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Super Rumble!

Jan 27, 2004 2:05 AM

Let’s cut to the chase. New England 19, Carolina 6.

Now, to break this Super Bowl puppy down. Tom Brady doesn’t make mistakes. Plus any quarterback who attends a Presidential State of the Union Address gets my vote. All right, that has zero importance in picking a winner. Objection sustained.

Back to the game, which by now is beginning to wear thin on everyone with the overhype. The stats and past history weigh too much in New England’s favor to ignore. The Patriots are 14-3-1 against the spread, best in the NFL. The last seven games, New England is 6-1 ATS. Steady as she goes.

The strength of the NFL this year is in the AFC and New England is clearly No. 1 in that region after beating Tennessee and Indianapolis. New England is a defensive marvel, truly one of the best ever in terms of taking away the opposition’s best player. Marvin Harrison, arguably the top receiver in the game, was reduced to a couple of short catches. Peyton Manning, at the top of his game, was frustrated after one series. The Patriots are so technically sound and efficient that it really is enjoyable to see them play the game. On the other hand, Carolina is truly a wild card. The Panthers are basically a mirror-image of New England. Jake Delhomme just makes plays and, by underestimating the talent on the Panthers, the
opposition has certainly paid the price. Carolina is just 9-10 ATS this year, although a glossy 4-0 in its last four games. Still we can’t get past the thought that St. Louis should have been in Super XXXVIII had Mike Martz notcalled off the dogs late in regulation time.

Another strike against the Panthers is their 1-3 ATS mark against the AFC, which included a 34-14 loss at Tennessee and a stunning 14-10 loss to Houston. Carolina also managed just a one-point win against Jacksonville. Hardly a resume for success against that conference’s best team. Then there is the strongest factor of all ”” history. The two-week break has produced a 23-7 record in games decided by 10 points or more. Favorites have been quite successful over the years dating back to Lombardi’s Packers.

Can Carolina win? Certainly. The Jets did in Super Bowl III. The Marlins did in baseball this past year. But, we’re sticking with the experienced team in handling the Super Bowl distractions. Carolina is happy to be in Houston. New England will only be happy with the Super Bowl. As for the "over / under" the percentages are with the "under." These are two exceptional defensive teams that rely on ball control. We expect Ty Law & Company to shut down emerging WR star Steve Smith and force Delhomme to make plays.

So, we’ll parlay New England and "under," hoping to close a long miserable season of handicapping on a high note.

Postseason record: 8-4

Season record: 36-43