The Super Bowl is behind us so now we look forward to next season. What better way to do it than with some bold Super Bowl XLVII matchups. Here we go!
1. Cincinnati Bengals vs Chicago Bears
The Bengals are gonna be a real dark horse in the NFL in 2012. After striking gold in the draft last year and making some smart moves — including moving Carson Palmer to Oakland for a couple of very good picks — the Bengals are poised to assault the dominance of the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North. With picks at 17 and 21, expect the Bengals to bolster their roster in what is a very strong draft class. My latest mock has them taking Devon Still and Cordy Glenn. Glenn will certainly be a player that Cincinnati will target. Although he may no fall as far as I have projected him, due to teams trading picks and changing the landscape a bit.
On the other side, Chicago is a team that is just about there. They always seem to have the talent and capability to get to a Super Bowl, but fall short in one way or another. This team has great strength in it’s defense with veterans like Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Charles Tillman. They have some studs on offense too including much maligned quarterback Jay Cutler and stunning running back Matt Forte. This is one team that people always wonder about in the preseason. Perhaps 2012 is the year they put it all together.
Final Score – Cincinnati 22 Chicago 13
2. Denver Broncos vs Philadelphia Eagles
This one could be known as the “Saviour vs Prodigal Son” Super Bowl, with Tebow and Vick facing off.
The entire country seems oddly mesmorised by Tim Tebow. There wasn’t a week that went by in the regular season that there wasn’t a hundred different news stories or speculations or denounciations that were centred around the former Florida Gators quarterback. To me, this team’s strength in terms of it’s play isn’t Tebow at all. It’s their defense and their rushing attack. Von Miller was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 and he thoroughly deserved it. Flipping the coin, veteran Champ Bailey has shown that, while he’s not quite as fast, he still has all the talent. Denver’s defense kept games close and allowed Tebowmania to hit as the Broncos won close game after close game as either Matt Prater kicked Denver to victory or Willis McGahee plowed his way through.
Philadelphia is a completely different story. With Michael Vick at the helm, this team was marked as the most dangerous in the NFL at the beginning of the 2011 season after they signed a slew of free agents to their defense and removed Vick’s competition by sending Kevin Kolb to Arizona. But for all the hullabaloo, the Eagles played meekly and fell by the wayside relatively early. In this scenario, I’m giving them a mulligan and saying that this was a team that needed time to bond who were sorely affected by the lockout. They’ll have some changes, with DeSean Jackson possibly gone, but Jeremy Maclin is an excellent receiver who Vick trusts. The Eagles have a cupboard full of weapons with Riley Cooper and Brent Celek playing well late in the year, alongside LeSean McCoy, who is one of the most dangerous running backs in the NFL. Couple this with a blitzkrieg defense that features names like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and Trent Cole and you have a team that has the highest upside in the league.
Final Score – Denver 24 Philadelphia 38
3. Tennessee Titans vs New Orleans Saints
There’s dancing on Bourbon Street as the Saints break the string of Super Bowl hosts failing to make it to the big dance. But how is that bold? Wait and see.
We start with the Titans, who find new life in 2012 under new quarterback Jake Locker. I was one of the few who was not surprised to see Locker’s name read so early in the 2011 NFL Draft. I wasn’t even particularly surprised by the team, given their need for a quarterback. After a year of sitting behind veteran Matt Hasselbeck, Locker gets his chance to lead the Titans and he doesn’t disappoint. He plays so well, in fact, that the Titans release Hasselbeck midseason who then goes on to play the last half with a team with quarterback needs. Then there are two stars who had a bad time in 2011 for different reasons – Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt. Britt looked like he was going to break all kinds of records before he was sidelined due to injury. Johnson, on the other hand, went from record breaker to alsoran. In 2012, both see a massive resurgence as the Titans offense comes together to be one of the best in the league. The only thing that holds them back is their spluttering defense.
The Saints come into 2012 with alot of expectations on their shoulders. With Drew Brees signed to a new contract and the Super Bowl in the Superdome, feeling is high that the Who Dat fans won’t need their paper bags. Brees carries the team on his back and pushes at the record books once again, ably assisted by his stout rushing attack of Thomas, Ingram, Sproles and Ivory. The defense have a new spring in their step, too, as Steve Spagnuolo changes things up. There are enough holes in the team that they have their problems, but they make the Super Bowl — marking the first time ever that a Super Bowl team gets to play in their home stadium.
Final Score – Tennessee 32 New Orleans 35
Got any bold Superbowl XLVII matchups of your own? Post a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @Gizzy_DJ and remember – you heard it here first.