The Hawks Bring the Heat
Peyton Manning faced a determined but ultimately overmatched Patriots secondary in the AFC Championship Game. But that said it was far from the barn burner many anticipated when these two high octane offenses clashed at Mile High. Now Manning will be facing a different animal altogether as he has to contend with two All-Pro safeties in Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. They are not going to make the foolish mistake of anticipating where and when Manning will throw. There will be no over-jumping routes or biting on play action as the legendary passer and future Hall-of-Famer feints and misdirects.
Let’s consider for a moment that Manning tossed for two TD’s against New England but the Broncos also ran the ball 27 times. It was not the passing free-for-all that many expected and propelled the total to 57 but fell far short. Can Manning pass for more touchdowns on this vaunted Seattle defense than he did against a pedestrian Patriots stop unit? If not, the Under looks ripe for our NFL picks.
Foxy Returns to Gotham
John Fox's medical issues are well chronicled and his return to the sidelines after heart valve replacement surgery was an inspiration to both players and fans alike. But if you are looking for some sort of corny Hollywood angle, the script has already been written. Not only does the likeable John Fox return from death's door, he will coach the biggest game of his career in the most unlikely of venues. New York has been ruled out forever as a Super Bowl destination due to the climate coupled with their lack of a dome or retractable roof. But the NFL decided to break frozen ground a few years ago when they voted to stage the Super Bowl in New York.
But it all comes together in a neat little package as the coach from Denver overcomes heavy medical odds to return to the team and lead them to victory in a place where he once coached for five years as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. Is this a storybook ending that has already been written in the stars? We will know soon enough.