Raise your hand if you thought the NFL was going kickoff tonight back in June.
Now stop lying if you raised your hand.
It’s always difficult to predict anything in the NFL, and I’m guessing this year will be especially hard. The lockout has just made it harder than ever to really get a grip on what teams are all about. Nationally, our hometown Eagles look like Super Bowl contenders, but most people aren’t hearing about the mess that has become the offensive line.
The teams that jump out are pretty much the old standards. In the AFC, the Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Ravens, and Chargers, are the obvious contenders. Peyton Manning’s injury shelves the Colts, although their division is so weak, they could still win it if Manning comes back at all. But I don’t think they’ll be much of a factor with the Colts giving no timetable for when Manning will return.
From the group listed above, I’ll take the boring, somewhat obvious pick of the Steelers to return to the Super Bowl. I just think the Patriots can’t withstand the pounding that the Steelers and Ravens can hand out. I still don’t think Mark Sanchez is a championship quarterback. That leaves the Steelers and Ravens. I’ll admit I love the way these two teams play – great defense and pounding the ball with the running game. If Joe Flacco has a good year, the Ravens might be able to take down the Steelers. But I think Pittsburgh will hold them off again.
In the NFC, the standouts are the Eagles, Packers, Saints, and the Falcons. Some might put the Giants or the Cowboys in that category, but I’m not buying those teams at all. Maybe I’m just too close to the Eagles, but I don’t think they will do much in the playoffs. Something about the Saints doesn’t work for me. I kind of like the Packers, but repeating just doesn’t happen in the NFL. So I’m going with the Falcons to make the Super Bowl.
If that Super Bowl matchup actually happened, I’d take the Steelers without hesitation.
But it’s September. NFL previews probably mean less than season projections for any other sport.
Picks. Last week I dipped my toe back into the water of making picks, and Georgia came up very small to give me an 0-1 week for -5 points.
Tonight, I’m picking Green Bay -4.5 over the Saints for 5 points to win 4.55 right here on the blog.
For the weekend, so far I like Alabama -10 over Penn State. I may also take Notre Dame as a road favorite at Michigan.
In the NFL, I like the Steelers as a small underdog in Baltimore and the Falcons -3 over the Bears.
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Eagles. Shouldn’t the “Dream Team” be a bigger favorite over the St. Louis Rams? They’re favored by about 5 or 5.5 on the road. I’ll probably stay away from the game, but I think the Eagles will win and cover.