|Ravens Super Bowl XLVII Pano Photo Mint|
Alas, the long wait is over! Long gone are the mind-numbing preseason matches played between backups desperate for a job, gone are the boring reports of which undrafted free agent signee is having a strong training camp. Finally, all the NFL talk is finally set to end and we can actually enjoy professional football once again. With the many burning questions for each NFL team to be answered in the coming days as week 1 begins, here is a full prediction of which teams will be the winners of their division and among the contenders for Super Bowl XLVIII:
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens – Although there was a mass exodus of players, including Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens are still the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Joe Flacco proved his worth last year during the NFL Playoffs with some incredible throws, and he has the tools to lead this team back to the playoffs. Meanwhile Ray Rice is a tremendous running back. Their division is always highly competitive, but I feel that the Ravens should rise to the top.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers – While the other three teams did get better in the off-season, this division has been owned by the Packers for as long as I can remember. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league, and with him at the helm, the Packers will always be favored to win this division.
AFC South: Houston Texans – On paper a Super Bowl favorite, the Texans have playmakers all over the field. Matt Schaub has a great arm, while Arian Foster and Andre Johnson will collect scores of touchdowns. The only thing standing in their way is winning in the clutch, and this team has yet to do so, falling short in the last few playoffs.
NFC South: New Orleans Saints – Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have been contenders but I see them losing steam this year. Meanwhile, the Saints have head coach Sean Payton back while Drew Brees is entering his final years as a star player. Something tells me that the Saints will be a major NFC force this season.
AFC East – New England Patriots – Forget about the scandals, forget about Tim Tebow. This team is about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and the pair have won nearly every division crown since 2000. With their rivals scrambling for healthy and manageable qb’s, the Patriots could win even by default.
NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles – Probably the most competitive division in which each team has a legitimate shot at winning, I put my money on Michael Vick and the new high-speed Chip Kelly offense. I feel that Vick is always an intriguing prospect to win a game, and that his new coach will get the best out of him. Playmakers LaSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson will ensure that the Eagles outscore their opponents, though this division is totally up for grabs!
AFC West – Denver Broncos – Pretty much a given, Peyton Manning is entering his final years and team VP John Elway has assembled the squad necessary for them to get another NFL Championship. After snatching away Wes Welker from the Patriots, I fully expect the Broncos to win the AFC and likely the Super Bowl as well, sending the elder Manning off into his retirement in style!
NFC West – Arizona Cardinals – That’s right, the Cardinals are about to snatch this division. The 49ers will experience the typical hangover that follows Super Bowl losers while I just don’t think that the Seahawks are as good as everyone thinks. Enter the Cardinals. With veteran quarterback Carson Palmer linking up with Larry Fitzgerald, and with rookie defensive playmaker Tyrann Mathieu about to become the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year, expect the Cardinals to do the unexpected!
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