This one took a while, but I've finally done it. I went through all 256 games of the 2010 NFL regular season, and studied them in depth.
After lots of research and analysis, I absolutely couldn't believe some of the results for many teams. Take a look for yourself, and you'll be shocked to see who makes the playoffs, who finishes last in the league, and who represents the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Jets and Patriots finish atop the division, both finishing at 10-6. The Dolphins stay a solid team at 8-8. The Bills disappoint, but don't surprise some fans as they finish 2-14.
Both the Jets and Patriots make the playoffs.
The Colts win the division again, and continue their streak of 12-win seasons. The Texans and Titans both finish a game above .500, but fail to make the playoffs. The Jaguars lose one more game than last year, coming out at 6-10.
The Bengals win the division for the second-straight year, but the Ravens are just one game behind. Both teams make the playoffs. Big Ben's absence hurts the Steelers, as Pittsburgh fails to make the playoffs yet again. The Browns add another dismal season to their team's history.
No-brainer here. Philip Rivers leads the Chargers to the playoffs once again. The Raiders show great improvement under new quarterback Jason Campbell. The Chiefs also improve on 2009, but still finish 6-10. The Broncos are devastated by injuries, causing them to finish dead last for the first time under Josh McDaniels.
Eli Manning helps the Giants sneak by the Cowboys to win the division. The Cowboys still make the playoffs as a wild card. The beginning of the Kevin Kolb era does not result in a playoff berth, and the same goes for McNabb's first year in D.C.
The Saints finish a league best 14-2, and win the top seed in the NFC. The Falcons go 10-6 under Matt Ryan and get the final wild card spot. The Panthers just miss out on the playoffs, and the Bucs show improvement under young quarterbacks Josh Johnson and Josh Freeman.
Aaron Rodgers gets even better, and takes the Packers to an incredible 13-win season. Brett Favre can't quite pull it out late in the season for the Vikes, as they finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs. Jay Cutler still can't manage to make the playoffs in the NFC, while young quarterback Matt Stafford begins to pull the Lions out of the gutter.
The 49ers sweep the NFC West under Alex Smith, who continues to improve under Mike Singletary. The Cardinals slip out of the playoff picture now that Kurt Warner is gone. The Rams double their win total from last season, which isn't saying much. The Seahawks, to the surprise of some, will get only one win.
AFC: Byes for Colts and Bengals.
(3) Chargers vs. (6) Patriots, Chargers advance to Divisional Round.
(4) Jets vs. (5) Ravens, Ravens advance to Divisional Round.
(1) Colts vs. (5) Ravens, Ravens advance to AFC Championship.
(2) Bengals vs. (3) Chargers, Bengals advance to AFC Championship.
Bengals vs. Ravens, Ravens advance to Super Bowl.
NFC: Byes for Saints and Packers.
(3) Giants vs. (6) Cowboys, Cowboys advance to Divisional Round.
(4) 49ers vs. (5) Falcons, 49ers advance to Divisional Round.
(1) Saints vs. (6) Cowboys, Saints advance to NFC Championship.
(2) Packers vs. (4) 49ers, 49ers advance to NFC Championship.
Saints vs. 49ers, 49ers advance to Super Bowl.
Super Bowl: 49ers vs. Ravens in Arlington, Texas. Ravens win Super Bowl.
You've all heard the reasons why the Ravens could win the Superbowl. But the 49ers? Listen.
The 49ers have Alex Smith, who doesn't have the numbers yet to justify being a number one overall selection, played well last season, with a passer rating of 81.5. Frank Gore is a top five running back, Vernon Davis was the best tight end last season, and Michael Crabtree has top ten wideout potential for this season. The 49ers also addressed their biggest weakness, the offensive line, with two first round selections at 11th and 17th overall. Oh yeah, and former Eagle Brian Westbrook is their second string running back. Not bad.
On the other side of the ball, they have the best linebacker in the league in Patrick Willis (Ray Lewis isn't as good as Willis anymore, but he's still close.) Takeo Spikes is a solid veteran linebacker, and Parys Haralson has 13 sacks over the past 2 seasons. Justin Smith is one of the most underrated linemen in the league. Safety Michael Lewis hits hard, and rookie Taylor Mays has tremendous upside.
The 49ers traded for Ted Ginn Jr, which will greatly improve their return game.
This team reminds me very much of the Giants when they won the Superbowl in 2007 with Eli Manning at quarterback (he had a depressing 73.9 quarterback rating that year.) They had very good backs, a great wide receiver, and a very underrated defense. I still think the Ravens win it all, but the 49ers have a shot.
Let me know what you think. Who's your Super Bowl pick, and who's going to end up with the first pick in next year's draft? Leave a comment and get a discussion started. Thanks for reading.