Alright, my sleeper for the Superbowl is...the Minnesota Vikings (duh). But, let me explain.
First of all, the Vikings are going to be playing in a rivalry game, so realistically, they can win. I know the Packers beat the Vikings two times this season, but it was by a combined 6 points and on both occasion the Vikings scored over 30 points. Prediction: Vikings 35, Packers 34.
If the Vikings can pull that off, they will face an Eagles team who haven't played their "A-Game" since Owens' season-ending injury a couple weeks back. Their rhythm could be SERIOUSLY off. Prediction: Vikings 27, Eagles 22
Then, come the Falcons. The same franchise that beat the record-setting 15-1 Vikings in the NFC Championship. One word: Revenge. Watch Randy Moss silence all the critics and walk away with 150 and 3 scores as the Vikings beat the Falcons in a shootout. Prediction: Vikings 44, Falcons 39
Finally, the Superbowl. An experience the Vikings have waited 28 years for. Their opponents, the inexperienced Big Ben. Watch Roethlisberger's nerves get the best of him as Antoine Winfield becomes Superbowl MVP and leads the Vikings to a hard-fought win. Prediction: Vikings 27, Steelers 21.
Bring on the rebuttals.
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I don't think we'll be seeing the steelers in the Super Bowl. I think that the Chargers will be going pretty far.
SD over Jets-With both teams having decent RBs and decent running defense, they'll look to the air, where Brees+Gates will outpreform Pennington and Moss.
SD over Pitts-Another game that will be won through the air, i don't think that Ben will be able to pull it off despite better recieving talent.
SD over Colts-The game ended in OT the last time they played, and it's hard to lose that close twice to the same team in so short a time frame
SD-Pats? This is a hard one-Dillion won't have a easy time against SD's run defense, but Brady should be able to pass through their relitively poor passing defense-SD will be able to switch between running and passing, which is good news for them.
vikings may -- an explosive o is always dangerous. But, i doubt it. They can't stop anyone.
And as far as playing an "a" game, correct me if I am wrong, but its not like the vikes were tearing up the league. what did they finish with a 3-7 tear? The eagles obviously threw the last two games and didn't look great against the redskins (incidentally whom the vikes lost to) and the cowboys, playing semi-vanilla in bad conditions. For the record, they destroyed those teams earlier. The point about the eagles not having played their "a" game is well taken, and could be a factor.
But, given that there isn't a team other than the falcons who have anything going for them on defense. (take a look at the nfc scoring defense stats, and bear in mind that until the last week, the eagles were number 1 in the category) I just don't see it. Owens doesn't play defense, and the eagles d did a good job on the vikes earlier in the year -- the d has only gotten better with trotter.
I think the eagles make it this year (only to be creamed, but I'll take it) by beating the packers. I just don't see the vikes, rams or hawks being able to do it, their defense are too injured and too flawed when healthy.
rhythym is an issue, but seriously, its not as if the eagles aren't some veteran team. Mcnabb has been playing with those guys for a few years now, and does have the benefit of tons of practice against a defensive unit that is loaded. I know its not the same, but its not like there are any defensive units like the bucs, steelers or pats out there for the first few rounds.