The ESPN NFL Power Rankings are finally here. The Packers are at the top, followed by the Patriots, Eagles, Saints and Steelers to round out the Top 5. I'm not too keen on the Chargers at #10, the Giants at #11 and Da Bears at #13, but dat's why they play da game! None of these predictions mean anything once the players line up and start hitting, however, I love saying "I told ya so," so here are my 2011 NFL Season Predictions:
NFC East Division Champs - Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagels made some big moves to improve their secondary this off season and they should be the best team in the NFC East, however, those moves seem to have put a big target on the team. Some have referred to this team as a "Dream Team," however, I wouldn't any of them in Canton, yet. Overconfidence can kills genuine Super Bowl contenders every single year.
NFC North Division Champs - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers did the Lambeau Leap into the land of elite NFL quaterbacks with a victory in Super Bowl XLV. The Pack will be back near the top again this year. The Lions look good on paper, but have already been bit by the injury bug. If Matt Stafford is healthy, they could compete with Chicago for second in the division.
NFC South Divison Champs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 2011 NFC South Division race could be a historic one. In 2010, the Atlanta Falcons won the division and the New Orleans Saints were a wild card team. If it weren't for a bad call during the Bucs/ Lions game last year, the Bucs would have made the playoffs as well. All three teams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders and the division could be won be any on of them, however, I think the Bucs will edge out the Falcons and the Saints, in an air-tight race. Josh Freeman was incredible last year, leading the team down the stretch, winning a number of games with just a few minutes to go. He's a clutch QB. The Bucs are young, hungry and confident. Instead of going after some of the overpriced free agents of the post-NFL Lockout, the Bucs spent their money locking up some of their top talent.
NFC West Divison Champs - Arizona Cardinals
The St. Louis Rams are poplar pick this year, and why not? Sam Bradford played well all year and you'd expect to have him progress and make his team better. The Rams will be a little better, but I think the addition of Kevin Kolb will be huge for the Cardinals.
NFC Wild Cards - Atlanta Falcons & New Orleans Saints
NFC Home Field Advantage - Green Bay Packers
NFC Champion - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
AFC East Division Champs - New England Patriots
Tom Brady and Ocho-Cinco vs any other QB to WR tandem in the league, except maybe, Tom Brady to Wes Welker. Ocho-Cinco will really open things up again for the Patriots air attack. Their running back by committee has worked for a decade and it will work again this year. They also improved the defense with the additions of Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth. Expect the Patriots to make a run at Super Bowl XLVI.
AFC North Division Champs - Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have a ton of talent along with a coach who knows how to handle that talent. The Steel Curtain will have to contend with a tough Baltimore Ravens team as well as a rising Cleveland Browns team. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will put up huge seasons for the Ravens and could even come away with the division title. The Browns could come in a take a couple of victories from either team.
AFC South Division Champs - Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium will host Super Bowl XLVI. Whoever wins the AFC will be the home team during the game. Think the Colts don't know this? Think their going to let the Patriots, or any other team celebrate a Super Bowl Championship on their home turf? I think not. The Colts will take the division, again. Talk about a team that controls it's own destiny, if the Colts win home field advantage, they will be the home team in every post season game, including the Super Bowl.
AFC West Division Champs - Kansas City Chiefs
The Oakland Raiders lost one of the games elite DBs in Nnamdi Asomugha and Philip Rivers can't do it all in San Diego. The Chiefs bring back a ton of offensive weapons and should repeat as AFC West Champs.
AFC Wild Card Teams - Baltimore Ravens & New York Jets
AFC Home Field Advantage - Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC Champion - New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLVI - Tampa Bay Buccaneers over New England Patriots
2011 NFL Awards Predictions
2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year - A.J. Green WR, Cincinnati Bengals
2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year - Da'Quan Bowers DE, Tampa Bay Bucaneers
2011 Offensive Player of the Year - Tom Brady QB, New England Patriots
2011 Defensive Player of the Year - Ndamukong Suh DT, Detroit Lions
2011 NFL MVP - Tom Brady QB, New England Patriots
Labels: New England Patriots, Super Bowl Predictions, Super Bowl XLVI, Tampa Bay Bucs Buccaneers