With The Packers Eliminated, Who Will Win The Super Bowl?
It was assumed that the Green Bay Packers would steamroll their way through the playoffs and challenge for another Super Bowl title.
The New York Giants had other ideas.
A shocking 37-20 mauling by the Eli Manning-led Giants sent the Packers, well, packing and blew the doors open in the NFL Playoffs. So now, who is the favorite to take home the hardware as Super Bowl champions.
Is it the Giants?
The Giants are ridiculously hot right now. After experiencing a rough patch that had many thinking their post-season hopes were up in smoke mid-season, Eli Manning and the surging Victor Cruz helped carry the Giants to the NFC East title and to two very impressive victories over the Falcons and the #1 seeded Packers. Can they keep the momentum going? It’s going to be tough when they face the 49ers, who upended them by a score of 27-20 in week 10. When Eli is on, he’s on. He carved up the Packers for 330 yards and 3 TDs and put on a similar performance against the Falcons (277 yards & 3 TDs). But if he’s off, it’s going to be a long night for the Giants. He was horrific against the Redskins and can become turnover prone. It is safe to say that the Giants’ fortunes rely on his arm.
Is it the 49ers?
Nobody saw this coming. A 13-3 team that plays smashmouth football in a league that relies heavily on the passing game. Wait, is this the same 49ers team that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs for a decade? Yup. Jim Harbaugh‘s Niners have shocked the world with the same players but a new philosophy. They run the ball down your throat and stifle you with excellent defense. Their thrilling last minute win against the New Orleans Saints proved that this team has what it takes to win a Super Bowl. With the Packers gone, the Niners and a rejuvenated Alex Smith get to play at home against the Giants – who they already beat earlier in the season. But can a stingy defense and a rugged running game be enough to bring this city its first Super Bowl since the days of Steve Young?
Is it the Patriots?
Tom Brady needed to put those early playoff exits behind him by completely dismantling the Denver Broncos en route to a resounding 45-10 divisional playoff win. They’ve won nine in a row and are absolutely frightening to play right now. They haven’t scored less than 25 points since Week 9 when they lost to the Giants. With Rob Gronkowski emerging as a monstrous threat, it’s really, really difficult to go against Brady and Co. But as good as Tom Brady is, their defense is a huge problem. They have been horrific against the pass and not much better against the run. A couple of defensive stops and you’ve pretty much got yourself an opportunity to win.
Is it the Ravens?
Despite Joe Flacco‘s inconsistencies and the strange offensive strategy that sometimes find them going away from Ray Rice, the Ravens are perhaps the most well-rounded team left in the playoffs. Their defense is a little better than the 49ers and their offense is solid when Rice holds it down. It takes a high-powered offense to give the Ravens defense problems and that’s only happened once this season, when San Diego throttled them 34-14 in Week 5. They struggle with lapses just when you think that they are the best team in the league. If the Patriots get a leg up early, it’s hard to see Flacco be the kind of quarterback that can make a huge comeback.
With so many question marks, it’s difficult to confidently pick a team to win it all. However, I have a feeling that the 49ers will rise to the occasion and shock the world by taking out the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.