LBS’ 2010 NFC Predictions
On Friday, we brought you our predictions for how the AFC will shake up throughout the 2010 season. We gave you our picks to win the division, make the playoffs, and reach the Super Bowl. Today, we bring you the same for the NFC, plus our 2010 Super Bowl champion and individual award winners. Let’s get right to it.
1. Dallas Cowboys: LB says he doesn’t buy the hype. I’m all in, baby. Tony Romo is underrated in my opinion and has caught a lot of flack for not being able to win big games. That may be true, but with an improved receiving corps and the chemistry he’s built up with Miles Austin, this will be Romo’s year. It also helps that their secondary and defensive line are among the best in the NFC.
2. New York Giants: The G-Men don’t quite have the defense they used to, but Eli Manning will continue to grow and get comfortable with his receivers. Although Brandon Jacobs is unhappy with his role, he’ll be a solid complement to Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield.
3. Washington Redskins: McNabb can certainly help, but can he stay healthy? If he does, he and Chris Cooley will light it up in what will be a huge bounce-back year for the tight end. Mike Shanahan will have the Skins taking a step in the right direction.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Kevin Kolb can be good, but not elite just yet. They’ve lost too many veterans (Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook) over the past couple years and will need some time to develop a new identity.
1. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is as legit as they come and his receiving corps is right there with him. Jermichael Finley is poised for a huge year and their defense seems to make big plays, led by the newly extended Charles Woodson.
2. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings’ defense needn’t be discussed, but don’t expect Brett Favre to have as spectacular of a year as 2009. Adrian Peterson could be leaned on heavily as Favre’s ankle could be hurting. Brad Childress will never want to give Favre a game off and ruin his consecutive games played streak, and that could hurt the team if he’s playing injured.
3. Detroit Lions: Call me crazy, but I think they can put it together. If rookie Jahvid Best runs well, it will allow Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson to put together big plays. The defense is young and improving.
4. Chicago Bears: The wild card is obviously Jay Cutler. If he can handle the pressure of playing in Chicago, he didn’t show it last year. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher aren’t getting any younger.
1. New Orleans Saints: If anyone can will a team to avoid the Super Bowl hangover, it’s Sean Payton and Drew Brees. They need Darren Sharper to get healthy. His importance to the defense goes way beyond making plays.
2. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan suffered from the sophomore slump a bit in 2009, but I expect him to bounce back this season. Michael Turner needs to stay healthy and their defense needs to do a better job. If the Saints do slip, the Falcons could make life in the South difficult.
3. Carolina Panthers: Steve Smith will be frustrated early and often by poor quarterback play. Don’t be surprised if they finish last.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Their offense sucks. Their defense sucks. They’ll be buying up their own tickets again to avoid blackouts.
1. San Francisco 49ers: I don’t like Alex Smith, but I absolutely hate this division. With a good defense, they’ll win by process of elimination.
2. Seattle Seahawks: Their defense will allow them to challenge the 49ers for the division lead. It remains to be seen if Matt Hasselbeck can be effective anymore.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Derek Anderson is a complete unknown. What is known is that they lost Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle. I’m not high on Beanie Wells or Tim Hightower.
4. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford looks legit, but they are a long way away from winning. Poor Steven Jackson.
Wild Card Winners: Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons
NFC Championship Game: Green Bay Packers over New Orleans Saints
AFC Championship Game: Baltimore Ravens over Indianapolis Colts
SUPER BOWL: Green Bay Packers over Baltimore Ravens
Offensive MVP: Adrian Peterson
Defensive MVP: Darrelle Revis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ryan Matthews
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Brandon Spikes
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh
1. New York Giants: They’ll surprise people by scoring a lot of points. Tom Coughlin can get the defense in order enough to still be effective.
2. Dallas Cowboys: DelVecchio can have them. There’s too much hype surrounding them and I’m not buying it. Dez Bryant won’t be able to shoulder the load. Get it?
3. Washington Redskins: The addition of Donovan McNabb will undoubtedly help and Washington’s defense has the potential to be a lot better than people think.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Trading Donovan McNabb within the division will help secure their spot at the bottom of it.
1. Minnesota Vikings: Even if the expected happens and Brett Favre drops off, their defense is just too good.
2. Green Bay Packers: They have a high-powered offense led by Rodgers but I can’t buy into their defense as much as some others are.
3. Chicago Bears: The Bears are steady but not studly. Expect to see improvement on the defensive side of the ball but Jay Cutler and the offense are still a question mark.
4. Detroit Lions: They will finally be very competitive but their defense just isn’t there yet. A step in the right direction is inevitable.
1. New Orleans Saints: Could the Saints have a defense that matches their high-octane offense? It’s quite possible.
2. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons had to deal with a lot of injuries last year and as a result flew under the radar. With all their weapons healthy, they’ll have a bounce-back year.
3. Carolina Panthers: Matt Moore as a starting quarterback? Not buying it. Good thing the Bucs are worse.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: At least they managed to beef up the defensive line in the draft. However, they still suck.
1. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers find themselves in an extremely easy division and they have a very good defense.
2. Arizona Cardinals: Their QB situation worries me as much as it worried them this off-season. The Cardinals lost some serious studs on defense.
3. Seattle Seahawks: They have no offense but their defense should be okay.
4. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford is only a rookie and the Rams are still a complete rebuilding project.
Wild Card Winners: Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons
NFC Championship Game: Minnesota Vikings over Green Bay Packers
AFC Championship Game: New England Patriots over San Diego Chargers
SUPER BOWL: New England Patriots over Minnesota Vikings
Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Defensive MVP: Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ryan Matthews
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Berry
Coach of the Year: Todd Haley