The 2017 NFL Pro Bowl is about 24 hours from kickoff, and will be broadcast for the first for the first time from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. Some of the league’s best from both confernces will be featured in the annual offensive showcase. Also, the Pro Bowl returns to the traditional AFC vs NFC match-up for the first time in three years. While the general viewership expectations are generally low, added activities such as the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge have piqued the interest of fans and sports writers. Here are a few things to watch for this Sunday:
Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys came out of the gate swinging from the beginning of the season, and Dak Prescott was one of the main reasons Dallas was the number one seed in the NFC. The rookie threw for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and also rushed for 262 yards and six scores on the ground. Prescott also kept the Cowboys close against the Packers in their divisional round playoff loss two weeks ago. It’s no surprise that he’s been named the starter for this year’s NFC team. Considering the disappointment of an early playoff exit, look for Dak to have a field day, maybe even take home MVP honors.
Ezekiel Elliot, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
Expectations were high for the rookie coming out of Ohio State, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Elliott led the league in rushing with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns behind what many consider to be the best offensive line in the NFL. Both Zeke and Dak Prescott have changed the culture in the “Big D”, and I suspect that young Mr. Elliott have a nice showing in his first of many Pro Bowl appearances. He could be neck and neck for MVP of the game with Dak should the NFC team prevail.
Bobby Wagner, Middle Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
Much like the NBA All Star game, the Pro Bowl is usually an offensive shootout with a lot of scoring. However, looking at the rosters of both teams, things could be a little bit difficult for the AFC team. Even though Seattle’s defense hasn’t been as dominant as it once was, Bobby Wagner has been a constant for the Seahawks. Call me crazy, but there’s something to be said for a man that lead the lead in tackles this year (167) while also tallying 4.5 sacks. Let’s not split hairs, he’s not going to be the difference maker for the outcome of the game, but expect Wagner to be in the mix of every play when he’s on the field.
My prediction: It will be another close game, but in the end, the NFC should prevail 45-38. Dak Prescott takes home the MVP.