THE END IN THE BEGINNING – 2011 Super Bowl Projection

Posted: September 9, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
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“Who you got winning it this year?”….”Who got in the Bowl?”….”Who you see going all the way this year?”

All of these are common questions around this part of the year for hords of football fans gearing up for the NFL season. It is a constant debate and arguing point that will continue all the way through February 6’s kickoff for the Big Game in Dallas. Until that time (and potentially much earlier) here’s how it’s looking….from my seat at least. If you need further explanation on how these records came to be, go back and look at the 8 NFL Previews posted here a few weeks back.

Brees & Manning ruled in 2010, but will either have what it takes to make a season finale repeat appearance?

Until then my guess is just as good as yours….albeit with a little bit more an educated guess. I kid, I kid….kinda.

NFC Projected Rankings

  1. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
  5. *Green Bay Packers (11-5)
  6. *New York Giants (10-6)

AFC Projected Rankings

  1. New York Jets (13-3)
  2. Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
  3. San Diego Chargers (11-5)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
  5. *New England Patriots (11-5)
  6. *Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

WILD CARD WEEKEND

NFC

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

–          After splitting regular season matchups, this will be a tough postseason opener for each club, due to their familiarity with each other after two inter division match ups during the season . With tough defenses in both jerseys, it breaks down to who can take establish the offense the earliest and most often. That’s where the Cowboys take the advantage and take the win. Cowboys 28, Giants 20

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

–          In a battle of two opposites, who can make a push the big play most often will win out. The Niners grind it out and let their defense set the tone, while Green Bay is high flying and will try to attack the San Fran secondary, the weakest part of their defense. This will be decided on the front lines and San Francisco should be able to establish its pass rush to overtake the Green Bay offensive line and work out a close win. 49ers 20, Packers 17

In his first playoff game as a coach, Singletary has what it takes to drop the Pack.

AFC

San Diego Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens

–          In another big offense versus stingy defense battle, this is another case of who establishes their position most often. The difference in this being a straight down the middle, battle of opposites is the expansion of Baltimore’s offense, with Anquan Boldin, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth to deploy down field, which makes them a greater overall threat and gives them the win. Ravens 30, Chargers 17

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots

–          In a week one rematch, the Bengals and Patriots hook up again. However, this time it’s in Cincinnati, but thats the only difference that will come of it. The depth of the Bengal passing game combined with the pressure they can send at Tom Brady will be too much again. The Pats secondary will not be able to answer what the Bengals bring at it and New England will once again have a Wild Card exit from the season. Bengals 35, Patriots 21

For the second consecutive year, Tom goes home early after a brutal Wild Card Weekend.

DIVISIONAL ROUND

NFC

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

–          The Saints get the Niners fresh off a tough first round contest and gives Mike Singletary’s defense a huge dose of it’s rested weapons after their first round bye. The Saints strength is similar to the Packers, in how they attack through the pass game early and often. Where the offensive line for the Packers couldn’t hold against the blitz of the Niners, the Saints’ line makes the difference and lets Drew Brees pick apart the average San Fran secondary for the win. Saints 35, 49ers 14

Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys

–          Another repeat matchup from the early regular season, where the Vikings handed the Cowboys their first loss of the season. This game will break down to a battle of if the Vikes defensive line can beat the Cowboy offensive line to stop Tony Romo. However after a few years of coming up short in big playoff situations, Romo finds a way to get out of this one. While it won’t be easy, the big play receivers in Dallas will find a way to get open and push Dallas back to their first NFC Championship game in over 15 years. Cowboys 27, Vikings 24 (OT)

Romo must rise out of the shadows of his past postseason failures to overcome the Vikes in Minnesota.

AFC

New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals

–          Two very similar defenses link up in this matchup. Both are tough at every level and leave very little margin for error against them. It’s going to break down to which team’s defense forces the most crucial turnovers to allow their offense, or even kicking game, to make the easiest impact. This ends up being a battle of intangibles and experience winning out, and Cincinnati takes the slight edge in that department and will take the edge in this game, in big road win and upset. Bengals 13, Jets 10

Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens

–          It seems these two meet up every year with some critical matchup, and this is the same stage they battled at last year. Each team’s strength has a never say die leader in Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis, and whichever one out maneuvers the other’s unit takes this game. Ravens will pressure Manning no stop and most likely force him into some uncharacteristic errors, but in the end the Indianapolis secondary is nails in the red zone and will hold Joe Flacco’s attack and Manning will find openings with his deep receiver group to pull out the win. Colts 27, Ravens 17

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys

–          Coming into New Orleans is task in itself. The Superdome is the most riotous stadium in the league and beating them to make it to the Super Bowl there is a tall task, ask Minnesota. These are two aggressive offenses that will force the turnover and have defenses that give different looks the whole game. The Cowboys take the advantage in pass rushing options and a strong secondary, but the Saints have so many weapons in the passing game, there’s no secondary that can account for all of them. Factor in Jonathan Vilma and Darren Sharper’s knack for forcing the turnover and the timely big play and the Saints take the edge and return to Super Bowl Sunday. Saints 30, Cowboys 20

Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals

–          The Colts have for years been a team that has provided unparalleled protection for Manning in his record breaking efforts. The only teams that have success against them are diverse, quick blitzing teams that force the turnover in the secondary and that happens to be the Bengals specialty. They have the running game to attack the Colts biggest weakness and by setting up the passing game off a steady dose of Cedric Benson, they have what it takes to dethrone the AFC Champs. By getting to Manning and forcing him into throwing to their cornerbacks, the Bengals will make their first trip to the Super Bowl since 1989. Bengals 27, Colts 24

Ochocinco finally makes prime time for doing his day job after dethroning the Colts as AFC Champs.

Super Bowl XLV

New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The road back to the top is always harder than the first one taken, but the Saints will have withstood those challenges to get to this point. An amazing and efficient offensive attack is what propels them to this level, with a defense that is capable of making the big play when needed. On the flip side, Cincinnati has a defense with all the ability and depth to reach this level, but is complimented by an equally good offense. While a single devastating unit is what lands the Saints here, unequaled balance is what the strength of Cincy is.

This game will be a back and forth affair early, as both sides have a good number of offsetting tools at their disposal, and they will be familiar already, having met in week 12 previously. Palmer should be able to find success going to the outside toward Owens and OchoCinco, where he can attack the weakest part of the Saints matchup. On the flip side, Brees will exploit the deep secondary of the Bengals defense by going over the top as often as possible. Running at the Bengals may be fruitless, just as attacking Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall at primary cornerback/wide receiver matchups could be as well. On the other hand, the Saints greatest asset is Brees ability to use all his receivers and he will be able to capitalize on the steady matchup problems secondary receivers such as Jeremy Shockey, Devery Henderson, Reggie Bush and Lance Moore create and hitting those matchups will be the difference in enabling the Saints to defend their the throne as Super Bowl Champions, becoming the first team to repeat since the 2004-05 New England Patriots. Final Score: Saints 28, Bengals 20

Long Live The Kings: Brees and the Saints are too much and keep the Lombardi Trophy in NOLA.

There’s a lot season to be played. With that there will be plenty of breakout players, disappointments, injuries and upsets. However, of all seasons, this one has more of a wide open feeling than any NFL season in recent memory. Will it end up with a repeat at the top? Or will another team on the verge, such as the Jets, Vikings or Colts breakthrough to take the final step towards the Lombardi Trophy. Can another team on the verge, similar to the Saints coming into ’09 make the jump and take over? The Packers, Cowboys and Ravens have to believe this is possible. Even an upstart that puts everything together and crashes the playoff scene could make the ascension to the top. Texans, 49ers and even Raiders fans should have real hope as well.

The greatest thing about the NFL is that every year it is almost anybody’s league to win. Nobody is too far above the next club from being able to take over. For now, the slate is blank and it’s anybody’s to paint any way they feel. No matter what, the fight to get to the paper and the paint will be as colorful as ever.

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Comments
  1. Cj says:

    I don’t know man I can see the Bengals beating the Patriots, but I really don’t see them beating the Colts. The colts have way too many polished receivers for the Bengals secondary and I really believe Joseph Addai is going to have a break out year barring injury. As far as the NFC, I just have a feeling that Favre is going to make it happen this year. No facts to back it up just a feeling LOL

  2. wesdan328 says:

    this was a great article. although i do not see minnesota having the record that is listed nor winning the north division. this is not jus bcuz of the strugg performance they displayed for 3 quarters minnesota has to many “in the locker room” issues with brett favre, percy harvin’s condition, sidney rice out, chester taylor isnt the back up anymore. another hesitent prediction i have it the bengals. although their defense is aggressive and the bengals offense is prepared to have a great season their age is a question mark and injuries could derail the ’09 afc north champs.

  3. Thanks for the reads fellas. What I saw from Minnesota last night was what I expected: a rusty offense that is short at the receiver spot, minus Rice and with a shaky Harvin. However, I also saw a defense that took on the best offense in the game and barely lost to them at home. They have the best defensive line in football and they will be hell for lesser squads. I saw them losing that one, but once Favre settles in and they get their full WR group back, they’ll be tough again. If all else fails, just let Peterson handle it. That’s the main weapon they’ve got.

  4. As for the Bengals, I admit, it’s a risky pick. Of all the teams mentioned they have the most potential to falter, but when you look at what they have in place on offense now, to go with Marvin Lewis deploying all those options on defense, I think they’re the most balanced team in the AFC. If Mark Sanchez grows enough to maximize the Jets potential on offense, they could do it and Peyton is also always a threat if his O-Line stands up for him.

  5. […] 6. The Passion of the NFC (10/6): I mean come on!!! I’m not alone on this one, and if anybody says they knew it,  show them section 16 of the Ten Commandments. I mean the only prophets worthy of speaking on this are Wade Phillips, Brad Childress and Mike Singletary. But I’d be a little more careful about approaching the last one than the first two. At least I’ve still got the Saints for now. […]

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