Let’s do an early look at the postseason. With Green Bay having the homefield advantage through the playoffs, the road to the championship in our NFC conference may go through Lambeau Field. It can be an intimidating place to play when it’s cold and the wind is blowing, but that’s what you want, the challenge to go up there. They’re the champions until they get knocked off!
One of the individuals I’ll be watching is Baltimore’s excellent running back, Ray Rice, who came out the same year I did, 2008. He can run and catch and comes to play. I’m always rooting for players who came out in my class. Another top running back I admire is the 49ers Frank Gore, who I look up to for his consistent play. He was NFC rushing champ in 2006. In terms of teams, Detroit is in the playoffs for the first time since 1999, and they went winless in 2008, so you’ve got to hand it to them for turning it around and doing something good for the Motor City.
How competitive will the Super Bowl chase be? You know, only the Patriots have been repeat winners since 2000. And in the last six years, three wild-card teams have won the Super Bowl, including Green Bay last season. It shows that teams are ultra competitive and hungry. When your back is against the wall and you don’t have an advantage like home field or a bye week to rest up, maybe you play with a little more purpose and desire. Also, teams with the advantage of home field/bye week may be a little too relaxed and caught off guard by teams that are hungry, ready to win and prepared. There are no guarantees, like they say in that movie Any Given Sunday. And that’s why they play the game.
On another note, I am picking the Ducks to win the Rose Bowl over Wisconsin. And I’m going with LSU for the BCS Championship, although I don’t have a lot of interest in this game, seeing as my Ducks are not in it!
Next year is going to be interesting in a lot of ways. I’m excited for the new year and I’ll be going into the last year of my contract. I intend to make the most out of it, as my immediate future will be on the line. So here’s a New Year’s resolution: “Today make strides with your ambition!” JStew out!
—As told to Ashley Jude Collie