And then there were eight.
One linebacker, one running back, two quarterbacks, three wide receivers and one tight end.
Patrick Willis has pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the "Madden" Cover Vote to date, advancing to the Elite Eight from the 11-seed. Both No. 1 seeds are still in the tournament (Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers), both No. 2 seeds remain unbeaten (Rob Gronkowski, Victor Cruz), and Larry Fitzgerald continues to stay alive in his quest to become the first-ever two-time "Madden" cover athlete.
Can Fitzgerald really pull this off? Let's take a look at how the round of eight matches stack up.
(1) Cam Newton vs. (4) Larry Fitzgerald
Newton continues to receive more votes than any other player in the tournament, and it's not even close. This is Newton's first tough test, however, and Fitzgerald has proven in his big wins over LeSean McCoy and Troy Polamalu that he has some serious fan support backing his candidacy. I'm still picking Newton to win it all, though, so I say he squeaks by Fitzgerald here and ends the receiver's dream/nightmare of the double cover/curse.
(11) Patrick Willis vs. (2) Victor Cruz
Willis is the only defensive player left in the tournament. Really? Out of eight players, only one on defense? I guess if any defender should win the cover, it's Willis, one of the all-time best "Madden" characters, and the player who has won me hundreds of games, thanks to the Hit Stick. Cruz is probably going to win this matchup, but I'm voting defense.
(1) Aaron Rodgers vs. (5) Ray Rice
I actually think Rice is going to pull off the upset here. Rice already beat Drew Brees, A.J. Green and T-Sizzle, but Rodgers is going to be a tough player to knock out of the tournament. Then again, Rice has already proven this year, with his win in the "NFL Blitz" cover vote, that Ravens fans come out in full force to support their star, and I think Packers fans are going to vote for Rice in an "avoid the curse" campaign, swaying things ultimately in Rice's favor.
(6) Calvin Johnson vs. (2) Rob Gronkowski
I expect this to be the closest vote in the Elite Eight. Both these players have been collecting huge numbers of votes in the early rounds, but I think Megatron is going to be the one who ultimately spikes Gronk. If we get Detroit on the "Madden" cover, can we get Eminem to do the game's soundtrack?
So what are you waiting for? Head to the official SportsNation home of the "Madden NFL 13" cover vote, and cast your vote today for your favorite player (or the player you're most hoping to curse).