As we were writing the division previews and talking about how we were going to put these preseason projects together I got a message from contributing writer Rich Larson razzing me about this particular aspect of the assignments.
It’s pointless trying to predict what’s going to happen in the NFL, he says. Too many things are going to change over the next few months. Too many things have changed over the last several months.
And he’s right. Half the playoff teams will turn over from last season. About one-quarter of the league’s teams will dramatically underachieve based on our expectations and another quarter will surprise the hell out of us. So what’s the point?
Everyone else is doing it? Bragging rights? Who knows? But we did it anyway. Our eight division previews have been posted over the last several days and our playoff predictions, for better or for worse, are below. Let us know who you think is right on and who you think missed the mark. Continue reading
The Harbaugh Brothers, Ray Lewis and his alleged use of deer antler spray and idiot reporters asking players how ticklish they are – all the hype ends Saturday. Finally we get down to the intrigue of the game itself … and this year it’s a hugely intriguing game.
I am extremely curious to see if the Ravens, with several of their most important players aging, can keep up with the more youthful 49ers. I am curious to see whether Baltimore’s coaching staff can come up with a way to neutralize phenom quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
While the storylines off the field have been many, this year’s game on the field also is as intriguing a matchup as we’ve had in a few years. Here is how we see it playing out: Continue reading
We wrote a couple weeks ago about the Green Bay Packers chances of getting through the regular season and the NFC playoffs undefeated. So far so good for fans of the green and gold.
So what happens if they do make it unscathed to the Super Bowl? Do they meet the same fate the 18-1 New England Patriots did in 2007? Or do they finish the job and become the league’s first unbeaten team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins?
The AFC is a logjam this season. Nobody in the conference is better than Green Bay. But there are a few teams that could at least give the Packers a good game. Here are our guesses: Continue reading
I have a confession to make. I’m not really a fan of the Super Bowl.
It’s partially because as I was growing up many of the games failed to meet expectations. As entertaining as some of the advertisements can be, in my eyes they’ve never made up for sitting through a 56-10 drubbing in what is supposed to be the NFL’s showcase game.
It’s also partially because my team has never managed to win the big one, so yes, I admit to some sour grapes.
But primarily it’s because it means the season is ending and we’ll be subjected to several months before the next meaningful matchup. This year’s big game in Dallas is even more bittersweet, as the out-of-touch honchos of the National Football League and its Players Union have shown little urgency in their efforts to solve the collective bargaining issues — meaning there’s a shot this could be the last game in a long, long time.
So, while I like the marathon of the season and the chase of the playoffs more than the Super Bowl itself, at least this years version should provide an interesting game.
Pittsburgh vs Green Bay (-2.5) at Dallas: Over/Under 45.5
Both of these NFL heavyweights have been around forever. The Steelers have six Vince Lombardi trophies. The Packers have three. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, who can complete finish the masterful job he has done replacing legendary Brett Favre with a win Sunday. The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger, who can take another step in rehabilitating his image by winning a third Super Bowl ring. Continue reading
One of the first NFL playoff games I remember watching when I was little was the AFC Championship game in 1981 between San Diego and Cincinnati. The game brought the Chargers from California out to Ohio in January when the temperature was -9 degrees and the wind chill was -57 degrees.
The Bengals crushed the Chargers that day setting the stage for Cincinnati to roll into Detroit for Super Bowl XVI, where the San Francisco 49ers would win the first of their handful of championships.
Many famous NFL games have been played in cold weather. Dallas and Green Bay in the Ice Bowl also comes to mind. But none of those cold weather games have been the Super Bowl. The aforementioned Super Bowl in Detroit was played in the Silverdome. A decade later Minnesota hosted the big game in the Metrodome.