Wow, the NFL preseason went by quickly and all of sudden here we are, the real thing. Well, I guess you could say the real thing started last Thursday night, when Denver clobbered Baltimore, but to me the NFL season has not truly commenced until the first full Sunday
Here are my picks for each Division:
AFC East: New England. Here is what I wrote about the Patriots last year: Easy pick here. I don’t see any other team in AFC East challenging the Pat’s, with their high octane offense and a defense that should be improved.
I feel pretty much the same way about the Pat’s this year. Miami looks like a decent team they and could post a winning record, but I don’t think that the Dolphins are capable of overtaking New England this season.
AFC North: Cincinnati.Tough call between Cincy and Pittsburg. The Bengals are the up and coming team in this division and
AFC South: Houston. No change from last year. The Texans will be strong on both sides of the ball and I don’t see any of their division rivals challenging them.
AFC West: Denver. Well, Peyton Manning eliminated all doubts about his ability to play at high level again last season. The Broncos are by far the best team in this division. I think the Chargers have a chance of winning a wild-card slot, but they won’t challenge Denver this season.
NFC East: Washington. This division is a very tough call because all four teams could conceivably win it. I’m tempted to pick the Giants because they are one of my favorite teams and the team I rooted for growing up (I lived about 10 miles away from the Meadowlands). However, I think the Redskins have the potential to be the best team the division, if, and it is a big “if”, Robert Griffin III is fully recovered and remains healthy for the entire season. Philly and Dallas also seem to have the potential to be good, but will any team this division be great? I don’t think so. I think a record of 10-6 or 9-7 will win this division.
NFC North: Green Bay. I picked the Packers last year and I’m picking them again this year and I feel more confident about that because they seem to have bolstered their running game and that will make Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense even more dangerous.
NFC South: Atlanta.The Falcons looked like an elite team last year and I don’t see any reason that they will not be very good again this season. Now that New Orleans has their head coach back they should very good too and they may threaten Atlanta, but I’ll stick with the Falcons.
NFC West: San Francisco. Last year I predicted that Seattle would be good, but not good enough to seriously challenge the 49ers. Of course, San Francisco did win the division, but Seattle, led by superstar rookie QB Russell Wilson, definitely posed a threat to them. The Seahawks will be a strong rival again this season, there isn’t much separating these two teams and I expect both to go to the playoffs and contend for the Superbowl. I think both of these teams are among a half dozen that could win it all.
AFC Conference Champion: Denver
NFC Conference Champion: San Francisco
Superbowl Champion: Denver
I’m giving the edge to Denver in the SB because it will be played in New Jersey, in cold weather for the first time (and hopefully the last). In warm weather or indoors I would probably favor the 49ers, but the game may very well end up being played in the snow and the winter conditions will favor Denver against most likely opponents, with the possible exception of Green Bay.
We will see how things stand at the end of the regular season. I may want to change my Conference and SB picks at that time, but right now I feel my choices are pretty solid.