Defense wins championships - an unfamiliar adage in the depths of a recently pass-happy sport.
Of course, elite quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Eli Manning cannot cherish Super Bowl MVP awards without imperative interceptions from Tracy Porter, Nick Collins, and Chase Blackburn, to highlight a few pivotal plays made by the opposing unit.
In that case, which unproven quarterback wins a match-up between the remarkably upstart No. 2 statistical defense of 2011 and the Monsters of the Midway: Matt Schaub or Jay Cutler?
Both are bolder choices to go with this year in their own right.
Football Nation constructed a bracket in the beginning of August based upon Vegas odds-makers BOVADA and every franchise's chances of reaching and winning the title game this upcoming season.
YOUR vote rolled the dice on the Houston Texans (12/1 odds) and Chicago Bears (16/1), and helped the Italian Trojan open his own casino/psychic hotline/Lottery ticket booth.
Find an empty seat on the floor and catch up on the developments of the Wild-Card, Divisional, and Conference Championship rounds.
Houston, the league's youngest expansion team and hypothetical second seed in the AFC (behind the unavoidable favorite New England Patriots), advanced past last postseason's nemesis Baltimore Ravens by a vote of 58 percent.
Chicago, one of the oldest institutions of the NFL and dark horses behind All-Pro Green Bay, advanced past reigning darling New York Giants by a vote of 57.9 percent.
Such statistics only scratch the surface of how similar both teams' outlooks for 2012 truly are.
The comparison features arguably the two best 1-2 punches of any given backfield, in the Texans' Arian Foster and Ben Tate, and the Bears' Matt Forte and Michael Bush. Also, when together and healthy, it's hard to top the QB-WR combos of Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson and Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall.
Health history is certainly a primary obstacle for each of these clubs, whether it be youthful Texans hamstrings or overall Chicagoan age.
Houston just clinched a playoff berth for the first time in their existence, after agonizing seasons of "breakthrough" expectations, but rookie T.J. Yates was able to secure a Wild-Card home victory.
Chicago, on the other hand, still has Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Devin Hester from their Rex Grossman-led Super Bowl XLI appearance and loss, but pose less recent January experience, after crumbling down the stretch last year in dimness of season-ending injuries to Cutler and Forte.
Then there's the defenses. Wade Phillips' scheme hopes to find unprecedented success for the second consecutive campaign, especially through cutting ties with Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.
Chicago is the more formidable symbol of defense...but they are older.
Nonetheless, shared concerns of age, experience, and cautious expectations all falter against the incredible upside perceived by Vegas and YOU - the fans and voting public. Let's up the ante one more time.
You can vote for the "Super Bowl" in the form of a comment below, or by visiting The Italian Trojan's Facebook page. Polls will close Wednesday August 29th.
Without further ado, place your bets:
Super Bowl Champion: (5) Chicago Bears or (2) Houston Texans?
It could come down to special teams, offensive line play, or one more clutch/costly interception. That being said, the Italian Trojan believes the Houston Texans will finally be celebrating their premature 21st birthday with class.
Picking Da Bears, however, cashes in a larger check. Where does YOUR money lie?
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