Ah football season, the most magical time of year, where every Sunday basically turns into a national holiday and fantasy GM's hawk their player's stats. I've gone through the schedule for the entire 2010 season and picked my winners early on, however I'm aware that things RARELY turn out the way we think they will. Certain teams will flop that were in the playoffs last year (Cardinals anyone?) and some middle-of-the-road team will have a good year and push for a playoff spot. Anyway, the beginning of this post will be my early playoff/Super Bowl predictions. Following that will be my picks for week 1 (unrelated to my original picks, hey, things change ya know?) Also, I'm a die-hard Packers fan, so you can see I'm just a lil biased!
Cincinnati (Wildcard) Baltimore AFC Championship
Indianapolis Indianapolis vs. San Diego
NY Jets(Wildcard) San Diego
New England Super Bowl
San Diego vs. Green Bay
NY Giants San Francisco NFC Championship
Minnesota New Orleans New Orleans vs. Green Bay
San Francisco Green Bay
Atlanta NY Giants
Week 1 Predictions
Browns vs. Buccaneers: I think this is the least exciting game of the weekend. The Browns played well down the stretch last year and looked decent in the pre-season. The Bucs are young, but should be improved this season. I'm curious to get a glimpse of how Tampa uses Mike Williams and to see Jerome Harrison do his thing as the un-challenged starter in Cleveland. I'm going with the Bucs by 4, simply because they're home and I don't have trust in Jake Delhomme just yet. I also think Cadillac Williams has a good day on the ground.
Lions vs. Bears: Another crummy game. I have Jay Cutler on my fantasy team (and he is starting BTW), so I absolutely HOPE he does well this year....However, I think the Bears are going to have a bad year and POSSIBLY finish worse than the Lions. I could be wrong, but the Bears offensive line is a big worry for me right now, and the Lions have an improved D-line (Van Den Bosch, Suh) which could give Cutler problems. I won't be surprised if the Lions pull out the upset, but my gut tells me to go with the Bears until the Lions prove themselves. I'll take the Bears by 6. (Though watch out for those Lions)
Dolphins vs. Bills: In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm getting most of the less-interesting games out of the way first. Buffalo is going to be BAD this year (#1 pick probably?) The only thing I'm looking forward to in Buffalo is C.J. Spiller. I think the Bills will be competitive, but they don't have the talent to be a playoff contender yet. I think the Dolphins are overrated by many. Brandon Marshall is going to have a good year, not great, until Chad Henne matures. The ground game will still be the focus here, and I think the Dolphins D will be solid. I'll take the Dolphins by 4.
Cardinals vs. Rams: My girlfriend is in one of those Survivor leagues and needed my pick for a "sure thing" this week. I told her to take the Cardinals. Bradford is going to be good, probably real good....But this season is all going to be about growing pains. If Steven Jackson stays healthy all year, they'll probably win 3-4 games. This isn't one of them. Cardinals by 7.
Chargers vs. Chiefs (Monday Night): This was the other closest "sure thing" for me to pick, but it's not a definite. Kansas City has surprised in their openers in the past, however, I just don't think this San Diego team gets caught in the trap. I'm interested to see how KC gets Dexter McCluster involved (he is on my fantasy team after all) and Ryan Matthews should have a good game on the ground for San Diego. I think the Chiefs offense will be much improved this season, but I think their defense is still going to hold them back this year. Meanwhile, San Diego even without Vincent Jackson, is still going to be a powerful offense. Chargers by 7.
Raiders vs. Titans: Call me crazy, but I believe the Raiders can be pretty good this year and it's going to come down to Jason Campbell. Once Michael Bush is fully healthy, they're going to have a solid run game with him and Darren McFadden, and Campbell will definitely be an upgrade over Jamarcus Russell. The Oakland D should be good against the pass with Asomugha shutting down most team's #1 WR. With all this said, I still think the Titans win this one. Chris Johnson should have a big day against one of the worst rush-defense teams in the league, and Vince Young will do enough to make sure the Titans win. Plus, Tennessee is home. Titans by 4.
49ers vs. Seahawks: Many eyes will be on Pete Carroll, but I just don't think Seattle has the talent just yet to be a factor in the NFC west. Meanwhile, Frank Gore is going to have a beastly year, Alex Smith will play the best football of his career thus far, and Michael Crabtree will put up impressive numbers. Yeah, I like this 49ers team. Niners by 6.
Broncos vs. Jaguars: The loss of Elvis Dumervil is really going to hurt the Broncos this year, as is the departure of Brandon Marshall. Kyle Orton will be solid, and the running game should be good, but this team took a step back. I've heard the Jaguars are going to pass more this year (Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas should put up some decent fantasy numbers), but this team is still going to be focused around Maurice Jones-Drew. If he can stay healthy (current knee injury), I predict MJD will be a top 3 running back this year. If they're to be successful on defense, they MUST improve upon their pash rush. With that said, I'll give this one to the Jaguars because they're home and I'm doubting Denver until they prove me otherwise. Jaguars by 3.
Bengals vs. Patriots: Everyone seems to be high on the Bengals this year, and I think they're going to be pretty good also. I think their defense will be a Top-10 unit and the addition of T.O. will help the passing game. New England is primed for a bounce back year, particularly Tom Brady. Their secondary is in shambles right now, but I have faith Bill Belichek will be able to cover up that weakness. I think both teams are for real, I just think it's too early in the year for the Bengals to go into Gilette Stadium and stun the Patriots. This should be a fun one to watch though. Patriots by 3.
Falcons vs. Steelers: Atlanta finished strong last year to have their first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. Michael Turner should be healed and ready for a big year, as should Matt Ryan who will totally forget about his sophomore slump. Outside of Roddy White, I'm not crazy about Atlanta's wide receivers, however there's always Tony Gonzalez. The Steelers are going to be good, WHEN Ben Roethlisberger comes back and is up to speed. But right now this is Dennis Dixon's team, and although I've read his fellow players are very supportive of him, in a close game like this, Big Ben is needed. I say Dixon throws a costly interception and costs Pittsburgh this one, but it will be close throughout. Falcons by 2.
Colts vs. Texans: As you can see from above, I think the Colts are going to be just as good as they always are this year. Manning & Company will be just as deadly as ever, and I think the defense will be improved from last years unit. I think they need to run the ball better if they want to get to the Super Bowl, but regardless, they'll be in the thick of things. The Texans have been knocking on the playoff door for a couple seasons now. They're offense is just as good as the Colts, but I worry about their defense. IF the defense could improve into a Top-10 unit this season, the Texans could be scary. This is the Texans "Game of the Year" and I believe they're geared up and FINALLY ready to beat the Colts. (Colts return the favor later on though). Yup, I'm calling the upset. Texans by 3.
Panthers vs. Giants: I think the Panthers are a "middle of the road" type team. I think Matt Moore can play well enough all year to keep Jimmy Clausen on the bench, but it's not necessarily going to translate into wins. The Panthers have the best running back tandem in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart and an always dangerous wide receiver in Steve Smith...But outside of them, there really is nobody. The Giants have their own good tandem in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs and they will do damage with them as well. I think the difference in this game is Eli Manning and that Giants defense which I think is going to be serious again. I'm thinking the Giants beat them up, but I'm going to play it semi-conservative. Giants by 6.
Cowboys vs. Redskins: While I've been completely un-impressed by the Cowboys offense so far, they have too many weapons to be producing like they have. I think they take it up a notch now that the regular season is upon us. Washington should be improved with McNabb at quarterback, but HOW MUCH? Their defense has been solid for years now, but I don't think just the addition of McNabb is going to raise this team to a playoff contender. I know Washington is home, and I could see them splitting the series, but I think the Cowboys come out fired up for this one and take a tough one. Cowboys by 3.
Packers vs. Eagles: My favorite game of the week! My brother is an Eagles fan and me being a Packers fan, makes this game quite personal. I think Aaron Rodgers is going to have a huge year (possibly MVP?) and the defense will be just as good in the 2nd year under Dom Capers. Kevin Kolb comes into a good situation and I think he's going to be just fine. I worry about LeSean McCoy, but I think he will be very productive as well. The Eagles defense should be a Top-10 unit as well, and I don't think there's going to be much of a drop-off from McNabb to Kolb. As much as I want to pick the Packers here, I think it's going to be tough to go into Lincoln Financial (with those CRAZY Philly fans) and win this opener. Though if they do win, I'll be pleasantly surprised. My brother should be happy. Eagles by 2.
Ravens vs. Jets (Monday Night): This to me, is the game of the week. Ray Lewis has already ignited the flames, and this should be a fun, hard-hitting affair. Both defenses will be tough, though Baltimore is weaker in the secondary right now, something Mark Sanchez will HAVE to try and exploit if the Jets are to win this game. I think Baltimore is going to be great on offense this year, and I love the pick-up of Anquan Boldin. I give the edge to Baltimore on offense, and the Jets on defense....I could flip a coin and be happy with whatever the coin said to pick.....However, I think the Jets opening up their brand new stadium, with Super Bowl aspirations, might give them the emotional advantage. And yes, I'm a Jets fan as well. Jets by 1.
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! Any and all comments are appreciated, even if you disagree with something. Check back probably Tuesday or Wednesday for my first power rankings. Enjoy the games!!!!!!