SAN FRANCISCO 7-9
ST. LOUIS 5-11
NEW ORLEANS 11-5+
TAMPA BAY 3-13
GREEN BAY 12-4*
NY GIANTS 9-7*
NEW ENGLAND 11-5*
NY JETS 10-6+
SAN DIEGO 13-3*
KANSAS CITY 5-11
NFL PLAYOFFS (home team in CAPS)
FIRST ROUND BYE – GREEN BAY, ATLANTA
WILD CARD ROUND
New Orleans over SEATTLE
Green Bay over NEW YORK GIANTS
GREEN BAY over New Orleans
Minnesota over ATLANTA
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Minnesota over GREEN BAY (OT)
BYE – BALTIMORE, SAN DIEGO
WILD CARD ROUND
NY Jets over INDIANAPOLIS
SAN DIEGO over Cincinnati
BALTIMORE over NY Jets
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
BALTIMORE over San Diego (OT)
SUPER BOWL XLV (45) Dallas, TX
MINNESOTA over Baltimore (OT)
*Division Champion, +Wild Card
MINNESOTA VIKINGS +5 @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (O/U 48.5 pts) FINAL: 14-9, SAINTS
What a kickoff to the new season. A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game won, of course, by the Saints in overtime. Statistically speaking, the Vikings outplayed the Saints. The difference, five turnovers by the Vikings including two fumbles by Adrian Petersen and two interceptions by Brett Favre. Otherwise, it’s the Vikings who go to the Super Bowl to take on the Colts.
This game isn’t for all the marbles. Win or lose, both teams play next week, and it’s just the first game of the season between two teams that figure to be in the Super Sweepstakes this season. It’s going to be a close game. But, since the game’s in the Big Easy with the Saints hoisting their Super Bowl banner to the SuperDome rafters, that’ll be hard for Favre and the Vikings to overcome who are nursing injuries at the wide receiver position. Drew Brees and the Saints, healthy and ready to go, will continue last year’s celebration by putting a show on for the home folks. SAINTS
MIAMI DOLPHINS -3 @ BUFFALO BILLS (O/U 39 pts)
Dolphins added WR Brandon Marshall giving QB Chad Henne a new toy. The Wildcat’s back with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown working one of the league’s best ground games. Both ran for over a thousand yards last season. First Miami thousand yard tandem since Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris both topped a grand on the ground for the undefeated 1972 Super Bowl champions. The Bills. New retread coach Chan Gailey. Rookie running back C.J. Spiller. QB Trent Edwards. It’s going to be a long season in Buffalo. DOLPHINS
DETROIT LIONS +6.5 @ CHICAGO BEARS (O/U 44.5 pts)
Mike Martz, the architect of the “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams, joins DA BEARS as the offensive coordinator because QB Jay Cutler was, well………offensive last season. Bears also added former Vikings running back Chester Taylor to team up with Matt Forte. On defense, Julius Peppers was signed to add some bite to the “D”. Meanwhile, the Lions are young and getting much better. QB Matthew Stafford was solid in his rookie campaign. He’ll throw to Calvin Johnson and newcomer Nate Burleson. Rookie running back Jahvid Best should keep defenses off Stafford. And speaking of defense, the Lions took Nebraska tackle Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick. Reminds me of the Cowboys of the 1990s drafting Troy Aikman, Emmett Smith, Michael Irvin and some huge defenders. They won three Super Bowls in four years. Watch out for Detroit in the next few years. Just not today. BEARS
OAKLAND RAIDERS +6.5 @ TENNESSEE TITANS (O/U 40.5 pts)
Titans started last season 0-6. Replaced Kerry Collins with Vince Young at QB who won five straight but it was too little, too late. Teamed with running back superb Chris Johnson and that always solid Tennessee defense, you can bet the Titans won’t start the season “six-feet under”. Here’s a question. How is Tom Cable, laughed out of Moscow after coaching the University of Idaho into a hole, still the head coach of the Raiders? Maybe he wasn’t a good recruiter. The Raiders are tough on defense and finally have a quarterback that can drive the bus. Jason Campbell was brought in from Washington after the Redskins acquired Donovan McNabb. Campbell’s a huge improvement over former top overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell who couldn’t find a gig with a pee-wee team if he asked. Campbell’s in his fifth season and working under his fifth offensive coordinator. He’ll be fine. He’s got a ground game to work with in Michael Bush and Darren McFadden and the Raiders have some “D”. TITANS
CINCINNATI BENGALS +4.5 @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (O/U 45.5 pts)
LEGGO MY EGO!!!! Plenty of them to go around in this one. Chad Ocho-Cinco and Terrell Owens catching passes via Carson Palmer for the Bengals. Randy “Feeling Under-Appreciated” Moss catching bombs from new gazillionaire (and father) Tom Brady! I GOTTA SEE THIS ONE!! What’s the over/under?……..45.5. OH, TAKE THE OVER!!! PATRIOTS in a close one.
CAROLINA PANTHERS +6 @ NEW YORK GIANTS (O/U 40 pts)
Giants open the brand new, $1.6 billion stadium they co-own with the Jets on the weekend of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Both teams finished 8-8 last season with the Panthers closing out old Giants Stadium with a 41-9 rout of the G-Men. A little payback for Eli Manning and the G-Men. Former UCLA/Oregon St. QB Matt Moore starting for the Panthers. No Julius Peppers on defense for the cats. GIANTS.
ATLANTA FALCONS -1.5 @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS (O/U 38.5 pts)
The Falcons are my “sleeper team” from the NFC for the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan at QB. Michael Turner at running back. Wr Roddy White. Tony Gonzalez at Tight End. A mean defense. Year three of the “Ryan Regime”….could be. Just Sayin’! Meanwhile, the Steelers will be without QB Ben Roethlisberger serving a four-game suspension for acting inappropriate with a young lady at a night club. I’ve worked in night clubs….WHAT DO YOU EXPECT!!! Anyway, Dennis Dixon will drive the Steelers until “Big (that’s what the ladies say) Ben” returns for week five. Steelers’ D is always tough, but getting older. FALCONS
CLEVELAND BROWNS +2.5 @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (O/U 37.5 pts)
If this game ISN’T blacked-out in the Tampa area, much respect to the folks on the Gulf side of Florida. Well….considering the BP mess in the Gulf, I would rather see a bad football game than go swimming. Jake Delhomme the new target at QB for the Browns. Josh Freeman had a solid rookie season calling signals for the Bucs. BUCCANEERS.
DENVER BRONCOS +3 @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (O/U 40.5 pts)
If not for an impending lockout and likely cancellation of the 2011 NFL season, this could be the Los Angeles Jaguars (Dons?) opener at the L.A. Coliseum while the new L.A. Stadium is being built in the City of Industry. No one’s moving or paying until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed, sealed and delivered. No worries. This game’s as good as the Cleveland/Tampa Bay tilt. JAGUARS
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS -2 @ HOUSTON TEXANS (O/U 47.5 pts)
It’s been seven months since the Colts lost the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning and his team have set their sights on playing in Dallas in February. The Houston Texans just want a win against their AFC South rivals. The Colts have won 15 of 16 games against the Texans. Houston knows it needs to beat Indianapolis if it wants to make the playoffs as a division champion or wild card. Texans QB Matt Schaub throws to, arguably, the league’s best receiver in Andre Johnson. That duo better work because Houston can’t run worth…..you know. If Schaub has issues, the Texans signed Matt Leinart who was cut last week by Arizona. Leinart can play and he wants to prove the Cards dealt him a bad beat. On defense, Mario Williams is a beast. But, he can’t do everything. LB Brian Cushing is serving a four-game suspension for testing positive with the dreaded HGH’s . Colts have a healthy Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney on defense. COLTS
ARIZONA CARDINALS -3.5 @ ST. LOUIS RAMS (O/U 39 pts)
The Rams are living by the late George Allen’s creedo…THE FUTURE IS NOW! Especially since you won just one game last season and you’ve guaranteed a kid $50 million smackaroos. Rookie Sam Bradford, the top overall 2010 draft pick, will start at quarterback for the Rams. He looked like a seasoned veteran in the pre-season…..but that’s exactly what it was. Bradford resembles another pretty good Rams signal-caller, Roman Gabriel. If he plays as well as Gabriel, it should be interesting. Bradford can remove some pressure by handing off to, who I think is the best running back in the league, Steven Jackson. Rams have a rebuilding offensive line, yet Jackson rushed for 1,416 yards last season and went to the pro bowl. As for the Cardinals, does that say Derek Anderson is your starting quarterback? COME ON, MAN! Anderson was terrible in Cleveland and beat out Matt Leinart who was cut last week. He’s fortunate to have Larry Fitzgerald catching passes. He can also hand off to Beenie Wells and Tim Hightower. Just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, I think the Cards are folding. Bradford and the Rams will be jacked up. RAMS
GREEN BAY PACKERS -3 @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (O/U 47.5 pts)
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is quickly making cheese-heads forget legend Brett Favre, who now plays for division rival Minnesota. The Packers are loaded. Eagles QB Kevin Kolb will try to make Eagle fans forget Donovan McNabb, who now plays for division rival Washington. Kolb’s got WR DeSean Jackson to throw to. Let’s just say I feel bad for Kolb….especially when the Redskins come to the City of Brotherly Love. PACKERS
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -3 @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (O/U 37 pts)
49ers coach Mike Singletary has his team playing “All day, Baby! He likes that kinda party! (see NFL films)”. San Francisco’s the “sexy pick” to win the NFC West. Former top draft pick Alex Smith is finally dialed in a quarterback. LB Patrick Willits is playing “prime” Ray Lewis-esque. The Seahawks are reloading under former USC coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks still have some players from the Super Bowl 40 runners-up led by 35 year-old QB Matt Hasselbeck. He’s not done and there’s no pressure….just yet. The 12th man helps in Carroll’s coaching debut. SEAHAWKS
DALLAS COWBOYS -3 @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS (39.5 pts)
Everyone’s on the NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl bandwagon. Not me. Plenty of talent. But an average quarterback. Yeah! I still believe Tony Romo’s the most over-rated QB in league history. When he’s flustered, he can’t deliver. Stats are nice, but when you can’t finish in “winning time” (see Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman) you’re no better than Quincy Carter. Including last year’s champion Saints, teams have gone from worst to first the last seven seasons. If there’s a team to make it eight straight, it’s the Redskins. Give me coach Mike Shanahan with a proven winner at QB, Donovan McNabb, a solid running game and a top-10 defense, Albert Haynesworth or no Albert Haynesworth, and I’ll take the Redskins. Don’t think they’ll win the division, but they’ll win this one. REDSKINS
BALTIMORE RAVENS +2 @ NEW YORK JETS (O/U 36 pts)
Let’s see. The Ravens have a talented, young QB in Joe Flacco. A bruising running game with Ray Rice and Le’ Ron McClain, a bevvy of wide receivers including Anquon Bouldin and T.J. “who’s your daddy” Houshmanzadeh, and a perennial monster-defense led by Ray Lewis. The Jets have a bunch of former Ravens including head coach Rex Ryan, the league’s top defense, anchored by the just signed Derelle Revis “Island” and a running game that includes former Charger LaDanian Tomlinson and a young stud quarterback in Mark Sanchez. THIS SHOULD BE GOOD! It’s at the new New York/New Jersey Stadium the Jets co-own with the Giants. Talk about “Hard Knocks” (see HBO). The Ravens are my AFC Super Bowl pick. They’ll win a low-scoring, close dog-fight. Take the under. RAVENS.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS -4.5 @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (O/U 45.5 pts)
Ex Notre Dame coach Charlie Weiss and ex Browns coach Romeo Crenell have joined the KC coaching staff making the Chiefs a “sexy pick” to dethrone the Chargers as AFC West Champs. Uh…..yeah…NO!! It’s New England Patriots “MidWest” in KC but it won’t change anything just yet. San Diego let franchise legend LaDanian Tomlinson go. He of course signed with the Jets. The Bolts replaced him with “LT carbon-copy”, rookie Ryan Matthews out of Fresno State. This guy’s the real deal. He’ll give QB Phillip Rivers time to find receivers down field. Still too much fire-power on offense and superior defenders anchored by LB Shawn Merriman for San Diego. Chargers seem to start seasons poorly and gain steam after about six games. This season, San Diego starts strong and doesn’t let up until a January date in Baltimore. CHARGERS
BYE WEEK – LOS ANGELES (15 seasons, one week)
Ugh. For explanation, see Denver-Jacksonville game synopsis. Also, Stan Kroenke, a member of the committee to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles, is now the new owner of the St. Louis Rams who don’t have much loyalty in the Gateway City and need new digs to play in. Haven’t I heard this story before. Could it be….is it possible….yeah, it’s possible. But that damn CBA is a thorn in my side! Luckily, the Rams can opt out of their lease in the STL in 2014. By then, a new stadium in the City of Industry could be ready for a 50th anniversary party (Rams were in L.A. 49 years before (gulp) Georgia moved them to St. Louis). Stay tuned.
I think you are way low with the Eagles..I will bet you they win more than 3 this season.
I agree on the Eagles. Probably four to five more wins. I based it on them “re-organizing” the entire team. I’m sure the wins and losses for every team are going to be different. Example, I’m pretty sure the Ravens won’t win 14 games. I went to each game and picked a winner making sure it all worked out on each teams schedule.
BTW, I like Kolb at QB for Philly. I think he’s better than Romo.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the season!