Are you ready for some football? That silly question won’t be asked before a Monday night football game anymore. Of course you’re ready. Many of you ordered Madden 13 months ago, signed up for your fantasy football leagues, and switched cable providers to get the free NFL package. As we commence with another 21 weeks of the most popular contact sport in the nation, prognosticators must take on the job of predicting who will hoist the Lombardi trophy in February.
Let’s start in the AFC because there are no storylines there.
All kidding aside, unless you have been under a rock (or just not interested in football) you know that big brother Peyton Manning now plays for the Denver Broncos. The four-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion sat out the entire year last season with a neck injury. He was ceremoniously dumped by the franchise he brought to prominence (the Indianapolis Colts) for the number one draft pick Andrew Luck, who is supposed to be his second coming. The man Peyton replaced in Denver, Tim Tebow, is a very high profile backup for the New York Jets. Let’s face it, every other AFC team is flying under the radar compared to those three franchises.
In the NFC, the New York football Giants looked a little shaky this past Wednesday (9/5) as the team began its title defense against the Dallas Cowboys with a 24-17 loss. As the past year can attest with the G-men you can’t put much stock in the regular season, however I think they need to be more consistent this season this year because a 9-7 record will not win the NFC East.
The Washington Redskins signed Robert Griffin III with the number 2 pick in the draft. He wil definitely make Washington better, the aforementioned Cowboys are always dangerous in the regular season and this is a put-up-or-shutup year for quarterback Tony Romo who cannot afford to miss the playoffs again. The Philadelphia Eagles got rid of the guy who crowned the team a “Dream Team” before any games were played last season and with the death of head coach Andy Reid‘s oldest son Philly will be fired up to win for their coach.
The Chicago Bears get starting QB Jay Cutler back from injury. Before Cutler went down the Bears were one of the elite teams in the league nd I expect them to be in the mix again. Detroit’s stud receiever Calvin Johnson is itching to earn that new contract he signed in the offseason, which means trouble for the entire league. Cam Newton will try to avoid the sophomore jinx and I think he does. The San Francisco 49ers was a few special teams mistakes away from the Super Bowl last season. I think they will get it straightened out this year (see prediction below).
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I haven’t even mentioned the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, or New England Patriots you say? Don’t want this post to turn into a book folks. Just check my predictions below for all your favorite teams. And if you don’t see your team my apologies, but wait till next year.
It is very difficult to repeat as champions in the NFL (ask Green Bay). I think the Giants will have a better regular season, but not only will they lose the division and make the playoffs, they will be knocked out in the divisional round. The Cowboys will win a playoff game, but I don’t see a Super Bowl berth this year which may mean curtains for the Romo regime. The New Orleans Saints got their defensive players back after the suspensions of Vilma and Smith were overturned, but they still don’t have their coach.
In the NFC, if Michael Vick stays healthy, the Eagles and 49ers will meet at the top for the right to go to the Super Bowl.
Mark Sanchez will be on a mission. He has to be or risk being replaced, as many think he will be, by Tebow. How soon people forget the back to back AFC Championship games he led Gang Green to. Coach Ryan isn’t talking Super Bowl this year so maybe they will get there. The San Diego Chargers need to put an entire regular season together if they want to challenge the Manning-led Broncos in the AFC West. The New England Patriots locked up their two all-world tight ends which means another AFC East title. The Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will battle for the division as usual.
In the AFC there will be a rematch of last year’s championship game between the Patriots and Ravens.
My Super Bowl prediction: Har-Bowl. The Harbaugh Brothers Jim (49ers) and Jon (Ravens) will meet in the Big game with the 49ers emerging victorious.