HEADS-UP: First Annual PnP NFL Picks

By Justin Cherot

We’re an hour and a half away from the dawn of a new NFL season.  Colin is chomping at the bit for the start of the NHL season, and I can’t wait for basketball to tip-off, but until then, the NFL is here to satisfy our palette.

Anyway, before I get into my disagreements with Colin on his otherwise wonderful 32 sentence preview, here’s some quick projected records.  By the way, to avoid the inevitable “your wins and losses don’t add up, idiot” comments, let me preface the records by saying two things:

1) I have a life outside of PnP, believe it or not, that doesn’t revolve around cross-checking schedules, especially when the first two weeks will render any preconceived notions of how this season will turn out irrelevant.

2) I’ll use the “+/- two” formula to hopefully shut you guys up (Colin, if you’re reading this I suggest you do the same thing).

Away I go.

NFC

East

Philadelphia Eagles: 11-5

Sorry, Brett: Aaron Rodgers will get the last laugh in Green Bay.  Photo courtesy Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

Sorry, Brett: Aaron Rodgers will get the last laugh in Green Bay. Photo courtesy Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

New York Giants: 10-6

Washington Redskins: 9-7

Dallas Cowboys: 7-9

North

Green Bay Packers: 12-4

Minnesota Vikings: 10-6

Chicago Bears: 7-9

Detroit Lions: 5-11

NFC South

New Orleans Saints: 10-6

Atlanta Falcons: 9-7

Carolina Panthers: 6-10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-12

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers: 9-7

Arizona Cardinals: 9-7

Seattle Seahawks: 8-8

St. Louis Rams: 3-13

Playoff Teams

Green Bay (home field), Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Minnesota (wildcard), New York (wildcard)

Conference Championship

Don't let the smile fool you: Tom Brady will eat the NFL alive this season.  Photo courtesy Babble.com.

Don't let the smile fool you: Tom Brady will eat the NFL alive this season. Photo courtesy Babble.com.

Green Bay over Philadelphia

AFC

East

New England Patriots: 13-3

New York Jets: 9-7

Buffalo Bills: 7-9

Miami Dolphins: 5-11

North

Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5

Baltimore Ravens: 10-6

Cincinnati Bengals:  7-9

Cleveland Browns: 4-12

AFC  South

Indianapolis Colts: 12-4

Houston Texans: 9-7

Tennessee Titans: 8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10

AFC West

San Diego Chargers: 12-4

Oakland Raiders: 7-9

Kansas City Chiefs: 5-11

Denver Broncos: 4-12

Playoff Teams

New England (home field), San Diego, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore (wild card), Houston (wild card via tiebreaker)

Conference Championship

New England over Baltimore

Super Bowl

New England over Green Bay

MVP: Tom Brady, QB

Offensive POY: Brady

Defensive POY: Ed Reed, S

Offensive ROY: Mark Sanchez, QB

Defensive ROY: Aaron Curry, LB

Coach of the Year: Mike Singletary, 49ers

Comments:

I can feel the “stick to basketball” hate mail coming, but that’s cool because that would confirm that we actually have an audience.

I don’t know why more people aren’t hopping on the Packers bandwagon.  The defense struggled with injuries last year, but supposedly they’re ready to go.  If the defense can hold serve–and I’m pretty sure they’ll do more than just that–there’s no stopping Aaron Rodgers and their dynamic offense.

I don’t have too many head-turning surprise teams this season.  Maybe I’m being conservative but that’s just the way I see it.  I guess the Jets finishing with the same record would be a shock to some people with turnover both on the field and on the sidelines, but the shock value goes down when they don’t figure to be a playoff team anyway (damn that tiebreaker system).  I do have the 49ers winning a mediocre NFC West, but all that means is that they’ll win two more games than they did last year.  And, as usual, I don’t buck trends: Arizona, as much as I love playing with them in Madden, will be just another team that misses the playoffs following a Super Bowl appearance.

And yes, speaking of the Super Bowl, it’s New England all day everyday.  The last thing the NFL needed was for Tom Brady to come into the season with a chip on his shoulder.  Granted, most people expect him to be about the same Brady as when he left due to the magic of surgery, but Madden ’10 docked him two rating points, downgrading him to a mortal 97… meaning that Peyton Manning has surpassed him during his absence.  If he takes it anywhere near as personally as T.J. Houshmandzadeh, then Brady might toss 64 TDs this year. No hyperbole.

And, if you don’t buy the whole “shoulder chip cliche” thing, I just didn’t want to pick Adrian Peterson.

by Colin Donohue

All right. I’m finally back home and off work for the evening, so I can tackle this whole predictions business. (It’s it interesting that, even though NFL is apparently the national passion, both Justin and I are looking forward to the starts of other professional sports seasons? He’s waiting for the NBA, which excites me, as well, because I’m a Wizards fan, and I’m interested to see how they do. And I’m waiting for the NHL, a league I’ve fallen even harder for in the past couple of seasons because of its unparalleled combination of finesse and power.)

So, if you read my 32 sentences preview, which Justin linked to above, or any of my divisional previews, then you can probably get a sense of how I think the chips will fall this season. I’m going to predict the winners, as Justin did, and attempt to pull a record out of thin air. I’m not so good at the record picking thing because I don’t even know where to begin. And, to be truthful, I’m not going to look at every team’s schedule and attempt to predict wins and losses line by line. That doesn’t really interest me.

(And yes, I also know that I’m posting this as the Titans and Steelers are engaged in a 7-7 third-quarter tie. But no worries. I won’t be affected by how this game is looking. I’m making the picks honestly. And I know that’s important to you all because you place your bets based on the information Justin and I give you.)

So here we go. And please reference points No. 1 and 2 that Justin made above about figuring records. It adheres to my picks, as well.

NFC

East

Eli Manning should lead the Giants to another NFC East title.

Eli Manning should lead the Giants to another NFC East title.

New York Giants: 10-6

Washington Redskins: 9-7

Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8

Dallas Cowboys: 7-9

North

Chicago Bears: 11-5

Minnesota Vikings: 11-5

Green Bay Packers: 9-7

Detroit Lions: 3-13

South

Atlanta Falcons: 11-5

New Orleans Saints: 9-7

Carolina Panthers: 7-9

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-12

West

Arizona Cardinals: 9-7

Seattle Seahawks: 8-8

San Francisco 49ers: 7-9

St. Louis Rams: 4-12

Playoff Teams:

New York Giants, Chicago Bears (home field), Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins (wildcard), Minnesota Vikings (wildcard)

Conference Championship

Minnesota Vikings over Atlanta Falcons

AFC

East

New England Patriots: 12-4

Miami Dolphins: 8-8

Buffalo Bills: 6-10

New York Jets: 5-11

North

Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4

Baltimore Ravens: 11-5

Cincinnati Bengals: 8-8

Cleveland Browns: 4-12

South

Chris Johnson should help spur the Titans offense.

Chris Johnson should help spur the Titans offense.

Tennessee Titans: 12-4

Indianapolis Colts: 11-5

Houston Texans: 8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-11

West

San Diego Chargers: 10-6

Kansas City Chiefs: 7-9

Denver Broncos: 6-10

Oakland Raiders: 3-13

Playoff teams

New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers (home field), Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens (wildcard), Indianapolis Colts (wildcard)

Conference Championship

Pittsburgh over New England

Super Bowl

Minnesota over Pittsburgh

MVP: Adrian Peterson, RB

Offensive POY: Peterson

Defensive POY: Ed Reed, S

Offensive ROY: Beanie Wells, RB

Defensive ROY: Brian Orakpo, DE/LB

Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh

Comments:

Because I’ve exhausted my NFL previews to this point, I won’t go into great detail here. But there are five points I want to make.

  1. There’s always buzz surrounding the NFC East, and it usually centers on the Cowboys and Eagles first (inexplicably) and the Giants and Skins last. I think the Skins are a better team than people are giving them credit for. In fact, most pundits, when they discuss the NFC East, make mention of the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants only, as if the Skins don’t exist. The Skins are a wild card team, in my mind. I also think the Cowboys are overrated. But my real beef is with the pundit love for the Eagles. Philadelphia has not been a team of consequence for the last four years or so, and it’s because Donovan McNabb, while still good, is not as effective a QB as he once was. Brian Westbrook breaks down more and more every season, and they still have no legit WR. The defense could still potentially be strong, but this team is overhyped year in and year out.
  2. I liked the Vikings before QB Brett Favre. But Favre WITH Adrian Peterson makes the Vikings offense as scary as their defense. I think they’re the real deal.
  3. The Patriots should reassert their AFC East dominance and play well, but I’m concerned with the defense.  I don’t think it’s particularly strong or intimidating, and the unit can be beaten and exploited. The offense should still be explosive, though.
  4. I’m not a huge believer in the Titans, but I think they’re good enough defensively to take their division. I also think the Colts are on the decline, so it’s really a division for the Titans’ taking. Eventually, though, Tennessee will have to find a long-term solution at quarterback. Vince Young is too damn crazy to be considered a legitimate NFL QB.
  5. Why are all the teams out West kind of average at best? Look at the NFC West and AFC West and tell me if there’s one team among those eight that really, truly scares you. There’s not a single contender out there. It’s the NFL’s version of Siberia. They should all just go 8-8.
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