Super Bowl XLV Prediction
I love that new playoff smell...it's intoxicating. So intoxicating that I'm predicting a wild (but not impossible) Super Bowl match up for this year's Lombardi Trophy. It's so crazy that I'm going to have to lay low for a while to avoid being hauled off to a white room with padded walls.
I'm predicting that come Sunday, February 6th, you will see the Atlanta Falcons take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs for all of the marbles.
Atlanta's Road to Super Bowl Sunday
The NFC has the most playoff intrigue this year. They boast last year's Super Bowl Champions in the New Orleans Saints and they also have a revitalized Philadelphia Eagles team that's led by one of the hottest media-friendly redemption stories in recent pro football history in Michael Vick.
Atlanta benefits from a first round bye week and from home field advantage. With Matt Ryan under center, the Falcons play extraordinarily well at home. And while there are some high-caliber teams representing the NFC this year, none of them will be able to beat the Falcons for four quarters. Atlanta has stayed healthy throughout the entire season and they are firing on all cylinders. As long as they don't beat themselves, they should do a fine job of making it to Dallas.
Kansas City's Road to Super bowl Sunday
I expect this one to come off as a head-scratcher to most of you, but you need to believe. KC undoubtedly has one of the toughest roads to Jerry World this year, but they can do it. This is a very young and very talented team.
They only have one home loss during their entire season. That last home loss did a few things that the Chiefs needed to have happen before stepping foot onto the big stage this weekend. 1) It humbled the Chiefs and it will put a sense of urgency to play well on their offensive line...it's do or die time and 2) It eliminated the pressure of being undefeated at home—they got that out of the way with their loss to the Raiders.
Arrowhead stadium is one of pro football's most difficult places for opponents to play and the Chiefs will need EVERY advantage they can get, especially against a Ray Lewis fueled defense. I'm not expecting any of the Chiefs playoff wins to be pretty for the club, but I think they'll be amped up to be in the playoffs for the first time since their last wild-card appearance in 2007. This talented team will find a way to get it done.
Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe have been clicking throughout the season and as long as Jamaal Charles is healthy, he'll be the difference maker the team needs to succeed. Now is the time for Todd Hayley to go away from Thomas Jones and let Charles make the plays the Chiefs will desperately need to have a fighting chance.
Super Bowl XLV
There are a lot of good stories surrounding a Chiefs/Falcons Super Bowl: Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White vs. Dwayne Bowe, two up and coming QBs dueling it out, and which defense will show up.
Ultimately, I think Atlanta's bye week is the difference maker in this matchup. Kansas City will show up exhausted from having squeaked by the best the AFC has to offer and they will be no match for the caliber of football that Atlanta will play. Cinderella will have to go bye-bye for another year and the Falcons will capture their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.