Super Bowl XVI's MNF showdown could make it an Instant Classic
Aaron Rodgers could deliver a Monday miracle for the Dragons
Although the Super Bowl XVI storylines and subplots are few and far between, the game is expected to be one of the closest ever. Neither owner expects this game to be lopsided as it will almost certainly come down to Monday Night when Aaron Rodgers and Matt Forte go for the Dragons and Ryan Grant starts for the Thugs. In fact, 5 of the Dragons 8 starters could possibly play on a day other than Sunday, which will certainly make for long football watching weekend for both owners involved. The Thugs are in the precarious position of likely facing a large deficit going into Sunday, surpassing it and scoring enough points to take a sizeable lead into Monday night. Sansone would like a 20 point lead heading into Monday thinking there is strong possibility Rodgers will get 12 and Forte 8. Sansone thinks Grant is only good for 2 to 4 points as his goal line carries have been limited at best this year.
Don't expect any trash-talking this week as the two owners have great respect for each other and will be clicking "refresh" every 15 seconds up until game time to watch for any lineup changes.
On the line for Jon and the Dragons? Becoming the first owner/team to win 3 Super Bowls. There are several with 2 but no single team has won 3 yet.
On the line for Bobby and the Thugs? The first expansion owner to win 2 Super Bowls, and also 2 with one team. If the Thugs win they can be thrown into the conversation as best team of the decade with 5 Division titles in the past 10 years and 2 Championships in the past 6.
Series & Super Bowl Facts:
- The Thugs lead the all-time series 5-1 and won the last meeting 35-33 in Week 1 of 2007
- This will mark the 3rd straight game for the Dragons against one of the Sansone brothers
- The Thugs are 1-0 in Super Bowls while the Dragons are 2-2
- David Akers is the only player left on the roster from the Thugs Super Bowl XI Championship team. An effort was made to get Ahman Green on the roster via the Gates/Grant trade but talks fell through
- Brett Favre, L.J. Smith, Shayne Graham and Hines Ward were on the Dragons Super Bowl XIII team that lost 82-29 to the Buddies. There are no players left from the Super Bowl IX Championship team.
QB: Matt Schaub vs Aaron Rodgers
Advantage: Schaub (16-12)
Sansone will either be glorified or vilified for his bold QB change in the Super Bowl. Schaub won't have weather as a factor with the game in Oakland while Rodgers will at least have to deal with cold weather on the road in Soldier Field. Schaub should get to 300 yards while Rodgers will find it tough it what could be a low-scoring game.
RB: DeAngelo Williams vs Dominic Rhodes
Advantage: Williams (8-2)
This advantage to Williams is based on the assumption that Joseph Addai is going to start and share carries with Rhodes. Rhodes still has an excellent chance to get a TD because he has been carrying the ball much better than Addai of late. Williams will face one of the best defenses in the league but with the Giants offense struggling, the Panthers could get an extra 3 or 4 possessions. Williams is a threat to score every time he touches the ball and he should get 20+ carries in this big Sunday night match-up.
RB: Ryan Grant vs Matt Forte
Advantage: Forte (8-2)
One of the best subplots of this game is the match-up of these two RBs. Sansone passed on Forte in the draft and went with veteran Ryan Grant instead. Grant started off slow but is still on pace for 1,200 yards rushing. His TD total is lacking in comparison to Forte. Forte is banged up but appears ready to play on MNF.
WR: T.J. Houshmandzadeh vs Wes Welker
Advantage: Welker (4-0)
This is another critical match-up that scares Sansone. Welker is almost a guaranteed 4 but another TD this weekend could be costly to the Thugs' hopes of winning. Housh meanwhile is playing with a hurt hand and only had 3 catches for 19 yards last week. A long overdue TD out of him would be a huge pick-me-up for the Thugs.
WR: Dwayne Bowe vs Anthony Gonzalez
Gonzalez will fill in for Marvin Harrison tonight who did not make the trip to Florida. Gonzalez has just 4 TDs this season but is increasingly becoming more and more involved in the offense. He will also look to prove Sansone should have picked him in the '07 draft instead of Bowe. Bowe meanwhile has been as steady as they come and could be in for another big day in Miami. Look for both WRs to come up with 8 points.
TE: Tony Gonzalez vs L.J. Smith
Advantage: Gonzalez (8-0)
Gonzalez' Conference Championship numbers are staggering. He has 6 TDs in 5 career games. His Super Bowl numbers on the other hand are not. In 3 Super Bowl appearances, Gonzalez is yet to score a TD. I think he gets a TD this weekend. L.J. Smith may be Jon's weakest link. A TD out of Smith would be a bonus for Jon but devastating for Sansone.
K: David Akers vs Matt Stover
Advantage: Akers (11-7)
Slight advantage to Akers here as the Eagles offense has been moving the ball with ease lately which translates into a lot of scoring opportunities for the YFFL's best kicker. Stover plays Saturday night in Dallas and won't have weather to worry about but will have to face a red-hot Cowboys defense that shut down the Giants last week. Stover should get 2 FGs and an XP.
UT: Steve Smith vs Hines Ward / Frank Gore
Advantage: Ward/Gore (6–0)
Sansone made the move from Shiancoe to Smith last week and it got him an extra 2 points. Smith appears to be the Giants' best WR now with Burress out of the picture but that isn't saying much. Jon will wait until Sunday in hopes Frank Gore plays in a very juicy match-up against the Rams. If not, Hines Ward, coming off one of his best games of the season, will start against the Titan's shutdown CB Cortland Finnegan. Not a great match-up for Ward but still a better option than Steve Smith.
Final Tally: Thugs 51 Dragons 45