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Bring on the Bird Bowl


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Bring on the Bird Bowl

Considering it's not even August yet, some may think that making a prediction for this year's Super Bowl is a bit absurd. But given how Brett Favre and Brad Childress are playing a rousing game of, "Who can be more annoying?" (they're both winning, by the way), anything is better than discussing "Favre Watch 2010."

All right, let's get nasty. Colts vs. Saints? Too easy, plus it's more likely that George Lopez will make you laugh during one of his shows than it is for a team in the NFC to make back-to-back Super Bowl appearances these days.

Pass.

The Jets have become the unofficial chic pick this season, which means they'll probably finish 2-14. Every year the media has a darling and every year that team falls into a giant suckhole filled with jinx.

Pass.

Like most folks, I could make a case for the Colts, Saints, Jets, Cowboys, Chargers, Packers or Vikings to make Super Bowl runs. They're all loaded with talent and they're all logical choices. I also think the Dolphins, Texans, Giants and 49ers are teams that should be dramatically improved this year and would be intriguing choices.

But in the end, there's something about the Ravens and Falcons that light my fire and thus, they are my official late July Super Bowl picks.

Here are some similarities between the two teams that I find interesting:

The Quarterbacks

Both Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are entering their third years, which is generally the time in young players' careers that things really start to click. Both of these signal callers are dedicated to their craft, are in systems that suit their talents, and each has a great supporting cast.

Missing Pieces

Ozzie Newsome knew that the only way Flacco could take the Ravens to the next level was to get him a legitimate No. 1 receiver. Some believe Anquan Boldin has lost a step over the years, but even if that's the case he won't need to be a speed demon in order to be productive in Baltimore. As long as he can keep the chains moving on third downs and make the tough receptions over the middle, then he'll be successful...Entering the offseason, the Falcons' biggest weakness was the cornerback position. That's why they broke the bank to sign Dunta Robinson in early March. Granted, he's coming off a down year, but he represents a massive upgrade over Chris Houston (who was traded to Detroit) and brings leadership to a young defense.

Running Games

Ray Rice emerged as one of the most productive backs in the NFL last season and word out of Baltimore is that he's been one of the hardest workers for the Ravens this offseason. The Falcons have their own workhorse in Michael Turner, who is said to be in the best shape of his career following an injury-plagued 2009 campaign. Both teams have a ton of depth at the running back position in Willis McGahee (BAL), Jason Snelling (ATL) and Jerious Norwood (ATL), as well as outstanding fullbacks in Ovie Mughelli (ATL) and Le'Ron McClain (BAL). Teams that can run the football in the NFL win and both of these teams can do just that.

Underrated Defensive Players

Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs get most of the attention in Baltimore, but Jarrett Johnson, Tom Zbikowski and Lardarius Webb are three players who could play a significant role in getting Baltimore deep into the postseason this year. The same goes for guys like Jonathan Babineaux, Thomas DeCoud, Kroy Biermann and Curtis Lofton (who is quickly becoming a star at the MLB position) for the Falcons. That said, it wouldn't hurt if stars like Suggs and John Abraham picked up their games after down years.

Now, what do these similarities have to do with the Ravens and Falcons making Super Bowl runs this year? Everything or nothing depending on how you look at it. But the point is that these teams are both loaded with talent, upgraded their rosters in the offseason and have addressed weaknesses that held them back in '09. Do they still have areas of concern? Without a doubt - but so does every other team at this point in the year. If both teams can stay healthy, overachieve in some areas and have a little luck, then there's no reason they can't make it to the big dance in Dallas next February.

And if you're looking for an actual prediction, then let's go with: Falcons 34, Ravens 31.

Matt Ryan runs the no-huddle to perfection with under two minutes remaining in the fourth and finds Tony Gonzalez in the back of the end zone for the win.

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And if you're looking for an actual prediction, then let's go with: Falcons 34, Ravens 31.

Matt Ryan runs the no-huddle to perfection with under two minutes remaining in the fourth and finds Tony Gonzalez in the back of the end zone for the win.

You know that sounds just about perfect to me.

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I wonder if this guy even knows that the Falcons and the Ravens are going to play in Atlanta during the regular season (game on November 11)? Odd he wouldn't mention that.

I would probably smoke a pack of cigarettes within the time it takes us to complete the game winning drive :wacko:

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+1 for a good article and picking the Falcons to win. I would go along with these Super Bowl picks also. Well one, cause duh I'm a Falcons fan and two I see similarities in both teams. I think the Ravens have a very good chance of reaching the Super Bowl in the AFC because they have a good defense and strong run game which means ball control. The Jets are over rated, very good defense but I'm not sold on Sanchez. There is no way the Saints make it back after their lucky every game streak last year, plus Bress is on the cover of Madden, don't break a leg dude. I would change the score though to Falcons 34, Ravens 20.

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Matt Ryan runs the no-huddle to perfection with under two minutes remaining in the fourth and finds Tony Gonzalez in the back of the end zone for the win.

When Ryan led the VTech comeback in college with under two minutes remaining, it almost killed me. I don't know if I could handle that being how we won a Superbowl.

But, assuming I ever recovered from the heart palpitations ... couldn't ask for a better ending. Let Tony G. retire with his ring in style.

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Not sure my heart could take a last minute SB drive with us needing to score a TD or lose the game. I'm not as young as I was when Gary Anderson missed the FG for the Vikings to give us a shot at the NFC Championship! :lol:

As long as my heart waits to give out until after Gonzo brings in the winning TD I'd be cool w/ it. I'd happily trade a superbowl for cardiac arrest.

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Thing is, the Ravens already got alot of problems brewing ....Mt. Cody , failed physical ....Ed Reed, Washington and Webb very well may start the season on PUP ...Sergio Kindle fell down the stairs ......Ray Ray getting old ...I actually see Indy as the cream of the AFC crop right now, not Baltimore .......

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Thing is, the Ravens already got alot of problems brewing ....Mt. Cody , failed physical ....Ed Reed, Washington and Webb very well may start the season on PUP ...Sergio Kindle fell down the stairs ......Ray Ray getting old ...I actually see Indy as the cream of the AFC crop right now, not Baltimore .......

I've gotta agree, Indy is at the top of the AFC in my mind.

NFC is a different story, I've got Minnesota, Green Bay, New Orleans, Dallas, and Atlanta at the top. Case for and against each:

For:

Minnesota - They've got the Defense, RB, and QB to be a Super Bowl team.

Green Bay - Another good Defense and a smart QB to boot.

New Orleans - They won it all last season, they can do it again.

Dallas - Pretty good D and an O that can move the ball.

Atlanta - Already have a good offense and have a young, hungry Defense.

Against:

Minnesota - AP is unhappy with his contract, Favre still hasn't made a commitment. Without Favre, this team doesn't even make the playoffs.

Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers has a tendency to be streaky. If he hits a bad streak at the wrong time, Green Bay will fall.

New Orleans - If anything happens to Brees, they are done. Also, the team would need to produce turnovers at the same rate it did last season to have a chance at repeating.

Dallas - As someone on this board has said before, they are trying to "Yankees" their way to a title. Talent with little chemistry rarely works out in football.

Atlanta - Young team that could be prone to mistakes. If the Defense doesn't gel, they will have a rough time.

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I've gotta agree, Indy is at the top of the AFC in my mind.

NFC is a different story, I've got Minnesota, Green Bay, New Orleans, Dallas, and Atlanta at the top. Case for and against each:

For:

Minnesota - They've got the Defense, RB, and QB to be a Super Bowl team.

Green Bay - Another good Defense and a smart QB to boot.

New Orleans - They won it all last season, they can do it again.

Dallas - Pretty good D and an O that can move the ball.

Atlanta - Already have a good offense and have a young, hungry Defense.

Against:

Minnesota - AP is unhappy with his contract, Favre still hasn't made a commitment. Without Favre, this team doesn't even make the playoffs.

Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers has a tendency to be streaky. If he hits a bad streak at the wrong time, Green Bay will fall.

New Orleans - If anything happens to Brees, they are done. Also, the team would need to produce turnovers at the same rate it did last season to have a chance at repeating.

Dallas - As someone on this board has said before, they are trying to "Yankees" their way to a title. Talent with little chemistry rarely works out in football.

Atlanta - Young team that could be prone to mistakes. If the Defense doesn't gel, they will have a rough time.

I think you are pretty spot on with that ....as for the Cheeseheads, I think they will be good, but if they allow another 50 sacks on Rodgers, at some point he won't get up this year....who is your dark horse in the NFC ? ....I think for me it is SF .....

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I think you are pretty spot on with that ....as for the Cheeseheads, I think they will be good, but if they allow another 50 sacks on Rodgers, at some point he won't get up this year....who is your dark horse in the NFC ? ....I think for me it is SF .....

SF could be a dark horse, one I actually like. So could the Bears and even the Redskins with Shanahan and McNabb. However, and I know I'm going to sound crazy for this, my dark horse is actually the Panthers. Here's why: 1) John Fox rarely has two down seasons in a row. 2) Jake Delhomme caused quite a few of their losses last season. 3) No matter who the QB, the Panthers still have, IMO, the most dangerous rushing duo in the league. Yes, they lost quite a bit on the defensive side of the ball, but I still think they are going to surprise some people.

To be completely honest, I could see 3 teams from the NFC South making the playoffs. I see the Falcons winning the division at 12-4, the Saints coming in second at 11-5, and the Panthers finishing third at only 10-6. Crazy, yes, but crazier things have happened.

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SF could be a dark horse, one I actually like. So could the Bears and even the Redskins with Shanahan and McNabb. However, and I know I'm going to sound crazy for this, my dark horse is actually the Panthers. Here's why: 1) John Fox rarely has two down seasons in a row. 2) Jake Delhomme caused quite a few of their losses last season. 3) No matter who the QB, the Panthers still have, IMO, the most dangerous rushing duo in the league. Yes, they lost quite a bit on the defensive side of the ball, but I still think they are going to surprise some people.

To be completely honest, I could see 3 teams from the NFC South making the playoffs. I see the Falcons winning the division at 12-4, the Saints coming in second at 11-5, and the Panthers finishing third at only 10-6. Crazy, yes, but crazier things have happened.

Yea, the Pantys are the biggest enigma in the league to me... .I could see them going anywhere from 4-12 to 11-5 ....I just don't know ... I think Chicagos O will show improvement under Martz, but that O-line is horrible ...Frank Omiyale is their starting RT, LOL ..... :blink:

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Minnesota - AP is unhappy with his contract, Favre still hasn't made a commitment. Without Favre, this team doesn't even make the playoffs.

I hope he does not come back. Not because of the insipid favre watch but because I don't think he has another full season in him. As annoying as these last few years have been I don't want him carted off the field on a stretcher. He is a crazy tough player and I would like him to end it before something bad happens.

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All right, let's get nasty. Colts vs. Saints? Too easy, plus it's more likely that George Lopez will make you laugh during one of his shows than it is for a team in the NFC to make back-to-back Super Bowl appearances these days.

It's even less likely two teams from the same division make and win the SB in consecutive seasons, much less two teams that are heated rivals...but I guess anything is possible. :P

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