Unless you’re a fan of the Packers, Patriots, Giants – and possibly Pittsburgh, Houston or Chicago – don’t look for a fairytale ending to the 2012 NFL season, says Jim Lang, co-host of Brady and Lang in the Morning on Sportsnet 590 The Fan
Green Bay Packers
After rolling to a 15–1 regular season record, the Packers were poised to become the NFL’s first repeat champions since the 2004–05 Patriots. But Eli Manning and the New York Giants had other plans. Still, besides that setback, the Packers are still an elite team, says Lang. Aaron Rodgers threw for 4,643 yards and 45 TDs, and primary receiver Jordy Nelson finished third in the league in TDs last year.
“They’re going to score points; it’s just a matter of get- ting the defence to match the offence,” says Lang.
New England Patriots
Once again, the AFC road to the Super Bowl will go through the Patriots and their all-world quarterback, Tom Brady, says Lang. The 35-year-old Brady threw for a career- high 5,235 yards and 39 TDs last season.
This season, there are some holes on the offensive line following the retirement of left tackle Matt Light, but Lang believes they can be overcome as long as Brady remains healthy. “You can lose other guys and still be successful in New England; but you can’t lose Brady.”
Contenders: Big brother Peyton seems to get all the attention, but it’s Giants QB Eli who leads the Manning family in Super Bowl rings. He’s assisted by a defence that finished third in sacks (48) and second in tackles (861) last year. One of the keys to the Giants’ success will be third-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “He’s on the verge of stardom,” says Lang.
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