It’s a traditional nearly as old as the blog itself:* my annual NFL predictions post. Always entertaining, at least for me, since I hate the NFL preseason and don’t follow it, have only the barest of memory of off-season roster moves, and make most of my picks based on mental coin flips. So let’s see how my mind is working this year, shall we?
- The first version of TBB launched in June 2003; my initial NFL predictions followed a couple months later.
- First off, props to the NFL for giving us Pittsburgh and Tennessee on opening night. Two of my favorite coaches and two franchises that always seem to do the right thing. I despise the Steelers, but I can’t deny they run their organization the right way. Pretty solid game, 7-7 in the third as I begin this.
And now for the ### AFC:
New England. Is there a surer pick in football? It’s kind of like picking the 49ers to win the NFC West from 87-95 or so. As long as Tom Brady stays healthy, the Pats will win the division.
NORTH: Pittsburgh. OK, maybe this one is pretty easy, too.
SOUTH: Here’s where it gets interesting. Anyone could win this division. I’ve seen the Colts picked as low as third, while others have them as the team with the best chance of making the Super Bowl. I don’t think they’re going to suffer all that much from the coaching staff changes. The running game should be better. If the defense can stop drives and get off the field, the Colts will be fine. Still, my pick is Tennessee.
WEST: San Diego. OK, this is really easy. The Chargers could have a season full of off-the-field issues and they will still run away and hide in this awful division.
WILD CARDS: Indianapolis, Baltimore
New England over Indianapolis. Another 10+ win season down the drain for the Colts.
Baltimore over Tennessee. Two years in a row.
San Diego over Baltimore. Baltimore remains a team you don’t want to play in the first round of the playoffs. After that…
Pittsburgh over New England. Forget the Colts and Pats, this has been a pretty terrific rivalry over the last decade as well.
San Diego over Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh runs out of gas in the fourth quarter.
EAST: New York. There should be a channel where they show nothing but AFC South and NFC East games all year. The NFC East is the better of the two, but both divisions feature four pretty evenly matched teams.
NORTH: Chicago. Deliberately picking against the Drama Queen’s team in Minneapolis.
SOUTH: New Orleans. I guess. Carolina isn’t winning 12 games and Atlanta isn’t winning 11 games this year.
WEST: Seattle. Big bounce-back season. I kind of fear for Kurt Warner’s safety this year. He’s due for something bad to happen to him.
WILD CARDS: Philadelphia, Minnesota.
Philadelphia over Chicago. Michael Vick might have something to do with the result.
Minnesota over Seattle. Uh oh. Crank up the hype machine! Peterson bails out Favre by running for 225 yards and five touchdowns, balancing out Brett’s three picks.
Philadelphia over New Orleans. The Saints sit on a throne of lies.
New York over Minnesota. Favre throws two first quarter picks in his return to New York. It goes downhill from there.
New York over Philadelphia. A late field goal wins this classic.
We shall call it Manning Bowl, as San Diego of course drafted a petulant, young Eli Manning against his wishes and then traded him to the Giants and ended up with Phillip Rivers. That worked out ok for both teams. Steady Eli, ferocious defense, and a monster running game will lead the Giants to their second title in three years. Eli has more rings than Peyton!