It all starts tonight with the traditional Super Bowl Champ getting the first home game on Thursday night (Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints). This time the previous, previous SB winner is the opponent. And there’s always the national block party that comes with it as America’s favorite day in sports comes always complete with a concert.
Remember 2005? When Kanye West rocked the NFL kick-off party just days after Hurricane Katrina and his public “George W. Bush does not care about black people” remark. Oh, those were the halycon days, long before the lockout.
Well, time is a wasting so let’s jump right to the predictions.
Champ- Green Bay Packers
I’ve seen way too many power rankings that don’t have the defending titlists in their top 5. Huh? Are you aware of how many injuries they overcame to go all the way last season? And that their nucleus is entering its prime, not past it? Sleep on the Pack at your own peril.
Jay Cutler is going to have the best season of his career this fall/winter. I know this because he’s experiencing the same exact thing during his late 20s/early 30s that I am; just one year later. He’s going through this cycle: meet exciting party girl, make girl center of your life until you realize she’s guano crazy and you have to break off the engagement that you entered into WAY TOO soon. Rebound from that whirlwind by burying yourself in your work and working out. Watch your physical health and career reach never imagined heights. You’re way better off without said “Woo! Girl” but realize that she was essential for you to turn your own individual “light on.” Continue working hard and then harder to realize your full potential.
This is why Cutler is now in the best shape of his life and with another year in Martz’s system, he’ll post his best numbers ever. I knew Jay and I had a lot in common; besides just the obvious: a ton of people thinking we’re douchebags.
NFC NASCAR DIVISION
Champ- Atlanta Falcons
I said before last season they’d make the Super Bowl in 2011. They seemed to be a year ahead of schedule: a #1 seed, and a record nine Pro Bowlers in 2010. Add Ray Edwards, Julio Jones and Kelvin Hayden to that team and the NFC is their’s for the taking.
Champ- San Francisco 49ers
Weak lot, but I’m going to go ahead and believe in Jim Harbaugh, and the magic he brings to the table. Or maybe I’m sold because they have former Wisconsin Badgers master of efficiency Scott Tolzien as their 3rd string quarterback.
Champ- Philadelphia Eagles
Chalky, uninspiring pick, yes I know that.
Wild Card- Dallas Cowboys
You can almost flip a coin here with the New York Giants. This division is football’s answer to the AL East in MLB.
AFC NASCAR DIVISION
Champ- Indianapolis Colts Like the Pack, endured a ton of injuries to make it to the postseason last year. Which means the injury task force within the karma police will grant them a reprieve this year. At least you’d think that. We’ll see if Peyton Manning is back for week two. Plus they play less than an hour from the Purdue Boilermakers, the most snake-bitten injury prone athletic program in the country. By osmosis alone, someone on the Colts will tear an ACL this season.
New Division champ in spite of Peyton's injury (more on that here)
That’s right, this franchise is due. I think the offense will click on all cylinders and the underrated defense will make this franchise the surprise team. “The stars at night, are big and bright…”
Champ- Pittsburgh Steelers
Again, boring favorite pick. Maybe aspiring structural engineer Rashard Mendenhall will take issue with the believability of their losses this year. That is, if his mastery of math is as poor as his knowledge of physical science.
Wild Card- Baltimore Ravens
This city may have severe impoverishment and lots of violent crime. And then there's the baseball team. But they do have a football team, and they did produce HBO's "The Wire."
AFC West- Oakland Raiders
Ballsy pick? Maybe just a crappy division. Any time a team led by Norv Turner is a contender for the division crown…it’s ughhhhhh.
AFC East- New York Jets
Sanchez still sucks, but he just has way too much talent around him for me not to pick the Foot Clan
Wild Card- New England Patriots
Brandon Meriweather’s free-lancing on the field also helped to make him persona non grata and it was time to ship him out of Boston. (whoah-oh-oh) What’s surprising, is how they couldn’t get a third round pick from anyone in the NFL for a 27 year old 2-time Pro Bowler? I guess word is out about Meriweather and he must have some serious off-the-field issues we don’t know about yet? BB is known to make “examples” of players from time to time, showing that no one’s job is safe, and if you act up, you will get smacked up.
NFC Title: Atlanta over G.B.
rematch of second round game last season, outcome reversed.
AFC Title: Patriots over Steelers
Why am I doing this again? You can call the New England secondary the kiddie pool, because there is absolutely zero depth at the safety position.
Super Bowl: PATRIOTS over Falcons.
I may have officially jumped the shark now with this pick. Then again, that’s how the NFL is these days. Impossible to handicap. Good luck making better picks!
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter
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