And then there were four.
After two highly unpredictable rounds of the 2008 NFL playoffs, in which I have managed to go only 2-for-4 each time, one thing seems surprisingly clear. The Arizona Cardinals are a really good team that still doesn't get the respect they deserve.
While many pundits like Mike and Mike this morning have come around, as will many others start to board the ever-popular Cardinal bandwagon today on Around the Horn and PTI, the fact remains that according to ESPN's First and 10 this afternoon, the Cardinals will go into the NFC Championship game that they are hosting, as underdogs according to the odds-makers.
Let me just say: "I saw your game/now I'm a believer/not a trace/of doubt in my mind/I'm in love/with your defense/I couldn't beat it...if I tried"
Don't you just get the feeling that this has all the makings of being another 1999 St. Louis Rams all over again that were appropriately led by Kurt Warner, or even better the 1998 Atlanta Falcons that made the Super Bowl, lost, and with the exception of 2002 (Michael Vick's first playoffs) haven't came close to equaling that success?
This is why I want the Cardinals to win it all this year because I'm not even convinced they will even be back in the playoffs next year, even with that awful division. They could become just a select group of Super Bowl winners to not even qualify for the playoffs the following year to defend their title.
This could be Rams-Titans all over again, in what was dubbed at the time as "the Super Bowl no one cares about" should they make it.
I just get the feeling its all coming together for one glorious Falconsesque year and then who knows, the usual 6-10 season next year? I hope not, but history isn't on their side.
Super Bowl I want to see: Arizona Cardinals vs. Baltimore Ravens.
Super Bowl were likely to see, or the one I'd choose if I wasn't biased towards the Cards: Philly vs. Baltimore in the "bird bowl"
Sunday, Jan. 18 Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals 3 PM EST
Arizona with that defense, opportunistic special teams, and freak of nature Larry Fitzgerald, and just enough Flacco-like "manage the game" running from the revitalized Edgerrin James should propel the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl in the desert.
Did I just write that?
Arizona will be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl? Now we know what all those 1999-2000 Madden NFL games were thinking when each year they had this team winning 10-12 games and going to the big game at the end of the season.
Arizona Cardinals 34, Philadelphia Eagles 24
Sunday, Jan. 18 Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers 6:30 PM EST
Ed Reed and the Ravens "D" had already made believers out of me. This is the match up based on the two best, most deserving teams in the AFC so fittingly it should come down to "bitter" division rivals in a defensive battle.
Baltimore 13, Pittsburgh 7 in another ho-hum Flacco-praised game.
- Warner: 320 yards 3TDs Fitzgerald, Breaston, and Hightower the other TD from the defense-Clark Haggans?
- Watch for Bertrand Berry to have a big game: 3 sacks? Cards D 3 more picks-that Rodgers Cromartie kid is amazing.
- Where is Adrian Wilson?
- Ed Reed-no TD this week and no INT
- Win or lose, does making it to the NFC Championship game get "Edge" (Edgerrin James) to reconsider wanting out of the desert because "he's not an offensive lineman?" What if they win it all?
- Should Philadelphia win, do they become the "new Boston" as most reviled places due to their multi-sport dominance in winning multiple titles during the same calender year in their respective sports? What's next, are the Sixers going to suddenly go on a run, or are the Villanova Wildcats going to go the the Championship game in the NCAA March tournament?