Sunday, March 9, 2014
WHY THE PATRIOTS WILL WIN
By HOWARD ULMAN The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
GRONKOWSKI WALKS WITHOUT A LIMP
INDIANAPOLIS — Rob Gronkowski walked without a limp as the New England Patriots gathered for photographs Saturday.
Gronkowski, recovering from a high left ankle sprain, and his teammates posed for official team Super Bowl photos and pictures with family members at Lucas Oil Stadium the day before the championship game against the New York Giants.
Players, coaches and staff members spent about 90 minutes on the field where the game will be played.
Julian Edelman, who plays wide receiver and defensive back, posed with both groups.
Coach Bill Belichick said it was good to see his players enjoying the day.
Before the session, he said he thought Gronkowski was feeling better.
After Friday’s final team practice, the All-Pro tight end was listed as questionable for the game.
– The Associated Press
The Patriots' defense is also as healthy as it's been all season, so it may not have to use wide receiver Julian Edelman in the secondary as much as it did in the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens.
"I don't really think we focus on rankings or any of that," Patriots safeties coach Matt Patricia said. "All we are worried about is going out and trying to do the best that we can."
Turnovers are one of the most important factors in the outcome of a game, and the Patriots led the AFC with a plus-17 differential, compared to plus-7 for the Giants. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has handled the ball 577 times in his four NFL seasons, all with New England, and never has fumbled.
"Early in the season, they wouldn't run the ball as consistent," Giants safety Kenny Phillips said, "but throughout the playoffs they are doing a lot better."
With a balanced offense, the Patriots can cool the aggression of the Giants' pass rush. Devote too many players to charging Brady, and Green-Ellis can run free for big gains.
Finally, the Patriots, as much as they deny it, should gain motivation from their 17-14 loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl four years ago on a last-minute touchdown.
"Unfortunately we know what it's like to not come out on top," tackle Matt Light said. "You want to make sure you don't put yourself in that position."
They won't, not with Belichick and Brady leading the way.
FINAL SCORE: Patriots 31, Giants 24.