SUPER BOWL XLII
One of the best and worst things about keeping a regular blog is that when you make predictions, they can either come back and haunt you or be the proof that you’re a genius.
With my NFL picks back in August, I was a little bit of both.
The genius part of me had the New England Patriots making it all the way to the Super Bowl this year. The idiot part of me completely got a lot of things wrong about the 2007 NFL season.
So before I go into why New England will win (but New York will make it close), let’s go over the best and worst of my predications this year.
My best predictions:
• Dallas Cowboys: Although I did pick them to lose to New England in the Super Bowl, I also predicted them to improve with Wade Phillips. I wrote — I like Tony Romo and the offense around him. I love the defense and the promise of being less predictable under Wade Phillips. The ONLY thing that scares me about this season is that Bill Parcells-coached teams usually don’t do as well the year after he leaves. I have a feeling this team is different. I have a feeling they’ll be strong.
• Atlanta Falcons: In a no-brainer, I picked them to finish last. I wrote — Vick. Dogfighting. Yeah. Can’t expect a new coach to overcome this, and I just don’t think it’ll be their year.
• New Orleans Saints: I had the Saints as a Wild Card, but my prediction was solid because I said they’d be worse than last year, which they were. I wrote — There’s no way they’re as good as they were last year. First off, everyone’s gunning for them. Second, they don’t have the Katrina factor anymore. I was living in Louisiana last year … TRUST ME .. it made a huge difference. The defense played way over its head last year, and I attribute it to good coaching and some luck. I think the whole team will be a little more down to earth this year … but still good.
My worst predictions:
• New York Giants: I picked NY to finish last in the East this year. Shows you what I know. I wrote — It’ll be Coughlin’s last year. The team is falling apart. Tiki’s gone. Strahan’s unhappy. Eli’s confidence is shot. They won’t be horrible, but I can easily see them winning between 5-7 games this year. I hope I’m right.
• Minnesota Vikings: I had them last, not knowing of course that Adrian Peterson would be the best running back in the history of ever. I wrote — The one team that may be worse than Detroit. Tarvaris Jackson doesn’t strike me as a franchise QB … he strikes me as a Jon Kitna. Meaning, he’ll be good enough to get by. Unfortunately, the rest of the team isn’t strong around him.
• Carolina Panthers: An up and down team over the past six years, I think they’ll be up again. Delhomme’s playing for his job now with Carr waiting in the wings, and the defense is solid on the front seven. Steve Smith will look more like the Steve Smith from two years ago, and Drew Carter will be an upgrade (eventually) to Keyshawn Johnson … who by the way, I think they should have kept.
My Best Predictions
• New England Patriots: I had New England beating San Diego in the AFC Title game. Score one for me. I wrote: It’s probably the easiest pick of the divisions, only because New England is still a dominant team (it took a destined Colts team to knock them off last year), plus they’ve added Randy Moss, finally giving Tom Brady a go-to guy.
• Pittsburgh Steelers: I wrote — From Super Bowl to out of the playoffs last year, I think the Steelers make a slight comeback this year. They’ve got a fresh coach, a QB who wants to prove last year was a fluke and they’ve still got a solid defense. Not Super Bowl caliber, but back in the playoffs.
• San Diego Chargers: I wrote — If this team had wide receivers, they’d be unstoppable. Still, even with just Rivers, LT and Gates, they’re pretty darn good. The defense will miss Wade Phillips, but overall, they’re the best in this division.
• Cincinnati Bengals: I had them first in the AFC Central .. ugh. I wrote — Tough pick in a tough division. I still like their offense, and now that the NFL is kicking all the misfits out of the league, the Bengals’ off-the-field troubles may start going away as well. The defense still scares me, but that offense is scary.
• Cleveland Browns: I was hoping for a bad season, since Dallas has their No. 1 pick in 2008. I didn’t get it. I wrote — 6-10 would be a big deal to Cleveland, but I still think they’ll hover around 3-4 wins this year. Brady Quinn will eventually get his chance, and Jamal Lewis, Kellen Winslow Jr., Braylon Edwards and rookie tackle Joe Thomas will make the offense better.
• Jacksonville Jaguars: I had them third in their own division. Instead, they were probably the third best team in the NFL this year. I wrote — A great team last year, they take a step back because of their QB situation. Leftwich isn’t the man, and Garrard will eventually be the starter. He’s not the ultimate answer either. If Maurice Jones-Drew becomes starter at RB and the QB situation does work out, this is a dangerous team. I just predict it doesn’t happen this year.
Now that I’ve shared my triumphs and my not-so-triumphs, on to the big game.
I’m going to stick with New England because
A) I don’t mind seeing 19-0
B) I picked them to win it all at the beginning of the season
C) Less importanly, they’re the better team.
I apologize to people who read my picks during the year for not going into more detail on this one, but to be honest with you, I was so involved and “into” the Dallas Cowboys this season, that when they were upset by the Giants three weeks ago, I literally went into a football depression. I have watched very little ESPN these past few weeks, and I’ve avoided much of the hype that goes with your typical Super Bowl.
Sure, I’ll love watching the game, as I do every year, but I really can’t say my heart is into it. That’s a shame, but then again, that’s part of being dedicated to a team. You live and die by their success.
My pick: Patriots 33, Giants 27
If Jennifer will send me her Super Bowl pick, I’ll post it on here as soon as I get it.