Friday, January 30, 2009

NFL Pick: Super Bowl XLIII

Don't goof around too much with that hammer, Brett. You'll need it to destroy tapes of the '98 Wild Card game against the 49ers, the '01 Divisional game against the Rams, the '02 Wild Card game against the Falcons, the '03 Divisional game against the Eagles, the '04 Wild Card game against the Vikings, and the '07 NFC Championship game against the Giants. You could probably use that same hammer for the tapes from the latter half of your season with the Jets, and whatever trouble you find yourself in with the Vikings next year (please go there, please please please).

Speaking of Princess Brett, some of his fans are trying to say that if he was still on the Packers, he could have had a reclamation project similar to that of Kurt Warner with the Arizona Cardinals. But then again, these are the same fans that still bring up Ari Fleischer when they are trying to rip on Ted Thompson. Obviously, they are wrong, as Kurt Warner is playing much better football than Favre could have ever dreamed of this season.

What's interesting about these Cardinals though, is that besides Warner and their receivers, they have really been an awful team for much of the season. They got crushed by the Patriots in December, a game that pretty much told everyone there was no way they could compete with the league's best teams. They backed into the playoffs, and looked like they had no momentum to even escape past the first round. And even though they clinched the NFC West way early, if the 49ers play calling wasn't so dreadful in their Monday night matchup earlier this season, the 49ers could be in this spot. How much more absurd would that have been?

There is a reason why no matter how good the teams around the league may be, I always say that I want nothing more for than the Packers to just make the playoffs. It really doesn't matter how you get there, in my opinion, as long as you do get there. Take a team like the Patriots, they could have won the Super Bowl this season, but they couldn't get in. They didn't have the same chance the Cardinals had in being one of the final twelve. The Cardinals may have done it ugly, but they got there. And that's all that matters. Once you're in, anything can happen.

Are they the worst Super Bowl team of all-time? I wouldn't go that far, because they could very well win this game. This is the matchup I wanted to see - not just because I hate the Eagles - but because I want to see the Cardinals offense go up against that Steelers defense.

The way to beat that defense is to exploit the middle of the field, something the Cardinals have done very effectively this season. The focus may be on Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, but don't be surprised if screen passes to Tim Hightower and slant routes to Steve Breaston end up winning this game for the Cardinals.

As interesting as the Cardinals drives will be on Sunday, let's not forget about the matchup of the Pittsburgh offense versus the Cardinals defense. Roethlisberger (I refuse to just say "Ben") will be looking to avenge his so-so performance from Super Bowl XL, so look for him to be raring and ready to go. And because every Super Bowl needs a compelling storyline, it will be fun to see how former Steelers coaches Ken Wisenhunt and Russ Grimm prepare against their old team.

As for a prediction, I predict that the game will actually be entertaining, and not suck. The Super Bowl is usually set-up for a huge let down, but in recent years it's been pretty entertaining. But I can predict that the commercials will suck, the pre-game will get boring, and the buffalo wings will be delicious. I will also be obnoxious in my custom made Super Bowl XLIII t-shirt made by a family friend. SWAG!

But the game itself? After many hours of careful deliberation, I'm going to pull a Joe Flacco and pick the Steelers. Let's go with 27-21 for the final score. But why am I picking the Steelers, even when I want the Cardinals to win?

Because I put money on the Cardinals, and don't want to jinx myself. Although I think I just did.

It's ok though, I already got my free shirt.


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