But what you wanna know is how are the teams gonna finish? Here are our guaranteed, 100% accurate (hah) predictions for how the National Football League will shake out this year.
- AFC EAST – This is the most top-heavy division in football. Despite the Wes Welker defection and an offseason of turmoil, the Patriots are still the class of the East, with the Dolphins a distant second. The Bills and the Jets will reside way, way down in the basement.
- AFC NORTH – Looking for a few dark horse picks? Take the Bengals to win the division, and the Browns to sneak in to a wild card playoff spot. The defending Superbowl champion Ravens are a shell of last year’s team – but could still be frisky enough to challenge for a wild card spot – and the Steelers are in need of a serious rebuild.
- AFC WEST – This is the Broncos’ division to lose (as anyone who saw the NFL opener can see) but the Chiefs have an intriguing mix of talent on defense and, finally, a competent quarterback in Alex Smith. Consider them the favorites for the second wild card spot in the league. Meanwhile, the Chargers and the Raiders could be two of the five worst teams in the league.
- AFC SOUTH – Another easy one to call – the Texans’ talent will bring Houston to another division win. The Colts were the epitome of overachievement last year; Andrew Luck & Co. will be great, but it will take a few more campaigns before they’re at championship level. The Titans and Jaguars are barely worth mentioning.
- NFC EAST – The toughest division in the league to call; you can make a case for every team to win. So why not go a little outside the box? Maybe it really is Tony Romo’s time to shine – so let’s give the Cowboys the division, with a rehabbed RGIII leading the Redskins right behind them. We’re guessing this is one of the Giants’ down years, and it might be a tough transition to the pros for Chip Kelly’s Eagles.
- NFC NORTH – It’s easy to give this division to the Packers, and we’ll take the talented Lions as a sleeper rebound pick right behind them. Adrian Peterson is great, but the rest of the Vikings really aren’t; they’re due for a step back. It’s really hard to pick the Cutler-lead Bears any higher than fourth.
- NFC SOUTH – The Falcons are one of the league’s true contenders, and go ahead and take the Sean Payton-lead Saints to grab the second spot in the division. Cam Newton’s Panthers will wallow in 7-9 or 8-8 mediocrity, and all of those flashy offseason acquisitions won’t bring the Buccaneers any higher in the South.
- NFC WEST – Boy. We’ll take the Seahawks by a hair over the 49ers, thanks to the latter’s lack of WR depth. The improving Rams are a year away, and the Cardinals will get demolished by the rest of this talented division. Poor Larry Fitzgerald.
Oh, and you’re looking for a Superbowl pick? Well … it won’t be the sexiest pick in the world, but how about Cincinnati over Atlanta? Hey, those long-suffering Bengals fans need something to celebrate, don’t they?