My NFL Picks for 2011
It’s the year of Michael Vick, but will he play like a dog now that he’s making huge bucks?(If Vick can stay out of trouble, both the Eagles and the entire canine race can take a deep breath.)
Will Carson Palmer sit at home all season-long, watching the Bengals go 3-13? (No, I think he will be traded to some team whose quarterback gets beheaded around Week #3)
Will Plaxico Burress, Braylon Edwards, and Chad Ochocinco have good seasons, despite changing surroundings? (Yes, yes and yes. Burress is still an elite athlete; Edwards has a heart of steel and will make 49ers QB Alex Smith look good; and Ochocinco will hook up with QB Tom Brady all day long, if he’ll leave his ego at the door.)
West: St. Louis Rams: A young, smart, well-coached team will make the playoffs. Sam Bradford is one year better and their much-improved defense will keep them in almost every game.
East: Philadelphia Eagles: With Vick comfortable at the helm, this team will score at will and stop their opponents just enough to win a series of games with scores like 42-38.
South: Atlanta Falcons: Deeper and better than they were last season. A more experienced Matt Ryan at QB with better receivers will equal a deep run into the playoffs.
North: Green Bay Packers: They won’t get complacent after winning it all last year. Aaron Rodgers will make everyone forget Brett Who? Unless they already have.
Wild Card: New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees will have a monster year, but they’ll run into the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs and their season will end down on Bourbon Street.
New York Giants: The younger (uninjured) Manning will shine, and this team will slide into the sixth spot for the playoffs, but the Big Apple will shrink somewhere along the run to the Bowl.
West: San Diego Chargers: Will they finally realize their full potential? Charger fans are tired of a winning team losing big games.
East: New England Patriots: Will the Brady-to-Ochocinco experiment really work? Yes. Will the Pats return to the Big One? Yes. They’re just too well-coached and deep on both sides of the ball. (Even though I hate them!)
North: Pittsburgh Steelers: The only question with the Iron Curtain might be, can their o-line protect Big Ben? Otherwise, this team is loaded and they always find ways to win crucial games.
South: Houston Texans: This team will finally have a big year. They’ve lacked a great defense, but now they’re looking strong. The offense is explosive and the Texans will average 30-plus points per game this season.
Wild Card: New York Jets: Sanchez will be nasty this year, but I don’t think they’ll be as good as they were last season. They won’t be able to get past the Patriots or the Chargers, I believe.
Baltimore Ravens: A great defense with an improving offense. Watch Boldin get bolder and Rice start stuffing it into the end zone on a more regular basis.
Super Bowl: Atlanta Falcon 34
New England Patriots 24