Here's Who Not to Pick for Super Bowl XLIV

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Here's Who Not to Pick for Super Bowl XLIV
(Photo by Elsa Garrison/Getty Images)

It's never too early, as far as I'm concerned, to talk football.

I mean, NFL football. While just about everyone else is thinking about the draft, I've decided to tackle something else first—my April prediction. 

Shortly after the schedule comes out, I sit down and predict the outcome of every game during the regular season, then figure out what that means for the playoffs.

One caveat: I've been doing this since before Super Bowl XIX (I predicted a Seahawks-Cardinals Bowl), and I've never been right in April.

Last year, I picked San Diego and the Giants.

 

AFC Standings

West

San Diego 8-8 (4)

Oakland 8-8

Kandsas City 6-10 

Denver 6-10

 

Denver hurt itself by trading quarterback Jay Cutler. The Raiders will win a few games they shouldn't.

 

South

Tennessee 11-5 (3)

Indianapolis 10-6 (6)

Jacksonville 7-9 

Houston 7-9 

 

The Texans will look good for a while, but this division is tough.

 

East

New England 13-3 (2)

Miami 7-9

Buffalo 7-9

N.Y. Jets 5-11 

This is a good place for a reminder that I'm operating on the assumption that there will be no injuries. Brady's back.

 

North

Pittsburgh 14-2 (1)

Baltimore 11-5 (5)

Cincinnati 7-9

Cleveland 5-11

 

Just about every key Steelers player is a year better. Coach Mike Tomlin's still getting going.

 

NFC Standings

South

Atlanta 9-7  (3)

Carolina 8-8  

New Orleans 7-9    

Tampa Bay 6-10    

 

As much as I love the Pewter Pirates, the schedule looks awfully unfriendly, and the team has dumped needed veterans.

       

East

N.Y. Giants 12-4 (2)

Dallas 12-4 (5)

Washington 9-7 

Philadelphia 8-8      

 

This race will come down to the final weekend.  The Cowboys may fall to a team they should beat. If they stay focused, maybe they can beat the Giants outright. 

 

North

Minnesota 9-7 (4)

Chicago 9-7 (6)

Green Bay 8-8 

Detroit 2-14

 

The Bears will benefit from the acquisition of Cutler. The Lions' losing streak ends at 23, when the Rams visit for a Nov. 1 game.

 

West

Arizona 12-4  (1)    

San Francisco 7-9

Seattle 6-10

St. Louis 2-14       

 

The 49ers will look good at times, and the Seahawks won't get blown out often, but the Cardinals have the talent, the confidence and a sense that they've left unfinished business.

 

Playoff Scores

Wild-card round

Tennessee  20 Indianapolis  30

Chicago  10 Atlanta 38

 

Dallas 44 Minnesota 21

Baltimore 13 San Diego   10

 

Divisional round       

Indianapolis 24 New England 28

Dallas 23 Arizona 35

 

Atlanta 16 N.Y. Giants 26

Baltimore 10 Pittsburgh 14

 

Championship Sunday

New England 24 Pittsburgh 20

N.Y. Giants 16 Arizona 21

 

Super Bowl XLIV

Cardinals 17

Patriots 31

 

The Patriots missed the playoffs last year, and still have that foul taste in their mouths from their defeat by the Giants on the Cardinals' home field. Tom Brady will get the car.

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