Okay, so I gave my AFC predictions yesterday – and I’m not hiding these predictions, I’ll keep them up all year. I made my AFC predictions on yesterday’s rant and I’m going to now give you my NFC predictions in about 30 seconds or so. So I looked over every schedule – I believe that, especially this year with no OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) veteran teams, coaches, QB’s are going to have a really big advantage – a kind of advantage we have not seen in years, I think this is the easiest year to make a prediction in the NFL.
Now in a little review, I did call – in the AFC, I said yesterday that the Houston Texans, based on a very workable schedule, will be a “step-up” team and I have the Kansas City Chiefs as a “step-back” team, mostly because of a brutal October/November schedule. So here we go with my NFC predictions!
So just like I did in the AFC, I’ll start in the NFC East! The Eagles have made a lot of acquisitions, Nnamdi I think is a tad over-rated, I do like the Cullen Jenkins pick up and getting the pass rusher from Tennessee, now DeSean Jackson’s holding out, we also know that Maclin’s is still injured and recovering and because of that and all the new acquisitions, I think the Eagles will take a while to gel here. They win the division 11-5, but they’ll take about 4 or 5 weeks to really hit their stride. Now, I’m really much higher on the Dallas Cowboys than everybody else. The Dallas Cowboys and the Raiders I’m high on because even though they’ve changed coaches – it’s an in-house candidate taking over. I like what Dallas is doing though I don’t love their culture. I don’t like the owner playing GM, but they have a new head coach, in-house, who I like a lot who told young rookies, you don’t get during camps a star on the helmet…you have to earn it! Love Jason Garrett’s mentality, Tony is healthy, they have cut dead wood and I’m calling them to tie with the Eagles but lose in a tie breaker at 11-5. The New York Giants, I kinda waffle them between 9-7 and 8-8. I don’t like the Osi Umenyiora thing hanging over their heads; they also have brutal road games: @ Philly, @ Arizona, @ New England, @ New Orleans, @ Dallas, @ Jets and I didn’t even mention their brutal home games: Eagles, Packers and Cowboys. Too many tough road games and I just don’t love the vibe of this team right now, so I’m going to call them at 8-8. The Redskins I think are an absolute mess, they don’t have the adequate skill people, I hate the culture of the football franchise and so I’ve got them at 2-14.
Let’s go to the NFC North now – which is really emerging as an excellent division! Green Bay is going to win this puppy though they’ll lose a game, but it’s a 14-2 team. All the parts – and what’s great about the Packers is that not only are they good, but they’re mostly underpaid and because of that, this is still a hungry bunch. Aaron Rogers was quoted as telling an ESPN NFL analyst that only a few players got big contracts and therefore, this is still a young hungry team. Now, it’s time for my “step-up” team in the NFC and I’ve got the Detroit Lions edging out the Chicago Bears for 2nd place at 10-6, why? This is a really young team with a lot of talent. A young team that needs confidence and I think they’ll get it early. Their early schedule gives them lots of winnable games: Tampa, Kansas City, Vikings, San Fran and Denver. The first 8 games of this season – other than a tough trip to Dallas, they even get the Bears and the Falcons at home, I think they have a chance to go 6-2 to start the season, giving a talented young team the only thing that they’re missing right now, confidence! I think Detroit is the surprise team in the NFC. I have Chicago at 9-7; sort of a step-back but I won’t call them my official step-back team. I still can’t figure out how they got to the NFC championship, they’re doing it to some degree with smoke and mirrors, I don’t love what Jerry Angelo is doing here, I think Mike Martz is on his final year, this is a team with an unstable line in a division with 3 great defensive lines, especially the Packers and the Lions up front, I think Chicago is a 9-7 team in 3rd place. As for Minnesota, I just don’t want to kill any dreams in a nice city, but I’m going to go 7-9, I’m not sure I believe it but I do like Donovan McNabb’s intelligence, his experience, they do have nice parts and I don’t think losing Sydney Rice is a deal breaker.
Let’s go to the NFC South now, a week ago I had New Orleans winning this division, I now have Atlanta winning this division. Two credible sources have said that drafty Julio Jones is unbelievably shock and awe good at camp, they also got Ray Edwards from the Vikings because they needed a rush end and a star receiver along with Roddy White, Falcons win the division at 12-4. New Orleans is competitive, they’re certainly not worst than last year, I just think Atlanta has done more to improve their team, I’ve got them at 11-5. Now my “step-back” team in the NFC, they won’t take a giant step back, but I’m going to call for a 9-7 Tampa – like the Giants, I’m kinda stuck between 8-8 and 9-7. Here’s what I don’t like about Tampa. Weeks 3 through 10 are brutal. They are facing pro bowl QB’s or great teams or good defenses: Atlanta, Colts, Bears, Saints, Saints, Texans, Green Bay and 2 of the last 3 teams Tampa faces should be in dog fights for playoff spots, Dallas and Atlanta. They have a tough last month, brutal 1st half of the season schedule. Tampa still has a very young coach and a very young QB, so they take a mini step back. Carolina will be in last place in that division, but will be an improved and competitive 5-11 team.
Let’s go to the NFC West now, I absolutely love what Arizona has done. I wouldn’t have spent the money on Kevin Kolb if he was going to another division, but in this division Patrick Peterson allows you, as a great LSU cornerback, will step in and in my opinion will be a pro bowl level player. He was the best college player I saw last year, he comes in and starts. Rodgers Cromartie is gone to the Eagles and that won’t be that big of a dent, Arizona wins it with Kevin Kolb at 9-7, Larry Fitzgerald, it’s his last year….he’ll have a great one! St. Louis at 7-9 – again, I don’t think they are a very good football team, I like Sam Bradford, new offensive coordinator, but when you get to face the 49’ers twice, Seattle twice, even Arizona is not daunting, I’ll take St. Louis 2nd at 7-9. I don’t like what Seattle is doing at the top of their organization – from QB to GM, don’t like the moves here with Tavaris Jackson, I think it’s weak and unfortunately Sydney Rice probably wins a game for them and it doesn’t help them get Andrew Luck, I see Seattle as a 6-10 football team, not crappy enough to get Andrew Luck but good enough to be viable through most of the season. San Francisco – and I know nobody wants to believe this, I know guys like Peter King would think I’m nuts, I think Jim Harbaugh has a plan. He’s the only coach in the league who can go 0-16 and not lose any support. He wants Andrew Luck, he’ll start Alex Smith, it is a 2-14 or 3-13 team in San Francisco, they’ve been quiet on the free agent front and that, in my opinion is why they’ll be horrible this year.
So there you go! With the NFC predictions! Check out the next rant where I’ll lay it out why Randy Moss is a rare athlete but deserves all the praise he can get! Disagree with my predictions? Think I’m giving too much or too little credit to a tea? Rant away on why you think so!