I know this comes as a crushing blow to Bears fans everywhere, but the Green Bay Packers will not be defending their Super Bowl title this year. We have the N.Y. Giants to thank for that. Give those guys a treat.
On Sunday, the Giants exposed the Packers' Swiss cheese defense, cruising to a 37-20 win at Lambeau Field. They did it through the air, on the ground and inside the heads of the Packers.
Earlier Sunday, Baltimore ousted the surprising Houston Texans, setting up an NFL final four of the Giants, Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots.
As an expert in the gambling arts, I'd like to handicap the teams left standing.
New England Patriots
Will they suffer the wrath of the gods after treating Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to a good old-fashioned butt whooping on Saturday? Considering Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is somewhat of a god himself, New England should be just fine. The team's weakness, pass defense, didn't look too weak. Of course, Tebow's arm is about as weak as they come in the NFL.
SUPER BOWL CHANCES: As close to a lock as possible
San Francisco 49ers
Time to pay attention to Jim Harbaugh's 49ers. Yes, they snuck up on just about everybody it seems, but San Fran is the real deal. Quarterback Alex Smith has delivered when it matters, but they'll be facing perhaps the hottest team still in the fight in the N.Y. Giants. That's nothing a little home cookin' won't fix though.
SUPER BOWL CHANCES: Very high
Has quarterback Eli Manning turned into the best quarterback in the Manning family? Sure, right now. Peyton's not even playing. But all kidding aside, the dude's on fire. And Eli's got four receivers who could start for the Bears right now. The Giants defense deserves props as well, making Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers look absolutely average.
SUPER BOWL CHANCE: Good
They say defense wins championships. Who's they? Who cares. They're smart. The Ravens looked absolutely frightening defensively against Houston, and that D will be put to the test with Brady opposing them. Fortunately for the Ravens, the sometimes anemic offense led by QB Joe Flacco won't face such a test in the Patriots D. As long as Baltimore remembers it has one of the league's best runners in Ray Rice, they could pull off an upset.
SUPER BOWL CHANCE: OK