Since the Pro Bowl lost a lot of its luster in recent years, the league decided to change the format with hope of generating renewed interest. Instead of the usual battle between the conferences, Team Sanders and Team Rice are set to face off.
Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice conducted a fantasy-style draft in order to build the rosters. Whether that will be enough to make the game more enjoyable again is still up in the air, but it should at least allow the Pro Bowl to get another look from fans.
So let's take a closer look at all of the important viewing information for the NFL showcase, followed by a breakdown of both teams and a prediction for the star-studded game.
Where: Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii
When: Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
The two positions that immediately stand out for Team Sanders are quarterback and cornerback.
The trio of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Nick Foles should ensure they are able to keep attacking downfield for the entire game. And if the style of play remains pretty much the same from years past, it's those big plays that usually turn the tide.
That is unless players start taking the game a little more seriously. Team Sanders and Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey thinks that's going to happen this year. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk passed along the comments he made to Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on SiriusXM NFL Radio:
I really think it's gonna be competitive, honestly. Because we're doing walk-throughs in practice and the defensive line, they're going full speed. They're not even letting us block them in practice. Everyone's excited. Some guys are mad because they got drafted later than other guys. So I think it's gonna be a real competitive game. I know one thing, I'm gonna be going 110 percent, because I'm gonna be ready to play.
If that's the case, the defense is going to take on a bigger role. Team Sanders will be leaning heavily on its talented corner group to slow down the Team Rice passing game. Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, Brent Grimes and Tim Jennings form an extremely formidable group.
The team's secret weapon could be Cordarrelle Patterson. Drafted as a return specialist, he could end up getting touches in multiple ways on offense too for a little Pro Bowl trickery.
After checking out Team Sanders' cornerback group, a quick glance at Team Rice's receiving corps should make it clear what the best battle will be. Of course, considering the legends who did the draft, that probably shouldn't come as a surprise.
Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Gordon, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are all big, athletic wideouts capable of stretching the field. Add Drew Brees to the mix and there's a chance for some real fireworks for Team Rice early in the game.
One thing's for sure—Rice is tired of all the trash talking and is ready for the game, as NFL Network pointed out:
The X-factors for Team Rice should be the ball-hawking safeties. Led by Jairus Byrd, the trio should be jumping a lot of routes looking for big plays, and that's what it will take to win what should be yet another high-scoring game.
Ultimately, the draft format certainly creates some unique situations with things like Robert Mathis rushing Andrew Luck and Dontari Poe trying to chase down Alex Smith. Other than that, things are likely to stay pretty much the same.
It should be an offensive showcase, and that favors Team Rice. Between the aforementioned group of wide receivers and a trio of versatile running backs, they should be able to squeak by Team Sanders with a couple late scores.
Team Rice 41, Team Sanders 37
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