The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints will battle it out tonight in the NFC Championship game rematch at the Superdome. What does this mean? Football is back, baby!
I kinda almost ran out of time to do my full preview so here it is. My last-second preview (literally!).
Who will come out on top of each division:
Outlook: With the additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the offensive side of the ball there's no way Joe Flacco doesn't have a stellar season under center. The only thing holding Baltimore back from making a Super Bowl trip is the devastating injuries to Ed Reed and Domonique Foxworth in the secondary.
Outlook: Many people think the Jets are going to let everyone down, although it's not likely. I mean, the talent is most certainly there and the defense is back to top-tier with the return of shutdown corner Darrelle Revis. Sanchez is only maturing with time and L.T. is anchoring the backfield. Arguably the best defense in the league+a more than capable offense=victories.
Outlook: There's an unwritten rule in the NFL that you can't bet against Peyton Manning, and I don't think it's right to break that rule. Past the Indianapolis Mannings, I believe Houston will make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a wild card berth and Chris Johnson will break 1,800 yards with 15 touchdowns for Tennessee's 9-7 team.
Yes, you read that correctly. Oakland will be a second-place team thanks to the several injuries the Broncos have suffered during training camp/preseason and the sputtering in rebuilding that Kansas City has suffered. Philip Rivers' Chargers, despite not having Vincent Jackson to throw to, will once again take the division crown.
Outlook: It's time for Aaron Rodgers to finally claim his spot among the elite. Rodgers right arm will be the main reason why Green Bay takes the division, but the Packers also have a stellar defense and a great duo of receivers to throw to. Minnesota will take a wild card spot but there's no way Favre and the Vikes are able to repeat last year's performance, especially without Sidney Rice for the first six weeks of play.
Outlook: Could this finally be Romo's year? I think it may be. With the addition of rookie Dez Bryant and last year's resurgent Miles Austin looking as strong as ever, Romo's offense could produce even better results on it's way to a division title. McNabb and Shanahan aren't going to magically turn the Skins around on their own, Eli will fall just short of taking the G-Men back to the playoffs and Kevin Kolb will struggle in his first full season at the helm.
Outlook: Another one of those unwritten rules: it's not a very good idea going against the defending champions...or Drew Brees for that matter. It wont be quite as easy for the Saints this season because everyone will be bringing their A game to New Orleans, but that shouldn't stop them from taking the division away from Atlanta.
Outlook: So many people want to try and say San Francisco will be the breakout team and take the NFC West this season, but they really don't have a definite starting quarterback as of right now. It could be Alex Smith, it could be David Carr, it could be newly signed former Heisman winner Troy Smith. Heck, it could even be former Ball State quarterback Nate Davis, who was cut two days ago but later returned to the team's practice squad. I'll take the veteran Seattle Seahawks, who made some huge improvements via the draft and free agency, to capture the West instead.
Wild Card Round:
Jets defeat Texans
Patriots defeat Chargers
Cowboys defeat Falcons
Vikings defeat Seahawks
Colts defeat Patriots
Jets defeat Ravens
Packers defeat Vikings
Cowboys defeat Saints
Colts defeat Jets
Cowboys defeat Packers
Cowboys defeat Colts
*Tony Romo finally proves he can win, leading Dallas to its first Super Bowl appearance/victory since the 'Boys beat the Steelers in the 1995 Super Bowl.
SB MVP: Miles Austin
Regular season awards:
MVP: Chris Johnson
Offensive POY: Chris Johnson
Defensive POY: Demarcus Ware
Comeback POY: Jay Cutler
Offensive ROY: Dez Bryant
Defensive ROY: Ndamukong Suh
Coach of the Year: Gary Kubiak
Breakout POY(s): Tashard Choice and Felix Jones
Ten BOLD Predictions for the season (in no particular order):
1. This year is finally Favre final season (Lets pray it is).
2. Sam Bradford throws more picks than TDs.
3. Adrian Peterson limits his fumbles and breaks even more tackles than last season.
4. Tim Tebow makes 6-7 starts at quarterback.
5. Mark Sanchez throws 20 touchdown passes...and 15 or less interceptions.
6. Michael Crabtree has a career year in San Fran
7. Big Ben gets sacked 40-plus times despite missing the first four games due to suspension.
8. Michael Turner's numbers continue to decrease in Atlanta.
9. Jake Delhomme revives career in Cleveland.
10. Despite losing starting job to Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs finishes season with double digit TD totals.
Now that you know who is going to win the Super Bowl I guess there's really no point in you watching this season, but enjoy it anyways, 'cause there may not be a 2011.