2011 NFL Predictions: 3 Teams That Will Repeat as Division Champs
The 2011 NFL season is a month away and the post-lockout flurry of free agent signings has been accompanied by a plethora of predictions for the upcoming year in pro football.
Super Bowl favorites have been selected and division champions have been crowned, but a single snap has yet to be played.
I can't tell you who will win each of the NFL's eight divisions, but here are three teams that I believe will repeat as division champs.
The Atlanta Falcons won the NFC South on their way to the becoming the NFC's number one seed in last year's postseason.
After adding rookie receiver Julio Jones to an already-explosive offense, Atlanta should have no trouble capturing the division crown once again. They also filled a need by signing Ray Edwards to rush the passer opposite of John Abraham.
The Saints stole Mark Ingram in the draft to complete their quest for a franchise back, but also lost Reggie Bush to Miami in the process. After getting torched by the Seahawks in the Wild Card round, the defense shows no signs of being able to stop Matt Ryan's offensive attack.
The youthful Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be the Falcon's main competition, but it will be another year or two before they become a serious threat.
Notice I didn't even mention the Panthers...
New England Patriots
The Patriots may have been knocked down, but they're not out.
The Jets made some crucial re-signings this offseason, but also lost a few key weapons in Brad Smith, Braylon Edwards, and Jerricho Cotchery.
Mark "Sanchize" Sanchez hasn't become a franchise quarterback and the only way he can help the Jets win is limiting mistakes. New York is powered by their defense and rushing attack, but it is now the passing game that rules the NFL.
As long as Brady plays in Boston, the Patriots will be the favorites in the AFC East.
The NFC East was in shambles last season with the exception of one team- the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants had a shot at the top spot until Matt Dodge infamously punted the ball to the Eagles' Desean Jackson who subsequently ran it back for the walk off touchdown, but the Redskins and Cowboys were never in contention for the division crown.
The 'Skins have a questionable quarterback situation and shouldn't improve much, if at all, from last year. The Cowboys, on the other hand, will be welcoming back their signal caller who missed most of 2010 with a broken collar bone.
Tony Romo has the potential to take Dallas to the playoffs, but after Philly became a magnet for the league's top free agents, it will be a tough task.
The Eagles' once-dismal defense suddenly looks to be one of the best in the NFL with the additions of Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and top corner Nmadi Asomugha.
The Giants have already lost the best thing they gained this offseason to a broken foot in rookie Prince Amukamara and one of their best defensive stars, Osi Umenyiora, is unhappy with his contract.
All signs point to Philadelphia claiming the NFC East once again.