The Phinsider 2011 NFL Season Predictions

With the NFL season officially starting the day after tomorrow, it's time for me to put up my season preview.  I'm going to break this down by division, then moving to the playoffs.  I'll look at each team and how I think they will do.  I will post the individual award winners later.

To start, here's the NFC East:

New York Giants (11-5)

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

Dallas Cowboys (9-7)

Washington Redskins (5-11)

I think the Giants and the Eagles will battle for the division championship.  It could come down to the final weekend, when the Eagles host the Redskins, and the Giants are hosting the Cowboys.  The Cowboys should be good, but I think the Eagles and Giants are just better.  The Redskins have a chance to completely collapse and finish near the bottom of the league, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

NFC South:

New Orleans Saints (12-4)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)

Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

Carolina Panthers (4-12)

The Saints, the Buccaneers, and the Falcons could all win this division.  I think the Super Bowl hangover the Saints had last year is gone and they head back atop the division.  Second in the division, and a wildcard slot, comes down to the final weekend as the Falcons head south to Tampa - which I think the Bucs win to take the spot away from the Falcons.  The Panthers are just going to be bad.  Though, they won't be nearly as bad as some of the other teams in the league.

NFC North:

Green Bay Packers (11-5)

Chicago Bears (10-6)

Detroit Lions (9-7)

Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

I like all of these teams, and think this could be a dog fight until the end.  The Packers are the most talented of the four franchises, while the Bears are tenacious and won't give up, the Lions are trying to become a factor, and the Vikings are a decent team, with Adrian Peterson to run the ball and now Donovan McNabb behind center.  Will they all be this good, maybe not, but they could.

NFC West:

St. Louis Rams (9-7)

San Francisco (7-9)

Arizona Cardinals (7-9)

Seattle Seahawks (5-11)

I think, once again, this division is anyone's for the taking.  This year, however, someone actually wants it, and a team finishes above .500 for the first time since 2009.  I think the Rams take the division, the 49ers come in second,  and the Cardinals come in third.  Kevin Kolb could change this, if he is actually what everyone seems to think he is, but he's still a "wait-and-see" player. The Seahawks bring up the rear.

AFC West:

San Diego Chargers (11-5)

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)

Oakland Raiders (5-11)

Denver Broncos (4-12)

This is easily San Diego's division to win.  If they stumble, however, the Chiefs could pounce.  Oakland may be getting better, but it's still the Raiders and something will ruin everything for them.  And, I think the Broncos could end up fighting for the first overall pick.

AFC North:

Pittburgh Steelers (10-6)

Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

Cleveland Browns (8-8)

Cincinnati Bengals (2-14)

The Steelers should win the division as they try to return to the Super Bowl this season.  The Ravens are a good team, but I'm not sold on Joe Flacco being the QB to carry this offense, yet.  The Browns are surprisingly good, even if Colt McCoy is only in his second year.  The Bengals, I believe, are going to get the first overall draft pick this year - which should let them find their replacement for Carson Palmer.

AFC South: 

Houston Texans (11-5)

Indianapolis Colts (8-8)

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

Tennessee Titans (3-13)

Congratulations to the Texans who should crash the playoff party for the first time in their franchise history this year, doing it by winning the division.  the Colts fall, especially without Manning at 100% this year.  The Jaguars continue to struggle, but the Titans are the worst team in the division, even with Chris Johnson back - Matt Hasselbeck should give way to Jake Locker at some point during the season.

AFC East:

New England Patriots (11-5)

Miami Dolphins (9-7)

New York Jets (9-7)

Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Like the AFC West for the Chargers, the AFC East is the Patriots' to lose - again.  The New York Jets stumble after two good years, to a mediocre one.  Call it homerism if you would like, but I think the Dolphins could be in the wildcard hunt at the end of the year, beating the Jets in the final game of the season in Miami.  The Bills will bring up the rear, but are getting better.

Playoffs:

NFC:

1 - New Orleans Saints (12-4)

2 - Green Bay Packers (12-4)

3 - New York Giants (11-5)

4 - St. Louis Rams (9-7)

5 - Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

6 - Chicago Bears (10-6)

AFC:

1 - New England Patriots (11-5)

2 - Houston Texans (11-5)

3 - San Diego Chargers (11-5)

4 - Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

5 - Baltimore Ravens (9-7)

6 - Miami Dolphins (9-7)

NFC Championship:

New Orleans Saints defeat New York Giants

AFC Championship:

Houston Texans defeat Pittsburgh Steelers

Super Bowl:

New Orleans Saints defeat Houston Texans

Okay, the playoffs surprised me, and it's my predictions.  I slid Miami in, which is probably 100% a homer pick, but given that I had four 9-7 teams for the two slots, I picked the Dolphins.  No matter who it is, I don't see them defeating the Steelers.  But, the most surprising part is that I have the Texans making the Super Bowl.  A team that had no secondary at all last year, I am predicting to win the AFC.  I don't know what's wrong with me.

As for the NFC side, I could see the Packers or the Eagles making the Championship game as well, but I think the Saints win the NFC again, and ultimately take the Lombardi Trophy back to New Orleans for the second time in three years.

Let's see your predictions below.

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