Saturday, January 19, 2019

All Four Super Bowl Previews XIII

Anyone who knows me knows that the NFL Playoff season is my favorite time of the year! It's like Christmas every weekend! (If you'd like to see how I've fared with my predictions over the past eleven years, you'll find them listed at the bottom of this post along with links if you're interested in my previous analysis.)

If you'd like to see how I've done year over year, you will find my historic results here: All Four Super Bowl Preview Annual Results

Alright, here are this year's games from least compelling* to most: *("Compelling" refers to how interested an average viewer might be and which game the networks are hoping for)

Chiefs vs Rams
While the analysts might enjoy examining a 2016 draft pick (Goff) vs a 2017 draft pick (Mahomes), seeing two practically rookie QBs facing off in the big game isn't as exciting as it may seem. It also will be less-than-compelling to see the Patriot-haters continue to salivate over the "next Brady/Manning" in Patrick Mahomes. One NFL "analyst" in reviewing the Patriots/Chiefs game gave the QB edge to Mahomes! Not the offensive edge (which, while a stretch, could be understandable). No, no, the QB edge! That somehow the sophomore "no-look-passer-in-his-first-post-season" had the edge on the "I-have-more-playoff-wins-than-you-have-career-starts-(or-years-of-age-for-that-matter)" 5-time-Super-Bowl-MVP veteran! Anyway. This game would feature explosive offenses with zero defense. Take the over on this game and expect on of the highest scoring Super Bowls in history. KC ranks 31st in passing D (probably because they got out to early leads so teams had to pass against them) but 27th in run defense (which is atrocious when you hold the lead for most of the game). The Rams aren't much better ranking 14th and 23rd respectively but it should be enough to stop Mahomes in his bid for his first ring.
Winner: Rams
Losers: The score board operators! (Good thing they aren't manual anymore!)

Patriots vs Rams
Let's be honest, most Americans don't want to see Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots in yet another Super Bowl. But if they DO have to watch it they'd rather see Brady face off against Brees than Goff. Not only because in an effort to de-throne Brady people are looking to garbage-time-stat-monster Brees. The Rams of this year look a lot like the Eagles of last year: An up-and-coming QB with a good run game and solid receivers. That may sound like it spells doom for TB12 and his crew as they were unable to overcome the Eagles last year. However, there is a very believable reason as to why the Patriots lost that game (A short version of the theory can be found here: Did Belichick Throw The Super Bowl?) Will this happen again? We at JMO don't think so. This game might be close at the half, but expect the Patriots to pull away late in the game.
Winner: Patriots
Loser: Robert Kraft as Belichick will have proven he's necessary for the Patriot's Super Bowl wins

Patriots vs Saints
This game should be viewed as the most compelling as it pits two perennial all star quarterbacks against each other as well as the Offensive minded Sean Payton against the Defensive minded Bill Belichick. And if there was ever a claim to be made about which team cheated more this is the match-up for that debate (See: Bounty-gate v Deflate-gate)! The Patriots are the best team remaining regarding passing defense, while the Saints are the best remaining team regarding rushing defense. Those represent the strengths of each team's opponent as the Patriots failed to win when they didn't have 100 yards rushing and the Saints lost when their passing game was off-kilter. So who wins this game? (Which is the game we will have the pleasure of seeing)?
Winner: Saints
Losers: Anyone near a Saints fan announcing that Brees is the only QB to defeat Brady and Manning in the Super Bowl

Chiefs vs Saints
This is the game that the networks want! Mahomes has been every non-New England football analysts sweetheart since week 2. They are hoping so strongly that he can unseat Brady in the AFC Championship game and then beat Brees in the Super Bowl and be the young, fresh face of the NFL. Not since Andrew Luck and Cam Newton has there been such fanfare over the "next great QB!" This game is what the NFL wants as well because the Chiefs and Saints are 3rd and 12th in passing offense (respectively) while also being 32nd and 31st in passing defense (also, respectively)! Maybe the coaches can have an agreement where they each get an offensive series while the opponent's defense stays on the bench. The fans watching at home won't really be able to tell the difference. Taking into account the fact that some defense wins championships combined with the inexperience of the Chiefs this game will go to Drew Brees and the Saints.
Winner: Saints
Loser: The Las Vegas Over/Under Bookies

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

Continuing Collection of "All Four Super Bowl Previews" Results

My "All Four Super Bowl Previews" were getting a bit long-winded with the inclusion of the links to all of my previous annual predictions. Accordingly, I've decided to consolidate all of my results in one post that I will update and link to each year. Here is my current score: Last year I went 1 out of 3 bringing my total tally to 18 for 34, for a score of 53%.

Here are the links to my previous predictions, analysis, winners, and losers (from most recent to my first post in 2007):

2018, Eagles over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Patriots over Vikings.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2017, Patriots over Falcons;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Patriots over Falcons.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2016, Broncos over Panthers;
Game Predicted: Patriots over Cardinals.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Panthers

2015, Patriots over Seahawks;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2014, Seahawks over Broncos;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2013, Ravens over 49ers;
Game Predicted: 49ers over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: 49ers

2012, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Giants over Ravens.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2011, Packers over Steelers;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Packers and Steelers
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2010, Saints over Colts;
Game Predicted: Purposeful lack of prediction.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

2009, Steelers over Cardinals;
Game Predicted: Steelers over Eagles.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2008, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Giants vs the Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots;

2007, Colts over Bears;
Game Predicted: Saints over Colts.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

Sunday, January 06, 2019

2018-2019 NFL Playoff Preview

It's been a few years since I've attempted to predict the outcome of the playoffs prior to the kick-off of the first game (at least here). And it's not as though anyone still follows this blog. This is the dark corner of the internet where no one every goes. Accordingly, as this will simply be a repository of where I record my incorrect playoff predictions for myself so I will abridge the intro. On to the games:

Wild Card Round
AFC Saturday 1st game: Colts at Texans
Tough game to call. These teams faced each other twice in the regular season with both teams going 1-1. There was a whopping six point TOTAL point difference for both games, with the first going into overtime. Interestingly, it was the away team that won both games. Does that guarantee the Colts the win? No, but it's enough to bet on.
Winner: Colts

NFC Saturday 2nd game: Seahawks at Cowboys
The Seahawks faced off against the Cowboys once in the regular season in Seattle and the Seahawks took the win. The Seahawks beat 2 out of 3 playoff bound opponents at home but did not defeat a single playoff team on the road. Whereas the Cowboys defeated both playoff bound teams that dared enter Cowboy's Stadium. I don't think that the Cowboys will have too much difficulty disposing of Seattle.
Winner: Cowboys

AFC Sunday 1st game: Chargers at Ravens
I'd love to see the Texans win so the Patriots don't have to face either of these teams. That's highly unlikely, however. The Chargers and Ravens faced off in Baltimore week 16 with the Ravens handing the Chargers their only road loss of the year! That says something pretty amazing about both teams. So who walks away with the win this week? Not only did the Ravens have the easiest road to the post-season facing only 3 other playoff teams but I think the experienced leadership of the Chargers overcomes the Raven's novice QB. Chargers squeak by in a shootout.
Winner: Chargers

NFC Sunday 2nd game: Eagles at Bears
Not much to say here except that the Eagles have struggled all year! With QB issues and a defense that has struggled the Bears should coast into the next round behind their stifling Defense and up-and-comer Trubiski.
Winner: Bears

Divisional Round:
AFC Saturday 1st game: Colts at Chiefs
The Colts have been the hottest team in the NFL down the stretch. They started the season 1-5 and finished it 9-1 with their last loss coming week 13 on the road to the Jaguars. The Chiefs have played 6 games against playoff bound teams but only managed to win 2 of them: At the Chargers week 1 (losing at home to them week 11) and beating the Ravens at home week 14 (but only by 3 points). I expect Luck and the Colts to make a game of it, perhaps with a late push to nearly win the game; but don't expect 4th quarter heroics like we saw that last time these two teams met in the post season. The Chiefs Offense will be able to out-gun the Colts.
Winner: Chiefs

NFC Saturday 2nd game: Bears at Rams
A rematch of week 14 but switching stadiums. You heard it hear first: The Rams are the most overrated team in the NFL this year. The Rams faced-off against 6 teams in the playoffs losing both on the road and only taking 3 of 4 at home (Dropping one to the early-exit Eagles week 15). The secret to stopping the Rams is stopping Todd Gurley, a "secret" the Bears already proved they were more than capable of accomplishing. Expect another low-scoring, field position duel in which Chicago wins a ticket to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2011.
Winner: Bears

AFC Sunday 1st game: Chargers at Patriots
Two teams known more for their offense this year than their defense. Two teams that both beat the Chiefs (Chargers 29-28 in KC with a last second 2 point conversion, Patriots 43-40 in Foxboro after leading 24-9 at the half.) The Charger's offense brought them the win, the Patriot's defense held on to their victory. Even though the Chargers only dropped 1 game on the road this year, the Patriots were perfect at home, and, as they say, "Defense wins championships." Edge goes to...
Winner: Patriots

NFC Sunday 2nd game: Cowboys at Saints
This appears to be the easiest game to predict out of the Divisional round. The Cowboys dropped 3 out of 4 games against play-off bound opponents on the road. Of course, their only win against a playoff team on the road was a 13-10 win over, you guessed it, the Saints! However, if any team in the NFC needs home field advantage, it's the 'Boys. It's tough to beat the same team twice on their own field. I don't expect this game to be close beyond the first quarter.
Winner: Saints

Championship Round:
NFC
Bears at Saints
This game may be the best game of the playoffs, including the Super Bowl. The Saint's vaunted offense facing off against the Bear's stifling defense! When dealing with a strength vs strength we have to look at weakness vs weakness. The Saint's defense has been inconsistent at best. The same could be said for the Bear's offense however, the likelihood that Trubisky will have a short field is better due to the Bears +9 takeaway stat over the Saints. This will be a close one and points off of turnovers will be huge.
Winner: Bears

AFC
Patriots at Chiefs
There are two x-factors in this game and they aren't necessarily whom you expect. Mahomes has been playing amazingly, setting or tying records all season. Brady ISN'T the other x-factor, however. It's Belichick. Jedi Master (or Sith Lord depending on how you feel about the Patriots) Belichick has an entire season of film on Mahomes at this point. Plus their victory over them week 6 and an additional playoff game. Bill has the intelligent players necessary to sufficiently confuse Mahomes presnap and the Chiefs defense won't be able to stop Brady & co. The only team that can prevent the Patriots from moving on in this game is the Patriots.
Winner: Patriots

Super Bowl
Bears vs Patriots
1985 revisited! But this time it'll be far more competitive. Similarly to when the Bears took on the Colts in 2006 it will be the Bear's defense that has gotten them to the big dance. The biggest difference is, this time the Bears aren't lead by Rex Grossman, but rather the exciting Mitchel Trubisky! The Patriots won't have faced many notable defenses getting to this point in the playoffs. The Bears will have faced some even more potent offenses than the Patriots. The result? Brady joins the ranks of Jim Kelly with four Super Bowl losses and the Patriots attain sole possession of most Super Bowl losses by a team with 6. That's right, I'm predicting the Bears hoist the Lombardi trophy for the first time in 33 years!
Winner: Bears

This year should be a GREAT set of playoff games with an exciting Super Bowl. I hope I'm wrong on the final outcome but I call it like I see it.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

All Four Super Bowl Previews XII

Anyone who knows me knows that the NFL Playoff season is my favorite time of the year! It's like Christmas every weekend! (If you'd like to see how I've fared with my predictions over the past eleven years, you'll find them listed at the bottom of this post along with links if you're interested in my previous analysis.)

Two years ago I went 0 for 3. I rebounded nicely last year by correctly predicting the Super Bowl match-up and the eventual winner! Of course, I never could have predicted the manner in which the Patriots would win but it sure was thrilling! Down 25 points with just over 17 minutes left in the game the Patriots forced and won in overtime! Coming into last year I was at a mediocre 50%. Going 3 for 3 last year has elevated me to 56%! On to the predictions:

While last year's Championship Sunday included QBs the likes of Brady, Reothlisberger, Rogers, & Ryan; this year's match-ups pits three QBs who have a combined 5 playoff starts (Bortles, Foles, & Keenum) and one with 5 Super Bowl Wins!

Alright, here are this year's games from least compelling* to most: *("Compelling" refers to how interested an average viewer might be and which game the networks are hoping for)

Jaguars vs Eagles
There is very little to be excited about this game. While this game contains two teams that have never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, it doesn't have the same emotional draw as Jax vs Minn because he Eagles have had success without the gut-wrenching close calls that the Vikings have had. Additionally, this game promises to be merely average. The QB for the Eagles, Nick Foles, would be starting his 6th game of the season having taken over for Carson Wentz late in the game week 14. The Jaguar's QB, Blake Bortles, started the season ranked 21st among QBs just ahead of the likes of Jay Cutler. The Eagles are here due to the work of Wentz and the offense during the regular season and the Jaguars are here because of their defense. In order for Bortles and the Jaguars to have an opportunity to face the Eagles they had to overcome the Bills, Steelers, and Patriots - all of which were upsets. If the Jaguars can manage to get by TB12, Big Ben, and the Bills it'd be difficult to pick against them versus a team dealing with a back up QB and other major injuries.
Winner: Jaguars
Losers: Fantasy Football fanatics

Patriots vs Eagles
A rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX is a decent selling point. Of course, there's only one player & one coach who also participated in Super Bowl XXXIX. Another compelling aspect of this game is that those "in the know" have been asking "Who will win the Super Bowl, the Eagles or the Patriots?" since week 4. However, this is not the match up that we were hoping for. The Patriots are on the rise while the Eagles are on the decline. Foles has done a good job of getting his team this far following Wentz's injury however, they've not been playing at the same level late in the season. While the Patriots (apart from the shocking loss to Miami) have been playing some of their best football of the year having surrendered 17 pts or fewer 9 out of their last 12 games! If this is the contest, even with the mysterious injury to TB12's throwing hand, expect Brady, red gloves and all, to win his unprecedented 6th Super Bowl.
Winner: Patriots
Loser: Roger Goodell & Patriot haters everywhere

Jaguars vs Vikings
NBC would be thrilled to work the "Give someone else a chance" angle of this match-up. The Jaguars have never been to the big dance, and, while the Vikings have competed for four NFL Championships, they've lost all four; the most recent one being 41 years ago in Super Bowl XI! However, unless the public enjoys a low-scoring defensive battle (which they typically don't) that's where the compelling aspect of this game ends. This would likely be the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever (beating out Super Bowl VII where the Dolphins defeated the Redskins by a score of 21-7). The Vikings sometimes struggle to move the ball but have the number one defense in the league giving up the fewest points and second most total yards all season. The Jaguars rank 1st in offensive rushing yards but 17th in passing yards. They surrendered the fewest total yards per game and second fewest points. This game would be two powerhouse defenses vs two struggling offenses. The final score might be 9-6.
Winner: Vikings
Loser: Fans that like games that score over 17 total points

Patriots vs Vikings
I believe this will be the most compelling game. I also believe this is the game we will see. Oddly enough, with the remaining quarterbacks in the playoffs, Brady vs Keenum will provide the best game for the average viewer. The NFC Championship game should be dubbed "The Battle of the Back-ups!" Keenum has played the entire season but that's because the Vikings starting QB, Sam Bradford (remember him?), injured his knee in the preseason. Additional eyeballs will be drawn into this match-up due to the story line behind the possibility of a Viking win over the Patriots. With the heartbreaking losses the Vikings have suffered in the playoffs combined with their unlikely victory vs the Saints juxtaposed with the unrivaled success of the Patriots will have viewers salivating at the chance to see if the up-and-coming Vikings can win their first Super Bowl over the vaunted perennial favorites. This would be a close game coming down to one score at the end of the game. The biggest difference may be that the Patriots players would be coached well enough to know to let a WR catch and tackle him inbounds the ball with 10 seconds left in the game rather than hurling themselves at him allowing him to score the winning TD. Unfortunately, in this contest, the majority of viewers will be disappointed because experience will win out.
Winner: Patriots
Losers: The fans of the other 31 teams in the league

Those are my thoughts, what are yours? Here are the links to my previous predictions, analysis, winners, and losers (In the past they've been oldest to newest, but any readers that I may still have will likely be more interested in my more recent predictions so I will reverse the order):

2017, Patriots over Falcons;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Patriots over Falcons.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2016, Broncos over Panthers;
Game Predicted: Patriots over Cardinals.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Panthers

2015, Patriots over Seahawks;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2014, Seahawks over Broncos;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2013, Ravens over 49ers;
Game Predicted: 49ers over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: 49ers

2012, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Giants over Ravens.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2011, Packers over Steelers;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Packers and Steelers
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2010, Saints over Colts;
Game Predicted: Purposeful lack of prediction.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

2009, Steelers over Cardinals;
Game Predicted: Steelers over Eagles.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2008, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Giants vs the Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots;

2007, Colts over Bears;
Game Predicted: Saints over Colts.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

Sunday, January 22, 2017

All Four Super Bowl Previews XI

Episode 11 of my favorite post of the year! Championship Sunday is my favorite football weekend so it makes sense that the post that ruminates about it would be as well! (If you'd like to see how I've fared with my predictions over the past ten years, you'll find them listed at the bottom of this post along with links if you're interested in my previous analysis.)

My accuracy rating took a major hit last year as managed to go 0 for 3: I predicted both Championship games incorrectly and got the winner of the actual Super Bowl game wrong too. I fell from 56% all the way down to 50%! Ouch! Hopefully, I'll rebound this year! On to the predictions:

I want to start by saying that these two games are incredibly difficult to predict. I'm vacillating greatly on who I'm going to choose. Also, this may be the single greatest grouping of QBs in the Championship games ever!

Alright, here are this year's games from least compelling* to most: *("Compelling" refers to how interested an average viewer might be and which game the networks are hoping for)

Steelers vs Falcons
When the potential QBs who could play in the Big Game are made up of Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, and Ryan, deservedly or not, Ryan is going to get the least celebration. While the Falcons have had an amazing offense this year they've flown under the radar having been overshadowed by the Cowboys & Packers in their own Conference. The Steelers have had a rocky season, losing to the Cowboys and the Dolphins while nearly giving the Browns their second win of the year. The Steelers are the worst team still in the playoffs. This game pits the worst offense still in the running against the worst defense still in the running. The opposite is not true, while the Falcons have the best offense in the playoffs, the Steelers D isn't strong enough to stop them.
Winner: Falcons
Losers: All of the companies who saved some money by having their ads air after half time

Patriots vs Falcons
Between people not understanding the historical significance of Brady playing in his 7th Super Bowl and not recognizing just how good Ryan is this game won't have much viewership. Even though it won't garner the same level of interest as the next two games This is the game we will have the pleasure of seeing. This match-up ranks higher than Pittsburgh v Atlanta because this game pits the top two offenses against each other. The same can't be said about their defenses. The Patriots defense has been fantastic this year while the Falcons have struggled. Atlanta has needed their over-powering offense to win having given up at least 4 touchdowns 9 times this year! You can't allow Brady to score 28 points and think you are going to win. I'd say you can't give Rodgers that many points and think you'll win either, except that they did defeating Green Bay by 1 point during the regular season. That doesn't happen twice. We won't see this game but if we did, Atlanta's D can't stop Brady enough times to win.
Winner: Patriots
Loser: Roger Goodell

Steelers vs Packers
FOX is chomping at the bit in the hopes that they might have two weeks to promote Big Ben vs Discount Double Check Rodgers. Beyond the story of the QBs there's also the "rematch" angle of Super Bowl XLV (45) where Rodgers and the Packers edged out Ben and the Steelers by 6 points. Ben wants revenge, Rodgers wants his second ring. Two storied franchises with stalwart fan bases facing off for the Lombardi Trophy. These two teams are also somewhat evenly matched. Both have middle of the road defenses and somewhat above average offenses. The Steelers D is better than the Packers, while the Packers offense is better than the Steelers. This game could be a nail-biter where Rodgers needs to lead a late drive to retake the lead before Big Ben tosses a game ending INT attempting his own miracle come-back.
Winner: Packers
Loser: Fans of the other teams in the NFC or AFC North. These fans can be unbearable as it is even without a Championship

Patriots vs Packers
This game has the best story-line: The King of the NFL seeking to secure his legacy against the heir-apparent looking to dethrone the reining regent. This is also a rematch: Super Bowl XXXI (31) in 1997 when Favre out gunned Bledsoe 35-21. While not the same major players, and therefore not quite as compelling as Steelers v Packers but who can pass up on a Brady v Rodgers match-up? They've only met one time in the past and this may be their only opportunity as they aren't scheduled to meet in the regular season until 2019 (Brady would be 42 and may be retired by then). So what will happen? Will Brady defeat the next QB destined to be in the "best ever" conversation? Yes, and he will set himself apart as the GOAT once and for all. Here's why: "Do your job." This is the mantra of the Patriots. Rodgers strangely, has a better passer rating when he is outside of the pocket. This means that the play has broken down and it's a scramble drill. The Patriots outside defensive linemen will contain Rodgers not allowing him to escape to where he is the most effective. Brady will be able to dissect the Packer's mediocre defense for his 5th (and possibly not last) Super Bowl ring.
Winner: Patriots
Losers: Joe Montana

Those are my thoughts, what are yours? Here are the links to my previous predictions, analysis, winners, and losers:

2007, Colts over Bears;
Game Predicted: Saints over Colts.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

2008, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Giants vs the Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots;

2009, Steelers over Cardinals;
Game Predicted: Steelers over Eagles.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2010, Saints over Colts;
Game Predicted: Purposeful lack of prediction.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

2011, Packers over Steelers;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Packers and Steelers
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2012, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Giants over Ravens.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2013, Ravens over 49ers;
Game Predicted: 49ers over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: 49ers

2014, Seahawks over Broncos;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2015, Patriots over Seahawks;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2016, Broncos over Panthers;
Game Predicted: Patriots over Cardinals.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Panthers

Friday, January 13, 2017

2016-2017 NFL Playoff Preview

I've decided that the NFL season gets shorter every year, and it's reached the "too short" point. Probably the funniest part of this year's post is that I'm stressing to get it done before the first game starts, as though anyone will read this. Anyway, here's the perennial look back at how I did last year:

AFC:
Chiefs v Texans: Prediction Chiefs, actual Chiefs
Steelers v Bengals: Prediction Steelers, actual Steelers
Chiefs v Patriots: Prediction Patriots, actual Patriots
Steelers v Broncos: Prediction Steelers, actual Broncos
Steelers v Patriots: Prediction Patriots, actual Broncos

NFC:
Seahawks v Vikings: Prediction Seahawks, actual Seahawks
Packers v Redskins: Prediction Packers, actual Packers
Packers v Cardinals: Prediction Cardinals, actual Cardinals
Seahawks v Panthers: Prediction Panthers, actual Panthers
Cardinals v Panthers: Prediction Cardinals, actual Panthers

Super Bowl
Cardinals v Patriots: Prediction Patriots, actual Broncos

While neither of my predicted Super Bowl teams made it to the big game, I did alright with the games leading up to it. And as a person who isn't particularly fond of Manning or Newton last year's Championship game couldn't have ended any better: Neither QB played well and Denver's Defense allowed Peyton to limp into retirement with his second Ring - tying his far less talented brother. So I got 64% right (7 out of 11). That's 1 better than last year. Let's see if I can get one better this year!

I got 100% last year's wild card weekend. That's not easy to replicate but here we go (I'll review them in the order in which they will be played):

AFC Saturday 1st game Raiders at Texans
Until about two weeks ago, the Raiders were the second scariest team in the AFC and were making a play at 1st overall. Then Carr broke his leg and their back up, McQloin, injured his non-throwing shoulder. They fell from fighting for first to fifth. While the Texans have had a mediocre season at best they have the good fortune of facing a decimated Raiders offense. Texans walk through this one.
Winner: Texans

NFC Saturday 2nd game Lions at Seahawks
This is a fairly evenly matched game: Two teams with better than average defenses playing with QBs who have been working with injuries this year. That means what might typically be considered a minor difference may end up being a major in the outcome. While Wilson dealt with a more serious injured earlier in the year, Stafford suffered a finger dislocation towards the end of it. Stafford's injury is on his throwing hand and has impacted his numbers - and the overall success of the team - ever since. The Lions finished the season on a three game losing streak (Giants, Cowboys, Packers). All three losses were to playoff teams but one would hope for at least one victory (which could have awarded them the division). Another factor to consider is the location. A few years ago, when the Seahawks won their division with a losing record they still went on to win their first playoff game because it was at home. Seattle is a difficult place to visit and win. I think the combination of 12th man pushes the Seahawks over the top for the win.
Winner: Seahawks

AFC Sunday 1st game Dolphins at Steelers
I don't put much stock in the Dolphins. They started the year 1-4 (their only win coming against the hapless 1-15 Browns) and faced 6 teams all year that finished the season .500 or better. The Dolphins went 1-5 in those six games. I feel like this playoff appearance is a consolation prize for being the best of the worst of the AFC. The Steelers should have little difficulty ending the Dolphins playoff hopes.
Winner: Steelers

NFC Sunday 2nd game: Giants at Packers
In typical Giant fashion, they had flashes of brilliance and moments of utter confusion. They handed the vaunted Cowboys 2 of their 3 losses this year but then floundered against the likes of the mediocre Vikings. That type of inconsistent play has plague Eli his entire career (see: defeating the undefeated Patriots & starting a season with more interceptions than receptions). That's one thing that makes predicting Giant games so difficult. Especially when playing against a QB who has a higher passer rating when he is outside of the pocket than when inside!
Winner: Packers

Divisional Round:
AFC Saturday 1st game Seahawks at Falcons
This is a fascinating match-up. Falcons over-powering offense (#1) vs Seahawks stingy defense (#3). What makes this more interesting than the possibility of a Falcons v Patriots (#1 defense) match-up is that these two teams are equally weak on the opposite side of the ball (Seahawks #18 in offense, Falcons #27 in defense). While they say that defenses win championships and one, therefore, should side with the Seahawks, most of their great defense came against flat-out bad teams. The Falcon's offense, on the other hand, fared much better against strong defenses than the Seahawk's defense did vs stronger offenses. Accordingly, we predict the Falcons will move on to the Championship round.
Winner: Falcons

AFC Saturday 2nd game Texans at Patriots
Once we enter the divisional round, the Texans will be the worst team remaining in the playoffs. Even if they had JJ Watt, the Texans would have a difficult time stopping TB12 and the Patriots. In order to keep the game competitive, the Texans will have to have at least two defensive/special team TDs. While the Patriots have been giving fans heart palpitations late in games recently, I don't think they will collapse to that extent. Look for Belichick's crew to waltz past the vastly over-paid Osweiler and the Texans.
Winner: Patriots

NFC Sunday 1st game Steelers at Chiefs
"Don't be too proud if this [bye-week] terror you've constructed." If not for the devastating injury to Derek Carr the Chiefs would be sitting in 5th place and traveling to Foxboro this week after defeating the Texans rather than hosting the Steelers. The Chiefs only dropped two games at home this year but got embarrassed in Pittsburgh losing by 29 points. The Steelers had an easy trip into the post season, at least, on paper. They won their last 7 games against teams that won less than 1/3 of their games (31-64-1) and even faced a playoff team during that run. However, they didn't win convincingly, finishing out the season with four wins of only one score (and nearly allowing the Browns to notch a second win). Those factors make this a difficult game to evaluate. Additionally, I'm uncomfortable choosing all of the home teams and, though you've not read my Packers/Cowboys pick - that's what I've done. If I had to pick a visiting team to win, it would be the Steelers. Having said that, I won't be picking the Steelers.
Winner: Chiefs

NFC Sunday 2nd game Packers at Cowboys
Well put me in a time machine and zap me back to the 90s! I love this match-up: Favre vs Aikman - I mean Rogers vs Prescott. These two teams faced a few of the same opponents this year but without providing a definitive conclusion as to which team is clearly better. The Cowboys lost to teams that the Packers defeated and vice versa. As long as the Cowboys can keep Rogers in the pocket they will win easily. If they are unable to contain Rogers, the 'Boys will still walk out with the win but it will be much closer.
Winner: Cowboys

Championship Round:
AFC
Chiefs at Patriots
Out of all of the AFC teams, the Chiefs are the team I didn't want to face (after Carr's injury. Prior it was the Raiders). They have a decent defense and an adequate offense. They match-up well against the Patriots. The Chiefs, however, have the misfortune of facing the team ranked #1 in points allowed and #3 in points scored (and remember, for the majority of the year they've been without either Brady or Gronk - and for some games - without both!) The Chiefs will put up a fight early, but the game will not be in doubt late.
Winner: Patriots

NFC
Falcons at Cowboys
Picking the home team for every game is like choosing all chalk in the NCAA March Madness Tournament - and, for as much as I want to choose the Falcons, I simply can't. While the top four contenders for NFL MVP are still paying at this point (Brady, Prescott, Elliot, & Ryan) it is the likely front runner for MVP (Ryan) who will walk out of Dallas with the L. My gut tells me that Dallas will lose this game. The 'Boys have had to score 24 points in order to walk away with a win for the majority of the season. That doesn't bode well for a team playing this late in the post-season. However, when I looked at the Falcon's defense they ranked 27th in the league for points against. Dallas is 5th. I'm not ignoring the fact that the Seahawks (whom I've picked to lose to the Falcons) are 3rd in defense The major difference is that the Falcons are 1st in offensive scoring, the Cowboys are 5th (the Seahawks wallow in 18th). I'm forced to predict the Cowboys as the victors.
Winner: Cowboys

Super Bowl
Cowboys vs Patriots
I feel like I've predicted Cowboys v Patriots a number of times prior to this. And I have: Once before. I've also predicted Falcons v Patriots once in the past as well. Nearly every time the Patriots are in the playoffs I've chosen them to make it to the Super Bowl. I'm fairly confident this year that they will advance, once again, to the Big Dance but I'm not excited about facing either the Falcons or the Cowboys. All in all, I'd rather see the Cowboys who have zero experience against a Belichickian defense. I believe that Brady will prove himself once and for all the GOAT in earning his 5th (and, astonishingly, not necessarily last) Super Bowl victory.
Winner: Patriots

So I've probably cursed the Patriots to a heart-breaking, last minute loss at the hands of the Seahawks! I still very much enjoy the process of evaluating the post-season teams and predicting the outcome of all of the games. I selected no upsets this year which doesn't sit well with me but we shall see how it all turns out. Go Patriots!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All Four Super Bowl Previews X

It is hard to believe this is the tenth episode of "All Four Super Bowl Previews!" I suppose it's somehow fitting that my 10th is the NFL's 50th. (If you are interested in how I did with the previous nine predictions you can find the links to the previous editions at the end of the post.)

Perennially I update my prediction record. In reviewing my figures I located an error that I will correct from here forward. Scoring is as follows: 1 Point for correctly predicting the AFC winner, 1 point for the NFC winner, and 1 point for correctly predicting the winner of the contest of the actual Super Bowl teams. A potential of 3 points per year with one exception: For some inexplicable reason I intentionally made no prediction regarding which teams would go to the Super Bowl in 2010. However, I did (incorrectly) predict a winner of the actual game that occurred. That year shall count for 1 available point. So, up until my predictions for 2015, I was 12 for 22 (54.5%). Last year I correctly predicted that the Patriots would face the Seahawks in the Big Dance, however, I guess I thought the Seahawks would run the ball at the goal line and not toss Malcolm Butler the game winning interception. (An identical prediction to the one I made the year before when the Seahawks trounced the Broncos.) However, going 2 for 3 last year increases my record to 56%! Ok, on to the predictions for this year:

Interesting fact regarding this year's QBs: Three out of four of them are over 35! Newton is the baby of the bunch at 26.

Alright, here are this year's games from least compelling to most:

Patriots vs Cardinals
I feel the need to briefly define how I'm using the term "Compelling" in this ranking structure. I don't mean the quality of game that will be on display for the fans to watch. I mean the story - the selling factor that CBS can milk to try to entice the casual viewer to the couch for the game. That being said this game is the one that no one wants to see. Here's why: Nobody (outside of New England [and their fans]) wants to see Brady in another Super Bowl. His legacy is set, his HOF ticket is stamped, it's time to share with the other children. Everyone (outside of Arizona and the fans of the other NFC South Teams) wants to see Cam Newton on the Big Stage (and, no, I don't mean singing with Coldplay.) So if there's no Newton and there is Tom Terrific then few people will be happy. This is unfortunate as I believe this will be the best game to watch. The Cardinals and Patriots both have the best offense for their respective leagues and adequate defenses to make it difficult for the opponents offense to simply move the ball all over them. This is the game I expect to see and I believe that Belichick and Co will find a way to befuddle Palmer into making enough mistakes that the Patriots will be the first to repeat as Super Bowl champions since... oh yeah, The Patriots.
Winner: Patriots
Losers: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms as they have to say nice things about the Patriots (they will later gargle with antiseptic mouthwash).

Broncos vs Cardinals
It may be surprising to find this game listed second considering how much the average fan doesn't want to see Brady in the Super Bowl, so his absence might appear to be drawing factor. However, I believe that Newton's absence would cause more people to not watch than Brady's presence. In regards to the game, the Broncos have a decent defense but not enough to win a championship. Their offense isn't what it used to be either. This game won't feel like it's over because the Nantz and Simms will continually fawn over Manning and herald him as the football Messiah (never once mentioning the HGH scandal that is currently surrounding him) but he will be unable to overcome the Cardinals. Peyton will fall to 1-3 for his Super Bowl appearances.
Winner: Cardinals
Loser: Manning's HGH provider as demand plummets.

Patriots vs Panthers
While CBS will get some play out of the "rematch of Super Bowl XXXVIII" angle (Cam Newton was a freshman in high school when that game was played), the major story-line here is that the Panthers are seeking to mirror the Patriots feat of finishing a season 18-1. The only difference is, when the Patriots finished 18-1 they were 18-0 headed into the final game of the year. The Panthers had an opportunity match the Patriots undefeated 16 game regular season but fell to the Falcons week 15. Now, had they managed to overcome their divisional rival CBS would be selling their souls for this match-up. Imagine the hype: "The Panthers are on a mission to be the first undefeated team in the 16 game era. The only obstacle still in their way? The last team to attempt the seemingly impossible feat. The Patriots hope to add another team with an 18-1 record to the annals of NFL History." Instead, it's the Panthers hoping for a better 18-1 record, where they hoist the Lombardi trophy at the end and the Patriots hoping to send "SuperCam" Newton home with 17-2 record for the year. If this is the game that we see, my emotions say that the Panthers will win, but my head says the Patriots. I don't expect the Patriots to spot the Panthers 31 points like the Seahawks did last week and if the Panthers D couldn't stop the Seahawks from coming within a TD of victory, they won't be able to stop Tom, Edelman, Gronk, and Amendola.
Winner: Patriots
Loser: Roger Goodell

Broncos vs Panthers
This is the game that everyone without a dog in the fight wants to see. They want Peyton to have his swan song and go out on top like the last great Broncos QB, John Elway, did. Not only that, but they want it to be against a rising star QB Cam Newton. A passing of the torch, if you will. They picture Newton congratulating Peyton at the 50 just after Manning has announced that now that he's won the Super Bowl he's going to fly the Millennium Falcon to Disney World (Because they can't cross reference that enough!) Both QBs smiling from ear to ear as Manning says, "You'll get yours next year kid" and, in oblivious to the irony, hands Cam the game ball. Too bad that isn't what is going to happen. This game will be over by the middle of the 3rd. The Panthers won't fall for Manning's new patented "Look at me guys, I'm giving myself up!" play. Manning will be benched after he throws his 3rd INT (2nd Pick-six [4th turnover including an earlier strip sack]). Brock comes in the game but it's too little, too late as the Panthers role over the Broncos by 3 scores. The Panthers will finish the season 18-1, but this time with a championship.
Winner: Panthers
Losers: Everyone tired of hearing about the 1972 Dolphins

Those are my thoughts, what are yours? Here are the links to my previous predictions, analysis, winners, and losers:

2007, Colts over Bears;
Game Predicted: Saints over Colts.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

2008, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Giants vs the Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots;

2009, Steelers over Cardinals;
Game Predicted: Steelers over Eagles.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2010, Saints over Colts;
Game Predicted: Purposeful lack of prediction.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Colts;

2011, Packers over Steelers;
Game Predicted: Accurately predicted the Packers and Steelers
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Steelers;

2012, Giants over Patriots;
Game Predicted: Giants over Ravens.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Patriots

2013, Ravens over 49ers;
Game Predicted: 49ers over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: 49ers

2014, Seahawks over Broncos;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

2015, Patriots over Seahawks;
Game Predicted: Seahawks over Patriots.
Predicted Winner of the Actual Super Bowl match-up: Seahawks

Friday, January 08, 2016

2015-2016 NFL Playoff Preview

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Nope, not Christmas time, NFL Playoff time! Hard to believe it's been another year since I posted but I simply can't refuse the siren call of predicting the NFL Post season. Here is how I did with last year's playoff predictions.

AFC:
Ravens v Steelers: Prediction Steelers, actual Ravens
Colts v Bengals: Prediction Bengals, actual Colts
Bengals v Patriots: Prediction Patriots, actual Patriots
Colts v Broncos: Prediction Broncos, actual Colts
Colts v Patriots: Prediction Patriots, actual Patriots

NFC:
Panthers v Cardinals: Prediction Panthers, actual Panthers
Cowboys v Lions: Prediction Cowboys, actual Cowboys
Seahawks v Panthers: Prediction Seahawks, actual Seahawks
Cowboys v Packers: Prediction Cowboys, actual Packers
Cowboys v Seahawks: Prediction Cowboys, actual Seahawks

Super Bowl
Cowboys v Patriots: Prediction Patriots, actual Patriots

It didn't look like my final prediction was going to hold true with the circus catch and Beast-Mode expectation until Butlers INT. I I went only 6 for 11 for 54% which is unfortunate seeing as half of those predictions were the Patriots! On to this year: Here is how I believe the second best tournament of the year will work itself out (NCAA basketball is #1):

I felt like last year's Wild Card Weekend was up-in-the-air. This year I feel like it's nearly a gimmie. That being said, I'll probably be lucky if I go .500 so don't rush to Vegas with my predictions. I'll review them in the order in which they will be played:

AFC Saturday 1st game Chiefs at Texans
If I were to power rank all 12 of the playoff teams the Texans would be at the bottom. I've heard many people talking about the Chiefs as the sleeper team of the post season. Momentum is a fairly important aspect of the NFL and the Chiefs are carrying a 10 game winning streak. Now, the flip side of that stat is that their wins were against pedestrian teams. Only 2 of which finished the year over .500 and three of their opponents winning fewer than a third of their games. This game will be a close one with Houston's excellent Defense holding KC's very good offense and KC's adequate defense stopping Houston's below average offense. When the clock stops, it's the Chiefs that will be moving on.
Winner: Chiefs

AFC Saturday 2nd game Steelers at Bengals
As a Patriots fan, the Steelers are the team that concern me the most. It wouldn't surprise me if Belichick lost to the Jets to give them control of their own destiny and keep Pittsburgh out of the post season. Then, when he saw that the Bills were whooping up on the Jets he chose to lose to the Dolphins so that if the Patriots had to meet the Steelers it wouldn't be until the AFC Championship game The Bengals, on the other hand would be ranked just above the Texans. With a back up QB and only a few challenges this year, less than half that they rose to, the Bengals are benefiting from early success. That success will not carry them into the next round of the post season. This game will be over by halftime. The Bengals have gone 24 years since their last playoff win. That tally will increase to 25.
Winner: Steelers

NFC Sunday 1st game Seahawks at Vikings
The biggest headline of this game will be the weather. Not because it will be the coldest game of all time, not even close. But with temperatures expected to be around 8 degrees Fahrenheit the NFL could put an end to "Deflategate" (or "Framegate" as it is more appropriately called) once and for all. Simply test those footballs at half time and make the results public. Of course, this will never happen. So, on to the game: Of all the games for wild card weekend, this is the most difficult to predict. The Vikings have had a late season push to finally wrestle the division from the claws of the Packers. Seattle has also had some success against key teams this season, most notably the Cardinals and the Vikings. If we were to go by the meeting in the regular season one would expect the Seahawks to run away with this one as they won by 29. However, the way the Vikings played against the Packers when it mattered gave a glimpse of what the team can do when their back is against the wall. The Seahawks have overcome the curse of the losing Super Bowl team not making the playoffs, but only just barely. It may be interesting to note that the teams who which the Seahawks have lost have the second highest winning record (behind only the Bengals)and the teams they beat have the 3rd lowest winning record (behind the Texans and Bengals). That means they lost to the good teams and beat the bad teams. That might make this pick easier if the Vikings hadn't done much of the same. Edging out the Seahawks by 1.76% in winning percentage of the teams they've beaten. So who comes out on top? The boys from Washington
Winner: Seahawks

NFC Sunday 2nd game: Packers at Redskins
The Packers of late have not been the Packers we've come to know and love (Or otherwise, depending on which team you favor). While the Redskins have emerged from the worst division of the NFC (When a team is 4-10 week 15 and still not mathematically eliminated from the post season [Dallas], there's a problem). The Redskins have the distinction of having lowest winning percentage of the teams against whom they won. Interestingly, they also lost teams with the second lowest winning percentage (The Panthers had the lowest winning percentage of teams they lost to [which was only one (Falcons)] at 50%). This means the Redskins had the easiest schedule out of all of the playoff teams and they still limped in. It feels odd going with all of the road teams but I can't find a good reason to pick the Redskins.
Winner: Packers

Divisional Round:
AFC Saturday 1st game Chiefs at Patriots
While I would much rather have seen the Bengals in this slot, we'll take the Chiefs. Hopefully, Edelman, Amendola, Gronk, and Brady will all be at 100%. If they are, then I have little concern that the Patriots will move on to the next round. If they are not all available to play, I still believe that the Patriots are matched up will against the Chiefs. People may point to the Patriots having gone 2-4 in their final 6 games but remember a few things: The Broncos game could have easily gone either way, the Eagles loss was a major special teams debacle and the Patriots still had a chance to win, and the losses to the Jets and Dolphins may have been intentional. The Patriots usually save a few special plays for the post season (See: Ravens controversy last year that we all forgot about because of "Framegate). The Chief's hopes for a championship end in Foxboro.
Winner: Patriots

NFC Saturday 2nd game Packers at Cardinals
The Packers aren't as fortunate this round having to travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. The Cardinals have already disposed of the Packers once this season and it was the current team who doesn't look like the Green Bay of old (Or even week 5). Palmer will beat Rogers and give the Cards the win.
Winner: Cardinals

NFC Sunday 1st game Seahawks at Panthers
The Panthers looked like they were going to match the Patriots feat of 2007 of going the entire regular season without a loss. They still have a chance to match New England's 18-1 record if they can bring home the Lombardi Trophy. First they have to get past the Seahawks. The likelihood that the Panthers were going to go undefeated decreased greatly when their star running back Jonathan Stewart went down with an injury. Two games later they lost to the Falcons. The Panthers faced teams with the worst overall winning percentage but part of that is that they defeated 93.75% of those teams. However, those same teams didn't do a lot of winning apart from when they faced the Panthers either. It would be a great disappointment if the Panthers went out the first round. Rumor has it that Stewart will be back. The Panthers don't disappoint.
Winner: Panthers

AFC Sunday 2nd game Steelers at Broncos
This is a game I (wrongly) predicted last year. But this year I'm even more sure it will happen. The Steelers are one of the healthiest teams in the AFC and that goes a long way in the post season. The Broncos have to choose between an injured geriatric with a bum neck and an unproven QB who they pulled from the final game of the year when it really mattered. I believe they are going to go with Manning and he will be the Manning of late (which is the Manning we've come to expect in the playoffs). He will throw no fewer than 2 interceptions. He will get a hit that will give the Broncos and excuse to pull him in favor of Brock but it will be too late. Big Ben will march the Steelers to a Mile High victory ending Manning's final chance at equaling his younger (and far less talented) brother's Super Bowl victories.
Winner: Steelers

Championship Round:
AFC
Steelers at Patriots
This is the game I dreaded. Can the Patriots #DefendtheWall against the Steelers in Foxboro. The Patriots have defeated Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game twice in the past, both times in Pittsburgh, and both times the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl. Can the Steelers return the favor? Can Big Ben waltz into Foxoboro in late January, defeat the Patriots and then beat the NFC's Super Bowl Representative? I don't think so (that, and every time I've picked against the Patriots I've regretted it).
Winner: Patriots

NFC
Cardinals at Panthers
As informed as I try to be I haven't had much opportunity to see the Cardinals this year. Stats show that they are evenly balanced but can they stop the double pronged run and shoot offense of Stewart, Newton, and the Panthers? While Cam is certainly the shoe-in for NFL MVP this year, I'm not 100% sure that he can beat the Cardinals. If they did, I think they'd win the Super Bowl. I've even typed the Super Bowl match up of a Panthers v Patriots rematch but it didn't seem right. Despite my better judgment and what all the experts are saying, I'm going with Palmer and the Cardinals.
Winner: Cardinals

Super Bowl
Cardinals vs Patriots
This actually will be a better game than Panthers v Patriots. Cardinals v Patriots will have more fan-favorite passing and a advertising preferred high-scoring game. Like every other Patriots victory, this game will be decided by less than a Touchdown in the closing minutes of the game. Unlike other Patriots games, this game will have two teams pushing, if not breaking, the 40 point barrier. If you're a gambler - take the over (Not really because, as I've proved in the past, what do I know?!)
Winner: Patriots

There you have it. If you are a betting person, I recommend betting on what I predicted will NOT happen. If one were to do some reconnaissance on my previous NFL predictions during the preseason, I'm pretty sure we'd see that the Dallas v New England Super Bowl is one that is most commonly predicted. However, this year I believe it's a very high likelihood. Enjoy the games. What a great time of year!