Thanks to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, there will be no Harbaugh Bowl in 2013.
As you surely know by now, Jim and John Harbaugh will be attempting to lead their respective teams to the Super Bowl this weekend. Jim's San Francisco 49ers will face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC, while John's Baltimore Ravens will taken on Brady and the Pats for the AFC title.
If they both win, we will all be bombarded with stories about their relationship for two solid weeks. Their parents, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, will become household names. We will learn pointless things like who got better grades in elementary school and who was the first one to have a girlfriend.
It will be terrible.
Luckily, the Patriots—fresh off their stomping of the Houston Texans—will save us all. New England dispatched the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship Game, and I'm expecting a repeat performance this year.
The Patriots have been on fire lately, winning 10 of their last 11 games. Their only loss during that span was a seven-point defeat to Jim Harbaugh's 49ers, but New England impressed by scoring 31 points in the final 21 minutes.
Their high-powered offense was on display again last Sunday. Brady threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns, four different receivers caught at least five passes, and running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen dominated throughout.
When all was said and done, the Patriots had dropped 41 points on a team that finished in the top 10 in total defense this season.
Although I'd be surprised if New England put up 40-plus again, you can expect the Patriots to have their way with Baltimore's defense. Even without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots offense is loaded with playmakers.
With Ridley, Vereen, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots simply have too many weapons to contain. Brady is a master at exploiting mismatches, and with most (if not all) of those guys on the field at the same time, he will undoubtedly see some matchups he likes.
Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense will continue their strong play, but they won't be able to keep pace with the Pats all night. Eventually Brady will overwhelm Baltimore's defense and extend his playoff record for most wins by a starting quarterback.
On the other side of the bracket, I'm expecting Jim's 49ers to make it to the Super Bowl. But unfortunately for the Harbaugh family, John won't be joining him on the sidelines in New Orleans.