One of my favorite days of the year, Championship Sunday in the NFL. My beloved Redskins said before their last run to the Super Bowl (in 1991 when they crushed the Bills) that the NFC Championship game was more important than the Super Bowl, because “if we lose today, we don’t go (to the Super Bowl).” Very profound! 😉 OK, now that I reminded everyone that the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1991 (they also won in ’87 and ’82), let’s talk about 2016 and Super Bowl 50 (no Roman numerals this year).
Brady vs. Manning part 17. New Age 26-year-old Cam Newton vs. Old School 36-year-old Carson Palmer. Three no. 1 overall draft picks and one no. 199 (Brady). Three guys nearing the end of their careers and one just coming into his prime. Four great teams, lead by great quarterbacks vying for two coveted spots in the biggest game in sports. A day this monumental makes me feel like I can’t lose.
I like and respect each of these teams and their QBs. My thoughts…
Patriots vs. Broncos
Tom Brady is the greatest to ever play quarterback. No question about it. Peyton is the smartest, no question about it. The Pats are on the road, but they’re favored and they should be. Belichick will force Peyton to beat the Patriots D. I don’t see C.J. Anderson or Ronnie Hillman doing much on the ground for Denver. I see the Pats shutting them down and daring Peyton to throw the ball downfield. Peyton has completed just 42% of his passes 10+ yards downfield this year and has only 5 TDs compared to 9 INTs on such throws. Gronk will score another TD or two for the Pats and Brady will get the better of Manning yet again. I had the pleasure of attending the AFC Championship two years ago in Denver and it was incredible just to see two of the GOATs battle it out in Championship game. Today will likely be the last time we see that with these two. And it may be the last time we see Peyton Manning in pads, so cherish it.
Pats win 27-20.
Cardinals vs. Panthers
Very intriguing matchup here. The Panthers are on fire and appear to be fearless. Will that catchup with this younger squad now that it’s Championship time? Will the pressure of having to get it done now before it’s too late get to guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer for the Cardinals? I would love to see Fitz get a ring before he retires. The dude is one of the best receivers this league has ever seen. He’s only 32 and just had one of the best seasons of his career, but it’s hard enough to get to the SB and at WR in this league, 32 isn’t so young. While that’s what I’d like to see, I don’t think I can bet against Cam Newton or the Panthers phenomenal defense–especially at home. Cam has won at every level–Junior College, NCAA and now the NFL. He’s said he doesn’t get nervous and I believe him.
Panthers win 34-27.
Regardless who wins, today should be epic so don’t miss it because I have a feeling we’re in for a real treat.