Joe Wedra is a budding young star in the independent sports circuit. At the young age of 17 his extreme large knowledge about the game of football is extraordinary. He is well schooled in the modern NFL market and especially knowledgeable in breaking down upcoming NFL Drafts and even participates in mock drafts. Wedra is a contributor to the Route 4 Sports writing team, the Russell Street Report and even a co-host of the Gee Steelio Sports Hour on The Sports Chronicles Radio Network. We ask him 7 Burning Questions breaking down both AFC and NFC Title match-ups.
1. Which game of the two intrigues you the most?
I’ll go against the grain and say the NFC match-up. There is so much hype about Brady and Manning, but we are forgetting what football is all about—running and playing defense.
This is one of the better rivalries in the game today, and we’d be mistaken if we think this isn’t going to be high-scoring. Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch might be the players to look as opposed to Wilson and Kaepernick.
2. Who has more pressure going this week, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
I think there’s pressure on both sides.
Tom Brady is in a “what have you done for me lately?” scenario. If he doesn’t beat Manning this week, it will bring up concerns about consistency in the “big picture”, even though we all know that #12 is a model of consistency at the QB position.
Manning wants to add another ring to his collection. He’s going to go down as one of the best in the game, but having just one ring will bring some questions about his “clutchness”. (That’s not a word, but it seems fitting.)
3. Broncos DB Chris Harris injury a big deal?
Harris being on the sidelines is going to be big. When he is on the field, he’s a fantastic cover corner. This defense already has its issues and facing Tom Brady doesn’t help.
Someone like Tony Carter may have to step up and battle against the receiving corps of New England.
4. What adjustments do the 49ers need to make to finally win in Century Link Field?
Time-of-Possession will be a big stat in this one. San Francisco has to sustain long drives and wear down the Seattle defense in crunch time. The 49ers had the ball for 13 minutes LESS than Seattle in their first meeting this year. That has to change.
Also, why not keep this simple? Colin Kaepernick has to play better. In his game at Seattle this year, he had a 20.1 QB rating and threw for three interceptions. That’s unacceptable.
5. What’s been the reason behind Russell Wilson’s decline over the last month?
That’s a tough question that only Wilson might be able to answer. He certainly hasn’t been the same, and that’s a bit concerning.
From an outsider’s view, I think he simply needs to attempt more high-percentage throws. Wilson needs to be confident, but he also has to be smart. In his two worst games, he had problems completing passes. I want to see Wilson keep the offense simple, rely on intermediate routes, and take a big game and slow it down.
6. Which team not playing this weekend you feel has the most upside moving forward?
I think the argument can be made for a lot of teams. The NFL is such a strong league top-to-bottom; it’s hard to pinpoint just one. Look at the Cleveland Browns… they had a rough season on paper, but I think they are one or two players away from being a contending team. When you have a guy like Josh Gordon who tallied 774 yards and five touchdowns in a four-game span, you have to like what lies ahead.
I like the Indianapolis Colts moving forward. I think Andrew Luck will continue to grow with weapons like Coby Fleener and T.Y Hilton. Reggie Wayne should be back and don’t be surprised if the team cashes in a high draft pick for another playmaker that can score. The defense needs work, but Chuck Pagano will have a full off-season to address the needs and make the necessary changes.
7. Who will play in Super Bowl 48?
I think this is pretty simple.
Seattle will have fun at home and win. Peyton Manning will take care of business against the New England defense.
Seattle-Denver…Here we go!