AFC vs. NFC
Date and Time: Sunday, January 29, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Divisional Round NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu:
Pro Bowl TV Coverage: ESPN
The Pro Bowl is returning to its roots this season. No longer will fantasy drafts play out before the game is set to kick-off. Instead, the best of the AFC will once again square off against the best of the NFC. Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing Tom Brady or Matt Ryan suit up in this one with each more concerned with leading their teams into battle in Super Bowl LI.
Also out of the equation for this year’s Pro Bowl are Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger with each going down in defeat last weekend. Instead, we get Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins as alternates – super yeah!
How Drew Brees failed to originally get voted onto the NFC’s roster boggles the mind. But due to Matty Ice sitting the game out, the Saints veteran field general got the call. It’s well deserved after the former Boilermaker lit the league up for 5,208 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes.
While the quarterback crop is nothing to get really excited about, unless you’re a huge fan of Alex Smith and the 3,502 yards and 15:8 TD/INT ratio he accrued in the regular season. That however isn’t the case at the running back position with a number of young up and coming ball carriers set to lead the way for both offenses.
Ezekiel Elliott comes off one of the best seasons ever put together by a rookie. He will spearhead the NFC’s rushing attack after running for over 1,600 yards and combining for 16 overall touchdowns.
There wasn’t a whole heck of a lot for Bears fans to get excited about this past season, but one of the nice stories happened to be rookie Jordan Howard who ran for over 1,300 yards to rank out as the second best rusher behind only Zeke.
Another youngster who had an exceptional season was Dolphins second-year running back Jay Ajayi. The former Boise State Bronco burst onto the scene this season with 1,272 rushing yards and put forth three games in which he surpassed the 200-yard plateau.
The major headliner out of the backfield will be the Arizona Cardinals David Johnson. He introduced himself to the NFL in the second half of last season, and built on that success this year by becoming the best dual threat the league had to offer. He rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 16 touchdowns, but also added another 879 yards and 4 touchdowns catching passes out of the backfield. Not since Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk has there been a better dual-purpose back. That in and of itself makes tuning into this year’s Pro Bowl worth doing just to get a glimpse of his greatness one last time.
The Chiefs and Cowboys really let their fan bases down by dropping home games in the playoffs. If fans of the team aren’t sick of seeing them, they can get another look on Sunday with Jason Garrett and his staff leading the NFC and Andy Reid and his staff the AFC.
Dating back to 2005 and omitting the last three games, the NFC had won five of the last eight Pro Bowls. Points were scored in bunches in each with an average of 73.8 points per game put on the board. The underdog scored outright wins the last two times the AFC squared off against the NFC and each game combined to go over the closing point total.