AFC East: The Jets regressed from Favre to a rookie QB, the Dolphins won't take anyone by surprise this year although they are headed in the right direction and the Bills are still the Bills. The Patriots win this division by default.
AFC North: This will be Brady Quinn's "get used to the league" year, so the Browns will be bad, but at least they're progressing. The Bengals will show the league for another year why no one takes them seriously. The Ravens will be a tough team, as always and if Flacco can build off what he did last year, they'll be a great team once again. However, the defending SB champion Steelers are still the class of the division and should claim the division title.
AFC West: You have to love this division. It was won by the Chargers last year via a tie breaker with the Broncos. Both teams were 8-8. The Chargers should be better this year. LT is healthy, Shawne Merriman is back while the rest of the division has gotten worse. The Broncos traded away their franchise QB for a serviceable starter. The Chiefs haven't changed much except for their coaching staff and QB. The Raiders continued their tradition of wasting high draft picks on "reaches", "projects" and "busts".
AFC South: Don't expect the Titans to repeat as division champs this year. They're a good team, but they will not be 13-3 this year. The loss of Albert Haynesworth is a big one. The Colts are the best team in the division, but its going to be a slug fest for the title. The Texans finally look ready to make a big impact with all of their offensive weapons, while the Jaguars feature one of the most versatile back in the game with Maurice Jones-Drew.
NFC East: I keep reading about how great the Giants are and how they're going to return to the Super Bowl. They stumbled through the second half of the season without Plaxico Burress then got knocked out by the Eagles in the playoffs. Without Burress or Toomer, who is Eli Manning supposed to throw to? The Cowboys will not be a better team without TO. Sorry, but they needed him. The Redskins upgraded their defense in a big way with Albert Haynesworth, but their offense is still boring and they're not going anywhere with Jason Campbell. The Eagles were the hottest team in the league at the end of the season and into the playoffs last year and playoff performances always seem to act as a precursor of things to come in the next year. The Eagles will take the NFC East.
NFC North: Vikings and Lions and Bears, oh my! Oh yeah and the Pack too. The Lions are in for another long season, but it won't be an 0-16 season. The Packers always bore me, but they're dynamic offense and Dom Capers led defense could make a lot of noise this year. This division race will be between two teams, the Vikings and the Bears. The Bears drastically upgraded their QB and the defense is still solid, but the Vikings have the best RB in the game today, the best offensive and defensive lines and now have Brett Favre. Even if Favre is average, it'll be better than what they've had over the last several years.
NFC West: This is the division everyone likes to have on their schedule. The Cardinals, Seahawks, 49ers, and Rams. Ironically enough though, each of these teams have played in the Super Bowl in the last 15 years. So it can't be that soft right? The 49ers are getting better, but very very slowly. Too bad that Alex Smith didn't pan out else they would be there already. The Rams are clearly in a rebuilding phase. The Seahawks are clinging to their 2005 SB team and are slowly getting worse. The Cardinals made it to the SB last year and have a cupcake schedule this year. As long as Warner stays healthy, the Cards will romp through this division.
NFC South: This will be the toughest division to pick. The Saints have the most explosive offense in the game, but still no defense. The Bucs have a HUGE hole at QB although their RB situation is the best its been in a long time. I like the Panthers, but I have serious doubt about Jake Delhomme after watching him meltdown in the playoffs. The best team in the division coming into the year is the Atlanta Falcons. As long as Matt Ryan doesn't suffer from a sophomore slump, they should come out on top in the division.
AFC Playoff Seeding:
NFC Playoffs Seeding:
Wild Card Round:
Chargers over Texans
Ravens over Colts
Eagles over Giants
Bears over Falcons
Patriots over Ravens
Steelers over Chargers
Vikings over Bears
Eagles over Cardinals
Steelers over Patriots
Vikings over Eagles
Super Bowl XLIV:
Steelers over Vikings
Go ahead, call me a homer, but I think the Steelers are one of the more complete teams in the game today. Best defense in the league and one of the best playoff QBs I've ever seen. The Steelers have a great shot at repeating as SB champs and if they do, they'll have as many SB championships as the Patriots in this decade leaving us with, "Who is the team of the decade? The Steelers or the Patriots?" But the people that know football, already know the answer to that question. Hint: It's not the team that got caught cheating.