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AFC guest analys


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001

A field reporter for ESPN, Solomon Wilcots was a defensive back for the Bengals, Vikings and Steelers from 1987-93. He spoke about the Super Bowl matchup with Times staff writer Joanne Korth.

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Most people tend to think a good Super Bowl matchup would be one with two juggernaut offenses that can score a lot and move the ball. I believe you also can have two teams with excellent defense, like we're going to see, and still have a really good game. This game should be decided in the fourth quarter. Neither team is going to run away from the other.

Baltimore plays in the more physical division, the AFC Central. You only have to go back to the AFC Championship Game. The Raiders are pretty tough in their own right, but for the best running game in the NFL to rush for 24 yards speaks volumes as to how physical Baltimore is. There were two interceptions by Oakland quarterbacks that were not their fault. The receivers going over the middle stopped running routes, giving the sense they were intimidated. Andre Rison drops a pass at the 1-yard line because he's peeking to see where the safety is.

Players may say, "This is the NFL, we're not intimidated." I played for seven years and players do get intimidated. We saw that the Raiders players were intimidated by what they saw from that Ravens defense. You put that film on and see those guys swarming the way they do, and they're all hitters. It's in the back of your mind. Come game time, all they have to do is give you a little reminder and you're peeking the rest of the day.

While everyone will be talking about Baltimore's defense, the Giants defense is the fifth-best in the NFL and their run defense is second only to the Ravens. The Giants defense could almost outperform the Ravens defense because the Ravens offense is not that good.

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