The Designed Rush, Week 17 -- The TDR Pro Bowl Starting Lineup

Steven JacksonThe Pro Bowl rosters will be announced this evening on NFL Network. While there will no doubt be the usual contingent of worthy snubs among the reserves (which we will go into after the announcement) it's generally hard to mess the starters up too badly, save for the four or five guys who get in solely on popularity or reputation. To guard against that, this is what I see as the most deserving starting roster for this year's squads.

↵QB: Drew Brees (NO)
↵RB: Steven Jackson (STL)
↵FB: Leonard Weaver (PHI)
↵WR: Miles Austin (DAL)
↵WR: Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
↵TE: Vernon Davis (SF)
↵T: Jason Peters (PHI)
↵G: Jahri Evans (NO)
↵C: Andre Gurode (DAL)
↵G: Steve Hutchinson (MIN)
↵T: Jammal Brown (NO)
↵DE: Julius Peppers (CAR)
↵DT: Kevin Williams (MIN)
↵DT: Jay Ratliff (DAL)
↵DE: Jared Allen (MIN)
↵OLB: DeMarcus Ware (DAL)
↵ILB: Patrick Willis (SF)
↵OLB: Clay Matthews (GB)
↵CB: Charles Woodson (GB)
↵CB: Antoine Winfield (MIN)
↵SS: Adrian Wilson (ARI)
↵FS: Darren Sharper (NO)
↵K: David Akers (PHI)
↵P: Andy Lee (SF)
↵KR: Percy Harvin (MIN)
↵ST: Sean Morey (ARI)

↵QB: Peyton Manning (IND)
↵RB: Chris Johnson (TEN)
↵FB: Lousaka Polite (MIA)
↵WR: Andre Johnson (HOU)
↵WR: Vincent Jackson (SD)
↵TE: Dallas Clark (IND)
↵T: Ryan Clady (DEN)
↵G: Kris Dielman (SD)
↵C: Kevin Mawae (TEN)
↵G: Ben Grubbs (BAL)
↵T: Joe Thomas (CLE)
↵DE: Dwight Freeney (IND)
↵DT: Haloti Ngata (BAL)
↵DT: Shaun Rogers (CLE)
↵DE: Aaron Schobel (BUF)
↵OLB: Elvis Dumervil (DEN)
↵ILB: David Harris (NYJ)
↵OLB: James Harrison (PIT)
↵CB: Darrelle Revis (NYJ)
↵CB: Nnamdi Asomugha (OAK)
↵SS: Brian Dawkins (DEN)
↵FS: Ed Reed (BAL)
↵K: Nate Kaeding (SD)
↵P: Shane Lechler (OAK)
↵KR: Joshua Cribbs (CLE)
↵ST: Kassim Osgood (SD)
↵Oddly enough, it's the races at tight end that are the most difficult to call. One could reasonably make an argument for Antonio Gates in the AFC and either Tony Gonzalez or Brent Celek in the NFC. Obviously fan voting will likely depose some of the more deserving players from the starting lineup (my money's on Steven Jackson) but here's hoping they get most of it right.
↵Five Games to Watch Even if You have No Rooting Interest (Or If Your Fantasy League is Even Still Playing)
↵Philadelphia at Dallas (4:15 p.m., Sunday) --
The Eagles memorably blasted the Cowboys 44-6 on the final week of last season to deny them a spot in the playoffs. Dallas has already secured a berth this season, but now Philly is in position to capture a first-round bye with a victory in their first game in the new Cowboys stadium.
↵New York Giants at Minnesota (1 p.m., Sunday) --
After being victimized last night by Jay Cutler and Devin Aromashodu, the Vikings would need a win coupled with losses by both Arizona and Philly to regain the second seed in the NFC. If Adrian Peterson needs some vindication after a killer overtime fumble, a Giants run defense that was torched by the Panthers offers a prime opportunity.
↵Cincinnati at New York Jets (8:20 p.m., Sunday) --It's very interesting that this was the game flex to primetime over Dallas and Philly, considering the likelihood of Cincinnati resting players. If that is the case, how fortunate are the Jets to have run into resting teams in the final two weeks of the season? Should the Patriots win couple with a Jets victory on Sunday, these two teams would meet each other again the following week in the Wild Card round, but obviously in Paul Brown Stadium.
↵Green Bay at Arizona (4:15 p.m., Sunday) --
Another match-up of teams that will be playing next weekend, possibly against each other if the Packers and Vikings win Sunday. Considering that the Cardinals are playing concurrently with the Eagles, it's doubtful that they will rest any players unless a lead gets lop-sided for either team.
↵Pittsburgh at Miami (1 p.m., Sunday) --
In their faint fantasies for playoff life, the Steelers not only need a victory on the road in Miami, but victories by both the Bengals and the Patriots (or a loss by the Ravens in Oakland), teams already in the playoffs that have little to play for (other than backing up Chad Ochocinco's ongoing Twitter trash talk with Darrelle Revis). Miami, having seen the success Josh Cribbs and the Browns had using the formation against Pittsburgh, will likely provide ample looks with the Wildcat.
↵NFL Player/Figure Tweet of the Week

↵"@ChrisJohnson28 chilln brah brah jus seeing was good u solid out there??" -- DeSean Jackson, yesterday.Apparently Matt Leinart is Ghost Twittering for DeSean Jackson. Chill Tweets, brah!
↵Truth in Advertising
↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
↵If they were going to challenge a player's famous nickname, they should have gone with Rod "He Hate Me" Smart. I think they would have found him actually to be a genial guy. But then, yeah, I guess "Too Tall" Jones is a bit better known.
↵Dispatches from Madden Nation

↵A community manager at Electronic Arts Canada let it slip that the company will release a new sports title next month. Well, rumor has it that it will be an NFL Trainer game for the Wii, which will feature football-inspired workouts and drills. Just stay away from the no-pads Eric Mangini difficulty setting.
↵A Delicious Bundle of Gripes

↵-- Randy Moss was amused on Sunday by a rather accurate impostor caught by the Jumbotron Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Maybe it was that guy who took the field against the Panthers.
↵-- People can't get enough speculating on whether NFL players and coaches are flipping off their home fans. Last week, it was supposedly Chiefs coach Todd Haley who gave the finger to a spectator, now amateur examiners of grainy photos are doing pixel analysis on Jay Cutler's hand motion from last night.
↵Cleveland Browns field
↵-- Did the Cleveland grounds crew forget to re-sod the entire field or were they just putting in a fairway?
↵-- An Indianapolis City-County Council resolution has been drafted demanding that the Colts refund the price of tickets to fans because the team decided to sit starters in the second half last week. It's not as though fans didn't know that the Colts sitting starters was a possibility prior to Sunday.
↵-- Not much else to say about the Lions except that two defensive starters (one a rookie) on a 2-13 team made the franchise's all-decade team.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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