Alright, I’m a couple days late, so I guess I lose points much like a high school kid turning in a research paper two days late. What can I say? I’m a procrastinator.
I had to take out my fearless prediction of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu going down with an injury on Opening Night, because no one would believe me. Trust me, it was there. I’ve also included a random thought for each team, some of them serious and others not so serious.
1. New England – The Belichick kool-aid tastes like rancid milk, but I’m still drinking it.
2. Miami – Anyone else surprised at the lack of attention the biggest story of 2008 is receiving?
3. New York Jets – Rex Ryan is either a perfect fit for the Big Apple or a disaster waiting to happen.
4. Buffalo – T.O. will be looking for a payday after the season, so he’ll behave himself…and hate it.
1. Baltimore – Ray Rice will be one of the breakout players of 2009, but Willis McGahee will also contribute.
*2. Pittsburgh – Ben Roethlisberger looks terrible early in the game but makes his money in the fourth quarter.
3. Cincinnati – A healthy Carson Palmer and an underrated defense makes this a dangerous team.
4. Cleveland – Anyone else get the feeling Eric Mangini will be Chris Palmer IV?
1. Indianapolis – Dungy will be missed, but Peyton has always run the show.
*2. Tennessee – Can Kerry Collins keep it all together for another great season?
3. Houston – The sexy surprise pick by many prognosticators, but I don’t see it.
4. Jacksonville – No sellouts in 2009? A fine choice for NFL expansion over Baltimore and St. Louis in 1993.
1. San Diego – This team is too talented to do anything but succeed, but we’re talking about Norv Turner.
2. Kansas City – Matt Cassel will find things don’t come as easily without the New England personnel around him.
3. Denver – Has a head coach ever needed less time to turn his team upside-down?
4. Oakland – I didn’t know the Orioles played football!
1. Philadelphia – What happens if McNabb goes down and Vick lights it up in the City of Brotherly Love?
*2. New York Giants – Regardless of what they say, this team will still miss Plaxico Burress.
3. Dallas – You think T.O.’s bloated ego would have hit the new video board too?
4. Washington – Another sterling year in the NFC East for the burgundy and gold.
1. Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers will make Packers fans happy that Favre is no longer the quarterback.
2. Chicago – Lovie Smith needs to have a big season after the Bears’ surrendered two first-round picks for the franchise quarterback.
3. Minnesota – “I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not physically or mentally 100%.” Aren’t you glad he’s finally on your side, Vikings fans?
4. Detroit – Jim Schwartz is a great choice to rebuild this team, but asking for more than 3 or 4 wins would be a stretch.
1. Atlanta – How good can Matt Ryan be in this league?
*2. New Orleans – Drew Brees is too good to find himself out of the postseason again, right?
3. Carolina – I’m no longer a believer in Jake Delhomme…or the defense.
4. Tampa Bay – With Derrick Brooks and company gone, it’s tough to recognize this team anymore.
1. Arizona – Will the Cardinals avoid the Super Bowl loser jinx? They will in this division.
2. San Francisco – It’s great seeing Vernon Davis back in the good graces of the head coach, but now he’s a captain?
3. Seattle – I know Matt Hasselbeck is healthy, but does anyone really like Jim Mora as a head coach?
4. St. Louis – It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the original “Greatest Show on Turf.” It feels even longer for Rams fans.
* = Wild Card
Wild Card Round:
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis
San Diego over Tennessee
Atlanta over New Orleans
NY Giants over Arizona
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
New England over San Diego
Atlanta over Philadelphia
Green Bay over NY Giants
New England over Baltimore
Green Bay over Atlanta
Super Bowl XLIV:
New England over Green Bay
MVP: Tom Brady
Defensive Player of the Year: DeMarcus Ware
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Knowshon Moreno
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Brian Orakpo
Coach of the Year: Andy Reid
Check back in January—or even four weeks from now—for a great laugh.