Another professional football season has arrived. I must log my guesses, um, picks for all to see. It is a required part of owning a blog.
East: Each year there is a team that gets too much hype, generally based on a small window of their previous season, rather than their entire body of work. Don’t the Jets feel like that team this year? They should not have made the playoffs, making it only because the Colts benched their first teamers early in the second half of week 16, then parlayed two favorable match ups into an AFC Title Game appearance. But you’d think they won 12 games and pushed the Colts the way the Packers pushed the Cowboys in ’93-94.
Don’t get me wrong, the Jets should make the playoffs. But let’s not go crazy thinking they’re an elite team before they’ve proven themselves as such.
I also think the Patriots have one more run in their old bones. I think I’ve said that before. Oh well.
North: The Ravens are getting a lot of love, too. They may not be the ferocious defensive team of five years ago, but they’re still pretty darn good on that side of the ball. Their offense is better, but still not elite. I’m not sure what to make of the Steelers. They have a history of rebounding from disappointing seasons, but they’re dealing with a lot of drama this year. Big Ben is either going to go nuts once he comes back, or his issues are going to tear the team apart.
South: Easiest pick in the sport. Until otherwise, we should just assume the Colts will A) win 12 games, B) win the division, and C) be challenging for home field through the playoffs. If Peyton ever gets hurt, that’s all out the window. But until then…
West: Just as the Jets and Ravens are getting lots of run, people seem to be giving up on the Chargers. Sure, they were flawed last year, but when you have an elite QB and some receivers, you can go far in the NFL. Especially in this division.
East: This division is crazy. Every team is good, each also has flaws. “Experts” like Football Outsiders, see one or two games separating the entire division. That feels about right, as does the Giants rebounding and grabbing the division.
North: Isn’t just about everybody rooting against Minnesota at this point, aside form Vikings fans, of course? It’s hard to imagine them having another charmed season like they did a year ago. They’re already facing several key injuries and The Drama Queen doesn’t heal up like she used to. The Packers seem to be loaded on offense and have enough on defense to get the job done. We’re all pulling for them.
South: OK, this one is pretty easy, too. I suppose there’s a chance that New Orleans could have a big, fat hangover from last year and the Falcons could put it all together and surprise everyone. But not terribly likely.
West: Jeez, what’s the deal with the Wests? At least the AFC seems to have a clear leader. Who the heck do you pick in this division? I suppose the love for San Francisco makes sense when you look at the other teams in the division. Is it possible to win a division with only seven wins? That could happen here.
Dallas over San Francisco
New York Giants over Philadelphia
Pittsburgh over San Diego
New York Jets over New England
New Orleans over New York Giants
Green Bay over Dallas
Indianapolis over New York Jets
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
New Orleans over Green Bay
Indianapolis over Baltimore
Hey, a rematch! Those don’t happen very often. Will Peyton obsessing over last year make the difference, or will Payton come up with a way to keep the Colts offense off-balance? Two Dome teams playing in a semi-dome, so no advantage there. The difference will be Reggie Bush, as he spends the season reminding people he was a pretty spectacular player in college, not just some guy who was the center of the USC scandal.
NEW ORLEANS 33