NORTH: GREEN BAY PACKERS
SOUTH: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
EAST: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
WEST: ARIZONA CARDINALS
WILD: ATLANTA FALCONS
WILD: DETROIT LIONS
NFC CHAMP: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
EAST: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
NORTH: BALTIMORE RAVENS
SOUTH: HOUSTON TEXANS
WEST: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
WILD: NEW YORK JETS
WILD: PITTSBURGH STEELERS
AFC CHAMP: BALTIMORE RAVENS
SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: BALTIMORE RAVENS 23, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 21
SUPER BOWL MVP: RAY RICE, RB BALTIMORE
REGULAR SEASON MVP: PHILIP RIVERS, QB SAN DIEGO
Analysis: I am bucking a few trends in my predictions. Only having four different teams in the playoffs (Arizona, Detroit, San Diego, and Houston) than last year is a departure from the traditional five new teams. With the lockout robbing teams of OTA's and coach/player interaction, especially with younger teams (like St. Louis), continuity will be much more valuable this year than in years past. With that being said, I am contradicting myself with the Texans and their switch to the 3-4 defense, Arizona with the newly-acquired Kevin Kolb at the helm, and some would argue that Detroit is still a young team. A veteran team that is noticeably absent from my playoff picture are the Indianapolis Colts. Neck injuries are scary: neck injuries to the face of the franchise are outright terrifying. When the medical term "nerve regeneration" is discussed without any kind of certainty, I begin to question whether Peyton Manning will play at all this season. Sure, the Colts believe that the "next man up" will perform well, but Kerry Collins was unemployed three weeks ago, and now is leading the Colts into this NFL season. Ouch. Last year, I was very big on the Detroit Lions to finish 8-8, and they should have gone 9-7 if not for a blown call in week 1 against the Bears. This year, Detroit pushes its way into the playoffs. Unfortunately, they meet Mike Vick and the Eagles "dream team" in the first round, and the Eagles will spank them so hard, they won't sit down for weeks.
Why Baltimore? Ray Rice is going to go nuts this year. The signing of Vonta Leach as Rice's lead blocker will not go unnoticed this year. As a Chargers fan, I know the value of a fullback (Lorenzo Neal). Haloti Ngata has also lost a significant amount of weight and looks to be a force on the inside of Baltimore's defense. It's not a secret that teams that can run the ball and stop the run do very well, and Baltimore can do both of those things and have the veteran leadership to overcome the hardships that the lockout created.
Enjoy the fantastic opener tonight between the last two super bowl champions. I think the NFL should make that a tradition to pit the previous two super bowl champions against each other in the first game of the NFL season.
Pitting the previous two champions together isn't a bad idea, except the NFL's schedule follows a very strict formula rotation to ensure that every team faces every other team at least once every four years. Also, if the teams are from opposing conferences, that would cause a significant issue. Furthermore, sometimes the defending champion isn't, you know, good. The last to lose its opener was the 1999 Denver Broncos, but they were floundering after the retirement of John Elway. A similarly lost large piece could downgrade any other defending champ.ReplyDelete
If I'm not mistaken, the NFL scheduling formula calls for 2 'other' games, and this could be one of them. If I'm off base, then I just think that it would be a good idea.ReplyDelete