'Madden 13:' Rodgers and Johnson advance

Last week, it was serious. Now, I guess it's really, really serious.

Third-round voting to determine the cover of "Madden NFL 13" has concluded, and two NFC North players are among the final four players remaining. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson will square off in the semifinal round, meaning one will be eliminated but the other will be one step away from ultimate victory (or defeat, depending on whether you're a curse-spiracist).

(So much for Rob Gronkowski's video campaign, huh?)

The other bracket will pit Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton against San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. Voting will continue through April 18, and voting on the finals will conclude April 25.

For those of you concerned about the "Madden Curse," and based on your Twitter response there are a few of you, I point you in the direction of this quite thorough alternative discussion on the topic from SideLion Report. @ZacSnyder considers the curse "fabricated" and suggests it "has been blamed for things with logical explanations."

We'll hold off on a full-scale panic until we learn the exact final matchup next week.