This slideshow represents my opinion on how the upcoming NFL season is going to unfold. It gives my prediction for the records of each team in each division. It also provides my synopsis of each team and why I think they will finish where they do. It discusses the team's depth at each position as well as its talent level and new additions to the team in order to show how I think the additions for each team will affect the team's overall performance. This season I think will end up being one of the more surprising and exciting regular seasons we have seen in a while. Some surprising teams with finishes you might not expect are the Raiders, 49ers and Jets. These finishes aren't exactly in line with what most experts say, but it's what I think is a definite possibility.
This is probably the most competitive division in football. The Eagles will again thrive with the pickup of Ellis Hobbs and Jason Peters, but the loss of Brian Dawkins at safety may hurt them, but they will still be competitive in the playoffs and make another deep run.
The Giants will have another solid season based on the depth of their D-Line and great running game, but the loss of Derrick Ward and the lack of a big play wide receiver will hurt them and ultimately cost them the playoffs.
The Redskins may be one of the surprise teams this year. If they can stay healthy, they could be very competitive and I think they will put it together this year and make a playoff run.
The Cowboys will suffer the most due to their loss of Terrell Owens as a big play wide receiver. Roy Williams will do his best to replace Owens, but I don't think he will be able to do it and the Cowboys will have another disappointing year. This is one of the more difficult picks, because the Cowboys have a solid defense, and run game and could very well be in the mix.
My overall analysis is that this division, as usual is the toughest to predict, but I think the Eagles and Redskins will come out on top and make the playoffs.
I think that Brett Favre will return to the Vikings, but his age and injury will limit his effectiveness, and really cause more harm than help to the Vikings. He'll win them a few games, but he will lose them quite a few as well.
Last year, I was very impressed by Aaron Rodgers' performance, especially in the wake of the Brett Favre saga, and I think the Packers will stay healthy and be much better this year. Ultimately, their offense is on the edge of greatness and they have an efficient pass defense, but we will have to see if the switch to the 3-4 will help the Packers awful run defense from a year ago. A healthy Atari Bigby and Cullen Jenkins with the addition of B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews will definitely help their defense and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC this season.
The Bears made some big acquisitions this year with the trade for Jay Cutler among other moves. This looks like a move that will help, but the Bears don't have a big play wide receiver, as Matt Forte and Greg Olsen are the best receiving options. Devin Hester isn't really cut out to be a number one receiver and I think the loss of Mike Brown will hurt the Bears secondary. Ultimately, Cutler and the Bears will struggle.
The Detroit Lions, well they are the Detroit Lions. I think they will improve this year, but unfortunately I don't think they will improve enough to the point where they will be competitive, but as you saw with the Dolphins, anything is possible in the NFL.
This division will remain very similar to last year. The Panthers strong run game and defense will keep them as the leader of the division.
The Saints will be much better with a healthy Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas as the running backs. Their defense will still struggle, but their offense will allow them to prosper and make a run the playoffs again this year.
The Falcons will again be very good as they have a great running game, a very good quarterback and a good defense. The addition of Tony Gonzalez will help the Falcons passing game. The Falcons will be a better team, but with a slightly worse record.
The Buccaneers are definitely going to take a step backwards this season as they just don't have the talent to compete.
The Cardinals had a magical season last year and were just a few plays away from a Super Bowl victory. Unfortunately, as with many Super Bowl losers, the Cardinals will struggle this year. Their defense is still full of uncertainties and the loss of Edgerrin James, as well as an unhappy Anquan Boldin won't bode well for the Cardinals and they will ultimately miss the playoffs.
The 49ers will be the surprise team this year. They have a great chance to be good with a relatively weak division. They have a good running back in Frank Gore, and a talented offensive core around players like Vernon Davis, Issac Bruce, and thanks to the Raiders, Michael Crabtree. Their talented defense led by Patrick Willis will lead the 49ers to the playoffs.
The Seahawks will definitely be better than last year. Matt Hasselback will be healthy, Julius Jones will provide them with some spark in their running game. The Hawks are just a year off from rising back to the top of this division and it's possible they could compete for the division this year.
The St. Louis Rams are still a ways off from competing for the division, and I don't think they will be much better this season than last season.
No. 1 Seed: Carolina Panthers
No. 2 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles
No. 3 Seed: Green Bay Packers
No. 6 Seed: Washington Redskins
No. 4 Seed: San Francisco 49ers
No. 5 Seed: Atlanta Falcons
I think Green Bay will triumph in their matchup against the Redskins while playing a home game at Lambeau Field. I think it will be a relatively easy win for the Packers. 24-13
In the other Wild Card game I think the Atlanta Falcons will win rather easily as well, their experience last year will give them an edge this year into the playoffs whereas the 49ers are young and inexperienced. The Falcons win 28-7.
In the divisional playoff games, I think the Eagles will end the Packers attempt at a return to glory here in a hard fought 31-27 victory.
In the other matchup, I think the Falcons will shock the Panthers and make a run of their own to the NFC championship. They win late 30-24.
In the NFC Championship Game, McNabb's experience and their great secondary, will give the Eagles a great advantage in the Championship game and they will win 24-14.
I believe the Eagles will reach the Super Bowl out of the NFC.
My AFC Predictions
The Patriots will definitely benefit from the return of Tom Brady. They have a solid defense and, as we all know, they have a great pass offense. I think they will win at least 12 games this year as they won 11 last year with first year starter Matt Cassel. The fact that Tom Brady is coming off such a serious knee injury is a big cause for concern which is the reason I'm not picking them to go undefeated or 14-2 because even if Brady isn't 100 percent healthy, I still think the Patriots are the best team in this division.
The Buffalo Bills are probably going to get a lot more publicity this year than in years past. This of course is due to the signing of Terrell Owens. This move will definitely benefit the Bills, for this season: It gives them two very good receiving threats in Lee Evans and Owens. I think he will give them a much needed boost to their offense. They already have Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson as well and I think they will have a very good year. Their defense and special teams as usual are solid, and they should have the potential to make a big playoff run.
The Dolphins had a magical run last season. Rebounding from 1-15 to go 11-5 and win the division. That was a great run. Unfortunately, they will be a team that drops off a bit this year. They have a good defense and a good running game, but you can't trust their passing game as they don't really have a go-to receiver and that will hurt them.
The Jets are going to struggle. Some people think that Mark Sanchez will step in and lead them to the promised land, but I just don't see that happening. The Jets think they found another Matt Ryan, but I just don't know if they can repeat their season from last year even.
The Steelers won the Super Bowl last year in dramatic fashion. The way the division looks this year, I think they could bring their "B-Game" this year and walk away with the division. The Steelers have arguably one of the better defenses in recent memory. They also have a serviceable offense with Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward and of course Big Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers should walk with this division.
The Ravens had a great run last year, but without Derrick Mason, defenses are going to figure out Joe Flacco, and he will have a sophomore slump, even though his stats weren't great last year, and this year will be even tougher.
The Cincinnati Bengals, well, they will be a topic of headlines thanks to their loudmouth jokester Chad John—I mean—Ochocinco, but their on the field headlines will be limited. I do think they will improve.
The Cleveland Browns, well, they are a mess. They don't know who their quarterback is and their defense is flawed. They lost Kellen Winslow. Braylon Edwards couldn't catch, and they haven't scored a touchdown since Week 11 of last season. They could be historically bad.
This division is unpredictable to me and I honestly think the Texans are gonna be the "Team of Destiny" this year. They have a good quarterback in Matt Schaub. They had a good running back last year with Steve Slaton. They have a great receiver in Andre Johnson. They also have a great tight end in Owen Daniels and an unsung wide receiver in Kevin Walter. This team is going to make some noise—I guarantee it.
The Titans were one of the better teams last season. They lost Albert Haynesworth, and Kerry Collins is another year older, and they still don't have a go-to wide receiver. Their defense is still good and they have a great running game, but I just don't know if they can compete with their passing game.
The Indianapolis Colts are another team of interest for this upcoming year. The Colts looked to take a step backwards last year. They had no running game, and Peyton Manning as he usually does, carried the Colts to the playoffs. Can Peyton do that again? I just don't know. It's tough to say. He lost his favorite target of all time in Marvin Harrison. He still has Reggie Wayne, and Anthony Gonzalez, but their are questions surrounding their running game and defense. I think Manning will allow them to have yet another decent season, but the playoffs could be out of reach.
The Jaguars—what to expect from them. This is a team that really underachieved last season. I don't know who would say they will improve this season. They acquired Torry Holt and he could definitely jump start their offense. They have a good defense. They could be a factor when it comes down to playoff time, they are a team that's on the fence.
This is the Chargers division to lose. This division won't be good. It just won't. There is the return of Shawne Merriman and an up-and-coming Darren Sproles. Ladanian Tomlinson is out to prove he's still an elite player. This team has a great defense without Shawne Merriman. It is loaded with talent Phillip Rivers had a great season last year. Vincent Jackson had a great season last year. This team should walk away with this division in hand by Week 12 honestly.
The Oakland Raiders are another team I think could make some noise this year. I know that I will probably get a lot of negative feedback for this, but the Raiders have a lot of talent at running back with Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. They have problems at quarterback and wide receiver, but their defense is solid and I don't know that they will make noise in the playoff race, but I'd say they will finish second in their division this year. Despite Al Davis making foolish decisions, this team is slowly getting better.
The Broncos are going to struggle. They traded Jay Cutler and it sounds like Brandon Marshall will be out of the picture as well and their defense struggled all of last year, and I don't think they did much to address it. Hold on to your hats, Denver—this season is going to be a bumpy ride.
The Chiefs made some moves to try to get better, and who knows? Maybe Matt Cassel will be what they need to succeed and they will make a playoff run, but honestly, I just can't see that happening and I see at least one more year of struggle for Kansas City.
No. 1 Seed: San Diego Chargers
No. 2 Seed Pittsburgh Steelers
No. 3 Seed: New England Patriots
No. 6 Seed: Indianapolis Colts
No. 4 Seed: Houston Texans
No. 5 Seed: Buffalo Bills
In the Wild Card game between the Patriots and Colts I think it will be an offensive battle and the Patriots will come out on top 35-28
In this Texans and Bills matchup, I think Terrell Owens helps the Bills to win a defensive battle and the Bills come out on top 17-14 in overtime.
In the Divisional round the Chargers take on the Bills and I like the Bills to come out and shock the Chargers with their great balance and advance to the AFC Championship by a score of 21-10.
In the other matchup, I like the Steelers defense overcoming the offense of the Patriots 24-21 also in overtime.
In this matchup, I am going to take the defending champs to win and make an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl as the Steelers win over the surprise Bills 27-10.
The Super Bowl: The Big Game. From Miami, Florida.
Pennsylvania will have a vested interest in this game. Eagles. Steelers. Who will win?
Honestly, I think that this is the Eagles' year. The Eagles additions to each side of the ball are going to be enough to vault them to the big time over Pittsburgh. The final score 23-17 Eagles, in another great game.