Hey everyone - long time, no talk! As many of you probably can guess, I've been keeping busy with my new job and haven't had much time to sit down and write. Of course, I have been keeping active on Twitter (@TheMattyI). But I did want to make sure I had a few moments to post my annual season predictions.
Though I didn't fare too well last year in terms of picking the playoff teams (only hit on 6 of the 12), I did nail down the Super Bowl Champions and was very close to hitting on both Super Bowl teams (I had Packers beating Ravens). So I'm hoping to do a little better this season.
AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South: Houston Texans
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Wildcard: Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins
Just Missed: NY Jets, Oakland Raiders
-I'll be honest. I originally had the Colts as the final Wildcard team. But Peyton Manning's neck is obviously a major issue and nobody knows when (or even if) he'll take the field in 2011. So I've moved the Dolphins up into that slot. I see a 9-7 (maybe 10-6 if they get some breaks) season for Miami. And for the first time in a while, I think 9 wins gets an AFC team into the playoffs, albeit through tiebreakers. But at the same time, I could see the Dolphins falling apart and finishing below .500. I believe that splitting the first four games is imperative for this Dolphins team.
-Putting a lot of faith in the Texans. But I see the AFC South as a very weak division this year and Houston should be better defensively. Still, it's going to be their offense that wins.
-The Raiders? Yes, the Raiders. I like their defense - even without Nnamdi. I love their running attack. Jason Campbell scares me. But if he can just not lose any games, then Oakland could surprise and make a playoff push.
-With a lockout shortened offseason, I think we're going to see a lit of the "same old teams" contending in the AFC because they are veteran laden and are not installing new offenses or defenses - teams like the Pats, Steelers, Ravens, and Chargers. All also have quarterbacks with playoff wins under their belts - another key factor.
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals
Wildcard: Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams
Just Missed: Tampa Bay Bucs, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions
-Why is everyone so high on the Lions? Yes, they're going to be better. They're going to be competitive. But they're still an offseason away from making a real playoff push. I see 8-8 as a good stepping stone for them this year.
-I'm probably higher on the Rams than most. But I really think Sam Bradford takes a big leap in year two and I trust Steve Spagnuolo to continue to improve that defense.
-I have the Eagles winning the East. But I'm not going crazy over them like some. They have holes. Their offensive line is a huge question mark. Will they be able to keep Mike Vick healthy? I'm guessing no. I don't like Philly's front seven, either. This isn't the "Dream Team" some are making them out to be.
-I just have this feeling that the Bears are going to be a train wreck this year. Their run to the NFC title game a year ago was a fluke. This year they come back down to earth.
-The Cowboys are going to score a lot of points. But they're going to give up a lot of points, too - which is why I see them no better than 8-8.
AFC Championship: Chargers defeat Steelers
NFC Championship: Saints defeat Packers
Super Bowl: Chargers defeat Saints
2011 Season Awards
MVP: Philip Rivers
Offensive Player of the Year: Philip Rivers
Defensive Player of the Year: DeMarcus Ware
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Julio Jones
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Von Miller
Coach of the Year: Steve Spagnuolo
I found it interesting that Mosul and I have 10 of the same playoff teams in our predictions. But we only have one team in both of our championship games - the Saints. What does that mean? Not much. If anything, we just put the kiss of death on New Orleans.
We also both have Philip Rivers as our MVP - which means anyone with him on their fantasy teams should probably trade him before he gets ruined somehow.
Thanks, everyone, for reading. I do look forward to reading your comments. And remember, if you are on Twitter, follow and tweet at me @TheMattyI.
Here's to a great NFL season!!