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Gibberman: Predicting the NFL

The NFL season starts Thursday night. All the
preseason nonsense is over; it is time to get the real
thing going. There are a ton of interesting storylines;
Tom Brady’s return, can the Indianapolis Colts succeed
without Tony Dungy, will Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco join the
elite group of quarterbacks, the quarterbacks of the NFC
North (Rodgers vs. Cutler vs. Favre vs. Stafford
(possibly), the Brett Favre experiment (as tired as we all
are of #4 those two Minnesota-Green Bay games are must-
watch TV), New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan running his
mouth, waiting for another Terrell Owens implosion, McNabb
vs. Vick, and the development of the Wildcat.

Locally we wait to see if the Arizona Cardinals have
turned the corner as a franchise or if they were a one
year wonder. If the Cardinals struggle this year break
out the comparisons to the 2005 Cincinnati Bengals; a
moribund franchise that finally broke though with an 11-5
record and a first place finish in AFC North, they could
have made it to the Super Bowl that year if Steelers
defensive end Kimo Von Oelhoffen didn’t take Carson Palmer
out on the second play of their playoff game. The Bengals
haven’t finished above 8-8 since.

We know we are in for a roller coaster ride with the
unexpected transpiring, there will be season ending
injuries that can derail a season and a couple of surprise
teams playing as the temperature drops below 32 degrees,
when we find out who the real men are (unless of course
they play in a dome, football is meant to be played in the
elements, but that is another article in itself).

Prognosticating the NFL is a very difficult thing to do,
but it is a lot of fun, so here it goes.

NFC East

1.New York Giants- one of their rookie receivers –
1st round pick Hakeem Nicks or 3rd round pick Ramses
Barden – will step up to give Eli Manning the redzone
target that he needs.

2.Philadelphia Eagles- they overcome the distraction
of Michael Vick and end up with one of the most
entertaining/diverse offenses in the league.

3.Dallas Cowboys- Jason Witten and Tony Romo have
huge statistical years, but it is not enough to get
America’s team back into the playoffs.

4.Washington Redskins- Jason Campbell takes a step
forward, but Clinton Portis looks old and the Redskins
defense doesn’t mesh once again.

NFC North

1.Green Bay Packers- the Packers have the #1 offense
in the NFC and defensive coordinator Dom Capers gets
enough out of the D in the first year Green Bay
transitions into the 3-4.

2.Chicago Bears- Chicago’s offense improves
dramatically under the direction of Jay Cutler; Devin
Hester becomes more than just a special team’s player.

3.Minnesota Vikings- the Vikes fall apart with the
addition of Brett Favre.

4.Detroit Lions- the Lions become one of the most
improved teams under the direction of new head coach Jim
Schwartz. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson show why they
will be a lethal connection for the next 10 years.

NFC South

1.Atlanta Falcons- the triplets of the South: Matt
Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White tear up the league.

2.New Orleans Saints- Marques Colston stays healthy
and makes the Saints offense even more lethal; need Pierre
Thomas and Reggie Bush to stay healthy.

3.Carolina Panthers- take a step back as Jake
Delhomme continues to regress.

4.Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Bucs do not have a QB; they
are one of the worst teams in the league.

NFC West

1.Arizona Cardinals- the Boldin/Fitz combo is the
best in the league, defense will do just enough.

2.Seattle Seahawks- are on their way back up and
Matt Hasselback has a bounce back year. They traded for
the Broncos 2010 first round pick during last year’s
draft-JACKPOT!

3.San Francisco 49ers- The 49ers will play hard and
physical, now Mike Singletary needs a little more talent
on the offensive side to take the next step.

4.St. Louis Rams- Steve Spagnolo is not going to
look as smart without the Giants defensive personnel

AFC East

1. New England Patriots- Brady and Moss dominate, Pats run
away with the AFC East.

2.New York Jets- Mark Sanchez is the real deal, now
they need to get him a #1 WR to throw to.

3.Miami Dolphins- the Chad Pennington era comes to
an end.

4.Buffalo Bills- the volcano otherwise known as TO
explodes.

AFC North

1.Baltimore Ravens- Joe Flacco is the real deal,
watch out for him this year. He gives the Ravens an
improved passing game to go with their grind it out
running attack.

2.Pittsburgh Steelers- Mike Tomlin keep the Steelers
rolling, they do have questions at the running back
position.

3.Cincinnati Bengals – Carson Palmer and Chad
Ochocinco return to form. The Bengals are much improved,
but have the bad luck of being in a tough division.

4.Cleveland Browns- join the Tampa Bay Bucs as one
of the two worst teams in football.

AFC South
1.Indianapolis Colts- Peyton Manning is healthy and
returns the Colts back to the top of the AFC South after a
one year hiatus.

2.Tennessee Titans- Chris Johnson and LenDale White
continue to be the best running back combination in the
league.

3.Houston Texans- everyone always thinks the Texans
are on the brink of breaking out, sorry not with the Colts
and Titans in their division.

4.Jacksonville Jaguars- bye bye Jack Del Rio

AFC West

1.San Diego Chargers- LT dominates, Shawn Merriman
destroys QB’s, and Phillip Rivers proves he was the best
QB in the 2004 draft.

2.Kansas City Chiefs- this division is really bad.

3.Denver Broncos- this division is really bad.

4.Oakland Raiders- this division is really bad.

Playoffs

AFC Wildcard

Baltimore Ravens beat Tennessee Titans

Indianapolis Colts beat the Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC Divisional Round

New England Patriots beat Baltimore Ravens

San Diego Chargers beat Indianapolis Colts

AFC Championship

San Diego Chargers beat New England Patriots

NFC Wildcard

Chicago Bears beat Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks

NFC Divisional Round

Green Bay Packers beat Atlanta Falcons

New York Giants beat Chicago Bears

NFC Championship Game

Green Bay Packers beat New York Giants

Super Bowl

Green Bay Packers beat San Diego Chargers

MVP– Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Offensive Player of the Year– Detroit Lions WR
Calvin Johnson

Defensive Player of the Year– Houston Texans DE
Mario Williams

Offensive Rookie of the Year– Cincinnati Bengals
RB- Bernard Scott

Defensive Rookie of the Year– Seattle Seahawks LB-
Aaron Curry

Most Improved Player– Baltimore Ravens QB Joe
Flacco

Coach of the Year– Green Bay Packers Head Coach
Mike McCarthy

Comeback Player of the Year– Cincinnati Bengals WR
Chad Ochocinco