The National Football League season that almost wasn't -- yeah, right, like the owners were ever going to let all those billions get away, they're not stupid like hockey team owners -- gets underway in a few minutes, as the winners of the last 2 Super Bowls, the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints, play at historic (but, this being September, not yet frozen) Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Do I care what happens in the NFL? Not nearly as much as I used to.
Here are my picks for this season. NOTE: This is a revised version, done AFTER the revelation that Peyton Manning will miss, at the least, a big chunk of this season due to recovery from neck surgery, thus probably denying the Indianapolis Colts the chance to become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
American Football Conference Eastern Division (I start with the AL East in baseball, so I do it in football, too): New England Patriots, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins.
AFC North Division: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns.
AFC South Division: Houston Texans (making their first-ever trip to the Playoffs in 10 seasons of play), Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans.
AFC Western Division: Kansas City Chiefs (they've come a long way, and because they're in a weak Division they may have the best record in the League), San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders.
National Football Conference East: Philadelphia Eagles (especially if Michael Vick can be backed up by a healthy Vince Young, now that Young won't be playing for a coach who hates him), New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings (especially if Donovan McNabb can stay healthy, now that he won't be playing for a coach who hates him), Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions.
NFC South: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers.
NFC West: St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks.
Wild Card Round of Playoffs: Baltimore over Pitt, Jets over Houston, New Orleans over Atlanta, Giants over St. Lou.
Divisional Playoffs: Jets over KC, Baltimore over Cheatriots, Philly over Giants, New Orleans over Green Bay.
Conference Title Games: New Orleans over Philly, Baltimore over Jets. Of course, because the Eagles and Jets ALWAYS choke, it’s just a matter of when.
Super Bowl XLVI: Baltimore Ravens over New Orleans Saints. Ray Rice of Rutgers will become a legend in this game.
Don't believe me? I probably don't, either.
East Brunswick High School kicks off its 50th Anniversary football season tomorrow night. Weather permitting. I'm much more interested in that. Here's to Dear Old Alma Mater: DA BEARSSSS!
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