The beginning of the football season is upon us. All the preseason action is done and now the NFL straps on the pads and plays for real. And with that, each team starts off on common ground, staring at zero wins and losses. There are a select few with true Super Bowl aspirations. And there are others that will have dreams that will end within the first few games of the season. And in between those extremes are teams that will surprise us all and others that will flop under the pressure. Just like every other year, there are plenty that try to pick who will be there at the end. Some will be absolutely correct while others will end up way off base. The great thing about it all is that you never really know who is right or who is wrong immediately. But as the season goes on, the truth about who was right eventually unfolds. And that is the joy of picking Super Bowl participants. The new year is upon us. And I brought along a few guests to join me in picking who they have representing the NFC and the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Mike Hill has been around sports and news for a long time. And many respect his opinion and what he stands for. Recently, I was able to catch up with him and get his thought on who will represent each conference in the Super Bowl. And in the AFC, he surely hit us all with a surprise, "I think Cincinnati will represent the AFC. I know it's been over 25 years since they won a playoff game, but they have been in the playoffs the last five years. They still have great weapons and a good defense. And I think it's time they pushed through." Immediately after hearing that it caught me off guard. But you gotta agree with Hill that they have the weapons to make it happen. And as far as Mike's NFC representative, there is a familiar playoff name he selected, "Arizona has been good over the last few years and they have plenty of weapons. if they can just stay healthy, they can push through." And who can doubt the pick of Hill on this one. The Cardinals surely have all the pieces to make it happen. They just have to actually take the step towards making it happen.
Mike Hill had one pick no one expected and a favorite, but let's get into what ESPN Radio's Freddie Coleman had to say. Here is what the veteran radio host had to say on the AFC, "Pittsburgh has an excellent offense. And with an improving defense, they will be difficult to deal with." Coleman has faith in Big Ben and company and with the best receiver and talent up and down the offensive side of that roster, who can blame his selection. But of course, the maturity of that defense will be a huge key in how far they go. And with Bud Dupree injured and Jarvis Jones not producing, there has to be some questions about the pass rush, which used to be a staple of the Steelers defense. As for the NFC, Freddie went with another familiar face that has made deep playoff runs before, "Seattle will reclaim the division and Russell Wilson will be an MVP candidate. And that defense of Seattle's will be ferocious." Seattle, whether folks want to believe it or not, is always around. And Freddie believes in them and the ability of Russell Wilson to climb back to the top of the NFC and capture the crown. But of course, that all depends offensively on that offensive line protecting Wilson and it also depends on the ability of that corner opposite of Sherman to hold up as well.
As for me, while I respect the opinions of Mike Hill and Freddie Coleman, I have chosen to go a different route in regards to my Super Bowl picks. While Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are solid choices for the AFC title, you just cannot ignore the Patriots. Tom Brady may miss the first four games, but he will return with a vengeance after the Patriots go at least 2-2 without him. And as far as that defense, Bill Belichick and the crew will make it happen by inflicting the mental warfare they usually do. Now although they are my pick, they do have some things they have to overcome. The offense has to survive Tom Brady's suspension and lineman have to actually block someone. And of course, defensively, the Patriots have to find a way to replace Chandler Jones and the pressure he was able to bring (the Patriots traded him to the Cardinals this offseason). As far as the NFC, Aaron Rodgers is still around. And despite the thoughts of the NFC West supremacy that Freddie and Mike see, I see Rodgers dissecting teams and using his toys, but I also see Eddie Lacy getting 1,500 yards rushing to complement that. And as far as the defense, the Packers will still be very talented and the young players they have on defense can only get better.
You've read my picks along with those of Fox Sport 1's Mike Hill and ESPN's Freddie Coleman. Do you agree or disagree? Well whatever stance you take, the NFL is upon us and the season is getting ready to kick off. It should be interesting to see which one of us is right in the end.