A week from today, the league will announce the Pro Bowl rosters. The Carolina Panthers may be mentioned. Maybe.
There are no more than three candidates with an honest chance, and only one can really sleep easily knowing he's going.
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The two guys with the best cases are on IR now (LB Thomas Davis and LT Jordan Gross), leaving only one certainty.
That would DE Julius Peppers, who's going to cash a check for another $1.5 million (why, that's more than he makes in one game) if he's named to the list. If there was any doubt, he should have erased it Sunday night, when he showed why he's capable of being the most complete defensive end in the game.
But in the NFC, you can write in Jared Allen (he's good, and the Vikings are stuffing the ballot box), and then there are two spots for New Orleans Will Smith and Philadelphia's Trent Cole. Both are worthy, but it's hard to imagine both bumping Peppers. Even if one does, Super Bowl participants won't play this year, so that should clear a spot.
You'd think RB DeAngelo Williams would be an easy choice, especially after getting jammed last year. After all, Steven Jackson should go because he's had a brilliant season, and Adrian Peterson's going because he's Adrian Peterson. That leaves DeAngelo (1,117 yards, 7 TDs) battling for the last spot with Green Bay's Ryan Grant (1,105, 8 TDs).
Not sure if you've noticed, but the Packers have had a better season, which might make it closer than it should be.
(Also, it's much more of a choice in the AFC, where Chris Johnson's a lock, but the next two spots have to be divvied up between Maurice Jones-Drew, Thomas Jones, Ray Rice, Cedric Benson and sentimental choice Ricky Williams.)
The guy who could end up on the outs is MLB Jon Beason. They only take two at his spot, and you'd think he and San Fran's Patrick Willis would have them salted away for the next decade.
They should, as they're twin stars on opposite coasts, who can measure progress against each other.
But don't discount a late run by Washington's London Fletcher. If voters give him a lifetime achievement award, Beason might not get to go to what amounts for a home game for him (remember, it's in Miami, pre-Super Bowl this year).
That's the list. No Steve Smith, at least not the one that lives in Charlotte.
My guess is that Peppers and Williams go, and if Beason does, it will engender a stream of tears from Washington. It'll be the right decision though.