1. Philly, 12-4: DeSean Jackson should play harder and DeMeco Ryans brings a much needed Pro Bowl presence to what was a weak linebacker corps. If Michael Vick can stay healthy and turn the phrase "Vick Six" back into a positive phrase instead of a negative, I expect the Eagles to move closer to what was expected of them last year as the self proclaimed "Dream Team." And by Dream Team, I mean the 2012 Olympic Basketball Team, not the one from 1992.
2. Giants, 10-6: Yeah, they won the Super Bowl last year, but they also were very mediocre during the regular season. Quite simply, this team is built more for the playoffs than the regular season...They just need to make sure they find a way to make it to the post season.
3. Dallas, 9-7: The secondary is improved from a year ago, as is the offensive line. I just think that the Cowboys should have invested more in Laurent Robinson and less effort in the guy who was arrested for assaulting his mother...Even though she used to be a prostitute. If Jason Witten's spleen injury lingers, Tony Romo may suffer without his security blanket.
4. Washington, 4-12: As much as I like RGIII, the Redskins still don't have anybody worth a damn for him to throw to, and yes, I'm aware that they signed Pierre Garcon. While their defense could have the potential to keep them in games, they still need to establish a running game, and I'm not seeing it with that offensive line.
1. Detroit, 11-5: Detroit turned the corner last season, making it back to the Playoffs for the first time in over a decade. While much has been made about their off-season arrests and lack of discipline on the field, this is a young team that is only going to get better as their star players enter their prime.
|The Lions have finally replaced Scott Mitchell and Wayne Fontz...Sadly, that's something to be optimistic about in Detroit.|
2. Green Bay, 11-5: The additions of Nick Perry at OLB and Jerel Worthy at DE in the draft added impact players at their two biggest areas of need. Still, everything went right for the Packers last year in the regular season, and I have a hard time seeing them replicate those results even though they may end up going further in the post season.
|Okay, I'm at a loss for this caption...Aaron Rodgers has a nice ass?|
4. Minnesota, 3-13: Christian Ponder reminds me of Joey Harrington, and, unless you're into wine spritzers and playing the piano player, that's not a good thing. Additionally, the Vikings' best player in Adrian Peterson is coming off of a serious knee injury that usually takes over a year to recover from. On the bright side, at least the team is going to stay in in Minnesota...I think.
1. New Orleans, 10-6: A hurricane and a scandal...This team has something to prove and play for if the coaching staff proves to be competent.
2. Atlanta, 9-7: I think Atlanta is really going to air the ball out this year. With Michael Turning racking up the mileage and someone all up on his Jacquizz Rodgers who just might be the better fit for their system, I can see the Falcons remaining competitive on offense. However, a lack of depth in the secondary and their defensive line will prevent Atlanta from making a major run in the playoffs this season.
3. Tampa Bay, 7-9: While I was a bit skeptical Greg Schiano's qualifications to coach in the NFL, I really liked some of Tampa Bay's off season moves. Unfortunately, Davin Joseph's season ending injury will leave a major hole in what looked to be one of the best offensive lines in the league, which is now a concern given what looked to be a run first philosophy.
4. Carolina, 6-10: I'll admit that I was wrong about Cam Newton. However, Carolina still needs a receiver to compliment Steve Smith. While LB Luke Kuechly will help with their defense, they could still use a few impact players to help slow opposing offenses down.
1. San Francisco, 12-4: God, I hate Alex Smith, but the 49ers are running a conservative offense. With the additions of Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco is now pretty much set at every position. On top of that, Colin Kaepernick looks like he could be a year or two away from becoming a factor at quarterback.
2. Seattle, 8-8: Seattle's going to win their fair share of games at home and struggle on the road. It's just too bad that they didn't watch Matt Flynn play in college or against the Lions two years ago, as opposed to just watching him during Week 17 last year.
3. Arizona, 6-10: The Cardinals are weak at too many positions to overcome a huge question mark at quarterback, although I do think that John Skelton has a future as a starting quarterback in the league if they are smart enough to bench Kevin Kolb and let him play.
4. St. Louis, 4-10: Sadly, despite a handful of recent draft picks in the top 10, it looks as if the Rams are re-building again. I do think Jeff Fisher is the right coach for the job, it's just going to take a few years.
NFC Wildcards: Green Bay and New York Giants
NFC Conference Championship: Green Bay over Philadelphia
1. New England, 12-4: The Patriots should remain potent on offense, and they spent almost their entire draft focusing on defense. Couple that with a regression by the rest of the division, and the Patriots have a cake walk to the playoffs even in the event that an aging Tom Brady's footwork is unable to keep him out of harm's way.
...and for some reason Tom Brady is considered a sex symbol.
2. Jets, 8-8: The Jets have to hope that their defense returns to one of the best in the league with the additions of OLB Quinton Coples and S LaRon Landry, because their offense is a fucking mess. I have to think that there's more to the Tim Tebow trade than just bringing him in to be situational package quarterback. If you read between the lines, the Jets are ultimately going to try and rely on their defense to stay in games and pound the ball in a power running game lead by Tebow and Shonn Green.
3. Buffalo, 8-8: While the defense is much improved, the offense isn't. I just wish that GM Buddy Nix would have used his first round draft pick on a WR or OL instead of an insignificant cornerback.
4. Miami, 4-12: A marginal rookie quarterback with no receiving targets is a recipe for disaster, especially when the one good thing they had all last season was defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who's now with the Falcons.
1. Cincinnati, 10-6: The Bengals have a history of being an apathetic franchise and a red-headed quarterback, two sure fire reasons that they will be overlooked. Throw in a solid defense and an emerging star at WR in A.J. Green, and I think they take control of the AFC North from traditional powers Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
|So the Ben-Gals have a cheerleader pushing the age of 50, and another who was prosecuted for having sex with one of her students...Sounds like Paul Brown, Jr. should sign them to the roster.|
3. Pittsburgh, 9-7: As the famous quote from the movie Animal House said, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life." Throw in a partially torn rotator cuff, and Ben Roethlisberger could be in for a rough year. Pittsburgh will try to run the ball more with a conservative new offensive coordinator in Jack Haley, but a lingering injury to Reshard Mendenall and a patchwork offensive line could put a crimp in those plans. On top of that, the Steel Curtain defense is aging and thin on depth, and it might be time for Steelers Nation to rebuild.
|Strangely, despite his charges for sexual assault, this particular Roethlisberger jersey continues to sell at NFLshop.com|
4. Cleveland, 3-13: The Browns are rebuilding with a 29 year-old rookie quarterback. At least they traded up for a rookie running back with lingering knee problems.
1. Houston, 11-5: Even though the Texans lost Mario Williams in free agency, they had no problem getting to the quarterback without him last year while he was injured. With Matt Schaub returning from injury to re-assert a dangerous passing game lead by Andre Johnson, the Texans should be considered an AFC favorite if their offensive line can hold together. In fact, the Texans had a decent run to the playoffs last year, which is impressive considering that they had to deal with injuries to Schaub, Johnson, Owen Daniels and even Arian Foster at times last season.
2. Tennessee, 8-8: With Chris Johnson in camp and in shape all pre-season, the Titan's should see their running game re-emerge, especially with the addition of guard Steve Hutchinson. If so, that would make things much easier on first year starting quarterback, Jake Locker. However, questions still remain at defensive end and in the secondary.
3. Indy, 7-9: Even though the Colts are full blown rebuilding, I still see Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener doing just enough to keep them competitive in a very weak division.
4. Jacksonville, 4-12: The Jags have a relatively strong defense and an improved receiving corps, but Blaine "Yo Gabba" Gabbert is still their quarterback. Throw in the fact that new owner Shad Khan has already thrown fan favorite Maurice Jones Drew under the bus, and this team will be primed to move to Los Angeles by the end of the season.
1. Denver, 9-7: Peyton Manning and a handful of receiving targets gives the Broncos the advantage in the AFC West over their closest competition, San Diego. Denver will still need to find a way to stop the run, but they should be good enough to win the division and make the playoffs.
2. San Diego, 9-7: Honestly, even after losing Vincent Jackson to free agency, Phil Rivers probably couldn't play any worse than he did last season if he tried. The Ryan Mathews feature back era officially begins with him likely unable to play due to injury, which is probably why he shouldn't be a feature back.
3. Oakland, 7-9: I like the front seven, but I hate the secondary. I like the running game, but I hate their quarterback and receivers. If Carson Palmer actually dedicates himself to playing football, studying film, and getting in shape, the Raiders could be a contender...But I find that highly unlikely.
4. Kansas City, 7-9: Jack Haley is gone, Romeo Crennell is in, and yet somehow Scott Pioli gets to keep his job.
AFC Wildcards: Baltimore and Pittsburgh
AFC Conference Championship: Houston over New England
Super Bowl Prediction: Green Bay 24 - Houston 17