The Road to Superbowl XLIX – Our Selections week by week
Week 1 – Wildcard Weekend
This is the best time of year in America. A nation that loves it’s football and gets more than a little emotional right through until February. So how does week 1 kick off in the playoffs.
Whats the most important part to this game. Simple. The Panthers are at home. Whats the next most important part. Easy, Cam Newton. I really like Cam; problem is in 2013 when these two sides met last, he had a stinker and the Cardinals kept the Panthers to just 6 points and Cam to 53% completion. There are those that would argue that this is a better Cardinals defense than last year. The thing is I think this is a better Panthers team as well. Benjamin gives them more options and defensively they are playing very well. I think the Panthers could have quite a run if both Newton and Benjamin stay fit.
There are many pundits who think the Steelers are destined for the Superbowl and who would argue against big Ben’s team going all the way. Well, probably me. Somehow under Flacco the Ravens just get the job done and they are a handful both sides of the ball, although their stuttering offense couldn’t be called consistent it tends to deliver on the big occasions (see photo right!) There is no doubt the Ravens secondary will be tested by Antonio Brown but like all receivers he is only as good as the service he gets from his QB and that is where the game will be won and lost. Can the Ravens D put Ben under pressure having stopped his running game. If the answer is yes then the Ravens cause an upset. I will be cheering them on as I like Ravens football. It wont be easy away from home but the spirit of No 52 lives on.
Surely the Bengals turn up for a play off game sooner or later. If not will it be back to the drawing board and the end of Andy Dalton et al. Its important for the city and the state but I don’t see Andrew Luck and his team letting them in just for sentimental reasons. True, Luck had a shocker in his play off game last year but he is better now both physically and mentally and his team believe they are destined for a starring role in the play offs. Not original but hard to tip against the favs in this one.
What a shame this match up happened in Week one. I was keen to see both play as they are entertaining sides who have put together a decent season at last. It’s going to be tough for the Lions as so much will fall to what Mathew Stafford can do with his heavily invested in offense. They have to score to stay in the game against a team who know how to score and can defend as well. They key is the running game of Dallas. The success of this aspect with Demarco Murray has taken pressure off Tony Romo and given him time to hit the amazing Des Bryant. If Detroit can’t stop Murray they cant win and even then they may spend so much effort trying to do this that Des just tears them apart down the field. Sorry can’t see past Dallas, who I think will play well for a couple of weeks yet.