Lombardi Trophy up for Grabs

The Lombardi Trophy made it back to where it began in 2010 as the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. This year the Packers will be looking to travel to Indianapolis as Lucas Oil Stadium will host Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012. There will be many team competing for their shot and going into the annals of the NFL as the champions of the 2011 season. The parity in the NFL is among the best in all of sports as the last repeat champion was the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005. The Packers are hoping to become the next back to back champions but there are many teams looking to dethrone the champions. The Packers will be playing a Super Bowl every week as their opponents will want to beat them to prove that they are better than the best team in the NFL. The Packers will be challenged by many teams including the reworked Philadelphia Eagles, The 2009 champion New Orleans Saints, and the best team in the NFC regular season last year the Atlanta Falcons. Meanwhile the AFC has made some changes and will only be stronger as 6 of the last 10 Super Bowl champions have been from the AFC. The New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers all have a legitimate shot at winning the AFC and moving on to the Super Bowl. It will be another tough season for all teams and there may even be a few surprises as in the NFL nothing is 100%. Here is my outlook for the playoffs in both divisions and my Super Bowl XLVI prediction.

NFC Playoffs

The NFC boasts the last two Super Bowl Champions in the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. The NFC has also sent a different team to the Super Bowl for the last 10 years as the parity in the oldest conference in the NFL is one of the hardest to win. This year there are a number of favorites including the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, and the defending Champion Green Bay Packers. The Packers have become an early season favorite after not only winning Super Bowl XLV last year but also winning with 14 injuries. These injured players will return and could make the Packers a better team than last year. The New Orleans Saints suffered from the Super Bowl Hangover in 2010 and look to get back on track in 2011. The Saints are a favorite because their defence looks to be much like their 2009 championship defence and their offence has not slowed down. The Atlanta Falcons last year were the best team in the NFC and look to repeat the performance this year. The Falcons have added to their already potent offence that will give them a stronger chance at getting through the playoffs this year. The Philadelphia Eagles have completely reloaded in the offseason signing the biggest names in the free Agent pool. Their biggest question will be can they live up to the hype that they have in the preseason? The NFC will be a tough conference but someone has to win so here is my prediction for the NFC playoffs.

Final Standings:

1. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)

2. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)

3. Green Bay Packers (11-5)

4. St. Louis Rams (9-7)

Wild Card:

5. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

6. Detroit Lions (10-6)

Wild Card Playoffs

Green Bay Packers 31 – 24 Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions are an improved team and will make the playoffs on the strength of their defence but they are not improved enough to get past in the defending Champions.

New Orleans Saints 34 – 21 St. Louis Rams

St. Louis will be the best of a bad division and the New Orleans Saints will be too much for the Rams to handle as New Orleans takes their revenge against the NFC West after losing to Seattle last year.

Divisional Playoffs

Atlanta Falcons 31 – 28 New Orleans Saints

The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to gain revenge after their drubbing at the hands of the Green Bay Packers and will prove to be too be too much in a close game for their division rivals.

Green Bay Packers 24 – 21 Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles will be a brand new team in 2011 but their regular season success will prove to be another story of an all-star team, aka Miami Heat, not translating to the postseason.

Conference Championship

Green Bay Packers 31 – 28 Atlanta Falcons

The Packers and Falcons will fight it out again as in 2010 but a Packers team that will be improved with the return of players from the IR will inch out a slightly improved Falcons team.

 

AFC Playoffs

 

The AFC has been one of the strongest conferences in the last few years as they have sent 9 of the last 14 Super Bowl winners to the big game. This includes a number of very good teams that have become some of the best teams in the last decade. The AFC will remain very tough as almost every team that will make the playoffs, and some that may not, will have a chance at winning the Super Bowl. Some of the favorites include The New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, and Baltimore Ravens. The New England Patriots have added some key elements that have made a good team even better. Their divisional rivals may be their only challenge as the New York Jets look to put another year under the belt of their young QB Mark Sanchez in order to get by the Patriots again this year. Meanwhile another pair of divisional rivals will be looking to get past each other as well. The Defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers have not made changes and may suffer form a Super Bowl hangover but there is nothing to say that the Steelers can’t repeat their performance last year. Meanwhile the Baltimore Ravens will be looking to finally overcome the Steelers before their team gets too old to compete and with an improved passing game and a still great defence the Ravens have a chance at finally beating the Steelers in the playoffs. Finally the San Diego Chargers have been one of the best teams in the AFC for years but they still have a number of questions, the main one being, can they finally win when it matters? These teams will have a hard-fought battle for the AFC championship but at any moment one could drop out or a new team could rise up.

 

 Final Standings:

1. New England Patriots (13-3)

2. San Diego Chargers (12-4)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

4. Houston Texans (11-5)

Wild Card:

5. New York Jets (12-4)

6. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

 

Wild Card Playoffs

Baltimore Ravens 21 – 17 Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers and Ravens have a long time rivalry as they have been battling for the division title and although the Steelers will win the division there is something about the Ravens that says it is their year to beat the Steelers in the playoffs.

New York Jets 24 – 18 Houston Texans

The Houston Texans will have an advantage in winning the division as the Indianapolis Colts will be in trouble to start the year but the Texans won’t be so lucky when they face the Jets and Rex Ryan’s vaunted defence.

 

Divisional Playoffs 

New England Patriots 28 – 21 Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens will finally get over the Steelers hump but will then have to meet the best team in the NFL and will not be able to match the Pats offensive output.

New York Jets 28 – 17 San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have given me no choice as they have continued to fail year after year in the playoffs and facing a Jets team that is determined to finally make the Super Bowl it will happen again.

Conference Championship

New England Patriots 31 – 28 New York Jets

The Jets got past the Pats last year in the divisional round but the Pats will get the better of their divisional rivals this year and move on to another Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLVI

 

The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots seem to be on a collision course to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. The Packers will be helped this year by the return of their 14 injured players making the team better than last year’s Super Bowl winning squad. They will also have history on their side in one sense as the Packers have always been back to the Super Bowl after they appear in one. The Packers won Super Bowl I and then returned to Super Bowl II to get the win again, the Packers then went to Super Bowl XXXI and won then went to Super Bowl XXXII and lost. This year the Packers will try to continue this pattern as they won Super bowl XLV and look to make an appearance at Super Bowl XLVI. The Patriots have been the team of the 2000s winning three Super Bowls in the last decade. This year they will try to be the team of the 10s as they have added Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth that can make a big impact on an already goo team. The Patriots and Packers will fight it out in Indianapolis to a very close game but the Packers great defence and powerful offence will be able to squeeze past the Patriots who are still great but may not be as powerful as the Packers. The Packers look to Repeat in the Super Bowl This year as they continue their 92 year history and earn their 5th Super Bowl.

 

Green Bay Packers 34 – 31 New England Patriots

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