The NFL season arrives Thursday, so it’s time for season predictions for America’s favorite sport. You won’t be surprised at my NFC champion. But the AFC champ might shock you.
North Division: Green Bay 10-6, Chicago 10-6, Detroit 7-9, Minnesota 5-11. I don’t see the Vikings getting much better. The Lions are at least competitive. But Aaron Rodgers’ and Jay Cutler’s squads are the class of the old black-and-blue division.
East Division: Philadelphia 10-6, New York Giants 7-9, Washington 7-9, Dallas 4-12. Not the division it used to be. Two bad organizations (Redskins, Cowboys) and one old team (Giants).
South Division: Saints 12-4, Panthers 8-8, Falcons 8-8, Buccaneers 6-10. Nice competitive division. I’ll be pulling for Tampa Bay, since I’m a big Lovie Smith fan, but New Orleans will run away with first place.
West Division: Seahawks 13-3, 49ers 11-5, Cardinals 10-6, Rams 5-11. St. Louis wasn’t likely to make the playoffs, even if Sam Bradford had stayed healthy. This division is too tough.
North Division: Cincinnati12-4, Pittsburgh 8-8, Baltimore 8-8, Cleveland 2-14. The Bengals are the class of the North. Steelers and Ravens are playing for second.
East Division: New England 11-5, Miami 8-8, New York Jets 8-8, Buffalo 5-11. The Jetropolitans are stuck in quicksand.
South Division: Indianapolis 11-5, Tennessee 5-11, Jacksonville 5-11, Houston 5-11. Not a good division. Not a good division at all.
West Division: Denver 12-4, Kansas City 10-6, San Diego 9-7, Oakland 4-12. An excellent division. Like the NFC West, this division could supply both wild-cards.
Green Bay over Chicago: The NFL’s oldest rivalry plays another January classic.
San Francisco over Philadelphia: Old Pac-12 foes Jim Harbaugh vs. Chip Kelly.
New England over San Diego: Tom Brady keeps rolling along.
Indianapolis over Kansas City: These teams played a classic in the playoffs last season.
Green Bay over New Orleans: Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees.
Seattle over San Francisco: These teams don’t like each other very much, but this time they meet before the conference finals.
New England over Denver: Will Brady and Peyton Manning ever quit meeting like this?
Cincinnati over Indianapolis: Andy Dalton finally breaks through.
CONFERENCE TITLE ROUND
Seattle over Green Bay: Seahawks are awfully tough to beat at home.
Cincinnati over New England: Andy Dalton really breaks through.
Seattle over Cincinnati: Seahawks stake claim as a legit team for the ages.