Page 4 of 7 -- A: It's odd that the fans and media would be so confident. They should know better from past experience. I think Carolina is a very good team. I think it'll be a close game, probably less than the current spread of 7. The Panthers definitely have a string following nationally because everyone loves an underdog.
The Super Bowl is fairly even on defense (although I rate our pass defense better). So I believe the winner is the team that runs longest and hardest. The Pats have defensive linemen that can be inputted if they get tired. I don't think Carolina has as much depth. The Panthers, I suspect, will try pounding our D-line with Stephens and Foster, which is what they do best. After watching the success that Edgerrin was having in the AFC title game -- thank the Lord for having them think they could pass their way to victory -- the Pats need to do the same. I'm hoping all five running backs (Smith, Faulk, Cloud, Centers, and Pass) are suited up for this one. I expect to see lots of passing to the backs and head on clashes trying to wear the defense out in this game. If might not look pretty until the final quarter when the players are tired of the beatings, then those fresh legs will become a factor. My prediction: Pats win, 32-17.
-- Paul Iannelli, Kennesaw, Ga
A: It could come down to a lot of things. Personally, I think it comes down to the QBs. Which one will make a big play; which one will turn it over. My guess is Brady makes the big play and Delhomme turns it over.
You said that the key to beating Carolina is not letting them pressure Brady. I agree with that 100%. But looking at Panthers DL vs Pats OL, the odds of that are not very high. How much creativity can be designed into Pats OL strategy to better protect Brady?
-- Adam Tutman, Palo Alto, Calif.
A: Oh, it can get very creative. Dante Scarnecchia is always coming up with different groupings on his blocking schemes to protect the QB. I'm sure he'll do it again. You want to make sure you're protecting your weak areas. They have two defensive ends who can sandwich the QB, so you need some backside help from a back.
Great job as usual on the mailbag. For those looking for a Patriots-friendly venue in the L.A. area, they could go to Sonny McLean's on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, essentially a Pats and Red Sox sports bar. Question: the offensive line did a fantastic job against the Colts. But given the nature of the Super Bowl, is it possible that Dan Klecko may be used on the offense in situations other than a goal-line short-yardage moment?
-- Bevan Manson, Santa Monica, Calif. Continued...