Arizona, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh: Oh, My

Juan Carlos ReyesContributor IJanuary 11, 2009

Who saw this coming?

Let me give you readers and idea who I had going to the AFC and NFC Championships before the season began.
For the AFC I had  Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh with Indy going to the Super Bowl.
For the NFC I had  Dallas vs. New York. out of four is not bad.

Then again, if you were to tell me that the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens were going to fight for a chance to make the Super Bowl, I would've slapped you and your mom. But I won't cause I'm not a violent person.

So now that we officially know which teams are playing in their respective championships, who is going to the Super Bowl? I have no idea, but I can at least try to analyze why each team can make it and why they can't.

Arizona Cardinals

They have a shot because:  They probably have the best receivers left in the playoffs. If Anquan Boldin is better next week, this team is fire. You have a veteran quarterback in Kurt Warner who has been there and won that.

Add the other receivers Tim Hightower, Steve Breaston, and Mr. "I can catch anything" Larry Fitzgerald, this offense is ready to roll. Plus their defense surprised everybody against the Carolina Panthers. Not only that, they are actually hosting this game.

They don't have a shot because: Arizona in the Super Bowl? That sounds wrong and the Philadelphia Eagles are going to do what it takes to make sure of that. When they last met on Thanksgiving, the Cardinals collapsed against a resurging Eagles team that has now become the team that nobody wants to play against.

Baltimore Ravens

They have a shot because:  Their defense is ridiculous. Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis are three players I don't want to be near. Plus, people would love to see rookie quarterback in Joe Flacco going to the Super Bowl. They upset the Tennessee Titans and obliterated the Miami Dolphins. Who really wants to play this team right now?

They don't have a shot because:  Their offense is pretty much a dud. Flacco only went 11-for-22 for 161 yards and that may not cut it against the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense.

Unless Flacco finds a way to throw for 300 yards against a defense that is slightly better than they are, Baltimore can at least say that they had a good run. They've played them close in the two meetings this season, but the Steelers are looking forward to shutting them down.

Philadelphia Eagles

They have a shot because:  They crushed the Dallas Cowboys' chance to get into the playoffs. Even with an outstanding performance from Minnesota Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson, they still won. They just beat the team that I thought was the best team left in the playoffs, the New York Giants.

Now that we know that there won't be a repeat champion, can Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb finally win it all? They are probably the best team left in the playoffs. Not bad for a team that finished 9-6-1. By the way, the one is a tie.

They don't have a shot because:  Arizona has better receivers and a defense that has come out of nowhere. Despite the fact that Philadelphia owned them on Thanksgiving night, 48-20, it's a new ball game in the playoffs.

No one gave the Cardinals a chance against Carolina and if no one gives Arizona a chance, than the Cardinals have a BIG CHANCE. Trust me, after the Carolina game, I think Arizona might be ready to shoot down some eagle.

Pittsburgh Steelers

They have a shot because: They won the Super Bowl three years ago. Running back Willie Parker and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are healthy. Hines Ward is still a long ball threat and their defense is full of carnage with Troy Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison. This team is well rounded and ready to roll.

They don't have a shot because: They are playing Baltimore for the third time. The first two matches were close and their defense is practically as equal as they are. This match is going to go to whoever has the better defense.

Sure, Pittsburgh has a better offense, but if the Ravens can prove once before that you don't need an outstanding offense to win a Super Bowl they can do it again.