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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why The Cincinnati Bengals Will Win The 2014 Superbowl

Here are the Superbowl winning quarterback's between 2004 and 2013 as well as their age:

2004: Tom Brady (26)
2005: Tom Brady (27)
2006: Ben Roethlisberger (23)
2007: Peyton Manning (30)
2008: Eli Manning (27)
2009: Ben Roethlisberger (26)
2010: Drew Brees (30)
2011: Aaron Rodgers (27)
2012: Eli Manning (31)
2013: Joe Flacco (28)

Notice a trend? My confirmation bias does. QBs that win the Superbowl tend to be within the age of 26-30. Ben Roethlisberger was the youngest QB ever to win a Superbowl at the age of 23. While of course it's certainly possible for younger QBs to win it all, that's the outlier and not the norm. Eli Manning was a month into 31st year alive when he won the Superbowl in 2012.

I think this mainly means that QB's who are older in age do NOT win Superbowls. That's not to say they can't, it's just to say that they don't, at least not in recent years.

Here's a list of quarterbacks likely to make the playoffs (as of Week 13) and their age at the time of the 2014 Superbowl at MetLife Stadium:

- Peyton Manning (37)
- Tom Brady (36)
- Drew Brees (35)
- Tony Romo (33)
- Alex Smith (29)
- Andy Dalton (26)
- Colin Kaepernick (26)
- Matthew Stafford (25)
- Russell Wilson (25)
- Cam Newton (24)
- Andrew Luck (24)

The 6th seed in the AFC is so up in the air, that I'm not going to pretend I have the slightest idea who I think will earn it. However,  the one QB who's team has a realistic shot of making the playoffs and is between the ages of 26-30 is Joe Flacco. He'll be 29.

The four QBs I'm not even going to consider are those over 30: Romo, Brees, Brady, and Manning. That seems absurd considering the latter three are arguably the 3 best QBs in the league. The problem, however, is that their age historically tells us they won't win a Superbowl. Heck, just look at these teams' 2012 playoff run. Drew Brees' Saints didn't even make the playoffs, Peyton Manning's Colts lost their first game, and Tom Brady's Patriots lost in the AFC Championship Game. Both Manning and Brady lost to the 28 year old Joe Flacco.

The trend for 26-30 year olds winning Superbowls isn't that old of a trend. John Elway won 2 Superbowls when he was 37 and 38 back in the late 1990's. Hell, the year before I started this list, in 2003, a 34 year old Brad Johnson won the Superbowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But that being said, that is not the trend recently.

The 3 QBs who fall within this recent trend are:
- Alex Smith (29)
- Andy Dalton (26)
- Colin Kapernick (26)

Smith's Chiefs have a good, solid team. However, the Chiefs have had a pretty easy schedule, and have struggled recently against better opponents. I just don't think the Chiefs or Alex Smith have it in them to win three straight games to even make it to the Superbowl.

At the beginning of the 2013 season, I predicted Kaepernick's 49ers to win the Superbowl. In 2011, the 49ers made it to the NFC Championship Game, but then lost. In 2012, the 49ers made it all the way to the Superbowl, but again lost. 2013 seemed to be their year. Until the year actually started. San Fran seems to be a team that can only defeat bad teams, yet struggle against good ones. But even if they do flip a switch in the playoffs, eventually San Francisco will have to play the Seahawks in Seattle. Nobody beats the Seahawks in Seattle. After the Seahawks DESTROYED the Saints on Monday Night Football in Week 13, which in turns essentially clinched playoff home field advantage for them, I think the Seahawks are the clear winner to represent the NFC in the Superbowl.

That leaves Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Superbowl.

That's not that far fetched. In fact, this Bengals team reminds me of the 2012 Baltimore Ravens. A good but not great team who's quarterback can easily put together 3-4 top level games with a good running game. Joe Flacco is not a good quarterback over the long haul, but he was really, really good in the playoffs. The Ravens put up 24 points against the Colts, 38 points versus Manning's Broncos, and 28 points against Tom Brady's Patriots. Flacco also put up a lot of points on the 49ers early in the Superbowl, and even with the Blackout, it was too many points for the 49ers to come back from.

Andy Dalton is also very streaky. However, he can put together 3-4 games where he's just unstoppable. Hell, Dalton did that earlier in the year during the regular season.

Therefore, the Cincinnati Bengals (assuming they make the playoffs) are my prediction to win the Superbowl. Unless head coach Marvin Lewis, who's easily one of the worst coaches currently coaching in the NFL, fucks it up. Which he probably will.

Who do you think will win the Superbowl this year?

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