January 2, 2011: Mike Tomlin boldly leaves the field in Cleveland. He has an amazing defensive squad.
It’s the most wonderful time of the American football year. It's the time when housewives and fiancées who know zero about the sport join their mates and become super fans.
When people who rarely party or drink succumb to the wilds of veteran drinkers, err, fans—it’s that time.
Which fan base will reign supreme in the land of Sunday football known to Americans as the 2010-11 NFL postseason? Somewhere in the wonderland of this article, I’ll give you my expert pick.
The post-holiday season—time for Super Bowl expert prognostications and highway patrol ads advising against drinking and driving away from game watching parties.
The networks are getting their Super Bowl ads ready to sell their products to said drinking partiers. Sales of wide screen televisions to watch those commercials—and Tom Brady’s hair, err, the game—could literally go through the Jerry Dome's roof. Not to mention the Super Bowl beer kegs that'll be sold and consumed in parking lots across the nation.
Tailgate parties are probably being planned by the hundreds. Hotel rooms in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area—the host cities of the Super Bowl—are at a premium. Airways, roadways and railways are probably buzzing with the NFL Championship playoffs coming to America.
Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Seattle—those are the chosen few metropolises. Host cities of the road to the Super Bowl, which one of these super American cities will be celebrating a victory?
At the end of the road, fans from all over the world will invade the Texas metropolis for the parties and the big game. I could even possibly be there.
With four NFL games set to air this weekend, the television watching adventure starts on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET. As the defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints will try to muster enough oomph to repeat—starting in Seattle. NBC is covering both Saturday games and that could mean two Ds for a double dose of Dan Patrick.
Drew Brees could possibly show up and have some get-up-and-go routes ready for the Seahawks secondary. Coaches Sean Payton and Pete Carroll will match wits. In his first year back in the NFL, Carroll would like not anything more than knocking off the reigning champs.
Later on Saturday night, the team the Saints faced in the Super Bowl last year—the Indianapolis Colts— will host the New York Jets. Speaking of Super Bowl, the brash Jets and their braggadocios coach, Rex Ryan, talk a good game. America will be watching NBC and probably be pulling for yet another big mouth to get shut.
Everything is blessed Rex, I’m sorry—no offence. Or is it no offense?
Blessing fans after early services on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs will go ahead and get it on. Arrowhead Stadium should be electric because of what a return to the playoffs means for the Chiefs. Back on top of the AFC West, the Kansas City Chiefs will host a Wild Card Game. It’ll be the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2006.
The Ravens-Chiefs matchup starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday—CBS. Following them, the Philadelphia Eagles host and collide with the Green Bay Packers at Lincoln Field. The latter two squads played previously this season, and it was an electric game for Michael Vick.
Trust me, with Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball, the electric company will be in the house. On Sunday starting at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX, America will be watching the Vick-Rodgers matchup—hoping for a shootout.
Offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. The stars on offense should provide a lot of entertainment throughout the playoffs.
Roddy White had the most receiving yards among the players in the playoffs. Brandon Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yards, and White was second. Reggie Wayne, Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace were in the top five.
Averaging 6.38 yards per rush, Jamaal Charles is second to Jim Brown (6.4) in NFL history.
Among playoffs teams, the Eagles have the No.1 offense in the NFL. The Colts are ranked No. 2. The Chiefs, Falcons, Packers, Saints and Steelers aren’t too shabby on offense.
Peyton Manning, "Matty Ice," and DeSean Jackson are just a few more of the talented players on offense that will be on display.
Like I said, defense wins championships. Four out of five pass interceptors will be performing in this year’s game sets; Ed Reed, Devin McCourty, Troy Polamalu and Asante Samuel will be showing their ball skills.
Tackling will be at a premium for Polamalu's squad. The No. 1 defense in the NFL, among teams left in the playoffs—Pittsburgh will be on display after their bye week.
The Steelers are a staple on television around this time of the American sports calendar.
This is the time of year when Americans live by the rule—the bigger the widescreen, the better. Philadelphia runs a lot of wide screens to "Shady" McCoy, but will it help them avoid the Packers rush? I'll tell you in a few paragraphs.
In rushing the parking lot of the Jerry Dome, Super Bowl revelers, make sure you "Don't Mess With Texas." A fine for littering can be expensive.
The Lone Star State really is one of the cleanest places in America. Let's see if I can make a clean sweep in filling out my Super Bowl bracket.
The Eagles, Colts, Ravens and Saints will come out on top after Wild Card Weekend. In the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Pittsburgh will defeat Indy at Heinz Field on January 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS. New England will advance against Baltimore 24 hours later.
In the NFC, Atlanta will handle New Orleans in the Georgia Dome on Saturday night, January 15, in the Divisional Playoffs. Chicago will prevail against Philly in the NFC a day later. The Bears and the Falcons will battle in the NFC Conference Championship, and Chicago will win it.
I'm going with Pittsburgh-New England in the AFC Conference Championship scheduled for January 23, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS—after the NFC contest.
On paper, Pittsburgh’s defense is the best of the best—no contest. As long as James Harrison doesn’t get suspended or retire, then they should roll.
As a "roll tape" experienced playoff videographer, Bill Belichick could have the advantage. He could teach his team with the same video breakdown techniques as he used against Joey Porter’s Steelers. But, that was back in the day—2001 and '04—allegedly.
Do the Steelers still harbor some ill will from "CameraGate?" You betcha. I bet Joey Porter's mouth starts foaming whenever he sees Belichick.
I believe it will be too difficult for the Patriots, therefore, to handle the Steelers and the rivalry's legacy twice in one season.
Super Bowl 2011 will be handled by FOX on February 6 at 6:30 p.m. ET live from the Jerry Dome. The Pittsburgh Steelers will defeat the Chicago Bears in it, and fans will be celebrating for weeks after the victory.