Yes! It is that time of year: time for fearless football predictions!
I admit up front that my predictions are even more half-assed than normal this year. That’s because my regular disdain for preseason football was combined with the Royals leading the division this year. So I’ve been able to spend even less time than normal avoiding NFL news as I’ve been fully immersed in all things Royal. More than likely there have been half-a-dozen season ending injuries I know nothing about that will affect some of the teams I’m picking to do good things.
First, some thoughts about the Colts. They’re certainly going all-in this year, signing a bundle of free agents who are all at the tail ends of their careers. Obviously the hope is that the Colts can squeeze another year or two out of Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, etc. and surrounded them with weapons like Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, etc. will slow their declines a bit. Ideally they’d be signing a bunch of young guys on the upswing and build a core that can stay together for 4–5 years. But between cap space and a dearth of those kinds of players on the open market, I can’t say I argue all that much with the Colts’ strategy.
Of course, the real question is are Gore, Johnson, etc. enough to get the Colts over the top in the AFC? That’s where I’m not so sure. No matter the source, it’s clear the Patriots have some kind of voodoo magic going for them. I don’t think the Colts found the kryptonite for the Pats’ sorcery in their offseason signings.
But here’s the thing that really gives me pause about the Colts: I have a bad feeling about Andrew Luck staying healthy this year. He’s been beaten and battered every year since he came into the league. The Colts o-line is still suspect, at best. I have a fear that this is the year he either takes one too many hits, or one huge hit, and that keeps him from playing an entire season. I’ve had that vibe all summer. I really hope that is just needless worrying on my part.
OK, onto the predictions!
Man, I’ve been saying the Patriots have one more run in them for about five years now. So clearly my predictions powers are locked in. As long as Brady is under center and Belichick is on the sidelines, this division is theirs. New England
The classic “a bunch of decent but no real great teams” division. One injury could play a huge role in who ends up winning this thing. I’ll stick with Baltimore, mostly because they seem to have their own, lighter version of voodoo magic and lack glaring weaknesses.
Houston has that monster defensive line, but no offense. This division is Indianapolis’s provided Luck stays healthy.
Does Peyton have one more run in him, or is this his “Willie Mays, 1973 World Series” season? I’m wagering he’s good enough to lead Denver to one more division title.
Cincinnati, Kansas City
Do you trust Dallas to do what they did last year, or at least get close, again? Or do they turn back into team turmoil, equally capable of blowing someone out and of choking away winnable games? I’ll stick with Dallas, because their defense should be healthy and much improved this year.
Green Bay in a runaway.
Drew Brees isn’t as close to the end as Peyton is, but this feels like his last, best shot to make a deep run before the Saints blow up their roster completely. New Orleans.
Kansas City over Denver. Farewell, Peyton. Maybe he can think about being a pitch-man on the teevee commercials. Call me crazy, but I think he might be OK at that.
Baltimore over Cincinnati. Always take Flacco over Dalton in the playoffs.
Indianapolis over Kansas City. Just like always.
New England over Baltimore. Belichick is all up in the Ravens’ heads.
New England over Indianapolis. Just like always.
Hey, some of those results look awfully familiar!
Atlanta over New Orleans. The Saints’ glory era ends in an upset loss at home.
Philadelphia over Dallas. Shocker!
Green Bay over Atlanta. Ugly weather = Packers win.
Seattle over Philadelphia. Closer than you might think.
Seattle over Green Bay. Would it be too much to ask for an insane, classic game like last year’s again? Probably so, and this ends up being a blowout.
Now wait a minute, am I even trying, or just cutting/pasting from last year?
Redemption vs. coronation! Karma vs. Predestination! Wilson vs. Brady! Carroll vs. Belichick!
Seattle 31, New England 30
Mark it down!