NFL Game Picks: Pro Bowl Skills Competition Edition
With the Pro Bowl Skills competition getting ready to kick off, it is the perfect time to accurately predict who will win each competition.
Let’s look at who we believe will win their respective competitions in Las Vegas.
Best Catch: Justin Jefferson, NFC
In an event that the NFL hopes will become their version of the dunk contest, Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Pat Surtain II, yes, the Denver Broncos cornerback, will compete in a two-part catch competition.
On Thursday, the four competitors will present a highlight reel of themselves catching passes around Las Vegas. Then fans will vote for the final two, and they will compete live on Sunday.
Jefferson has an insane catch radius and will be able to come up with memorable and creative catches that will allow him to griddy all the way to victory.
Precision Passing: Geno Smith, NFC
One of the few skill competitions focusing solely on football, the six Pro Bowl quarterbacks, Trevor Lawrence, Tyler Huntley, Derek Carr, Geno Smith, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff, will square off in an accuracy competition.
This is anybody’s competition to win with every passer competing having a completion percentage over 60.8% in the regular season.
Smith had the highest percentage with 69.8%, so don’t be surprised if he emerges victorious.
Longest Drive: Justin Tucker, AFC
A golf competition in the NFL Pro Bowl? Sure, why not. Justin Tucker, Jordan Poyer, C.J. Mosley, Marlon Humphrey, Matt Judon, Jonathan Allen, Tress Way, Daron Payne, T.J. Hockenson and Za’Darius Smith will compete to see who can drive a golf ball the furthest.
Let’s go with Tucker because, as a kicker, he might have an advantage by being able to read the wind. Otherwise, you could put them all on a wheel and have just as good of a chance to predict the winner.
Kick Tac Toe: AFC Special Teams
In a returning competition, each conference's special teams unit will compete in a field goal version of tic tac toe.
Despite the whole unit involved, it will come down to Justin Tucker versus Jason Myers. Tucker is the NFL’s most accurate kicker of all time, so don’t be shocked when he wins this competition.
Gridiron Gauntlet: NFC Squad
The Gridiron Gauntlet is a side-by-side relay race aimed to highlight players’ speed and agility. Players will race to the finish by climbing walls, going under tables, navigating a tire run and pushing a sled with a coach standing on it.
The AFC team consists of Joel Bitonio, Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Cam Heyward and Dion Dawkins. On the other side, the NFC is sending out Penei Sewell, Brian Burns, Saquon Barkley, Tristan Wirfs and Cam Jordan.
I like the NFC squad here, with Barkley and Burns being the difference makers. Barkley and Burns are more elusive, agile and faster than their counterparts Chubb and Garrett, giving the NFC the advantage in this competition.
Move the Chains: AFC Squad
The Move the Chains event will have two teams from each conference compete in a best-of-three 10-yard weighted wall pull.
The AFC’s team one includes Quinnen Williams, Trey Hendrickson, Laremy Tunsil, Terron Armstead and Jeffery Simmons, and their team two is Maxx Crosby, Rodger Saffold, Ben Jones, Mitch Morse and Wyatt Teller.
The NFC’s team one includes Jonathan Allen, Frank Ragnow, Chris Lindstrom, Trent Williams and Demarcus Lawrence, and their team two is Dexter Lawrence, Daron Payne, Zack Martin, Elgton Jenkins and Tyler Biadasz.
I like the AFC Squad in this one because they have the better offensive lineman, who are more used to anchoring themselves and moving backwards than defensive linemen.
Lightning Round: NFC Squad
The Lightning Round is a three-part elimination challenge consisting of a water balloon toss, punt catching competition and a challenge where players try to spill a bucket of water on a coach’s head.
The AFC squad is headlined by Pat Surtain II, Derrick Henry, Quinnen Williams, Cam Heyward and Jamal Agnew. The NFC squad features Trent Williams, Fred Warner, Terry McLaurin, Budda Baker and KaVontae Turpin.
I like the NFC Squad to win this competition because they have more wide receivers and defensive backs competing, and two of the events include catching.
Dodgeball: AFC Squad
Four teams of five players from each division will go head to head in the childhood classic game dodgeball. The two AFC teams will face off against each other, as well as the two NFC teams, and the winners will advance to play each other.
The AFC teams feature Tyreek Hill, Ja’Marr Chase, Mark Andrews, Sauce Gardner and Minkah Fitzpatrick, while the NFC teams feature Christian McCaffrey, Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb, Saquon Barkley and Jalen Ramsey.
I like the AFC to win this one, as they have the better pass catchers in a competition where it’s essential to catch the ball to survive.
Ben Palillo is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.
Jonathan Hartley is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.