What I hope happens: The Cowboys and Chargers both go one and done, the Packers intercept Brett Favre 25 times in the NFC Championship Game, and Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers show off some Pac 10 pride all the way to Super Sunday.
Super Bowl XLIV: Cincinnati Bengals 35 Green Bay Packers 31. Palmer and Rodgers have a shootout, but a late forced fumble by Keith Rivers sets up a GW 4th quarter drive, by the Bengals, as Carson Palmer runs the game winner in himself, en route to a Super Bowl MVP trophy.
What Will Happen:
- Never seen a year this wide-open, especially in the NFC where it would not surprise me in the least if any of those 6 teams shipped it. The Cowboys and Packers are playing the best right now, but each has a long trek, and will most likely have to win 2-3 road games to get there.
- If the Cowboys beat the Eagles, which they should, then I think their 2nd round matchup against the Vikings will be the defacto NFC Championship game, although my dream scenario would envision Green Bay coming into the Metrodome and knocking Brett Favre out of the playoffs en route to the title.
- Despite a sluggish end of the season, the Vikings played great in the season finale, and if the Saints get one and doned which I believe they will, then the Vikings will have home field throughout, and I can't see any of the Wild Card weekend teams coming into the Metrodome and knocking them off. The playoffs are all about (a) Running the football (b) Stopping the run, and no team in the NFC does both better than the Vikings. They have too many weapons on offense, and their monstrous defensive line will punch them a ticket to Miami.
- The New England-Baltimore game imo is the game that will change the entire complexion of the AFC playoffs. If Baltimore wins, then nobody is beating the Chargers in the AFC playoffs. San Diego has great balance on offense, with tons of weapons that can't be covered even by the best defenses, and are great at stopping the run. They will stomp all over Indy, and whoever wins the Jets-Bengals game.
- However, I think that even without Wes Welker, the Pats will beat Baltimore and their banged up defense. I really like how New England has been able to run the ball effectively for the last month, I think their 4th quarter drive against Jacksonville took up the entire quarter. Then New England will beat San Diego, someway somehow, continuing the Chargers' playoff woes. The Patriots just own the Chargers, and remember Tom Brady won 3 Super Bowls without Moss + Welker, so he's definitely done more with less.
- This would set up yet another Brady-Manning showdown in the AFC title game, and with both teams having very suspect secondaries, this should be another shootout just like their regular season matchup. Once again though, Manning will get the upper hand, just because he has too many weapons to cover, and that pesky little Joseph Addai will be the difference.
Super Bowl XLIV: Indianapolis Colts 34 Minnesota Vikings 24. Manning has a field day shredding the Vikings secondary, and wins his 2nd Super Bowl MVP trophy.