|Super Bowl Picks|
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|Super Bowl Champion|
|Super Bowl Score|
Jason La Canfora | Seahawks over Bengals: I see too much to like about the Seahawks not to ride that bandwagon (actually, I picked them to win that division a year ago, so I've kind of been leading that charge for a while now). This team should be primed to continue adding talent as the season goes on, with Bruce Irvin coming back from suspension and Percy Harvin a possibility to come back in December.
It may be the best roster in the NFL, it is the best home-field advantage in the league and they may get the best quarterbacking play in the NFL this season, or close to it. Wouldn't surprise me in the least. This team was very close a year ago, remains plenty young and more new stars will emerge.
As for the Bengals, it seems like the best roster in the AFC, to me, quarterback aside, and there are enough weapons around to bolster him this season even as a game-manager type. The run game will be more explosive and the defense is as good as it gets. I think it's another year where a new quarterback breaks through in this conference to get to the big game, but I'm just not sure this team could beat Seattle on a neutral field, though perhaps a snowy Super Bowl might sway that.
Pete Prisco | Bengals over Falcons: The Cincinnati Bengals are as talented a team as there is in the league -- and they are deep. Plus, quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown 47 touchdown passes the past two seasons, and is much better than most think. No, a lot better.
Add it up, and that's why they are my pick to win it all.
I have them playing the Atlanta Falcons, who I think will be as explosive an offense as there is in the league. They've made some changes on defense, but youth is important to growing as a unit on that side of the ball.
Matt Ryan vs. Andy Dalton for it all.
Sounds crazy? It isn't.
Will Brinson | Patriots over Falcons: Honestly, I kind of hate my Super Bowl pick. But do you know how often there's a ton of people picking the Patriots to win it all? Like, every year. Except this one. This year no one is picking the Patriots. Everyone loves the NFC West and the Bengals too much to get on the bandwagon with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It's understandable, what with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez all gone, injured or in jail (respectively). But the AFC East is a trainwreck and the Pats will still win something between 10 and 16 games this year. They'll be in the driver's seat for the AFC and if Gronk and Danny Amendola are healthy (Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are also underrated by the by) then Tom Brady and that defense, which will be improved this year, can get hot and carry this team to a stunning first title in nearly a decade.
Josh Katzowitz | Broncos over Falcons: It's time for Peyton Manning to win another Super Bowl and to elevate himself past Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees -- all of whom have earned just one measly NFL title. Manning is one of the best ever to play his position, and though his teams have had a knack for not performing well in the postseason, Manning is due to play well in the playoffs and to get back to another championship game.
Even without the fax machine mistake of Elvis Dumervil and the suspension of Von Miller, the Broncos defense will be fine. And even if it slips until Miller returns in mid-season, Manning has a wealth of weapons like Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and a couple young, talented running backs around him. The Falcons and their $100 million quarterback Matt Ryan will get ever so much closer to their elusive goal, but for this season at least, Denver will be just a little bit better.
Ryan Wilson | Seahawks over Patriots: As long as the Patriots have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, they'll be fine. Don't forget: In 2006, New England went 12-4 with Brady throwing to the likes of Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. The only question facing this team is if the defense can hold up from week to week.
In Seattle, the conversation starts with Russell Wilson and one of the league's most versatile offenses (even if Percy Harvin is sidelined), and ends with a fast, physical defense that is stout against the run and strong against the pass.
In a Super Bowl matchup, the Pats' defense will struggle to contain Wilson and that offense, while New England's O will sputter against a tenacious Seattle D. Consider this the U Mad Bro, Bowl, Part Deux
Here's the bottom line on Dalton: only four quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 have won more games in their first two seasons than Dalton's 19. That list? Ben Roethisberger (22), Dan Marino (21), Matt Ryan (20) and Joe Flacco (20).
Flacco and Roethlisberger practically wrote the book on riding their defenses to early-career playoff wins. Something Dalton could easily do this year if he has too.
Dalton's 7,067 total passing yards in his first two seasons is the third-most since 1970, trailing only Marino and Peyton Manning.
And keep in mind, Dalton is a guy who missed the offseason before his rookie year in 2011 because of the NFL lockout. To make a long story short: Dalton's numbers compare favorably to almost any young starter in NFL history and in my mind he's only getting better.
Dalton's struggled in the playoffs, but that's nothing new for a young quarterback. Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan both started their postseason careers 0-3 before picking up their first playoff wins.
I think the Bengals get over the playoff hump and get their first postseason win in 23 years in January 2014 and I think that win will propel them to the Super Bowl.
As for San Francisco, NFL karma dictates that if the Bengals make the Super Bowl, they have to play the 49ers. Also, don't look for a Super Bowl hangover in San Francisco. This is a team that rebounded from an overtime NFC Championship loss in 2011 and made it to the Super Bowl the next year.
It also doesn't hurt that Colin Kaepernick only has seven regular season starts under his belt. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman have only begun to scratch the surface of what they can do with the 49er offense.
Pat Kirwan | Broncos over Seahawks: Picking the super bowl teams in August is a luck call if I ever saw one. I will lean on my summer camp tour around the NFL for my decision.
The two most impressive teams were the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks with the 49ers a close third.
Denver has a very dynamic offense that may be impossible to slow down and when they get Von Miller back, the defense will be able to get after opposing quarterbacks looking to play catch up. Peyton Manning's arm is significantly stronger than last year and I like his chances to get to the Super Bowl and win it over the Seahawks.
Seattle looks like they can run the ball on any team and their physical man to man defense makes opposing quarterbacks struggle to find open receivers. If Seattle ever gets home field throughout the playoffs they will breeze into the super bowl.
Final score Denver 27-Seattle 24.