To Gronk or not to Gronk? Super Bowl, baby!

The Captain Morgan Playoff Challenge continues and below is Sunday’s Super Bowl preview brought to you by InGamer co-Founder and fantasy sports expert Nic Sulsky. Enjoy the read and come try the coolest new sports game around at http://football.ingamer.sportsnet.ca

NYG @ NE

So here we are. The biggest game of the year. I’m not going to waste words hyping the match-up. If you’re reading this, you are undoubtedly in the Super Bowl ‘know’, so to speak.

NOTE: There is a grand prize for this game AND a prize ‘just’ for your 4th quarter score. So, even if you’re seemingly out of it by the 3rd quarter, you still have a shot at a prize!!!

Here’s some fun before i break into InGaming previews.

Player(s) most likely to be the next:

Timmy Smith (SB XXII): Danny Woodhead
Harvey Martin / Randy White (SB XII): Jason Pierre-Paul & Osi Umenyiora
Larry Brown (SB XXX): Corey Webster
Rod Martin (SB XV): Brandon Spikes
Eli Manning (SB XLII): Eli Manning

OK, that last one doesn’t really fit as a lesser known Super Bowl star (no disrespect to Randy White), but i couldn’t resist subtly referencing my pick for Super Bowl winner & MVP.

The best 4th Quarter QB in the NFL will come up big on Sunday. Eli has been playing out of his mind, and he can owe a lot of that credit to his talented & explosive trio of wideouts. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham have finally given Eli some downfield weapons to exploit. The Patriots strength is their secondary, so Eli and Co. will be in for a long day. Oh wait, reverse that thought. Forget about how the Giants will deal with the Pats big 3, the Giants air attack is going to be the story of the game. But, big ‘but’, i still wouldn’t Captain Eli for your squad. My captain pick will come later, but Eli will force an early pass resulting in an INT. I would hold off on playing Eli till the 2nd Quarter, and make sure he’s on your team in the 4th when he leads the Giants for a game winning score in the final minutes of the game.

The Giants will try and establish the run, but the Pats have been playing excellent run defense of late. With Brandon Spikes returning from injury, Jerod Mayo getting his legs under him and Vince Willfolk establishing himself as perhaps the best NT of all-time, the Pats run D will not allow either Ahmad Bradshaw or Brandon Jacobs the room to run wild. Look for Bradshaw to catch some passes in the flat, but i wouldn’t expect monster games from either of them.

All three Giants wr’s will have value, but it’s Nicks who i think will have the biggest day. His size will be way too much for the Patriots to handle and, up until last week’s 10 catch performance, Victor Cruz has been having a relatively ‘quiet’ post season. I actually think a fringe player like TE Travis Beckum or FB Harry Hynoski will find the endzone in this game. But, good luck guessing the quarter that happens in.

On the defensive side of the ball, look for FS Patrick Chung to have a busy day. Pay attention in the 1st quarter to whom the Pats line up versus Hakeem Nicks. It will most likely be Devin McCourty, so he will need to make a lot of tackles and will have the opportunity to come up with a big INT (which is an InGamer game-changer as well!). LBs Spikes, Ninkovich and Mayo will all show up with points, but i think Spikes is the guy who could make the big play or two.

For the Patriots offense, i give you the InGamer take on the story dominating the Super Bowl: To Gronk or not to Gronk? I’ll tell you one thing, I wouldn’t captain him. I think he makes a decent start, but Brady throws to the open receiver, and no one knows whether Gronk will be able to push off his ankle and get separation. In the red zone he will still be a viable target, but i think his TE partner Aaron Hernandez is in for the bigger day. Belichik has been lining him up all over the field, figuring out ways to exploit his size and speed. Wes Welker will get a ton of looks and likely end up with 6+ catches, but i have a hunch (total hunch) that Danny Woodhead could end up as the 2nd most valuable Patriot offensive player. Yes, BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn’t fumbled in 100 years, but he is not explosive. With the Pats likely going no-huddle most of this game, it’s Woodhead’s versatility that makes him a more intriguing play for us InGamers. Oh, and there’s this QB named Tom Brady you’ll need to think about starting. But you should think about it...he has been turning the ball over lately and the Giants do know how to beat him.

The Giants D-line is sick, but the Patriots have the depth and experience to at least slow them down. That being said, this is the big stage that Jason Pierre-Paul will use to become a superstar. He is a must start in my books. Osi and Justin Tuck also have the potential to make some big plays, but it’s JPP that will shine for the Giants D. Michael Boley has the athleticism to cover one of the Pats TE’s (which one is the question) and he will make a bunch of tackles. Antrel Rolle is a playmaker and will be called on to make a bunch of them in this game. I think he and Corey Webster will play key roles on Sunday and are both very start-able...especially if you’re a gambler who wants to bet on gaining some valuable INT points.

As always kickers are the safe, but not sexy, InGamer picks and this game is no different. I think starting at least one kicker is a good strategy in this game, but you won’t win the admiration of the community by playing it safe! Nonetheless, remember that with player change potential, you can make strategic kicker changes if a team ends a quarter in FG range while facing a 3rd or 4th down.

SNEAKY PLAY ALERT: Julian Edelman. He gets kick return yards, tackle points (he play DB in Nickel/Dime packages) and may get some looks on offense.


My Starting 6:
Captain: Hakeem Nicks - WR, NYG
Lawrence Tynes - K, NYG
Wes Welker - WR, NE
Jason Pierre-Paul - DL, NYG
Aaron Hernandez - TE, NE
Michael Boley - LB, NYG

Keep an eye on: Tom Brady/Eli Manning (i know what you’re thinking, but I’m nervous about the 1st quarter for both QBs), Patrick Chung , Rob Gronkowski, Danny Woodhead

Good Luck Everyone and see you in the big game!!

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