This NFL season has been full of surprises.
There's been a lot to cheer about in San Francisco, as Jim Harbaugh has his team off to a 5-1 start. Buffalo and Detroit are in the middle of division races. We have four rookie starting quarterbacks. Tim Tebow has arrived and Chris Johnson has disappeared.
So what's in store for the second half of 2011?
How good has Drew Brees been this year? His 325 passing yards against Indianapolis on Sunday was his second lowest total of the season. Brees needs 2,607 passing yards the rest of the way (an average of 290 per game) to top Marino’s 5,084 total from 1983.
The Saints are one game ahead of Tampa Bay and Atlanta in a tight NFC South race, which means Brees will be called on to perform at a high level every single week. The former Super Bowl MVP has all of his receivers healthy for the first time all year, is protected by a great offensive line and is in the prime of his career.
Brees fell 15 yards short of breaking the record in 2008, but he gets Marino the second time around in 2011.
Tony Romo silences his doubters with a lot of help from Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and especially DeMarco Murray.
This is how it all goes down: a Michael Vick injury ends Philly’s season, Washington continues to tumble after a hot start and Dallas wins the division in Week 17 against the Giants at the Meadowlands.
Ndkamukong Suh said on Monday that Matt Ryan’s injury against the Lions the day before was "karma." I wonder how he’ll explain his team finishing 8-8 after being undefeated five weeks into the season.
Detroit still has to play Green Bay twice and has road games at Chicago, New Orleans and Oakland. Jim Shwartz will have many more unpleasant postgame handshakes as the Lions’ lack of a running game and all those penalties start to catch up with them.
Aaron Rodgers runs the offense like a well-oiled machine. Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson are two of the league’s best playmakers on defense. There are no chinks in the armor. The Packers are the best team in the NFL—and I don’t think it’s even close.
Green Bay runs the schedule the rest of the way. Mike McCarthy plays his starters long enough to win against Detroit in Week 17. The Packers finish 16-0, Rodgers wins league MVP and the storybook season ends with…
Fitting, isn’t it? The Patriots flip the script from 2009, when they stormed through the regular and postseason without losing a game until the Giants topped them in Super Bowl XLII.
This time around, New England spoils Green Bay's perfect season as Chad Ochocinco hauls in the winning touchdown with under a minute left. Tom Brady collects his third MVP and the Patriots win a shootout in Indianapolis, 41-38.