It has been a long, slow summer and I’m really looking forward to the return of NFL FOOTBALL!!!…..
Frankly, with the possible exception of a big UFC fight, I pretty much don’t pay attention to what is going on in sports between the end of NBA season and the beginning of the NFL season. Yes, I know other things are going on in July and August, such as baseball, tennis, golf, soccer, etc., but I normally I care too much about any of that stuff.
Since I’m back in the Northeast I am once again focused on the NFC East and the AFC East.
The NY Giants are my favorite NFC team. Why? I grew up in NJ. The Giants were my home team and still are, although I’m now in Pennsylvania. This part of eastern PA seems to be pretty evenly split between Giants fans and Eagles fans, but I am maintaining my loyalty to NY.
As for the AFC, the San Diego Chargers are my team now. I became a pretty ardent Bolts fan during my 10 years in San Diego and they will remain my adopted AFC team. I have high hopes for the Chargers this season.
Here are my picks for each Division:
AFC East: New England. Gee, big surprise here, right? I can’t remember the last time I picked a team other than the Patriots to win the AFC East, but it had to be more than 10 years ago. The offense will be very good, as usual, especially with TE Rob Gronkowski back. Hopefully Gronk will stay in one piece this season. The defense should be much improved with addition of All World CB Revis and the return of Wilfork and Mayo.
AFC North: Cincinnati. This division is really a toss up to me. I could see Cincy, Pittsburgh or Baltimore winning this division. I don’t think Cleveland has any shot of winning the division, although the Browns will be a lot of fun to watch once Johnny Manziel becomes the starting QB. I’m going to have to give the Bengals a slight edge.
AFC South: Indianapolis. I knew the Colts were an up and coming team last season, but I thought they were a year or two away. I picked Houston to win the division and that obviously did not work out very well. The Texans should bounce back this year, but not enough to overtake the Andrew Luck led Colts.
AFC West: Denver. GM John Elway and his staff a lot credit for focusing on team weaknesses after being routed by the Seahawks in the SB. certainly shored up Denver’s defense. Peyton Manning and the Bronco offense should once again tear up the league I like the San Diego Chargers too (The Bolts became my adopted AFC when I moved to San Diego back in 2003)
NFC East: Philadelphia. Welcome to the Chip Kelly era. The Eagles may have the most prolific offense in the league this season. I think the Eagles will rule the NFC East for at least the next 2 to 3 years and will probably make it to a Superbowl within that time frame.
NFC North: Green Bay. I picked the Packers last year and I’m picking them again this year.
NFC South: New Orleans. The Saints are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.V The Tampa Bay Buc’s should be improved under HC Lovie Smith and the Atlanta Falcons should be much better than 4 and 12, but I can’t either one those teams or the Panthers winning this division.
NFC West: Seatlle. The new league Champions look every bit as good as last season, if not even a little better. The 49ers should once again provide stiff competition, but there has clearly been a changing of the guard in the NFC West.
AFC Conference Champion: New England. It will probably again come down to Denver vs New England in AFC Conference championship game. However, one of these seasons we are going to see a changing of the guard in the AFC. Both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are still top tier QB’s, but they are also in the end stage of their respective careers, which both ultimately end in the NFL Hall of Fame. At some point, another contending team or teams will knock the Broncos or the Patriots or both off.
NFC Conference Champion: Seattle. A few other teams could challenge the Seahawks. GB, NO and division rival SF could derail a 2nd title run, but I have to defer to the defending champions. If the Seahawks secure home field advantage in the playoffs, as they did last season, it be extremely difficult for any NFC team to knock them off.
Superbowl Champion: New England. I think the Patriots may be the only team in the NFL that can beat both Denver and Seattle. I think a strong case can be made for the Seahawks too. I think the Seahawks are definitely capable of repeating as Champ’s. I also think Denver is very capable of returning to the Superbowl. To be perfectly honest my I’m picking the Patriots based on a scenario in which everything goes right for them by the time the playoffs roll around. I don’t think there are too many coaches in the NFL right now that can figure out a way to beat both Denver and Seattle, but Bill Belichick is one of them. Maybe Jim Harbaugh too.