Who’s Going to the Super Bowl?
A rare occurrence happened last weekend. The New England Patriots lost in the wild card round for the first time since 2009. Considering that the path to the Super Bowl is open to a whopping eight teams, none of whom hail from Foxboro, it’s anyone’s game. Well, it should be. However, we all know that there are favorites to go to the Super Bowl, though it’ll be interesting to see how some teams’ relative inexperience in the playoffs will affect them and if they can rise above the pressure or succumb to it. Normally, there would be matchups that experts can make a clear prediction on the winner, but this year, with the Patriots no longer in the mix, nothing is clear-cut.
I’ll begin with the Vikings-49ers tilt. Based on this season, the 49ers were more successful and produced more heavily. However, they are woefully inexperienced in the playoffs while their opponents have experience not only winning playoff games but winning in high-pressure situations. Needless to say, this matchup could go either way, but I think the Vikings will pull out a surprise win. The other NFC matchup features the Seahawks and the Packers. This really is another toss-up. The Seahawks have a lot of playoff experienced players to lean on, but so do the Packers. Also, the Packers have something the Seahawks don’t: the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. It’s already hard to win there as a visitor, but play a playoff game during the winter there and winning as a visitor becomes a mythical task. I’ll lean toward the Packers winning here.
In the AFC, the Ravens and the Titans are going to meet. Most people will write off Tennessee since the Ravens were so dominant this year. However, I can’t write off Titans running back Derrick Henry, certainly not after he ran roughshod over the Patriots defense last weekend for 204 combined yards and a rushing TD, on his birthday no less. I still think the Ravens will win in Baltimore, but they’ll have to earn it.
Now we come to the hardest game to predict, the Chiefs-Texans game. I’ll be totally honest and tell you that I don’t know who the hell is going to win this game. Seeing as it’ll be a battle between Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, two of the league’s best quarterbacks, I can’t even begin to tell you not only how excited I am for this game, but how utterly clueless I am as to who I think will win.
I could be completely right about my predictions or totally wrong, but I do know that this is when the real season starts.