Super Bowl Tickets: Who do you Want To See Play?

Eight playoff teams remain, meaning the Super Bowl picture remains fuzzy at best. One 80-yard dash by Demaryius Thomas, another multi-pick game from Jabari Green, or a near perfect game by Eli Manning could drastically alter the picture. Yet, it is fun to take a look at the Divisional Playoff round, a round in which March Madness-like upsets still seem possible, and decide what would be the most entertaining Super Bowl matchup.

History has demonstrated that though the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 is the most important game of the 2011-2012 NFL season, it is guaranteed to be the most entertaining. Thus, in search of a fun topic in the face of frivolous analysis derived from the same three sources, let’s have a completely inane discussion for pure entertainment value.

The AFC and the NFC each have four teams remaining. The AFC has the Denver Broncos playing the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans visiting the Baltimore Ravens. This may be unnecessary, but the Patriots-Broncos game already has the most pre-game buzz. Tebow and Brady are quarterbacks of a remarkably different ilk. One was anointed Football Jesus before taking that first snap and sprinting for the first down marker. The other emerged as one of the most poignant starters in the league from the deep dark bottom of the draft. One team seemingly has religion on its side while the other has a coach closely associated with the Antichrist. One is an upstart and the other entered the season with fans saving for Super Bowl tickets.

The other game is the Texans versus the Ravens. An unseasoned quarterback versus a superb defense and an astonishing dull quarterback versus an underrated defense, this is bound to a dull exposition of the history of the running game in the NFL. For my money the most exciting team to emerge from this field is the Denver Broncos. The Patriots have been in the Super Bowl far too often in the 21st century to remain an interesting story. Really the only advantage to a Patriots appearance is the obligatory cutaways to Giselle Bundchen and her thoroughly confused, soccer loving family.

The NFC has the New York Giants traveling to Lambeau Field to play the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints heading west to play the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers-Giants game is the more appealing of the two. The Packers are in search of the first repeat Super Bowl victories since the Patriots. It is always fun to see a team trying to establish a dynasty. The Giants are just fun to root for because of that legendary Super Bowl XLII performance.

Meanwhile, the Saints-49ers game should be more entertaining. It is an explosive offense vs. a stingy defense. It is a classic battle, but is better suited for theoretical discussions than watching the real thing because the 49ers quarterback is Alex Smith. So, which of these four teams would be most fun to watch in the Super Bowl? Thought I was going to say the Packers? Wrong, and that is not just because I am a Bears fan. No, it is the Saints because a Saints-Broncos game would end in Tim Tebow’s demise and would set up a huge storyline next season, a battle royal between the Saints and Packers for the domination of the NFC. When thinking of the best possible game, always think of its place in history.

The NFL: Is it still the AFC’s League?

With one week left in the regular season I must ask, has the tide finally turned? Has the unbridled domination of the NFL by the AFC finally been undone? Can the NFC finally hold its head high and make a case that it is not a Triple-A version of professional football?

The last time the NFC had any kind of recognizable pride was Super Bowl XXXVII, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Oakland Raiders 48-21 (Note: this is also the Super Bowl that decidedly proved it is not wise to trade a coach, thank you Al Davis). The following year the Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three seasons and the perception ever since has been that the AFC is far superior to the NFC.

The feckless performance by the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears in consecutive Super Bowls did little to altar that notion. Even the lone NFC win in the last six seasons has been rewritten as the New England Patriots failure in the face of the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins and a fortuitous catch by the Giants David Tyree. The game has been forgotten as one that New York won by forcing the Pats to play a grind-it-out defensive game unlike any they had played in that perfect regular season.

Now, suddenly, the NFC has six teams with double digit wins guaranteed a spot in the postseason, while the AFC only has four. Could this be the season that the power shifted finally begins or at least the season the NFC is deemed a worthy conference to compete with the AFC? Can I stop using interrogative sentences and begin presenting evidence by way of declarative sentences? Stay tuned (that’s an imperative sentence, but I’m getting closer).

The only major factor that the NFC has on its side is that there were two teams realistically chasing a perfect season in the conference to the AFC’s one. The Minnesota Vikings remained a candidate for the perfect season until Week 7 and the New Orleans Saints remained immaculate until Week 15. The Indianapolis Colts, the lone AFC team in the perfect-season running, lasted until Week 16.

The fact the Colts lasted the longest in this race is a point for the AFC. The fact that Indianapolis pulled its starters with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter actually gives the AFC another point. Colts Coach Caldwell basically laughed in the face of the quest for the perfect season, making the competition that the Colts basically won seem trivial (though letting down all those fans with Colts tickets). He saw that the Patriots proved that the perfect season is nothing without the Super Bowl win and suddenly the AFC’s best team looks more mature and poised than the NFC’s best team (the Saints), who admitted it wanted this juvenile distinction.

The harder facts- the comparison of records- is clearly on the side of the AFC. Overall, the AFC is 124-116. The NFC is currently 115-123, but will be 116-124 after the all-NFC North Monday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.

Not all of the AFC or the NFC is going to the playoffs though. The only teams that are going to the playoffs for sure from both the conferences are the current division leaders. The AFC division leaders are currently 13-2 against NFC opponents and the NFC division leaders are only 11-5 against AFC opponents. The NFC’s record includes losses to the terrible teams like the Raiders and middle-of-the-pack teams like the Titans. The AFC teams have lost to the Vikings and the Saints. That is a huge difference in quality of losses.

The NFC may have two wild card teams with 10 wins, but the AFC has five teams with 8-7 records still playing for two playoff spots. That field of competitive teams has forced me to keep the NFL tie-breaker rules bookmarked since Week 14. The only other team the NFC wild cards had to worry about in that time was the New York Giants (looking at the NFL standings you may notice the Atlanta Falcons are also 8-7, but that is only after they won two games in a row far too late in the season to matter).

Even in the needless subjective defining of teams the NFC pales in comparison. The offensive juggernaut New Orleans Saints are the younger brother to the wizened offensive mastery of the Indianapolis Colts. The unpredictably explosive Philadelphia Eagles are less practiced at that unpredictability than the San Diego Chargers, whose ability to score 21 points in a quarter on a whim is now a staple. The venerable excellence of the Minnesota Vikings is undermined and largely unappreciated because the franchises inability to win a Super Bowl (they should have won at sometime with the Purple People Eaters or in the years during the Randy Moss saga) while the New England Patriots have been able to redefine their franchise history of epic failure in the 21st century by winning three Super Bowls and by becoming arguably the team of the decade. Nobody immediately recalls the 46-10 loss in Super Bowl XX when thinking of the Pats, not even Chicago Bears fans.

The AFC remains the clear-cut supreme conference of the NFL while the NFC still needs a few more Super Bowl wins and the overhaul of quite a few of the teams’ offenses to begin to end the AFC’s dominance.

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2009 NFL Playoff Predictions

With three weeks left in the 2009 NFL season the playoff picture is still unclear. The NFC is wrapped up in NFC East drama and the AFC has four teams vying for the last wild card spot with a 7-6 record. All the while, there may be two undefeated teams in the postseason. Suddenly I am worried that this will not end in a historic match up between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Alas, before we get to that February 7th game at LandShark Stadium in Miami more than a month of football has to play out, so I say why not offer a few predictions.


NFC Standings

NFC East: The Dallas Cowboys are in their annual December free fall and the Philadelphia Eagles claimed the season series after beating the New York Giants twice in the regular season, so even if the Giants win the next three and the Eagles only pick up one win and the NFC East has two teams with a 10-6 record the Eagles win the East.

NFC North: The Minnesota Vikings are one win from the clinching the division and with the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears coming up in the next two weeks that win is all but guaranteed.

NFC South: The New Orleans Saints have already clinched this division so this is one call I cannot get wrong.

NFC West: The Arizona Cardinals have a three game lead over the San Francisco 49ers with four games left. Even if Arizona loses Monday night to the 49ers the next two games are against the Lions and Rams so they should win 10 games on the season and pick up the division.

Wild Card: The Green Bay Packers already pretty much guaranteed a wild card position after beating the Chicago Bears. I have a feeling the Cowboys will lose two of their last three games (their last three opponents ate the Saints, Redskins, and Eagles), which will give the Giants the chance they need to tie Dallas and take the last wild card spot with their tie breaker (they won both division games against the Cowboys).

NFC Playoffs


  • New Orleans Saints (1)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2)
  • Arizona Cardinals (3)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (4)
  • Green Bay Packers (5)
  • New York Giants (6)


First Round:

Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Giants: The Arizona Cardinals offense will prove too explosive for the New York Giants secondary and the same Cardinals defense that stopped Adrian Peterson will limit Jacobs and Bradshaw, taking away the play action and ultimately being the Giants demise.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers: The Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers have a potential to be a shootout, but this game will be a typical game with scoring in the 20s on both sides. Ultimately the Packers will win in anticlimactic fashion, as the Eagles suffer one of the abysmal stretches that have made the season frustrating at times for Philadelphia football fans.

Second Round:

New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers: The New Orleans Saint will put on a show, coming out with the explosive offense that they began the season with and making the Packers faithful wish the team had lost a respectable game in the first round.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals beat the Vikings at home, but the Vikings will turn the tables with Arizona coming to Minnesota to play. Peterson will have a respectable game and force the Cardinals to load the box, opening the rest of the field for Favre and which ever target he chooses to make a star that day.

NFC Championship Game:

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Saints and Vikings will both play impressively, but the Saints array of weapons will simply be too much for the Vikings. The tough time the Saints had trying to finish 16-0 will come in handy here as they are more prepared for a close game than the Vikings, who have not had to play a close game since Week 6.


AFC Standings:

AFC East: I would love to say that somehow the Miami Dolphins or the New York Jets pull out an incredible end of the season run and overcome the New England Patriots, but the Pats schedule is the softest of the three and they already have a one-game lead. The Patriots take the division as a rift grows between Brady and Moss.

AFC North: This one is easy. The Cincinnati Bengals will win at least tow of the last three games and clinch the division outright.

AFC South: The Indianapolis Colts have already clinched the division and home field advantage.

AFC West: Never bet against the San Diego Chargers late in the season. They have a two game lead over the Broncos and will win the division for the fifth time in six years.

Wild Card: The Denver Broncos have two definite wins coming up, with one in Week 15 when the Raiders come to Mile High and in Week 17 when the Chiefs come to town. The Ravens, Dolphins, Jets, and Jaguars are all 7-6 and the Steelers, Texans, and Titans are 6-7. They all have a chance to win the Wild Card with three games left. The question is which team can win nine games. The Jets, Titans, and Steelers most likely cannot. There are too many teams that play each other to give anything but a gut reaction. My gut says the Texans pick up an easy win in St. Louis, simply score too fast for the Dolphins, and exploit the Patriots team as they teeter on the edge of self-destruction.

AFC Playoffs:

  • Indianapolis Colts (1)
  • San Diego Chargers (2)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (3)
  • New England Patriots (4)
  • Denver Broncos (5)
  • Houston Texans (6)

Round One:

Cincinnati Bengals vs Houston Texans: The Texans run ends in Cincinnati where the Bengals defense stops the run and pesters Matt Schaub all day long. Carson Palmer, Ochocinco, and which ever running back is healthy enough to start put together a solid, but understated game in the win.

New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos: The Patriots come in looking for revenge, but the Broncos play with solidarity as brooding dominates the news coming out of Foxboro all week before the game. The Broncos just have that magic air around them this season.

Round Two:

Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos: Unfortunately that sense of purpose from the Broncos is thwarted by Peyton Manning and his ability to dissect any defense. The Colts will win this game. It may not be pretty, and will most likely come down to a last minute drive by the Colts.

San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: The Chargers are playing great and are winning without setting up a running game. Most of the time this will draw doubters, but against the Bengals this is an advantage. San Diego will win and meet the Colts in the AFC Championship game.

AFC Championship Game:

Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego Chargers:

It is just hard to believe that two undefeated teams will meet in the Super Bowl. It is hard enough to believe that the two number-one seeded teams will meet in the big game. The Chargers have eliminated the Colts the past two years in the postseason and carry on that tradition this season.


Super Bowl:

New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers

This will be an incredible game that will make sure that these

Super Bowl tickets

will not be a dud. I expect this to be the highest scoring Super Bowl game in history, eclipsing the combined 69 points put up in

Super Bowl XXXVII

by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders. This game will be closer though, as the Bucs destroyed the Raiders. The Saints should win though. They have more weapons and the storyline that will allow Drew Brees to beat the team that chose Philip Rivers over him is irresistible (even though I think both teams and players are satisfied with the results over the years).


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