Another NFL season is about to begin, exciting many American males who were bored by the OK NBA playoffs, long middle period of the MLB season and an Olympics showcasing synchronized diving, ping pong and other lames sports as much as the good sports. I'm going to do a quick rundown of who finishes where, and some short commentary after each division....
2. Jets (Wild Card)
The horrible AFC East got an upgrade with the arrival of Favre in NY and Parcells in Miami. The Pats have an easy schedule and are still the dominant team in the division, but the Jets could give them fits with a true QB in town. The Dolphins have made soem upgrades, and I see them surprising some teams, whereas the Bills are horribly run and will suffer this year. I would love to see the Bills shock teams, but they need new ownership and management. I do think this is the year the Pats lose the fight with age.
Cleveland should win this division more because of the Pittsburgh Steelers' having the league's toughest schedule than from their efforts. Baltimore failed to make amove for any QB to remedy their headless offenses situation. If they had a decent QB, just replacement level, I would leapfrog them over Cincy. Something feels wrong with Cincy. It's like Marvin Lewis' ideas have run their course, and the team needs to blow up and start over.
2. Jacksonville (wild card)
I nearly swapped Indy and Jacksonville. Jacksonville did nothing to improve their receiving corps even with their terrible signings, and the D lost some guys. Indy's defense has Freeney back, after a stellar season without Freeney. the colts are one of the youngest teams int he league, and with last year's experience under their belt, they know how to win tough games at home and on the road. The only issue I see with them is Manning's health. If healthy, they get 12 wins. If not, sayonara. Houston could end up over .500 this season, and will benefit from having a last place schedule despite going .500 last year. If Matt Schaub can stay healthy, the Texans can stretch the field on teams. Tenn is still using Vince Young at QB. I do not see them reaching the playoffs in that scenario, even if they did it last year.
1. San Diego
San Diego should run away with this division. The only concern I have for them is how Rivers handles his knee, and the cross country flights they have to make on consecutive weeks, which blows my mind that the NFLl arranges after every season San Diego does awesome. Gay. I Like Denver this year, and think they could challenge for a wild card. It rests on Cutler's development. I like Oakland taking a baby step forward. They had a good running game, and had a defense that started off terrible and got better as the year progressed. KC has Herm Edwards as a coach, and despite their good draft on paper, they still stink.
2. Philly (wild card)
3. NY Giants
Dallas has stocked the team to win it this year or next. The collection of talent is amazing, deep and young. The secondary was their weak spot last year on defense, but they added Pac Man Jones and drafted Mike Jenkins to give them depth in the defensive backfield. Their weakest spot is at WR. Still, that was the O's weak spot last year and they did well. Philly is dangerous because they finished .500 yet have a weak schedule. They should win 9-10 games unless the window has officially closed on them. They managed to find a way to grind out games though and then choke in the playoffs. The NY Giants will have a monster let down year, and the defense lost virtually everyone of importance it seems this offseason due to free agency, retirement or injury. The Redskins suck. Plain and simple.
2. Green Bay
Minnesota should win 10 games this year due to their defense and running game. I have a feeling the QB will be replaced by week 8. They could run the single wing and win games rather than use him. Green Bay will return to earth and experience the growing pains of Rodgers. Shouldn't have rushed Brett favre out of the door in the spring. Chicago is a team I feel bad for. Great defense and special teams but they do nothing to remedy their QB situation. They also have an all new RB to share the load while they watch Thomas Jones run for fun in NY. Good call there Bears. Detroit sucks. Kitna still makes braindead decisions, which kills their drives. Concussions can cause that.
1. New Orleans
2. Carolina (wild card)
3. Tampa Bay
New Orleans should have a big bounce back year with an easier schedule, the addition of Shockey, the return of Deuce, and the boosts to the defense they pulled off this offseason. I like them to win 10-11. Carolina is going to surprise people. They went 7-9 last year with a decimated offense. John Fox is a great coach, and I see him turning it around this year. Tampa will crash back to earth. Their offense isn't surprising people this year, and they play a 1st place schedule, which means pencil in 3 losses. Atlanta is rebuilding, and will rebuild for a couple more years.
3. St. Louis
4. San Fran
I can't stand Seattle, and will predict their decline for the second time. I like how Arizona's coaching staff has their plan of attack and are changing the culture in the organization as well as the team's play. I think it will pay off this year. St. Louis is rebuilding, and I am not gambling on them surprising anyone this eyar, but they should exceed the play of San Fran. I can't wait for Mike Nolan to be fired by week 10. I do feel bad for Frank Gore. He deserves to have a real offense around him.
Awards - Well I got one award prediction right last year but here goes.....
MVP - Drew Brees
Defensive POY - Demarcus Ware
Offensive Rookie of the Year - Darren McFadden
Defensive Rookie of the Year - Kenny Phillips
Jacksonville over Cleveland
Pats over Jets
Indy over Pats
San Diego over Jacksonville
San Diego over Indy
Philly over Arizona
Minnesota over Carolina
Dallas over Philly
New Orleans over Minnesota
Dallas over New Orleans
Dallas over San Diego
If both teams make it to here, I will be impressed that talent on paper really does translate into victories. This would be my second year of picking San Diego making it to the Super Bowl. I picked them last year to win it all, but injuries prevented them from pulling it off. Dallas just has too much talent not to make it to the SB coming from the NFC. I also think Shawne Merriman's health will factor greatly into how far the Chargers go in the playoffs. If he isn't top notch, then they have problems with their pass rush. Dallas seems to have more depth on their defense, and even in their playoff loss last year, they stopped the Giants 3 and out multiple times with less than 6 mins to go. They just need to execute. If they do, the Super Bowl trophy is theirs.