Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Road to Super Bowl XLVIII

We just saw an amazing weekend of football, and the Conference Championships coming up this weekend promise to be even better. Two old school elite quarterbacks squaring off in the AFC, and two young up and comers squaring off in the NFC. No matter which teams come out on top this week, we’re guaranteed to see a matchup of the old and new guard at the Meadowlands on Super Bowl Sunday.

This will also be the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in cold weather, the first played outdoors on artificial turf since Super Bowl X, and the first hosted by two states (New York and New Jersey). Pretty cool. I’m hoping the Patriots win this weekend and are able to be a part of this historic Super Bowl, and I think they stand a pretty good chance.

Of course, the game can go either way; both QB's are amazing, both teams are hot and playing hard, but that being said, I believe the Pats will edge out the Broncos and continue their march to the Meadowlands. After many false starts and personnel changes, this team has finally found its identity as a hardnosed, hard running, power football team with an elite quarterback and coach. If the Pats can get the running game going it will open up the play action, and it will keep Peyton off the field. A healthy dose of Blount Force Trauma, passing with surgical precision off the play action, and some really smart defense are the keys to their success.

You also have to take into account the intangibles. Brady is money in the big game, Belichick is a chess master who can neutralize the opponent’s key players and make adjustments on the fly, and the Pats are an inspired team on quite a few levels.

You have the whole "next man up" attitude that Bill has fostered throughout the season; no matter who goes down, the next man up fills the role and shines, and the team takes great pride in this.

The team also draws inspiration from the fan base. The organization is always bringing in local heroes to talk to the team. Great examples from this season are the Marathon victims and Sam Berns, who passed last Friday. There’s no greater motivator then every day heroes, and it seems to be having a pretty big influence on this team. You have to admire the whole Patriots organization, not just for the amazing turnaround, but also for how they give back to the community.

Lastly, there’s a whole lot of pressure on Peyton this week; he’s been known for giving it up in the big game, and there’s no other coach and QB tandem that have vexed him more throughout his career. Some would say his legacy hangs on this performance, and that’s a whole lot of weight to carry.

This will be a fantastic game. Peyton and the Broncos are formidable foes, and as I said before, it can go either way, but the Pats winning it all wouldn't surprise me in the least, and taking them for granted in this game would be a big mistake. There's a real parallel between the Pats season and the Red Sox season, and we all know how that turned out; last place team of cast offs, who against all odds turned the league upside down and became world champs. Oh yeah, that was sweet.

So, my prediction for this Sunday is Pats over Broncos in a close and hard fought game, somewhere in the neighborhood of 31 to 28, Pats. I’m also picking San Fran over the Seahawks in an equally close game. Both NFC teams are good, but I just don’t think that Pete Carroll has what it takes to close the deal and win the big one.

Pats vs. Niners at the Meadowlands, count on it.

#winitforsam #bostonstrong #gopats

That is all.

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