I never understood the point of making predictions before the season actually started. "Hey, look at me throw a bunch of wildly unfounded and arbitrary shit against the wall, just for the sake of throwing a bunch of wildly unfounded and arbitrary shit against the wall!" I would rather at least wait until Week 1 was over, so then you know what you're dealing with. Consequently, I'll look much less like a total genius, but I'm willing to sacrifice that. (For now.) But really, I'm not sure there's ever been an early season injury that has effected the course of an entire season for just about every team, in ANY sport no less, more than Tom Brady's destroyed knee. It's unprecedented. See? That's why it's good to wait a bit.
San Diego will be one-and-done in the playoffs.
Now, I would have made this one before the season, you'll just have to take my word on that. I cannot for the life of me understand why San Diego has been the popular pick to win the Super Bowl, even before Tom Brady got hurt. Did everyone have a collective stroke and forget that Norv Turner and Phil Rivers are the leaders of this outfit? You're counting on THOSE GUYS to win a Super Bowl? Ah, NO. I think there's a good chance they'll still get a bye, just by virtue of racking up wins against the likes of KC, Oakland and Denver, but after that... D-U-N DONE. And realistically, this Shawne Merriman thing cannot end well.
The Buffalo Bills will win the AFC East.
Blah blah blah New York Jets blah blah Brett Favre blah blah blah. Meanwhile, exactly nobody has noticed that Dick Jauron is actually a pretty good coach, Trent Edwards doesn't suck, Marshawn Lynch may be the last of a dying breed (stud RB who is capable of carrying an offense) and the rest of the team has a ton of talent on defense and along the offensive line. Throw in a schedule in which they play Oakland, St Louis, San Francisco, and Miami twice, and the Bills win the division going 9-7.
The Patriots are fucked.
Okay, maybe not, but that looks pretty cool in bold like that. They'll go 9-7 and lose the tiebreak to the Bills, make the playoffs and lose to whoever wins an AFC division and doesn't get a bye. Based on how screwy an offseason it was and how that's spilled over to the start of the regular season, something just seems right about a first round Pats/Colts matchup. With Brady, they've got home field throughout and they're coasting to the Super Bowl. Without him... yeah, they're kinda fucked.
Chicago is pretty good.
I'm still not ENTIRELY sold on the Kyle Orton, Matt Forte and Brandon Lloyd Era. They don't exactly scream "Triplets Reborn!" And there's no chance in hell their key guys on defense stay healthy, because they never do. But beating Indy IN Indy, the first game in their new digs? That's pretty damn impressive. Most of their tougher games are at home (Philly, Tennessee, Jax, New Orleans), and their only tough road games left are at Carolina and at Green Bay. 9-7 and a possible division title is definitely within reach. But I'm only saying that because I hate the Bears less than the Packers, who are the clear pick in the North. Dammit.
For the 3rd year in a row, both NFC Wild Cards come out of the East.
Not exactly going out on a limb, but Philly's too good to have two terrible seasons in a row, and I'm not buying the "Giants are complacent" BS. There's still too many young guys on that team that don't even know any better. Plus, they've FINALLY figured out how to use Plaxico Burress ("Hey wait, you mean he's 10 feet taller than any other DB in the league? Holy shit! Why didn't somebody TELL me!!") and Eli's confidence has never been higher.
Arizona wins the NFC West with a 6-10 record, while Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tennessee, Denver, New Orleans, Tampa, Baltimore and the Jets all have better records and miss the playoffs.
It's going to happen SOMEtime. Seattle is already annihilated by injuries, and every other team in the West is complete horse ass. This year is the year.
Everybody that picked the Vikings for even a winning record this season is batshit insane.
No matter the players, no matter the coaches, they just always, ALWAYS fall prey to "Vikings things". 3rd and long against the Vikings D? That's practically a GUARANTEED first down. Less than two minutes in the half? Chalk up at least three points for the opposition. 2nd and 10 after an incomplete pass for the Vikes offense? Watch and listen as Brad Childress screams into a megaphone, "I KNOW THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS, BUT I'M JUST MAKING SURE THAT YOU'RE AWARE THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE HANDING THE BALL OFF TO PETERSEN OR TAYLOR, AND YOU'LL STOP THEM FOR A ONE YARD GAIN."
Realistically, losing by five at Lambeau isn't anything to hang your head on. The Vikes defense only gave up 17 points, and the offense essentially put up 20. The only difference was special teams. AD proved there will be no sophomore slump. Tar-Jack got marginally better as the game went on, until that final throw. Is this all a deseperate and transparent attempt to talk myself into the Vikings still ending up 10-6 or so? Yes. After hitting myself in the face with my keyboard after looking at Tar-Jack's first half stats last night, 8-8 and no playoffs is what's actually "realistic". Anything more than that and you're batshit insane.
There is one thing I am certain of - the Super Bowl will feature two teams that have yet to make it there this decade. Only TWO teams have made it to the Super Bowl more than once in the 00s: New England and the New York Giants. If Brady and Osi Umenyiora aren't hurt, I'm thinking its a rematch from last year. But they're out, and after watching Dallas dismantle a pretty good Cleveland team on the road, I'm thinking the Cowboys may be the most complete team in football. In the AFC, I saw Jacksonville following the old-school progression of one win deeper into the postseason every year, until Brady went down. Now I gotta put them in the Big Dance.
Wild Card Round
NY Giants at Arizona - NY Giants
Philly at Green Bay - Green Bay
New England at Indy - Indy
Jacksonville at Buffalo - Jacksonville
NY Giants at Dallas - Dallas
Green Bay at Carolina - Carolina
Indy at San Diego - Indy
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh - Jacksonville
Carolina at Dallas - Dallas
Jacksonville at Indy - Jacksonville
Dallas v. Jacksonville - Dallas
Wait for it...
Wait for it.......
How 'bout dem Cowboys???