Here are my predictions – feel frre to copy and past your predictions in the comments section of this post.
Here are my predictions – feel frre to copy and past your predictions in the comments section of this post.
Forget the calls for a three-peat or for ‘one for the thumb’, there is always something special about an NFL franchise winning its first ever Super Bowl.
In my lifetime I have seen (live on tv in England in the early hours of the morning that is) seven teams with their inaugural Vince Lombardi Trophy;
Now I am not including the 2007 Indianapolis Colts in this list as they were the Baltimore Colts who were winners back in 1971.
So why the lengthy reminiscence? Well I am convinced we are going to add another new team to the first-time trophy club this upcoming season.
NFL FAN IN ENGLAND’s 2013 NFL 2013-14 SEASON PREDICTIONS
NFC East – Washington Redskins
NFC West – San Francisco 49ers
NFC South – Atlanta Falcons
NFC North – Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Cards – Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks
NFC Championship – Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons
NFC Representative – Atlanta Falcons
AFC East – New England Patriots
AFC West – Denver Broncos
AFC South – Houston Texans
AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals
AFC Wild Cards – Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Championship – Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
AFC Representative – Cincinnati Bengals
Super Bowl XLVIII winner – Atlanta Falcons
Super Bowl MVP – Matty Ice Ryan – QB Atlanta Falcons
Offensive Player of the Year – Colin Kaepernick QB San Francisco 49ers
Defensive Player of the Year – Luke Kuechely LB Carolina Panthers
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Eddie Lacy RB Green Bay Packers
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jon Bostic ILB Chicago Bears
NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers
Comeback Player of the Year – Darelle Revis CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coach of the Year – Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals
Most Improved Team – Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Disappointment Team – Toss up between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Atlanta Falcons were so close last season to reaching their second Super Bowl last season that they could almost taste the promised land. This was with a starting running back that was slower than a snail without an agenda.
Now the Falcons have Steven Jackson in the backfield, admittedly no rocket launcher, but certainly a huge upgrade with soft hands and a ‘win it all now’ attitude following a decade in St Louis that many consider wasted.
Future Hall of Fame tight-end Tony Gonzales is back for a Balboa-esque ‘one last shot’ at a title, having finally shaken the playoff win monkey off his back last season.
I know that defense wins championships and the Falcons defense is certainly no ’85 Bears vintage, but they have the playoff experience, the hunger and a nice blend of veteran experience (DE Osi Umenyiora and CB Asante Samuel) youth (rookie starting CB Desmond Trufant) and those with experience who are not household names but play hard (LB Akeem Dent and DE Kroy Biermann).
It’s hard to equal the talent of Atlanta’s number one and two wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.
The biggest problem for the Falcons is quality of depth. If one ore more of the big names goes down with injury then this will have a huge effect on the team being able to get a 13-3 regular season record. If they remain fully fit and can get a bit of luck, then the likes of the 49ers and Seahawks will be beatable.
The trend for multi-dimensional quarterbacks will not go away this year, and studs like Russell Wilson, RG3 and Colin Kaepernick will make lots of headlines, but you don’t win conference championships with wideouts like Golden Tate, Josh Morgan or Jon Baldwin.
Joe Flacco went from lukewarm to boiling hot in the playoffs last year, I think that Matt Ryan can do the same, and having the feeling of being a touchdown away from a Super Bowl will have been on his mind for the last nine months.
I raise my glass of (Matty) Iced (Georgia) Peach to my Super Bowl XLVIII paper champions the Atlanta Falcons.
Cue the ridicule…………………..
Its one of the great Hollywood lines.
Apollo Creed the heavyweight champion has just been taken the distance by the unknown southpaw Rocky Balboa.
Just as the bell goes at the end of the 15th round Creed turns to Balboa and utters; “Ain’t gonna be no rematch.”
With one of the few breaths left Rocky retorts; “Don’t want one.”
This was of course an exchange of lines from a fictitious movie, where the heavy underdog finally finds a purpose and emerges a hero.
With the NFC and AFC Championship games starting in less than 24 hours there are two Hollywood scripts that are waiting to grace the silver screen.
For two future Hall of Fame enshrinees it is an opportunity to match Rocky, and take a further step to becoming a World Champion.
Both the Atlanta Falcons tight-end Tony Gonzales and the Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis have huge emotional investment from their fans as Sunday ‘could’ be their last ever NFL game.
Anyone who is not a fan of the final four teams should be having their heart-strings pulled by these two living legends, as they battle through to the Super Bowl complete with teary post-game press conferences and premature confetti.
Problem is some dreams are not meant to come true, and Sunday will be where the analogy of this particular Hollywood boxing film will fade away like a reel of archived 1970’s celluloid.
I just can’t see the Baltimore Ravens stopping the New England Patriots (who will be at home) from returning to the Super Bowl, where I predict they will battle the San Francisco 49ers, fresh after defrosting from a cryogenic freezing process administered in the mid 1990’s. Saying that I must have Sylvester Stallone on the brain as the whole defrosting comparison led me to think of Demolition Man.
I am admittedly making a big hash out of my playoff predictions this season, with my only two highlights being predicting the exact correct score for the Texans v Bengals Wild-card game and the fact that the Falcons would actually advance from the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
So to my predictions – about as scientifically prepared as Bob the Builder with a bunsen burner brewing crystal meth (yes I am watching Breaking Bad – currently just started Season Tw0 in case you were wondering)…
49ers @ Falcons
49ers backs Frank Gore and Lamichael James will grind out the tough yards behind battering ram fullback Bruce Miller. The Falcons will be intent on holding Kapernick to under 75 yards rushing so Gore will want to get 20 carries. If Gore gets over 25 I can see the Niners winning by at least a touchdown. 49ers outside linebackers containing Tony Gonzales. Dialing up too many blitzes will give Tony time to get warmed up so the 49ers will need Ahmad Brooks to remain patient.
49ers to win 31-27 in a game that looks close if you just see the final score but in truth is dominated by the 49ers for the majority of the game. I don’t think Colin Kaepernick will be as dominant as he was against a porous Packers defense, but I do see him passing for three touchdowns.
Ravens @ Patriots
Pats tight-end Aaron Hernandez need to have a big game. As the Boston Mayor informed the media ‘Gonk’ is out, so Hernandez will be asked to form part of the big woven safety blanket that consists of Wes Welker and any Patriots running back named Ridley, Vereen or Woodhead. The Ravens will be determined to get in the grill of Tom Brady to stop him getting into that mesmeric rhythm that has taken him to five previous Super Bowls. The Ravens gave up two special teams touchdowns last week, something that the previous Super Bowl winning Ravens team would not have allowed. I have predicted the Ravens to lose the last two weeks so I feel obliged to do the same again. This time I don’t see the result being as close as last year. I do see the Patriots offense stalling in the red-zone, but my bold prediction is Pats kicker Gotkowski connecting on five field goals.
Patriots to win 29-19 in a game where Tom Brady is rattled but not derailed.
This gives me a 49ers v Patriots Super Bowl. To end on a pugilistic note a knockout game you must agree.
It’s the best day of the year, better than Christmas, better than any stinking birthday, yes it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and for me its a huge anniversary – my 25th Super Bowl in a row that i’ll be watching here in England.
My first Super Bowl I saw live was in 1987 as the Phil Simms led New York Giants beat the John Elway led Denver Broncos 39-20.
25 years later and I have seen some amazing Super Bowls, some amazing teams, and a few rare dynasties.
Talking of 80’s soap operas my 25th Super Bowl is taking place near to the South Fork ranch, in Dallas, Texas.
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Here goes with my breakdown of Super Bowl XLV….
The five things the Green Bay Packers need to do to win Super Bowl XLV
1) Establish the run – It seems everyone is predicting the Packers to throw on almost every down, but you don’t reach a Super Bowl without some semblance of a running game. Rookie running back James Starks only managed 101 rushing yards in the regular season, but from that cocoon he has blossomed into a post-season butterfly, carrying the ball 70 times in three wins, for a solid if unspectacular 3.8 yards a carry. The Steelers will play an aggressive defense and this could leave Starks to find some yardage on draw or delay type plays. No one really knows if Starks can catch passes if needed, as the Packers gameplan has not used Starks as a screen or short hitch type back. Maybe it happens today?
2) Shut down Mike Wallace from making big plays – Steelers WR Mike Wallace is just about the most exciting wideout in the NFL, with maybe the exception of the Eagles Desean Jackson. Wallace can go 80 yards for paydirt on any given play. The Packers cornerbacks will be well aware of Wallace’s blazing speed, and they will try to shut him down. The battle between Tramon Williams or Charles Woodson against Wallace will be huge, and one of these three could legitimately become MVP. Wallace could end the game with gaudy stats or Woodson could end up with a couple of ints and a pick six.
3) Containing Big Ben – No quarterback in the NFL is better at escaping pressure than Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, not even Michael Vick. The Packers have to be disciplined in their pressuring of Big Ben, and this means wrapping up when they get a chance to fell the double Super Bowl winner. Containing Big Ben in the pocket will be the job of the Packers defensive line and super stud Clay Matthews. I have a sneaky feeling that Packers OLB Erik Walden, if he plays, will have a big game, as he will be a little under the radar. Walden has 4 sacks in his last 4 games.
4) Packers Tight Ends showing up – The Packers lost their stud 6 ft 5 inch tight end Jermichael Finley in week 4, and have been pretty average at the position since then. Green Bay have only managed a total of 5 combined tight end catches in 180 playoff minutes this season, but here in the Super Bowl the likes of Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree will need to produce better numbers than that. Expected to do more blocking than route running, the Packers tight ends could be difference makers, and will need to be switched on in the red zone. Look for Aaron Rodgers to seek out Quarless for a td in the first half.
5) Aaron Rodgers to keep cool – This game will come down to the leadership of Aaron Rodgers, and his ability to keep cool under the constant pressure of the incredible Steelers linebacking crew. If James Harrison and Lamar Woodley start calling the shots in the first half we could be in for a long day and a 7th Lombardi Trophy winging its way to Steel Town. Rodgers will have spent the last two weeks rehearsing his ‘wrestling belt’ touchdown celebration, but he will need to avoid being grappled down by the aggressive Steelers defense, and he will need to avoid having Troy Polamalu in his head, if he is going to succeed. If Aaron starts the game with a calm drive of over five minutes then we are in for a great game.
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The five things the Pittsburgh Steelers need to do to win Super Bowl XLV
1) Keep Troy calm – The NFL Defensive Player of the Year was Steelers Safety Troy ‘hairy Tasmanian devil’ Polamalu. Troy is without doubt a difference maker who can turn a game with just one ultra-athletic play. His downfall, if you can call it one, is that he is so pumped up in a big game that he will play such an aggressive game that he could end up hurting himself. In the past 5 seasons Polamalu has only lasted the full 16 games just once. I love it when Polamalu leaps over offensive linemen on a short yardage play to try and crush the quarteback or the running back, but this can put his body in odd positions, and he becomes an injury risk. Providing Polamalu doesn’t wear himself out by the fourth quarter he can be the difference maker, but he needs to play within himself.
2) Miller Time – Big Ben will find it hard to constantly target his wide-outs in this game, so he will be looking to get tight end Heath Miller involved in a number of different ways, from planned plays, to being a checkdown target when he has to move in and out of the pocket. Miller has already got two rings and so he know what it takes to be a primetime performer. Big Ben will look for Miller in the redzone, especially because the Packers linebackers will be after him. Miller against the Packers safeties Nick Collins and Charlie Peprah will be a matchup to watch closely.
3) Keeping the ball – The longer the Steelers can keep the ball in drives the longer time that Aaron Rodgers and all his weapons will stay on the sidelines. The Steelers need Rashard Mendnhall, in my opinion the most under appreciated running back in the NFL, to grind down the clock and keep moving the chains. With Doug Legursky starting his first NFL game in the Super Bowl, for the injured Pro Bowl rookie Maurkice Pouncey, the Packers defensive line will be smelling blood, but the Steelers have one big games before with ‘on paper’ inferior offensive linemen. Mendnhall will need to be on top form both rushing and receiving, and could end up with 32 touches of the ball.
4) Disrupting the rhythm of the Packers passing game – The Steelers defense will be facing an offensive onslaught from Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson, and even Brett Swain, five wide receivers that can run any secondary ragged. Pittsburgh will need to disrupt Aaron Rodgers momentum early, with a mixture of pressure and man marking. Steelers cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden will need to play the games of their lives.
5) Taking a few risks – In Super Bowl XL former college qb turned slot wide receiver and punt returner Antwan Randle El tossed a touchdown to Hines Ward. Randle El left the Steelers after that game for big bucks at the Redskins, but now he is back in the Black and Gold. What are the odds of Randle El pulling of another mesmerizing trick play? Dont put it past Coach Tomlin giving it a go. After all we could see Packers nose tackle BJ Raji playing some fullback. The Steelers will throw at least one trick play in the mix, and Randle El has already got a winners ring thanks in part to his arm.
NFL Fan In England’s Super Bowl XLV prediction
This is two outstanding defensive outfits playing against each other, and two offenses that are capable of quick strikes. Ironically it could be the third units (special teams) that decide this game, with Jeff Reed and Mason Crosby’s accuracy potentially determining the outcome of this game. We could end up with a new Vinatieri or (gulp) a new Norwood.
I am nervous about the Packers ability to get rookie James Starks 23 to 26 carries of the football, but if they do and he does, he could shock the world and help Green Bay to bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Wisconsin.
Big Ben doesn’t need to have a spectacular game, he has proved that in the past.
The stadium turf will suit the Packers over the Steelers as they can use their speed as a huge weapon. Look for the likes of James Jones and Jordy Nelson to make a few humongous plays.
It comes down to turnovers and who can force their opponents into making them. I think the Packers defense will be that bit better than the Steelers offensive line can contain for 60 minutes, and for that reason I am going to call it
Green Bay Packers 31 -28 Pittsburgh Steelers – with Aaron Rodgers as MVP, despite some outstanding performances from Charles Woodson and BJ Raji.
Love to hear your thoughts people….
Super Bowl Sunday – no feeling like it.
It’s history, it’s drama, it’s the personification of the American dream, and above all it’s only hours away.
I had predicted a Ravens v Eagles Super Bowl, and an Eagles win. I did predict the Colts making the final four, but then again I also predicted the Falcons to be playing in the NFC Championship too.
Now we have the most offensive Super Bowl in history, completely smashing into tiny pieces the old adage that ‘offense wins games and defense wins championships’.
The Indianapolis Colts are back in the Super Bowl just three years after they beat Da Bearz, complete with the NFL MVP at quarterback, and around half of the current team boasting a giant ring with a big blue horseshoe on it.
The New Orleans Saints are at the big dance for the first time in their history, having suffered many years of futility, embarrassment and playoff heartache.
Despite the recent history and the post season experiences of both teams this is not a David v Goliath battle, it is a match-up of the two highest octane offenses in the NFL.
Just about the only thing that may slow down the Colts and the Saints from scoring 50 points on each other is the fact the game is being played outside in grass, and not on the speedy artificial surface that the two finalists are accustomed to.
Both teams are equally capable of falling behind by 14 points and then scoring two touchdowns in under three minutes to tie it back up, without even breaking into a sweat.
Both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning can win this game, and both can be ruthlessly efficient. Both have big arms, big hearts and their internal computers are faster than the ones in that room Matthew Broderick broke into in ‘War Games’.
Peyton has a ring and knows what it takes. I don’t think I can recall a Super Bowl with this many game breaking wideouts on both teams (deep breath) Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem (Saints) and Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon (Colts). We then move onto TEs, and this is where Dallas Clark does outdo Jeremy Shockey.
Joseph Addai was a rookie in 2007 and he was part of a two-headed rushing monster (with Dominic Rhodes) that won the Colts the Superbowl. Addai has not stepped up much further, but that is because he is not asked to do any more than be part of the offense, not the focus.
His support act is rookie Donald Brown, who could surprise today. The Saints have a troop of backs that are built for every situation. Reggie Bush has the hands and the speed, Mike Bell has the nose for a first down, Lynell Hamilton could be a fantasy td thief and we cannot forget Pierre Thomas, who when given bigger responsibility is nothing but business like.
Its gonna be a fun game for sure, and it comes down to two key factors – which defense will cause the most turnovers and who can get a running game to step up and keep the clock running on long drives.
My head says the Colts, but my heart says the Saints. I just have a feeling that the Saints defense will play the game of their lives, with Jonathan Vilma all over the field and Darren Sharper showing his true talent.
My Super Bowl prediction is Saints 33-28 Colts – MVP Drew Brees 3 td passes and 311 yards passing.