American Football: Patriots favoured to reach Super Bowl

There is a chance that next month's Super Bowl will be an all-Pennsylvania affair, but the bookmakers in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are not betting on it. True, the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to prevail against the Atlanta Falcons, but following the manner of their 20-3 humbling of the Indianapolis Colts last week, few are prepared to bet against the New England Patriots.

There is a chance that next month's Super Bowl will be an all-Pennsylvania affair, but the bookmakers in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are not betting on it. True, the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to prevail against the Atlanta Falcons, but following the manner of their 20-3 humbling of the Indianapolis Colts last week, few are prepared to bet against the New England Patriots.

The Patriots will have to visit Pittsburgh, to take on a Steelers side that manhandled them during the regular season. Even with home advantage, the bookies think the Steelers are in trouble, and have installed last season's Super Bowl winners as three-point favourites.

"They deserve it," said the Pittsburgh defender Chad Scott. "They are the champions. They played very well against the Colts, and we just barely beat the Jets, that's why they're favoured." Nor should too much be read into Pittsburgh's comfortable 30-17 triumph over their rivals in October. That day, New England were without their leading running back, Corey Dillon. Now fully fit, he tormented the hapless Colts last week, rushing for 144 yards. A similar showing tomorrow will see the Patriots in their third Super Bowl in four years.

However, Pittsburgh possess a pair of bulldozing power-backs of their own, and if Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley are on song, the Steelers may not need any heroics from their young quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.

This is familiar territory for the Philadelphia Eagles, who are playing in their fourth NFC Championship game in a row. The last three ended in failure, but with a punishing defence, and the poise of the quarterback Donovan McNabb, they look primed to end their 24-year Super Bowl drought.

However, the Falcons have been a revelation under their first-year coach, Jim Mora, and he is entering the game in confident mood. "We don't feel any pressure," he said. "Its house money we're gambling with, so we're just going to go up there and fling it around." Nor should the snowstorms forecast for tomorrow adversely affect Atlanta's gifted quarterback, Michael Vick. Two years ago, he led them to a play-off victory in Green Bay, the most inhospitable venue in American sport. Not even the elements seem capable of shackling his extraordinary running ability.

The experts may well be right: one Pennsylvania team could indeed be participating in next month's Super Bowl. How ironic it would be if Philadelphia fall at the final hurdle once more, only to see Pittsburgh claim their place at the expense of the seemingly unbeatable Patriots.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower