Well, the college football season snuck up on me before I could get my predictions out, so I’m not going to let that happen with NFL kickoff just a few days away. Let’s just say this Bears’ fans, you are really going to hate the Lions this year. On that note let’s start with the NFC North.
NFC North – easily the second most competitive division in football next to the NFC East, but there will only be two contenders this season from the North, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. The Lions are young and talented and if they can avoid key player injuries I see a 10-6 season for them, while the Packers return with a solid team to go 12-4 and take the NFC top seed in the playoffs. The Bears made some pretty poor offseason moves and are staring a 7-9 season in the face. The only team worse then the Bears this season in the North is the Vikings even with Adrian Peterson, but not much worse at 6-10. If they beat the Bears twice you might see a record swap.
NFC East – the powerhouse of the NFL with the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins. While everyone is gushing over the Eagles I do not expect Michael Vick to make it through the entire season, which will prevent the Eagles from winning the division, and right there to win it will be the Cowboys with a respectable 11-5 record. The Cowboys already had a very talented team in place and with a new revamped defense they should be in great shape. The Eagles will finish at 10-6 and take the other Wild Card spot with the Detroit Lions. The Giants will offer up more of the same with inconsistent play from their offense and defense. The Redskins just named Rex Grossman their starting quarterback, enough said there. Giants will be 9-7 and the Skins will finish 5-11.
NFC South – This race comes down to two teams and only one will make the playoffs, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. While the Saints seem like it should be business as usual I think their time has come and gone and the Falcons will emerge as the division winner with a 10-6 record with two wins over the Saints. The Saints will also have a 10-6 record, but one of their losses will come at the hands of the Lions, so they will not make the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be 9-7, while the Carolina Panthers will continue their rebuilding process with a 4 -12 record.
NFC West – Why does the West always stink, well since the glory days of the San Francisco 49ers, which isn’t on the horizon anytime soon. The winner of this division will be over .500, but not by much as the St. Louis Rams show the most promise with 9-7 record, and the Arizona Cardinals will be a close second at 8-8. The Seattle Seahawks and 49ers will not be making anything interesting, but I think the 49ers are a little better with a 5-11 finish to the Seahawks 4-12. Yawn.
AFC North – The Steelers and Ravens will he fighting this battle, but the Steelers have a slightly better team, so they will edge out the Ravens with 11-5 record. The Ravens will be right their with a 10-6 record followed by a .500 Cleveland Browns and a horrible Cincinnati Bengals team that might be the worst team in football this season. I’m thinking three wins might be a bit generous, so I’ll go 2-14 with complete turmoil all season.
AFC East – Duh, Patriots, what new? The Pats will win the division easily again despite all the blabbing from Rex Ryan and the New York Jets with a 13–3 record. The Jets will finish with an 11-5 record because of an improved Mark Sanchez this season. The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins will anchor the division, but the Dolphins will be starting their ascension this season with an 8-8 record. The Bills will suffer another losing season at 6-10.
AFC South – The big question, will Peyton Manning return 100% healthy and ready to perform? It’s such a big question that I’m going to put the Indianapolis Colts at 9-7 this season and give the division win to the Houston Texans with 10-6 record behind a solid year from Arian Foster (despite the MRI tweet) and Matt Schaub. Both the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars will finish with 7-9 records.
AFC West – Who’s the best team in the AFC? That will come down to the Pats and the San Diego Chargers who will win the West without any problems with a 12-4 record. They should come out the shoot ready to go this year behind gunslinger, Philip Rivers. The rest of the division is crap with the Kansas City Chiefs finishing .500, the Oakland Raiders at 7-9, and the Denver Broncos with a 4-12 record.
NFC Playoff Picture
1 – Green Bay Packers
2 – Dallas Cowboys
3 – Atlanta Falcons
4 – St. Louis Rams
5 – Detroit Lions
6 – Philadelphia Eagles
AFC Playoff Picture
1 – New England Patriots
2 – San Diego Chargers
3 – Pittsburgh Steelers
4 – Houston Texans
5 – New York Jets
6 – Baltimore Ravens