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'EXPERT PICKS'

GARY SHELTON

St. Petersburg Times

THE PREDICTION: The Giants have won me over in these playoffs. On the other hand, Bill Belichick is a tougher sell. It's going to be hard to beat the guy when he has two weeks to plan. Look for the Patriots to finish off the season in the fourth quarter.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Patriots 30-20

JOHN ROMANO

St. Petersburg Times

THE PREDICTION: People always ask reporters what teams we root for. Generally speaking, we never root for teams. We root for stories. And the Giants upsetting the Patriots would be the greatest story of the year.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Giants 31-28

RICK STROUD

St. Petersburg Times

THE PREDICTION: No way Eli Manning outplays Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. That's what it will take. The Giants won't be able to score enough points to prevent perfection for the Patriots.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Patriots 34-17

MERRIL HOGE

ESPN

THE PREDICTION: The Giants' defensive scheme matches well with Brady and the Patriots because they attack the quarterback and challenge the wide receivers.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Giants 31-30

SCOTT SYMMES

ESPN

THE PREDICTION: The Giants didn't have much incentive to play hard or much karma in Week 17, yet they nearly ruined the Pats' bid for a perfect regular season. Now the G-Men have both, and the stars just seem to be aligned for a monumental upset.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Giants 27-24

DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Boston Globe

THE PREDICTION: I, of course, am picking the Patriots to win. I am no fool. I always pick the Patriots to win. It's been a time-tested formula for the past six years.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Patriots 38-35

RONDE BARBER

Sirius NFL Radio

THE PREDICTION: (The Patriots) just continue to find ways to win, because, I believe, they have the best quarterback in the league. They have the best receiver in the league on their team, and it's not Randy Moss - it's Wes Welker.

WINNER, FINAL SCORE: Patriots 34-20

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