By: Allen Erickson
With the regular season coming to an end this weekend, the playoff picture in the AFC is complete, and the NFC will soon follow. And who on this planet doesn’t want to see Brady vs. Eli part 3, with Eli taking yet another ring from Brady?? Well, I don’t see it happening, but it’d be nice. Here are my picks for Super Bowl 51:
NFC Representative- Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. We’ve seen this story before. There’s a team everyone is down on in the first 4-6 weeks of the season, and then, all of a sudden, they flip a switch and remember how to play solid football. This year, that’s the Green Bay Packers. Last week I wrote an article about the MVP race, and I’d love to change Derek Carr for Aaron Rodgers. Nobody has been playing better football since the middle of October than Rodgers. The defense is beginning to play solid football, and Rodgers and company are creating a running game with Ty Montgomery’s involvement in the offense.
Since week 5, Rodgers has caught fire. Over that 11 game stretch, Rodgers has 3,511 yards (over 319 yards per game,) 29 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions. When you get into the postseason, you go as your quarterback goes. There are 3 proven quarterbacks in the NFC playoff picture this season. Dak Prescott is a rookie, Matt Ryan does not have ice in his veins in the postseason, and whichever quarterback squeaks in (Stafford, Cousins, Winston,) I wouldn’t bet on them. So, naturally, despite records and home field advantage, I feel that there are 3 contenders in the NFC. Eli Manning and the Giants, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, and Rodgers and the Pack. While the other 2 have been exceptional in the postseason, I’m rolling with the hot hand. NFC Championship game- Green Bay visits Dallas and wins 27-20, advancing to the Super Bowl.
AFC: It’s so easy to pick the Patriots, here. So, naturally, I won’t. There’s a team in the AFC that is very intriguing and is impressing on both sides of the ball. If I wrote this article 2 weeks ago, I would’ve confidently picked the Oakland Raiders. With Derek Carr’s injury, I’ve jumped ship. Don’t look now, but Andy Reid has the Chiefs playing the best football in the AFC. The defense is stacked with a great combination of pass rushers, run stuffers, and who I believe to be the BEST cornerback in football, in Marcus Peters. The offense has shown rather surprising big play ability. The Chiefs are on track for a Super Bowl run.
Kansas City has found a new X-factor for their offense. His name is Tyreek Hill. The fifth round pick has had an outstanding rookie season, and if it weren’t for Ezekiel Elliot’s stellar season, we’d be talking about Hill as the rookie of the year. With 1,680 all-purpose yards (4th most in the NFL) and 11 total touchdowns (5th most,) Hill has provided a much-needed spark for an offense led by the ever-so-boring Alex Smith. One thing we can be sure about with Smith is he doesn’t turn the ball over. Spencer Ware is becoming a heavily used three-down back, and the offense is becoming more and more potent by the day. Jeremy Maclin is back in the lineup, along with pro-bowl tight end Travis Kelce, this offense has come a long way from last season when we saw the Chiefs lose to the Patriots in the Foxboro a season ago, by a measly touchdown. The Chiefs will shock the world and upset the Patriots in Foxboro in the AFC Championship game. 24-21 Kansas City marches to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LI- February 5, 2017 Houston, Texas:
Winner- Simple, go with the best quarterback in the game right now. Packers 23-17 over the Chiefs.
MVP- Randall Cobb- 9 catches, 113 yards, 2 touchdowns. Jordy Nelson will be shadowed by Marcus Peters all game, giving Cobb the opportunity to take advantage of playing against a nickel corner. Cobb has a monster game and earns the MVP.
This can go 1 or 2 ways for me. Ideally, it’ll turn out exactly this way, and all of you readers will believe I can see into the future. Or, and even more realistically, we’ll end up watching Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl again, and everyone will laugh about my silly Chiefs prediction. Only one way to find out. Grab ahold and don’t let go, it’s time for playoff football!