Who will be in next year's Super Bowl?

April 26, 2010

History is our guide

John Altavilla

Hartford Courant

After programming my 2011 Super Bowl GPS for directions leading me to its eventual participants, I can tell you there is only one team that absolutely, positively, surely will not play in the game — the Cowboys.

This has nothing to do with Tony Romo or Jerry Jones or the lack of speed in the secondary. It has to do with history.

Never has a team played in a Super Bowl in its home stadium. And since this year's championship will be in Arlington, that means the Lions and Rams have a better shot at being there than the Cowboys.

Now for the tougher question. I like the Vikings against the Chargers because it's about time for both. They seemed well equipped to go last season with Brett Favre and Philip Rivers in charge.

Another year older, another year wiser.

altavilla@tribune.com

Chargers and Vikings

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

The Jets are a trendy Super Bowl pick this year because of the talent they have added, but I'm not taking a bite of that apple yet. The Chargers, one of the teams the Jets raided, are a more sound pick in the AFC. Over the last seven years, they have won 70 percent of their games. Though they need to find a way to replace LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie, the Chargers remain one of the most talented teams in the league, and their schedule, with games against teams from the AFC West and NFC West, is very accommodating.

The Vikings' schedule looks a little bumpier, but there isn't a better team in the NFC. If Brett Favre comes back, the Vikings will too.

dpompei@tribune.com

Cowboys and Jets

Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun

It's early, and there are some significant moves for teams to make, but the Cowboys and Jets look like the matchup on paper.

The Cowboys added another playmaker in the draft in Dez Bryant (if he can stay away from the Dallas-area temptations), and their defense is solid, if not spectacular. If they reach Super Bowl XLV, it's a home game for them. Whether that's fair is fodder for another day. But the motivation to play at home will be great.

The Jets can almost get there on defense alone. Rex Ryan will have it dialed up, and he desperately wants to get there after coming so close last year. The offseason additions on offense give second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez more weapons. No longer a rookie, he could have a big year.

Sorry, Ravens fans, the holes at cornerback and the aging of players at key positions are too much to overcome. Reaching the AFC championship game is as far as they go.

Redskins and Ravens

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

Picking the Super Bowl teams at this point is only slightly better than a blind stab because so much can happen between April and August, let alone April and February, but here goes.

Let's start with the NFC, which has had nine different Super Bowl participants in the last nine years: Rams, Buccaneers, Panthers, Eagles, Seahawks, Bears, Giants, Cardinals, Saints. Let's make it 10-for-10 and say the Redskins, who finally become a legitimate contender with Donovan McNabb.

In the AFC, I really like how the Ravens further improved their third-ranked defense with the addition of Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody, and I think that's a team that could do some damage in the playoffs.

So that's it, a Beltway brawl between teams separated by 40 miles.

sfarmer@tribune.com

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