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2012 Pro Bowl Roster: AFC vs NFC Breakdown

NFLrush.com
NFLrush.com
Zach KruseSenior Analyst IJanuary 25, 2012

Today marks the official start of the 2012 Pro Bowl week, otherwise known as everyone's—coaches, players and fans—favorite week of the NFL season.

*Crickets chirp*

Wait, you're telling me the Pro Bowl isn't the favorite or most important game of every year? Certainly fooled me.

Anyway, here's a breakdown of the rosters that the NFL will showcase this Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012.

Who has the better team? We attempt to break that down below.   

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to throw a pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Panthers 45-1
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

QUARTERBACKS

AFC: Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton

NFC: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton

Edge: NFC. Rodgers and Brees were the two best regular season quarterbacks in the NFL, and Cam Newton is going to be fun to watch in his first of many Pro Bowls. But explain this again: How is Matthew Stafford not in Honolulu right now?

 

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

RUNNING BACKS

AFC: Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews, Willis McGahee

NFC: LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch

Edge: NFC. MJD is the best back in football, but it's hard to match the kind of versatility that McCoy, Forte and Lynch bring to the NFC squad.  

 

FULLBACK

AFC: Vonta Leach

NFC: Michael Robinson

Edge: AFC. Leach is arguably the best run-blocking fullback in football. 

 

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seah
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

RECEIVERS

AFC: A.J. Green, Mike Wallace, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson

NFC: Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Greg Jennings, Roddy White

Edge: NFC. It's closer than you might think, especially with Calvin Johnson sitting out. Fitzgerald, Smith and Jennings are arguably better players than anyone on the AFC receiving roster.  

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26:   Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints signals for a first down against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16.  (Photo by
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

TIGHT ENDS

AFC: Antonio Gates, Jermaine Gresham

NFC: Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez

Edge: NFC. Gonzalez is past his prime, but Jimmy Graham is just entering his. Think of the offense the NFC starts: Rodgers, McCoy, Fitzgerald, Smith and Graham. Look out. 

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Nick Mangold #74 of the New York Jets looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles  at Lincoln Financial Field on December 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/G
Rob Carr/Getty Images

OFFENSIVE LINE

AFC: Joe Thomas, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Ryan Clady, Ben Grubbs, Marshall Yanda, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Chris Myers

NFC: Jason Peters, Joe Staley, Jermon Bushrod, Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, Ryan Kalil, Scott Wells

Edge: AFC. Thomas, Ferguson, Grubbs, Yanda and Mangold is a solid five. The NFC isn't too far behind, but Davin Joseph is an option. Really?

 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 01:   Jared Allen #69 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates his sack Josh McCown #15 of the Chicago Bears to set a franchise record of 22 sacks for the season at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 01, 2012 in Minneapolis,
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

DEFENSIVE LINE

AFC: Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney, Antonio Smith, Richard Seymour, Geno Atkins, Paul Soliai

NFC: Jared Allen, Jason Babin, Julius Peppers, Jay Ratliff, Justin Smith, B.J. Raji

Edge: NFC. Allen and Babin combined for over 40 sacks, and Justin Smith had a player of the year-type season.

 

LINEBACKERS

AFC: Tamba Hali, Von Miller, James Harrison, Ray Lewis, Derrick Johnson

NFC: Clay Matthews, Demarcus Ware, Chad Greenway, Patrick Willis, London Fletcher

Edge: Push. The depth of the AFC is better, but Ware and Willis will be the two best linebackers in Hawaii. 

 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 27:   Johnathan Joseph #24 of the Houston Texans intercepts a pass intended for Jason Hill #83 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on November 27, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwoo
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

CORNERBACKS

AFC: Champ Bailey, Darrelle Revis, Johnathan Joseph

NFC: Charles Woodson, Charles Tillman, Brandon Browner

Edge: AFC. This one isn't even close. While Bailey wasn't a shutdown corner in 2011, Revis and Joseph most certainly were. Woodson, Tillman and Browner represent a weak trio of "All-Star" cornerbacks. 

 

SAFETIES

AFC: Eric Weddle, Ryan Clark, Brian Dawkins

NFC: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Adrian Wilson

Edge: Push. A weak group overall. Weddle is the best player, and the Seahawks' tandem of Thomas and Chancellor are an exciting combination. Other than that there isn't a whole lot to write home about.

 

SPECIALISTS

AFC: Shane Lechler, Sebastian Janikowski, Antonio Brown, Montell Owens, Jon Condo

NFC: Andy Lee, David Akers, Patrick Peterson, Corey Graham, Brian Jennings

Edge: NFC. This was probably the closest call. The NFC had three All-Pros in Lee, Akers and Peterson, but the AFC's trio of Lechler, Janikowski and Brown isn't far behind.

 

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 6:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws from the pocket against the San Diego Chargers on November 6, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

OVERALL

Edge: NFC. Believe it or not, losing the Patriots to the Super Bowl was more detrimental to the AFC than the Giants were to the NFC. The quarterbacks for the NFC should each be fun to watch, too. Who ever knows which way exhibition games will go, but I'm taking the NFC, 48-38. 

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