Prediction: Battle of the birds in Super Bowl 47Published 9:19am Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Column: Aaron Worm, Behind the Mic
The start of the new NFL season brings a glimmer of hope to all fans. Everyone is 0-0 and has a shot to win the Super Bowl. I take that back. Let’s be realistic. The Cardinals, Rams, Redskins, Buccaneers, and I hate to say it, but the Vikings, are just a handful of teams, that would be happy to make the playoffs, let alone host the Lombardi Trophy. What fans will be celebrating with a parade come this February? Let’s break down the NFC North.
The Packers are still the team to beat, coming off a 15-1 season, which ended with a playoff loss to the eventual champion New York Giants. Aaron Rodgers is only 28 years old, and may still have his best years yet to come, which is scary for everyone else in the division.
Everyone in the Central has a favorable schedule playing the NFC West, and the AFC South. Packers should win at least 13 games and grab the division crown for the second straight year. I think the Bears finish second and grab a wild card spot. Former Vikings head coach Mike Tice is the offensive coordinator, and has a lot of weapons with Matt Forte, Michael Bush, and Brandon Marshall. If the Bears offense puts up big numbers this year, Tice could have a shot at being a head coach again. I will take the Vikings to finish third. Yes, the purple. Even though expectations are low, with a favorable start to the schedule they could, and I stress “probably not,” but “could” be 6-2 after the first eight games. Playing the Bears and Packers each twice in their last six games, will prevent the Vikes from making the postseason, but we might have some hope through the first half of the schedule.
That puts the Lions in fourth. Many experts believe the Lions are playoff bound, I am not buying it. Mathew Stafford seems to be injury prone. And I don’t think Calvin Johnson can put up numbers close to the 1,600 yards receiving, and 16 Touchdowns like last year.
I am not a superstitious person, but I don’t know why any player would want to be on the cover of Madden. It seems that every player on the cover is doomed for an injury filled season, or a huge drop in numbers from the year before. There are many examples of the “curse.” Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpeper was on the cover in 2002, threw 23 interceptions that year, and the Vikes finished 6-10. The latest example is Peyton Hillis who was on last year’s cover. He was coming off a 2010 season where he played in all 16 games for Cleveland, and rushed for over 1,100 yards, had over 400 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. After being the cover boy, played in 10 games, under 600 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Lions Fans, and Calvin Johnson fantasy football owners, you have been warned.
So along with the Packers and Bears, I take Atlanta to win the South (Matt Ryan becomes a Top 5 quarterback this year), Seattle to win the West and the Giants to win the East with Philadelphia as the wild card.
In the AFC, Baltimore in the North, Kansas City in the West, New England in the East and Houston in the South, with the Bills and the Steelers as wild cards.
Let’s go with the Falcons and the Ravens in Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans. I always to like to pick a team to win the Super Bowl that is not a heavy favorite to win, but not a one-in-a-million chance of winning either (Indianapolis). I think after a 13-3 season two years ago, which ended in disappointment with a loss to eventual Super Bowl champion, Green Bay, I think the Falcons do the “dirty bird” on bourbon street.
KATE Radio Sports Director Aaron Worm’s column appears each week in the Tribune. He can be heard from 6 to 11 a.m. weekdays on The Breeze.