I covered the AFC in this space yesterday, surmising that it was basically the Patriots and everyone else. Yipee, like Brady and Belichick need to win any goddamn more.
Today, I’m going to run down the NFC and in addition to my NFC Champion pick, I will reveal my Super Bowl pick as well because I might as well just get being wrong out of the way now. Let’s get this thing going.
Philadelphia Eagles — The “Dream Team” will try to rebound from last year’s atrocious performance. That wasn’t even a step back, it was like a hurricane-force wind threw them backwards through the air and they flew through a brick wall like an action movie. Just a mess. So naturally, everyone is picking them to win the NFC East this year. Michael Vick is apparently made of porcelin and probably won’t make it past week 2 without missing some time. Shady McCoy is due for a torn ACL. And calling DeSean Jackson “moody” would be an upgrade for him. Plus, this defense sucked balls last year and probably won’t turn into a dominant unit. Record: 9-7
New York Giants — Tom Coughlin must cream his Depends every time he hears about another ridiculous Tebow/Sanchez/Jets story. They’re the Super Bowl Champions ferchrissakes yet they barely get any coverage because of the clusterfuck that is the Jets. Eli Manning, who looks like he might be legitimately retarded, will continue to get better considering he has one of the best receiving corps in the league with Hakeem Nix and Victor Cruz. But the way things always work with this team is that they’ll underachieve for awhile before putting together a late run. Record: 10-6
Dallas Cowboys — When was the last time this team was actually a contender and not some fabricated contender hyped up by the media and Cowboys fans? I’m pretty sure it was during a time when Troy Aikman was still permanently concussed. Tony Romo remains a pretty good second-tier quarterback and will obviously have a stigma until he wins a playoff game or at least doesn’t fuck up colossally. Dez Bryant is totally insane and the next logical step from punching your own mother in the face is to just go off the deep end and murder a teammate. The guy has to be surrounded by a security team at all times and not because he’s super famous. I’m sure it’ll work out for “America’s Team”. Record: 7-9
Washington Redskins — Poor Robert Griffin. RG3 seems like a genuinely nice kid and seems like he has a bright future. He’s throwing to the vastly overrated Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss (whom I didn’t realize was even still in the league and was mildly suprised that he was PLAYING somewhere, let alone starting), and handing the ball off to the magnificently shitty duo of Tim Hightower and Roy Helu. Not to mention that Mike Shanahan is going to conform RG3’s talents to his own system instead of doing it the other way around like you should with a #2 overall pick. Record: 5-11
Green Bay Packers — If there’s a team in the NFL that could get away with not attempting to run once all season, it’s this one. Aaron Rodgers is insanely good, though the system might be a pretty good one since it made Matt Flynn look good enough that he was able to fleece Seattle out of $10M guaranteed. Still, Rodgers will throw a ton and they have a pretty good defense even if they did take a huge step back last year. But they better hope they underachieve enough to end up playing a road playoff game in a dome because this team was built to play in a dome yet plays in the friggin’ cold, which admittedly is an overrated factor but still. I’m sure they’ll have a few late round picks/undrafted free agents emerge and Gregg Easterbrook can fondle himself to that late at night. Record: 12-4
Chicago Bears: — I don’t know how to feel about Jay Cutler. I have nothing against him because he’s never had an impact on me or my team but I can’t help but notice how disinterested he looks all the time. Maybe it was because he didn’t have anyone to throw to, maybe Sam Hurd hooked him up with some killer weed that really mellowed him out. I don’t know. I do know that Matt Forte got paid so he’ll probably join Chris Johnson as an overpaid pile of shit. Brandon Marshall was acquired and the team pretended to know that he punched a woman in the face even though they probably didn’t. Or they didn’t care because Marshall punching a woman in the face sounds like par for the course for him. As for the defense, why do people just assume every Bears defense is good? They weren’t bad last year but Brian Urlacher is probably the most fragile defensive player in the league and the rest of the defense is getting pretty old. Still, the prospect of this offense reaching another level with Cutler throwing to Marshall leaves a lot of potential out there. Record: 10-6
Detroit Lions — This team can’t handle notoriety and expectations for five minutes without wanting to ruin it. Seven(!!) arrests in the off-season obviously leave a lot of questions about maturity and discipline and all that but really, they were mostly marijuana charges and who didn’t know that most of these guys probably like to smoke a bowl or twelve? Still, Ndamukong Suh is always a threat to commit the games’ first on field homicide so maybe being lax about this isn’t the way to go. Like the Packers, the Lions have no ground game mostly because their running backs are terrible (Kevin Smith) or their brains are jello (Jahvid Best) but who cares because Matt Stafford threw for 5,000 yards and Megatron is far and away the best receiver in the galaxy. Can’t wait for Stafford to suffer his annual shoulder injury followed by Megatron wishing death on Shaun Hill for the length of the injury. Record: 9-7
Minnesota Vikings — Early front-runners in the Matt Barkley sweepstakes, this team is awful. With Adrian Peterson recovering from a blown up knee and Percy Harvin a threat to go down with a migraine, Christian Ponder is probably the next best player on this offense (Matt Khalil has done nothing yet and I know shit about o-linemen so I stand by my statement). Jared Allen is by himself on this defense, the lone stud of the group. He’ll white trash his way to another 15 sacks but it’ll be totally worthless because they’ll probably be trailing in every game. Record: 4-12
Atlanta Falcons — People keep comparing this team to pre-Super Bowl Colts and Matt Ryan to Peyton Manning. “Matty Ice”, which sounds like the douchiest frat boy name of all time, can’t win a playoff game ala Manning but the key missing here is that Ryan is a second-tier quarterback whereas Manning and his gigantic head were elite. Ryan has no excuses now with Roddy White and Julio Jones catching passes and the aging but affecting Michael Turner behind him. Time to graduate from being a BRUH and become a man, Matt. Record: 11-5
New Orleans Saints — I never really agreed with Bountygate and why everyone was up in arms with the whole thing. This is a violent game where people love huge, nasty hits and anyone who was upset over a bunch of meatheads trying to hurt other meatheads needs to get some fucking perspective. That said, I don’t think losing Sean Payton for the year is going to have an astronomical impact because Drew Brees and that splotch on his face are just too good. He’ll probably throw 84 times a game and cover up a pretty awful defense for good chunks of the year. Also: how the hell did it take as long as it did to sign Brees? The guy is your franchise, he led you out of the gutters and all the way to a SUPER BOWL. He probably sells more jersey’s than everyone else who’s ever had a Saints jersey COMBINED. And you cheap fucks didn’t want to just cut him a blank check and tell him to fill it in? Record: 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — I really have no idea what to make of this team. They had a suprise year two years ago before letting expectations totally crush them last year. Josh Freeman looked like an up-and-coming young quarterback until he decided to hand out “free interception” coupons to everyone in the league last year. The team had a good off-season, adding stud safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin via the draft as well as Dallas Clark and Vincent Jackson via free agency. I have no idea what to make of these guys, I seriously don’t but playing in this division is going to be a bitch so while I think the Bucs improve but probably not make the playoffs. Not that the city of Tampa cares, they’re all too busy checking their bingo cards. Record: 8-8
Carolina Panthers — Cam Newton is pretty good, it turns out. Combined with an already pretty good ground game led by DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Newton adds a Tebow-only-good dimension to the redzone offense. Steve Smith is still around, acting as the best target for Cam Newton and resident crazy man who is a threat to shatter your jaw if you WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT *PUNCH*. Seriously, if I ever ran into Steve Smith on the street, I would just curl into the fetal position and cry. The defense has a ton of talent and potential but is good for about three blown knees per season which totally warrants all the money the team spent. Not quite there yet but definitely a team on the rise. Record: 7-9
San Francisco 49ers — The defense was very good last year and should be again with Patrick Willis mowing down running backs like Donte Stallworth mows down pedestrians. Frank Gore keeps defying his doubters but he’s 29 and has a history of being fragile so the wheels have to come flying off soon. Randy Moss is nothing but a recognizable game at this point and anyone expecting him to have a huge impact is an idiot. Not to mention his quarterback is still Alex Smith who is awful. Being “okay” in this division probably gets you 9-7, a pretty good team like ‘Frisco will run away with this division. Record: 12-4
Seattle Seahawks — Another good defense, albeit a bit younger and not quite as dominant, Seattle has set itself up to be a potential sleeper team. But that offense, dear sweet Jeebus. Yeah, Marshawn Lynch is back but he just got paid and celebrated by getting a DUI. But hey, at least you didn’t hit anyone or have a gun in your trunk, right? Russell Wilson might be a good quarterback someday but if you’re a Seattle fan are you really feeling good about the fact that a third round pick just beat out a guy your team gave $10M guaranteed to for the starting quarterback job? All that said, if Wilson isn’t a disaster and Lynch can go back to trucking defenders instead of other drivers, the Seahawks could make noise. Record: 9-7
Arizona Cardinals — This team had an actual quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. And Skelton won it. When Larry Fitzgerald murderers Skelton after he air-mails a pass for the 305th time on the season, no one will convict him. Skelton will have had it coming. Supposedly, this defense is pretty good but you’d never know it after watching their pre-season games. This season has all the makings of a train wreck season where Kolb is cut, Ken Wisenhunt is fired, and Fitzgerald demands a trade. Can’t wait. Record: 6-10
St.Louis Rams — This is a team that can’t surprise me. They could be awful enough to earn the #1 pick and I wouldn’t be surprised. They could put together a 8 or 9 win season and I wouldn’t be surprised. There is a lot of young talent on defense and Sam Bradford is entering year 3 so who the hell knows. But with Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson (no seriously, check out how terrible their receivers are) as the top two receivers on this team, they’ll depend heavily on Steven Jackson again and I just have to wonder how long until Jackson finally falls apart like Humpty Dumpty. Record: 5-11
The NFC is deep and I think there is at least one team from each division who could make a run to the Super Bowl whereas the AFC is basically the goddamn Patriots again and then everyone else (fuck the Texans, that’s a letdown waiting to happen). That said, the Packers and 49ers stand out above the Falcons and Giants to me. I think the Packers defense gets its shit together just enough to make it to the big game. NFC Champion: Green Bay Packers
So we’re left with a Packers/Patriots Super Bowl. Brady vs Rodgers on the big stage. This could potentially be the most exciting Super Bowl ever since both guys like to throw the shit out of the ball, neither offense is very good at running it, and neither team is particularly thrilled about playing defense. Expect a shootout that would make Madden gamers stammer like they were being forced to speak to a female, with Brady failing in the final seconds just one more time. Super Bowl Champion: Green Bay Packers
From there, expect much verbal-fellatio for Aaron Rodgers and every scrappy (read: WHITE) guy on the roster. Then it’s another seven months of sadness.