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Name: Jim MonaghanHeight: 5'8"Weight: 150
Prior to joining WDHA, Jim spent a number of years as part of the New York/New Jersey sports media corps covering the Mets, Yankees, Jets, Giants, Knicks, Nets, Devils and Rangers. Jim has over 25 years of experience coaching and playing baseball. He spent two years in baseball management with the Newark Bears. and coached the Don Bosco Prep freshman baseball team to back-to-back Bergen County championships for the only time in the school's history. He's also an instructor with Professional Baseball Instruction in Bergen County.
As a followup to yesterday's post, here are five reasons why I believe the Patriots are going to win Super Bowl XLVII.
5 - Gronkowski finally practiced. Even with more than 50 hours to go before the game to continue healing that high ankle sprain he suffered in the win over the Baltimore Ravens, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski won't be anywhere near 100%. That said, if he's on the field Sunday it will be because he's been deemed healthy enough to contribute. I expect the Patriots to pass short a lot on Sunday and while I don't see a lot of YAC (yards after catch) for Gronkowski, I do see him being productive enough for the Patriots to move the chains and keep the Giants defense on the field.
4 - Vince Wilfork. We talked about the Giants defensive line yesterday. Vince Wilfork has had an amazing run in the playoffs and is poised to give the Giants offensive line fits all evening. He's ridiculously athletic for a man his size and his perfomance against Baltimore two weeks ago was game-changing. The Patriots will likely use him at three different defensive line positions on Sunday and I expect him to be in Eli Manning's grill a lot.
There's been a lot of talk about how bad the Patriots defense has been this season. Well, they won 13 games in the regular season so the defense must have done something right. They give up a lot of yardage between the 20 yard lines, but can be tough inside the red zone, and they made a number of big plays against the Ravens two weeks ago with the game on the line.
The Patriots biggest defensive weakness is probably the secondary, and only the Patriots know how Julian Edelman will be used. If he's at cornerback Eli Manning may target him deep, but if Vince Wilfork is chasing Eli all night he may not have the luxury of time.
3 - The Patriots receivers/running backs. More specifically Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. What the heck, throw in the aforementioned Edelman (slot receiver, wildcat QB, WR), too. Deion Branch isn't the deep threat he once was, and Chad Ochocinco has been virtually invisible for most of the season but the Patriots offense contains so many different packages. The key for their passing game isn't necessarily deep passes anymore so much as it's YAC on the medium stuff. Green-Ellis rarely fumbles, and you have a tremendous tight end like Hernandez who they've also been running out of the backfield on occasion. Throw in the no-huddle stuff the Patriots use constantly and you can envision a scenario in which the Giants defense doesn't have the time to get to Brady because New England doesn't need the time to throw deep to make the offense work..
2 - Bill Belichick. He's hardly the life of the party like his AFC counterpart Rex Ryan, and he seems like a less-than-pleasant human being most of the time, but I think he's the smartest coach in the NFL. Nothing is left to the imagination. To give you an example - when informed that the Madonna halftime show is going to run 31 minutes (NFL halftimes are usually about 15 minutes), Belichick structured the team's Thursday practice like a game - play the equivalent of a 1st half, go inside and sit for 31 minutes going over adjustments, and then play the equivalent of a 2nd half. The point? Even though it wasn't true game conditions yesterday, on Sunday night the Patriots will have already experienced the feeling of taking that amount of time off in the middle of a football game. No one makes better 2nd half in-game adjustments than BB and his staff. And speaking of adjustments, there are only 7 Patriots on this Super Bowl team who were on the last one just 4 years ago. So there's been an incredible turnover of the roster while still maintaining a certain level of play.
1 - Tom Brady. Listening to a certain segment of Giants fans this week, you'd think the Patriots had the Second Coming of Mark Sanchez running their offense instead of one of the all-time elite quarterbacks. Don't think for a second that Brady doesn't realize what a 4th Super Bowl win will mean for his legacy.
Overall, I think this might be one of the best Super Bowl games we've ever had. Two storied franchises, both with interesting personalities and back stories (how great is the whole Victor Cruz saga?), both with dynamic personalities on both sides of the ball. Who will win? Join WDHA at the Franklin Steakhouse in Nutley and watch the game with us.
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