Roundtable: Super Bowl picks 

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With the Wild Card round of the playoffs behind us, there are just eight teams remaining in the fight for the Lombardi trophy. The AFC side has gone completely chalk so far, while the NFC has had two “upsets” seeding wise even though the Dallas Cowboys were betting favorites against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will the Giants continue their Cinderella run and pick up their first win of the year against the Eagles? Will Kansas City get back to the Super Bowl after missing it last year or will the Bengals stay atop the AFC? The Daily Campus Sports section shares their picks in this week’s roundtable. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Stratton Stave / Associate Sports Editor 

The 2022 runner-ups bring most of the same team from last year back and they’re looking for revenge. QB Joe Burrow regressed slightly from his incredible run last year, but even with the slightly less impressive numbers, he played extremely well. His top targets, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins each caught for over 1,000 yards, while RB Joe Mixon bested 1,200 all-purpose yards without a fumble. The team is strong in most areas, although the recent injuries to the o-line do raise some concerns. Either way, the team is stacked and in a good position to make it all the way. The Bills will be a tough opponent and the Chiefs harder if both win, but Burrow’s squad has the potential to beat any team they play.  

New York Giants 

Connor Sargeant / Campus Correspondent 

The Giants have been taking care of business all year and have surpassed almost all expectations by not only making the playoffs but beating a Minnesota team on the road that was favored, despite losing to them only three weeks ago. The Giants were one of the most dominant teams early on, starting 7-2; however, injuries forced them to deviate from that plan causing them to finish the year 2-5-1. Many of those injured Giants have returned as full participants. Daniel Jones, whom many assumed was a bust, played the part of the sixth overall draft pick last Saturday by throwing for over 300 yards and picking up 78 on the ground. It will be tough to beat this team with no quit in sight. The sky’s the limit for this team that is hoping for a sequel to when they upset the undefeated Patriots in 2007. If New York makes it, they will have the same venue in Glendale, Arizona, as the unlikely wild card team looking to upset the world. 

San Francisco 49ers 

Noah Reed / Campus Correspondent 

Coming into the playoffs on a ten game win streak and players getting healthy, I think San Francisco has the momentum to carry them to a Super Bowl win. They have solid weapons all around with McCaffery, Kittle, Aiyuk and Samuel rounding out the offense. Add to that a stellar defense that’s tied for most interceptions (20), sixth in forced fumbles (16) and allowed the fewest yards per carry in the league (3.4), they’re a threat. The biggest question mark surrounding this team is QB Brock Purdy. The rookie has played solid in his few career starts but needs to continue to be the guy going deeper into the playoffs. Great news for San Francisco, he performed well against Seattle during Wild Card weekend. Purdy ended the game with 332 yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown for good measure. His play needs to stay at a high level in order for them to continue this run, but he hasn’t let anything get in his way so far.  

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) gestures as he runs off the field after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in a wild card game at Levi’s Stadium. Photo by Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills 

Cole Stefan / Senior Columnist 

The Bills entered the playoffs carrying the most momentum. Whether it was an eight-game winning streak or rallying for Damar Hamlin, Buffalo will stop at nothing to bring home a Super Bowl title. Even though he threw 14 interceptions in the regular season, Josh Allen is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. While he and Stefon Diggs run the offense, the tight defense shuts opponents down. Von Miller may be out for the season with a torn ACL, but that has had a minimal effect so far as First-Team All-Pro Matt Milano and Pro Bowler Tremaine Edmunds wreak havoc up front while Jordan Poyer and Kaiir Elam protect the secondary. Above all else, the best thing in Buffalo’s favor is that they do not have to play a true road game because if they play the top-seeded Chiefs in the AFC title game, it will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. As long as the Bills do not lose a critical coin toss, they will run (not jump through) the table. 

Philadelphia Eagles 

Evan Rodriguez / Senior Columnist 

With what the Eagles have shown this season, I think they’re as strong as any team. Jalen Hurts is off the injury report and if he’s able to replicate his MVP-like skill that he’s demonstrated this season, any team who touches the Eagles this season are in trouble. He’s got options with Miles Sanders or he can throw it to guys like AJ Brown, Devontae Smith or Dallas Goedert. If he wants to, he can take it himself with his ability to be an elite dual-threat quarterback. Their offense is electric and the Eagles defense is scary as well. Players like C.J. Gardner-Johnson at safety or Haason Reddick gives no opponent an easy contest. Due to being such a well-rounded unit and with what the entire NFL has seen the Eagles do, I have great reason to believe that they can win it all if everything is clicking.  

Kansas City Chiefs

Sam Calhoun / Campus Correspondent 

The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the NFL, even after losing star receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins. Patrick Mahomes is the league’s MVP, passing to Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Mahomes adjusted quite well to how Kansas City’s offense was running this year. A key to winning the Super Bowl this year won’t come from the offensive side, but the defensive. Chris Jones has been the best defensive player on the team, earning first-team All-Pro honors with 15.5 sacks. The Chiefs won’t be able to get to Glendale if their defense can’t go up against Jacksonville, Buffalo, or Cincinnati’s offenses. It won’t just be Jones leading the defense, as Nick Bolton and L’Jarius Sneed lead at the linebacker and secondary roles respectively. The Chiefs are experienced and have something to prove, and I can see Andy Reid holding the Lombardi Trophy in February. 

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