By Josh Kramer
It is finally the time that we have all been waiting for. And no I am not referring to “Tebow Time,” though there is a possibility of some “Tebowing.” America’s most popular sport is now down to the final 12. By Sunday night, the field will be narrowed down to eight, as teams desperately try to book a trip to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl on February 5th. What team will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy around 10:30PM on February 5th?
I know you have all been anxiously awaiting the final “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge” results. The final standings were as follows:
(TSK is the champion for a second consecutive year)
Let’s take a deeper look at the upcoming weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
The Word: A game of firsts. Houston is in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and Cincinnati has not won a postseason game since January 6th, of 1991.
The Call: Texans 27 Bengals 24
Reasoning: Though this is the best draw Cincinnati could have asked for, “The Magical Who Dey Tale” will come to an end. Cincinnati had Houston beat at Paul Brown Stadium back on December 11th. This game though is in Houston and Andre Johnson will be on the field. The future is very bright in Cincinnati though.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
The Word: Johnson (Megatron), Suh, Stafford, and the new-look Lions make the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 1999.
The Call: Saints 40 Lions 28
Reasoning: Brees is having one of the greatest seasons in the history of football. Dan Marino who? Luckily for New Orleans, Drew Brees typically thrives against Detroit. In the former Purdue star’s amazing career, Brees has faced the Lions three times (he is 3 and 0). #9 has thrown for 1,051 yards, 11 TDs, and 1 INT. Best of luck to Detroit in stopping the top passing attack in the League.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
The Word: Victor Cruz is looking to “Salsa Dance” his way to the next round of the playoffs on a New York team that is eerily similar to the Super Bowl team that shocked the world in 2008 (16 members of that team are still on the active roster).
The Call: Giants 30 Falcons 27
Reasoning: There is not a whole lot of logic to this call. But hey, if sports were predictable, they would be like watching a DVD right? Atlanta on paper appears to have the edge. Plus the G-Men are a very mediocre home team posting a 4 and 4 mark at home. In addition, Atlanta’s lethal passing attack led by Matt “Ice in his Veins” Ryan will likely have a field day. Nobody could explain the Giants playoff run in 2008. Well, I do not have a great explanation of why the Giants will handle business on Sunday. But I do think New York will be happy place on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
The Word: Tim Tebow’s “last” start as the Denver quarterback ends up uglier than usual.
The Call: Steelers 21 Broncos 10
Reasoning: On paper, this game should not even be close. Though the Steelers will be without their leading tackler Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh is better than Denver in every facet of the game. I really feel that Tomlin refusing to let his safety (Ryan Clark) play is a very admirable move. It kind of puts things into perspective and shows that sports are a serious matter, but health is much more important. Tebow has been absolutely awful for the past three games (41% completion percentage, 4 INTs, 1 TD). Do not expect Tebow to actually “Let it rip” as John Elway has asked him to do against the Steelers outstanding defense. Many have called him “Tentative Tebow” the past few weeks. Tenative players typically hibernate against Pittsburgh.
I will provide predictions each Friday leading up to the Super Bowl. Just to set the record straight though, my Super Bowl prediction remains the same as it was back in August.
Super Bowl Prediction:
New England Patriots vs Green Bay Packers
The Word: Fireworks at Lucas Oil Stadium as two of the game’s best QB’s go toe to toe on football’s biggest stage.
The Call: Patriots 34 Packers 31
Reasoning: Aaron Rodgers is having a season for the ages. But do not sleep on Tom Brady. The man has not won a Super Bowl since February 6, 2005. Many have questioned New England’s defense. And I will admit that it is awful. But so is Green Bay’s. The two worst passing defenses in the League will play in the Super Bowl? Times have really changed in the pass-happy NFL that we now know and love. This game will come down to whomever gets the ball last. I am banking on New England.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.