Take It to the Bank: NFL Week One and Season Predictions

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Take It to the Bank: NFL Week One and Season Predictions
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Life changes so suddenly in the NFL that the only method of accurately predicting an NFL season is putting the final touches on it opening night.

With that said, some of my picks may seem a bit quirky, but I have yet to see a season culminate in which there were no surprises.

 

Projections

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: 11-5

New York Giants (Wild Card): 11-5

Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8

Washington Redskins: 7-9

NFC North

Green Bay Packers: 11-5

Chicago Bears (Wild Card): 10-6

Minnesota Vikings: 7-9

Detroit Lions: 4-12

NFC South

New Orleans Saints: 11-5

Atlanta Falcons: 9-7

Carolina Panthers: 8-8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks: 10-6

San Franisco 49ers: 8-8

Arizona Cardinals: 7-9

St. Louis Rams: 6-10

 

AFC East

New England Patriots: 12-4

Miami Dolphins (Wild Card): 9-7

New York Jets: 7-9

Buffalo Bills: 6-10

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers: 13-3

Baltimore Ravens: 8-8

Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9

Cleveland Browns: 4-12

AFC South

Houston Texans: 11-5

Indianapolis Colts (Wild Card): 10-6

Tennessee Titans: 7-9

Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-11

AFC West

San Diego Chargers: 12-4

Kansas City Chiefs: 8-8

Denver Broncos: 6-10

Oakland Raiders: 5-11

 

NFC Champs: Giants

AFC Champs: Steelers

Super Bowl Champs: Giants

 

Defending Myself

I should have placed a homer alert disclaimer on the top of the article. Yes, I am a huge Giants fan. That still doesn't detract from the fact I feel very good about this team and think the NFC is open enough for them to return to glory for the second time in third years.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh starts the season the same way they finished last year: The best team in the league. Their defense is returning all but two starters, and have more than viable replacements for the departed. Their offense, which was dreadful throughout the first few months of the season is returning with continuity and brimming with confidence.

I think their offensive line finally found some stability through the adversity they conquered in January and February. This will allow Ben Roethlisberger to reach his peak as a quarterback, which is much higher than many of you realize. And it also allows them to sustain a running game, which they never got to do last year. Couple that with an elite returning defense and they are one scary team.

I know Houston has become a trendy pick (Adam Schein and Peter King both said they would win the division in 2009), but I'm here to say that I've been on this bandwagon since May. Unfortunately I have no concrete evidence to prove this but you'll just have to put your trust in me.

The offense is loaded with playmakers, and I think by the end of 2009 Steve Slaton will be the most complete running back in the league.

Their defense has plenty of marquee names at skill positions, but has yet to mesh into a cohesive, upper-tier unit. I think as the season progresses we will see this defense get better and better, en route to a division championship.

Even though it didn't prove anything yet, I am impressed with the humility the Cowboys went about their business this preseason. Of course, a 44-6 drubbing to a division rival with the playoffs on the line will do that to a team, but I still detect a different vibe.

Players know that this may be the year to put up or start over, and I think Romo finally realized after three turnover-riddled seasons that maybe he's better off just falling to the ground with the football then the other alternatives he has utilized. 

I think Arizona is due for a letdown. The fact they are coming off a heart-wrenching loss in the Super Bowl is not mentioned as much as it should be. They had a short offseason to rest, and have looked flat in preseason.

Yes, I know, it's preseason. But the sense of urgency light doesn't just get switched on as soon as the calendar flips to September. I think they start slow, and finish behind San Francisco and Seattle, who is due for a renaissance season.

Lastly, I'll lend a quick line on Minnesota. Brett Favre is hurt, Favre admitted last year he stinks when he's hurt, and Favre will be even more hurt in December. Do the math. I know Eric Mangini has already done it, and soon Brad Childress will be at the unemployed table in January.

Oh yeah, before I forget, here's my Week One picks, with the predicted winners in bold. And to try and keep the readers that may have actually spent a few minutes scanning over this, I'll have other features in addition to my picks each week until pitchers and catchers report.

 

Week One Picks

Titans @ Steelers

Jaguars @ Colts

Lions @ Saints

Eagles @ Panthers

Jets @ Texans

Chiefs @ Ravens

Cowboys @ Bucs

Vikings @ Browns

Dolphins @ Falcons

Redskins @ Giants

49ers @ Cardinals

Rams @ Seahawks

Bears @ Packers

Bills @ Patriots

Chargers @ Raiders

 

Upset Alert of the Week

I didn't pick it, but watch out for the Browns hosting the Vikings. This could be more of a nail-biter than people project. Mangini's tactics may not be the most shrewd, but his teams in New York were always competitive. I expect the Browns to play the same way.

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