Thursday, March 22, 2012
NFC East 'Madden' Bracketology
By Dan Graziano
So we have this thing where you can go on and vote for who you think should be on the cover of "Madden NFL 13," and perhaps because it's March it's been set up as a bracket. There are 32 players in the bracket. The idea was that there'd be one for each NFL team, but as you can see the Patriots and Jets each now have two. All the Jets had to do to get their second was spend Wednesday completely embarrassing themselves.
But I digress.
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is the 2-seed on the left side of the bracket, matched up in the first round against 15th-seeded Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo. We all like Orakpo, and he's sure to get a bit of a boost from the small measure of fame he's earned giving the caveman a hard time on the Geico commercials. But Cruz is the popular breakout star of the surprise Super Bowl champs, and he's sure to roll through the first round. In fact, as I break down the bracket, Doug Gottlieb-style, I don't see too many potential tough matchups for Cruz until the final. Fourth-seeded Larry Fitzgerald could give him a run, but I think the winner of that stellar second-round matchup between Fitz and the Philadelphia Eagles' LeSean McCoy is going to be spent. And I like Cruz's chances even against top seed Cam Newton in the semis. I'm picking Cruz to salsa right into the final.
McCoy is the fifth seed on the same side of the bracket, and he's got a tough draw. A first-round matchup against an underseeded Reggie Bush, who has a Kardashian history and may pull in some tabloid votes, is brutal. Then he's likely to see Fitzgerald in the second round and Newton in the third. If McCoy makes it to the semis, he'll have earned his way there, no doubt about it.
On the other side of the bracket, Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware is the No. 10 seed and matched up in the first round against No. 7 seed Jared Allen of the Vikings. I like Ware to pull the upset here, and while there's trouble looming in the second round from No. 2 seed Rob Gronkowski, I think Ware's won enough "Madden" games over the years that he can upset Gronk as well. I have Ware in my Elite Eight, but that's where his dream ends. He's going to get either Tim Tebow, Arian Foster or Calvin Johnson there, and those guys are heavyweights.
My bracket has Cruz meeting Aaron Rodgers in the final and Rodgers getting his discount double-check revenge for the Giants' victory over the Packers in the NFC playoffs. But what do I know? I picked the Packers to win that game, and I never do well in the bracket pools.
Anyway, go vote. It'll give you something to do while you wait for London Fletcher to sign or the Giants to do something or whatever it is you're doing these days as a fan of a team in the super-quiet NFC East.