Thoughts on the NFL playoffs and a bold Super Bowl prediction

The NFL crowned champions in both the AFC and NFC conferences last Sunday and now we are down to 2 teams playing in the Super Bowl next weekend in tropical Minneapolis. As a resident of the Twin Cities, I am thrilled to have the game in my backyard. It will be fun to watch some of the activities leading up to the big game. As far as attending the game goes, forget it! I do not have an extra 4k around to spend on a ticket! Regardless, I would like to mention some observations that I saw during the playoffs and make a prediction on the Super Bowl. Now granted, I am not one these highly paid sports writers who are probably much more knowledgeably than I am. I am just a fan with a few opinions and here are a few takes of mine on what went down during the playoffs.

1) Biggest Surprise. Prior to the playoffs starting, how many so-called experts had the Philadelphia Eagles going to the Super Bowl? The Eagles were in disarray at the end of the regular season. They lost their starting quarterback to a serious knee injury and looked terrible at the end of the regular season. Things did not even look good for them in the first half of their game against Atlanta. Suddenly, the Eagles got hot, came back to beat Atlanta and beat the Minnesota Vikings in rather surprisingly easy fashion with a back up quarterback.

2) Where is that vaunted defense? Along the lines of surprises, the collapses of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Vikings should be mentioned. If someone would have said to me that Jacksonville would have a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter of their AFC championship game against the New England Patriots, I would easily put money on them to win the game. They have one of the best defenses in the game and for them to give up two late touchdowns was rather surprising. Even more surprising was the way Nick Foles and the Eagles scored and moved the ball at will against the Vikings top rated defense.  Sometimes there is nothing a defense can do against a hot quarterback.

3) Most memorable moment. The walk-off touchdown catch by Stephan Diggs of the Vikings during the Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints game will go down as one of the most memorable plays in NFL history. It is easily the most memorable play of this year’s playoffs and that game was also the best game of the playoffs so far.

4) MVP of the playoffs. I know everyone will say that Tom Brady should be the MVP so far and I can’t disagree, but what about Nick Foles of the Eagles? I might just have to give him the nod. He has really stepped up his play during the playoffs. Will he continue his fine play during the Super Bowl remains to be seen.

5) Wait till next year. So which team that was eliminated during the playoffs have the best up side for the future? You say to yourself, wait until next year. I would have to say it would be the New Orleans Saints. A great young team on both sides of the ball with a good veteran quarterback. They will be serious Super Bowl contenders next year.

6) The Patriots last hurrah? One has to wonder how much longer Tom Brady will keep on playing, especially at his high level. How much does he have left in his tank? Is that great dynasty coming to an end? Will Bill Belichick come back to coach the Patriots next year? These are curious thoughts that I have about the Patriots.

Now for a prediction on the Super Bowl. It would not surprise me if the Eagles win. They are playing extremely well and their defensive line might give Tom Brady fits. I just cannot bet against Belechick, Brady and the Patriots. Their experience will help them win this game 27-17 and the dynasty continues.




Thoughts and prediction on the Super Bowl

With the 45th edition of the Super Bowl just a few days away, it is hard not to come across some expert from the media who is breaking down this game, bit by bit and offering their take, whether it be by newspaper or some analyst on ESPN.  But I am just your average sports fan who thinks they know it all,  so here is my 2 cents on the game ( in 5 paragraphs or less!!)

Both teams are very deserving of a spot in this game.  They have overcome a great of adversity with injuries during the regular season and it is hard to argue that the best team from each conference is playing in the Super Bowl. Forget about the records and seeding. If Green Bay had been healthy all year-long, they would have won a few more games and probably gotten one of the top seeds in a very weak NFC conference. Pittsburgh in my opinion was the best team in the AFC even though New England had the better record. They are probably the best all around and most balanced team in the NFL.

For Pittsburgh to win the game,  they must do a couple of things. First of all,  avoid the costly turnovers. Green Bay has feasted on the big defensive plays all year-long and that is a huge part of their success. A good example is last week’s game against the Bears.  They were able to get a couple of hug picks, one resulting in a touchdown and another late in the game to seal the win.  I also believe that they have to run the ball well, which they can, and keep the Packer’s lethal offense on the sideline.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Green Bay’s strength lies in their defensive play and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers has time to throw against the tough pressure of the Steelers,  the Packers should win the game. Otherwise it could be a long afternoon for the green and gold. I really doubt they will have much success running the ball against the defense of  the Steelers.

In the end, I like the Steelers to win 27-21. It should be a very entertaining game but let’s face it. Pittsburgh has simply the better team.  They play in a much tougher conference and have more experience playing in the bigger games. How the Packers are 2 1/2 point favorites is beyond me!! Good luck to both teams and to the fans of both teams.