Tuesday, April 28, 2009

SPORTS: Super Bowl Preview

*Posted October 25, 2008*

There was a lot of hype a few years back when Eli Manning was drafted first overall. Also drafted in that class was Philip Rivers and later Ben Roethlisberger. Since then, we have seen lots of sports writers try and compare the three to see who made the best decision. It doesn't end with them, either. Last year, ESPN ran a poll where every single ESPN opinion show ranked the young quarterbacks of the league. It basically was a split between Tony Romo and Big Ben. Now, Eli Manning has finally climbed into that discussion as well. I've always thought Romo-san was overhyped, and despite being a better quarterback than She-li, Manning did something last year that Romo probably never will do--win a championship. This weekend, the showdown between the 5-1 Steelers and the 5-1 Giants has everyone thinking Super Bowl preview. Both teams have strong defenses (but the Steelers have the best in the league). Last year the Giants won the Super Bowl with their amazing pass rush (but the Steelers lead the league this year in sacks). In fact, the Steelers linebacker tandem of Woodley and James Harrison is one of the best we've had in years. Tunch and Wolf are already comparing Harrison to greats like Greg Lloyd, and despite the small sample size, they aren't wrong. He's flat out terriying. Manning has put up pretty solid numbers (but Big Ben has one more TD and one fewer INT). The only thing the Giants have going for them is that their premiere back, Brandon Jacobs, isn't injured. The Steelers will probably once again be using the services of Mewelde Moore, but their plugins have been more than sufficient season. I never thought the Steelers would jump out to this kind of lead. Their supposedly strong schedule just got a little easier with the Colts, Chargers, Cowboys, and Patriots (future opponents) being a little vulnerable. The AFC is not as strong as in previous years, and the Steelers have the experience and talent to push ahead of the upstart Titans and Bills. The Giants have jumped ahead out in front of the hardest division in football, and are pretty much in control of their path through the playoffs. So it is fitting to think of this weekend in Pittsburgh as a Super Bowl preview, but let's not kid ourselves. The Steelers look like a much better team, and you can never count Big Ben out of a game. If I had to start a franchise today and pick from today's young quarterbacks, the order would be Large Ben, Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, then Eli Manning. This weekend, expect the linebackers to punish Eli and co.
Steelers - 24 Giants - 13

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