawrence Tynes 1.4 0.5
Field Goals Made Missed
Stephen Gostkowski 1.4 0.5


Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

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