Pro Football is back tonight, as you probably know, and as i like to do every year i’m offering up my predictions for the 2006 season. Last year i picked 7 of the 12 playoff teams (nothing to write home about), and my super bowl pick of the Patriots over the Panthers wasn’t really close.
This year I’m back for more punishment. If football does nothing for you, you might want to skip this altogether as it will be as brutal as watching Connie Chung serenade her husband Maury Povich on National TV. If you like football, however, than you might find this as enjoyable as the OK Go Treadmill video. (And for those of you that are really, really, bored, you can watch some dude named Noah grow up one day at a time. He has taken a photo of himself every day for 6 years and they all flash before your eyes in about 6 minutes. freaky, interesting, dumb, and cool all at the same time.)
Also, i thought this would be a good time to remind you that last year i had a perfect season in my NFL Suicide Pool. That has nothing to do with these predictions, but it makes me look smart.
NFC EAST – i wouldn’t be surprised if all 4 teams finished with a 3-3 record in their division. I’d take New York if their schedule wasn’t so tough. Dallas will go 11-5 and earn the NFC #1 seed.
NFC South – I think this division could play tougher than the NFC East. Carolina, everyone’s favorite pick for the Super Bowl, will win this division with an 11-5 record. (but Atlanta is nipping at their heels).
NFC North – From best to worst, this division is putrid. Chicago’s lack of offense catches up with them but they still win the division with a 9-7 record.
NFC West – Seattle will struggle at times this year, but the division is too weak for them not to win it. 11-5 will earn them the #2 seed in the NFC.
NFC Wildcards – I think Atlanta will be better than everyone thinks and finish 10-6. The Giants will finish 9-7 and make it to the playoffs on tiebreakers.
NFC Playoff Seeds: 1-DAL, 2-SEA, 3-CAR, 4-CHI, 5-ATL, 6-NYG
AFC East – Miami improves, but not enough. While Nick Saban might be approaching Bill Belicheck’s level, Daunte Culpepper is no Tom Brady. If winning quarterbacks were planets, Daunte Culpepper is Pluto. New England finishes at 12-4 with the league’s best record.
AFC South – I’m not in love with Jacksonville like the rest of the sports world. I also think the Colts will take a step back. Indy still takes the division though, with an 11-5 record.
AFC North – I dislocated my finger so bad last year sliding headfirst in softball that it broke through the skin and left a 1-inch long gash. this season i was afraid to slide at all…until i started playing. i had vowed to go feet-first, but that first close play at second base happened, and i did what came naturally. i dove head first. Carson Palmer won’t be worrying about his knee this season, he’ll be shredding defenses. Cincy goes 11-5 and wins the division.
AFC West – Denver is the pick here by default. They’ll finish 11-5. Oakland will be pitiful. Either the Raiders, the Jets, or the Packers will have Brady Quinn under center next year.
AFC Wildcards – The defending champs will enter the playoffs like they did last year, from the wildcard spot. Maybe they like it better that way? I’m torn between picking the Chargers and the Dolphins for that last playoff spot…i think I’ll hitch my horse to LT and Martyball in San Diego.
AFC Playoff Seeds: 1-NE, 2-CIN, 3-IND, 4-DEN, 5-PIT, 6-SD
THE PLAYOFFS – NFC
ATL @ CHI – Vick did it to the Pack at Lambeau, why not here as well. ATL.
NYG @ CAR – Eli tries to win his first playoff game. Maybe next year. CAR.
CAR @ SEA – Holmgren and Co. get the job done. SEA.
ATL @ DAL – Pass rush creates 4 turnovers, Dunn rushes for 150 yds. Upset City. ATL
ATL @ SEA – Falcons run ends as Shaun Alexander rushes for 4 TDs. SEA.
THE PLAYOFFS – AFC
PIT @ DEN – Can Pittsburgh win a playoff game in Denver 2 years straight? You bet. PIT.
SD @ IND – Can both lower AFC seeds win on the road? You bet. SD.
PIT @ CIN – Kimo Von Oelhoffen is a Jet now, Carson’s patellas are safe. Bengals win. CIN.
PIT @ NE – Tom Brady would not lose this game. NE.
CIN @ NE – Tom Brady would not lose this game either. But maybe Carson Palmer decides to elevate his game to a Brady-like level. Marv Lewis get his boys to gut out a tough 23-17 win in Foxboro. CIN.
THE SUPER BOWL
Cincinnati and Seattle head to Miami. Typical storylines. Seattle’s been there before. Carson Palmer is the new Big Ben, ready to emerge. Chad Johnson is the brash WR, plotting his Super Bowl touchdown celebration. Rudi Johnson is the most underrated RB in football. Noone is giving Seattle any respect.
In the end, Palmer does his thing, the Bengal defense does their part, and the Cincinnati Bengals win 31-20 to become the 2006/2007 NFL Super Bowl Champions.
(Many apologies to Geof and any other Bengals fans who feel that I’ve just sabotaged their season)
Let the games begin.