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Rich Gannon on M&M: Patriots over Giants by a field goal

02.01.12 at 12:13 pm ET

Former NFL quarterback and current CBS Sports analyst Rich Gannon, during an appearance on Mut & Merloni Wednesday, said he thinks the Patriots will win Super Bowl XLVI.

Said Gannon: “I think it’s going to be a close game and a very physical game. … I think the [Patriots] win by a field goal. I’m not going to change now, I picked them in August.”

Gannon was asked about how the Patriots offense has transformed since the last time the Giants and Patriots played in Super Bowl XLII.

“They’re a different football team offensively in terms of what they want to do and how they want to attack,” Gannon said. “They want to attack the middle of the football field with the two great tight ends — [Rob] Gronkowski and [Aaron] Hernandez — and Wes Welker, who does all his dirty work in the middle of the field.”

Although Gannon talked about the advantages of the Patriots’ new-look attack, he said the lack of a deep threat, and particularly Chad Ochocinco‘s struggles, could hurt New England Sunday.

“They don’t really have the guy who scares you on the edge,” he said. “I don’t know if [Tom] Brady really feels comfortable with [Ochocinco]. I don’t know if Brady feels comfortable with him in the no-huddle [offense]. I don’t know if he feels comfortable that he’ll be at the right depth, run the right route, make the right adjustment. And from a quarterback’s perspective that’s a very unsettling feeling. I think that’s why you haven’t seen a lot of production out of Ochocinco. Deion [Branch] is a productive guy. He’s not a burner anymore and not going to run by somebody. He doesn’t really scare you in the outside lanes. So when you look at Gronkowski’s injury, it’s a huge issue this week. Whether or not he is healthy. When you look at his production, particularly in the red zone, that has to be a concern for the Patriots.”

Gannon talked about playing on the Raiders against the Patriots in the AFC divisional game in 2001 that became known as the “Tuck Rule” game.

“That was a tough game,” he said. “You know, you pour so much into one game and have it come down to a play like that. From my perspective, and I’ve always said this, I look at three or four plays offensively that really would have changed the game. … It was an unbelievable game. On top of that, they still had to make plays in the end.”

Since that game, Brady has won three Super Bowls and after Sunday’s game will have competed in five. Gannon talked about the two-time MVP’s transformation from game-manager to superstar.

“When you saw [Brady] play in the Super Bowl and how well he played, I guess the big question everybody has is can he keep it going? Can he develop consistency to keep it going two years, three years? Is he durable and tough enough to play 16 games? As you know, he’s been incredible. I have the utmost respect for what he’s meant to the organization.”

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Rich Gannon, Tom Brady, Wes Welker



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