In the spirit of Rex Ryan, it’s time for some damn* FOOTBALL! Preseason purgatory is over and the real 2010 season kicks off tonight, featuring a marquee matchup with the Vikings vs. Saints at the Superdome. I won’t keep you frantically waiting any longer, so here are my fashionably late picks for this year’s crazier-than-ever NFL season.
NFC East: GIANTS
Probably the toughest division call to make, but the Giants are way underestimated this year. Barring any injuries, both their offense and defense will be the most consistent in the division. The Eagles could be explosive with the success of Kolb and some great young receivers, but they can just as easily crash and burn. Shanahan will turn the Skins around but it won’t be this year, especially if McNabb is already somewhat injured and Haynesworth is well on his way to the infirmary. And I still have no faith in the Cowboys. Superbowl in a home stadium…ha.
NFC West: NINERS
NFC West? Who? What? Aw cute they think they belong in the NFL…
With a Warner-less Cardinals the Niners hold their fate in their pants…HANDS! I meant hands! Damn you Singletary. Alex Smith is the biggest and possibly only question on this team, and regardless there is absolutely no reason they should lose the title to the Seahawks, Rams, or Cards. I don’t even think there’s a time frame for how long those teams will take to rebuild. Don’t we all wish we could coast to the playoffs via the NFC West?
NFC North: PACKERS
As long as last year’s o-line issues are sorted out, this offense is as drool-worthy as a bacon explosion. (Will someone get Rex a napkin?) Favre is severely lacking receivers with Rice out and Percy with migraines that are probably symptoms of some STD. Berrian is way too slow and untalented to handle the gunslinger. The Bears might be the surprise of the division, depending on the success of Cutler with Knox and Aromashodu under a Mike Martz offense, but Cutler’s interception-prone hands could easily take it the other way. Things are slowly looking up for the Lions, but “Best is the BEST” chants have already gone from cute to annoying.
NFC South: FALCONS
I’m really skeptical of the Saints repeating their success, and I still love the Falcons. I think Ryan’s going to have a breakout season and prove everyone wrong, and with a healthy Turner this offense can take the title. The defense is stronger than the Saints, and will take advantage of a pretty easy schedule. Carolina and Tampa Bay aren’t coming close to either of those teams.
AFC East: DOLPHINS
I just cried a little inside. I can’t help being a pessimistic Jets fan, and don’t you dare judge me for it. I hate the ridiculously high expectations that I’m convinced were spawned by the Hard Knocks producers, and I hate that they’ve turned us all into giant drama queens. Curse you HBO! Our defense is going to dominate again this year, and I know all our opponents are cringing at the thought of a healthy Kris Jenkins addition to our already formidable defensive line. Unfortunately I’m cringing just as much at the thought of our offense trying to carry us into the playoffs. At best Sanchez is a decent game manager, at worst he’ll throw away the season. The loss of Alan Faneca is going to seriously hurt us at left guard, and both Ducasse and Slauson have the potential to give up way too many sacks. That hit on Brady is flashing before my eyes. I think we’ll have a rough start and finish strong, but not soon enough to take the lead in what could be the closest divisional race in the league. The Pats D is going to be their downfall from first this year, and I see the Dolphins being the most consistent team in the division. Their running game is solid and the Henne-Marshall combo has explosive potential. Oh and everybody welcome the next 2008 Lions and 2009 Rams…the 2010 Bills!
AFC West: CHIEFS
Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, Dwayne Bowe…Charlie Weis can do this. They have an easy schedule that can grab them a close finish in first over the Chargers, who I think are overrated. The Broncos aren’t doing anything – Kyle Orton sucks, their receivers suck, and don’t get me started on Brady Quinn or Tebow, savior of the NFL. It’ll be interesting to see how Campbell fares on another team, even if that team is the Raiders, but regardless he’ll be an upgrade from JaMarcus. The Raiders will get there eventually, maybe Disney can sign Al Davis to play Ursula’s husband in The Little Mermaid III and he’ll be lost in animated land forever!
AFC North: RAVENS
Love everything about this team. I want to hire Ray Lewis as a life coach, can you imagine waking up to him yelling at you every morning? Ed Reed out is a blow to the defense, but it’ll still be dominant, and Joe Flacco could be a sleeper MVP pick with a solid set of receivers. Palmer is going to self-combust this year while Ocho and TO tear each other apart, and I don’t see the Steelers recovering from a Big Ben-less four weeks to win a highly competitive division. I think the Ravens will take it all the way.
AFC South: COLTS
Oh Peyton we can never doubt you. The Texans with Schaub could have a great offensive year, but it won’t be enough to topple the Colts from their reign. I can’t see a single reason why the Colts won’t coast to the top of the division, the season will really start for them in the playoffs.
It’s the greatest time of the year, football is here!
* dheerja.com is a kid-friendly, mother-approved site. As much as I love Rexy, he didn’t survive the censor.