For some strange reason, the National Football League has placed Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey. It’s inexplicable why the league would jeopardize such a glorious event in a northern city, but I now understand.
The stage is set for a home team to finally defend its own turf in the Big Game, and that team sure isn’t Rex Ryan’s New York Jets. Come February, it will be Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, and the New York Giants celebrating their championship at the hands of Eli’s older brother, Peyton, and the Denver Broncos.
For the New England Patriots, it is again, wait till next year. Tom Brady gets one year older and Pats fans get one more year of frustration.
Here’s how I rank all the teams in the league, from 1 to 32.
1. New York Giants (11-5)
Why they will win: I looked into Eli’s eyes Friday night and saw something special. He’s back with something to prove. Oh yeah, and the rest of the division stinks.
Why they won’t: Coughlin’s life on the edge finally runs out. And when this team is 5-5, ownership pulls the plug.
Players to watch: Jason Pierre-Paul is the linchpin on defense. He must stay healthy and get to quarterbacks. Also, is David Wilson the answer at running back?
2. Denver Broncos (11-5)
Why they will win: Peyton gets the security blanket of all security blankets in Wes Welker, who goes on to catch 130 balls and scores 15 TDs.
Why they won’t: This defense, without Von Miller early, loses its identity.
Players to watch: Welker, of course. Every eye in New England will be on him as the season breaks down.
3. San Francisco 49ers (11-5)
Why they will win: Pat Willis and company still own the nastiest defense on the planet.