With rare exceptions, sequels are not as good as the originals. The magic of the first film can't be matched the second time around.
That said, I believe Super Bowl 46 - like Godfather II - is going to be one of those cases where the second is as good as if not better than the original, which in this case was Super Bowl 42, when the Giants upset the Patriots, 17-14, ruining New England's quest for perfection.
The story lines for this Rematch Bowl are intriguing. A number of legacies are on the line.
Can Bill Belichick and Tom Brady win their fourth Lombardi Trophy, thereby staking claims as the best coach and quarterback, respectively, in NFL history?
Can Tom Coughlin secure a bust in Canton with his second Super Bowl victory? And can Eli Manning surpass big bro Peyton in the Super Bowl jewelry department?
Will New York or Boston, two cities with a deep-seeded sports, historical and cultural hatred of one another, claim bragging rights?
Can Kelly Clarkson get the lyrics to the national anthem right?
With the Super Bowl hyperactivity mercifully about to end, it's time for my prediction. (WARNING: MY PROGNOSTICATIONS CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR WALLET.)
And the winner is . . . the New York Giants, 30-27.
First off, these teams always play tight games, and I'd be shocked if that isn't the case again. Barring a spate of turnovers, this rematch should be closely contested, just like the Super Bowl four years ago when Giants wide receiver David Tyree made the most ridiculously clutch catch I've ever witnessed and just like the Nov. 6 meeting when Manning pulled out a 24-20 victory in New England with a steely, last-minute, 80-yard scoring march.
I like the Giants for several reasons.
I think their ferocious pass rush, featuring Jason Pierre-Paul (16 sacks), Osi Umenyiora (9 sacks in 9 games), Justin Tuck and Dave Tollefson will get pressure on Brady, like they did in Super Bowl 42 when they sacked him five times and hit him on nine other occasions. The G-Men's defensive line became a healthy group toward the end of the season, and the result was 11 sacks in the final two regular season contests and nine more in three playoff victories.
I like the way Manning is playing. With his league record 15 fourth-quarter TD passes this season - including that decisive one vs. the Pats three months ago - he's established himself as THE clutch quarterback in football. He got the snot beat out of him by San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, but he toughed it out and led his team to victory. I also like the fact he has won a record six consecutive road games in the postseason. You really can't spell elite without E-L-I.
I like the Giants receiving corps - Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham - against a suspect Patriots secondary. This is a mismatch that Manning should be able to exploit without having to worry about getting pummeled the way he did vs. the 49ers because the Patriots front seven is far inferior to San Fran's front seven.
Having said all this, I wouldn't be shocked if New England pulled it out. Heck, the oddsmakers didn't make them three-point favorites for nothing. Brady did not play up to his lofty standards in the Patriots victory against Baltimore in the AFC title tilt. Rarely does Tom Terrific have two bad outings in a row.
The other unknown is what Belichick may concoct to throw off the Giants this time around. Brilliant Bill has had two weeks to devise new wrinkles, and I wouldn't be surprised if football's mad professor routinely drops back seven, even eight guys into coverage to take away New York's passing game. If that's the case - which would be similar to the strategy Belichick employed as the Giants defensive coordinator in their Super Bowl 25 upset vs. Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills - Manning will need to adjust immediately and depend upon running back Ahamad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to carry the load and take advantage of the situation.
I also wouldn't be surprised if Belichick had Brady come out and run a no-huddle in an attempt to cut down on the Giants substitutions along the line and attempt to take the steam out of New York's pass rush. Of course, I still wonder how effective Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski is going to be coming off that high ankle sprain injury. He is such a dynamic component in the Patriots passing game. His health, or lack thereof, is another reason I like the Giants.
So pass the wings and the pizza and the Pepto Bismo and get ready for a Super Bowl rematch that has all the ingredients of being every bit as delectable as the classic from four years ago.