Well we’re down to the final four, and I don’t think it’s what most expected (I certainly didn’t).
The AFC has broken down as expected, but the NFC has fallen to pieces with the Saints and Packers dropping out.
Let me point out one thing to start. The best team in the AFC this season is the Houston Texans. With Matt Schuab at the helm and Mario Williams, this unit is the most balanced, and terrifying team in the conference. The good news is they’re young across the board and shouldn’t have trouble keeping the same squad in place. Next season that’s my Superbowl pick, calling it now baring massive failures this off season.
Another thought: How is it the Saints cannot win on the road? I don’t have an answer to that one, just incredibly shocked that they are unable to get it done.
Finally: Never bet on Tebow when a Belichick is involved.
Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots
I think this is a close game. The Ravens defense matches up well with the Patriots in terms of applying pressure to Brady, which is key when it comes to beating him. The problem is that the Patriots tight end combination lines up very well against this linebacker group of the Ravens. Expect bracketed coverage on Gronkowski, but that will likely leave Welker 1 on 1 and Hernandez lined up on a corner or other safety. Both of those could be exploited by Brady. The Ravens on offense have got to get this going. They need to punch the Patriots defense early – a la 2009 – and continue to hit them. If Joe Flacco is trying to out gun Brady, the Ravens are probably in trouble. This will be low scoring (for the Patriots) and close to the end:
New England 24 – Baltimore 20
New York Giants vs San Francisco 49ers
This is an excellent game featuring two excellent defense. The Giants pass rush has returned and has carried this unit. As long as they can apply pressure to Alex Smith, the 49ers cannot win. Recall the Thanksgiving game against the Ravens that featured several dog piles on Smith, and that’s how I see that battle going. Therefore it is up to the San Francisco defense to keep them in the game. This unit is strong, but their weaknesses are in the secondary where Eli will attack. Cruz is likely to see Rodgers, which is an even match-up, but Nicks and Manningham have favorable draws. Nicks should see a break out game and Eli should be on his way to his 2nd Superbowl.
New York 21 – San Francisco 16