Ashley Nicole’s Superbowl Pick
The hours until the NFL makes it’s much anticipated return is just hours away, so to alleviate some of that ‘so close, yet oh so far away’ longing it’s time I make my Super Bowl picks be known. I consider myself a very sensible person–very acute of my surroundings, so suffice to say I don’t give full into the idea of this rebirth of the ‘Golden Age of Quarter Backs’ that everyone is proclaiming.
Don’t get me wrong this is still very much a passer friendly league, I’m just saying let’s not act like it’s the be all end of where if you’re not an elite Quarterback with an astronomical passer rating you have no chance at a Super Bowl. Call me old school in my thinking, but I still have a soft spot for a good defense. Now, I’m not saying any team this season is going to rival the 85-86 Bears, but a good defense especially in today’s slim pickings offerings of defense may well be that edge that takes a team all the way.Ok, I’ll just spit out my picks right now
San Francisco 49′ers vs Houston Texans: Super Bowl XLVII.
Book it. Call the neighbors. Contact your relatives. Hop on a bandwagon–just do something. I’m confident in my picks, both from a logical sense and also from a general NFL ‘intuition’ stance. Ok, let’s focus on the cold hard facts first, it all goes back to defense–and I know in today’s age where teams with vexed defenses like the Giants and Patriots make the Super bowl, it would make you view good d as a lost cause, but there’s still much to be said for teams who put a premium on that fundamental aspect.
Both teams have the bulk of their defenses returning after putting up performances that ranked them both within the top 3 of the fewest amount of points allowed. Even with the 49′ers season ending injury to linebacker Parys Haralson and possible suspension of Clark Haggans, they’re still a team with considerable depth all around. When looking at a team from a distance and trying to project where they’ll be before actually watching them play a game it’s a task that’s often easier said than done, unless you’re the Houston Texans. The Texans have remained amazingly intact and almost identical in appearance from where they’ve last left off, the biggest key for them will be to keep Matt Schaub healthy. But now hear me out, even if they do not keep him healthy I still like them as my favorites.
The biggest reason for that is of course division, division and divison. Let’s face it the AFC for all intents and purposes is lousy compared to the the NFC which has more than elevated itself above and beyond the AFC in terms of teams that can be considered actual contenders. The Texans are playing in the ‘safe’ and ‘plush’ AFC South where they’ll get to beat up on a developing Colts team, a woefully horrendous Jaguars, and a lackluster Titans team. They’ll be isolated the majority of the season from any major foes, even the ’almighty’ Brady led Patriots can’t boast the same kind of guaranteed insurance that the Texans have.
So 1) security from outsiders. And that brings me now to my second point as to why the Texans don’t need elite QB play or even Matt Schaub altogether to reach the Super Bowl. The Texans have already proven they could not only win a playoff game with a 3rd string Quarterback in TJ Yates, but they proved they could hold their old against another formidable defensive team (in the Ravens) in the process. If we learned anything from the 2011 season in regards to the Texans it’s that they’re style of game is predicated off ‘I’ before team–never mind how cliche it may be. Racking up three interceptions, getting a huge performance from Arian Foster and having their defense hold the Bengals scorless in the second half is the very essence of clicking all at once. I like the Houston Texans to coast through the regular season then take the pain from last years hard loss against the Ravens and use the wisdom gained to lead them to a comfortable first round bye then enter win or go home mode.
The 49′ers nay-sayers have all pointed to the same things–lack of depth in receivers and Alex Smith. Well, the 49′ers more than addressed the offensive quandaries by getting the Mario Manningham and Randy Moss in addition to Vernon Davis. But as we well know Alex Smith is very much still a vital part of the 49′ers and one of the determining factors in how far they’ll go this season.
The 2011 season could be very well revealed as a fluke if he does not get hot right from the gate, but what he and and NFL fans in general need to understand is that just because you’re not ‘elite’ (as is the word du jour around the NFL) it doesn’t mean you can’t get the job done. Alex Smith didn’t magically warp into the 2nd coming of Joe Montana last year, no he was just efficient and reliable. It takes years for Quarterbacks to develop to the point where they realize whether or not they’ll be great and it’s taken Alex Smith 6 seasons to realize ‘hey I’m never going to be an all time great’ but it’s when you find ways to cheat your disadvantages and make them work for you when is when you’ve gone from fluke to legit. Smith threw 17 touchdowns last year. You know how many Tom Brady threw last year…39, and both their respective seasons ended the same weekend.
So this whole ‘Oh you have to be elite and you have to break passing records and have a torpedo arm’ needs to stop. Yes, I understand it’s a passer league dominated by the Titan-esque figure that is the almighty Quarterback but I’m not looking at the trends I’m looking at foundamentals and room for improvement.
Last year I saw two teams both with two different projections before the season gave way. The Texans were supposed to come into their own, but with that not too many people knew where they’d ultimately leave off, even just being close in what was their 1st playoff game would’ve satisfied the masses. They in turn over achieved, even after being left with their 3rd string rookie Quarterback they still were in ‘cornbread taking’ mode and held their own against the Ravens who’s sole advantage that week was that they had old vets. Well this year the Ravens’ old vets are even older and some even banged up–badly at that, so this is the Texans league for the taking. Unlike the Patriots and Steelers they don’t have the big time QB, that still remains an anomaly but if last year was any indication then they’re a team that doesn’t rest their heads on losses they will come ready to pick up where they left off.
The 49′ers were a team with nothing BUT question marks, the NFC West seemed like something out of an old Western movie where tumble weed blows by–a Ghost Town of playoff hopes where teams go die in essence. The 49′ers were revived with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith realized his true calling and the team found their way going on an amazing run and now drafting well, addressing crucial needs which will have to power them against the like of the returning Championing Giants, the Packers, the Bears, Saints and more in a very testy NFC. The focal aspect that folks will take is the mediocrity of the QB situation with Schaub’s propensity for injury and Alex Smith’s inconsistency especially in a time that’s being deemed the Jurassic period of Quarterbacks. But tell me when has the NFL ever stopped being ran by Quarterbacks? Even when average QB’s like Trent Dilfer won who was winning all those years before–your Kurt Warners, Elways, Favres and Aikmans. I’m predicting a snag in a Quarterback driven era to say that old school foundamental football will win out in the end. Hey, call me bold.