With the NFL season (finally!) only a few days away, it’s time to drop some predictions on what you can expect to happen in the NFL in 2010-2011.
1. Darrel Revis will re-sign, eventually, but not for as much as he’s asking.
Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL, he knows it and so do the Jets. The problem lies in the fact that New York hyped Revis so much it eventually got to his head, and now he knows just how highly the Jets think of him. The numbers that have come out that Revis is expecting are ridiculous, but the numbers the Jets have offered are probably also too low for the best shutdown corner in the league. Both sides will eventually concede a little bit ground and come to an agreement in time for Revis to have another great season.
2. The Chargers and Vincent Jackson will eventually come to terms too.
Jackson wants to be paid like one of the top receivers in the NFL, and after having a breakout season last year, he is justified, to an extent. The fact is having Phillip Rivers, who probably throws the best deep ball in the NFL, as his quarterback has made Jackson a much better player. The Chargers will sign him to an extension, and once he finishes serving his six game suspension Jackson will come back and have a big impact for the Chargers in the stretch run.
3. First Head Coach Fired – Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville Jaguars)
While Chan Gailey of the Bills would lead this list if he wasn’t in his first season, the fact is that Del Rio probably should have been fired already. As a result of poor drafting and players being busts, the Jags have a pretty weak roster. Couple that in with a very difficult schedule and the Jags have all the makings of a terrible, terrible team. The lone bright spot for Jacksonville is running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who will need to have a monster season just for the Jags to be respectable.
4. Brett Favre will finally show his age
It has to happen eventually, and after toying with people for the third straight off-season (even though it felt like the 26th straight), Favre will finally start showing his age. With Favre’s top target Sidney Rice out the first six games of the season, meaning he will miss meetings with the Saints, Jets and Cowboys among other teams, the Vikings will struggle. Nobody will feel it more than Favre, who will rely on Adrian Peterson to move the offense a lot more than anyone expects.
5. The Jets Won’t Live Up To The Hype
After making some nice moves in the off-season (i.e. trading for Santonio Holmes and upgrading their defense with Antonio “I Can’t Remember My Kids Names” Cromartie) the Jets have had loads of expectations placed upon them as a Super Bowl contender. And with a young team who made it to the AFC Championship game last season, it is normal to expect them to progress. But with turmoil from the Revis situation and arrogance that will stem from those expectations and all the exposure on Hard Knocks and MNF, the Jets will eventually crack and have a much worse season than expected.
6. Chris Johnson will not have a repeat of 2009.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After having such a monster 2009 season that saw Johnson become at worst the second best running back in the NFL, his numbers will decline this season. The reason his numbers will go down is because he did so well last year; defenses will be focused on him and he will be used as a decoy more often than he was last year. You can still expect big numbers out of the Tennessee back, just don’t expect him to match last years historic season.
7, Last team to lose – Indianapolis Colts
Who else? There are a couple of things that we can expect every NFL season: Brett Favre will have some kind of retirement drama, the Browns and Bills are going to suck, and the Colts will start the season 6-0, at the worst. Peyton Manning gets his teams off to great starts every season, and after a Super Bowl loss last season, the Colts will be more motivated than ever.
8. Biggest Team Bust – Washington Redskins
After going out and getting Donovan McNabb from the Eagles, many analysts believe the Redskins are contenders for the NFC East and at worst a Wild Card team. Unfortunately for the Skins, their history of acquiring big name players has shown us that it never turns out well. While McNabb should have monster games against the Eagles, he will struggle with less weapons around him and the Redskins will be out of the playoff race by the end of November.
9. Surprise Team – Tennessee Titans
While everyone is picking the Houston Texans to finally take a Wild Card spot, the Titans are flying under the radar as a team many consider to be the third-best in their division. But with dynamic Chris Johnson in the backfield and Vince Young finally seeming to understand how to run a team, the Titans will sneak into the playoffs and give someone a tough Wild Card weekend match-up.
10. Defensive ROY – Eric Berry (Chiefs)
Without playing one game, Berry became the highest-paid safety in the NFL, and this season he should show everyone exactly why. Berry is a safety with the skills of a cornerback, and in an aggressive defense like the one the Chiefs want to run under Romeo Crennel, Berry’s skills will be highlighted.
11. Offensive ROY – Ryan Mathews (Chargers)
Replacing the greatest running back in Chargers history, and quite possibly one of the top five running backs in NFL history, is pressure many young players would probably crumble under. Mathews isn’t one of those players, and he will make a lot of Bolts fans forget all about LT.
12. Defensive POY – Patrick Willis (49ers)
Willis is the best linebacker in the NFL, and most football fans probably don’t even know who he is. This will be the season that changes. With the Niners in position to make a playoff push behind a strong defense, Willis’ talent will be on full display for fans to see all season long.
13. Offensive POY – Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
Great offense and a strong-armed, accurate quarterback equals big numbers, just ask Drew Brees. With a couple of full seasons now under his belt running the Packers, Rodgers should put up some very big numbers this season.
14. NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
You expected Brett Favre? With a great offense around him, this is the year we all know exactly why the Packers were ready to trade Favre away when he decided he wanted to come back, the first time. Rodgers is a great young quarterback who will place himself into the discussion of the NFL’s best before this season is all said and done.
15. AFC South – Colts
Last seasons Super Bowl loser (that still feels great to say) will be right back on track behind the leadership of all-World quarterback Peyton Manning, who is poised to have yet another great season. The Colts will do what they always do, win a lot of regular season games and make a playoff run, and it all starts by winning the division.
16. NFC South – Saints
The defending Super Bowl Champs will guarantee an opportunity to repeat their miracle Super Bowl run of last season by first winning their division and earning a first round bye. With only the Falcons as serious competition in the NFC South, the Saints high-powered offense should be more than enough to earn the crown.
17. AFC East – Patriots
The funny thing about all the hype surrounding the Jets this off-season is that everyone seems to have forgotten about the Patriots, who are only the most consistent team of the past decade. Working as an underdog for the first time in a long time, New England will remind us all just why they are so dangerous while the young Jets struggle with all the expectations placed on them.
18. NFC East – Cowboys
Step one in destroying their fans with the eventual playoff demise is Dallas living up to the regular season expectations by taking the division title. Although the Giants and Redskins and Eagles will all give them a run for their money, the bet here is that Dallas is too good to lose the division.
19. AFC West – Chargers
Ladanian Tomlinson is gone. Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill are suspended for the first portion of the season. But in a division with the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders as the main opponents, Phillip Rivers should still be able to lead the Bolts to yet another AFC West crown.
20. NFC West – 49ers
It’s hard to decide which West division is worst, the AFC or the NFC. But with the Rams still young and rebuilding, the Seahawks declining and the Cardinals sure to struggle without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin, this division is definitely the Niners to lose. Look for San Fran to return to the playoffs in the first time in what seems like an eternity for this storied franchise.
21. AFC North – Ravens
In what should be the most competitive division in the NFL, the Ravens will ultimately take the crown, but not without getting a fight all season from the Bengals and tough division games against the Steelers and Browns.
22. NFC North – Packers
Something that I’ve been saying all off-season, regardless of if Brett Favre comes back or not, the Green Bay Packers are too good to lose this division. With an explosive offense and a defense anchored by Charles Woodson, the Pack will finish with the best record in the NFC.
23. NFC Champ – Green Bay Packers over New Orleans Saints
In a shoot-out between what should be two of the best offenses in all the NFL, the Packers home field advantage will be the difference as the Saints offense stalls in the cold weather at Lambeau.
24. AFC Champ – Baltimore Ravens over Indianapolis Colts
In a tightly contested game, the Ravens defense will be the difference, getting stops against the Colts offense that the Indy defense won’t be able to match against Baltimore’s offense and sending the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in nearly a decade.
25. Super Bowl – Green Bay Packers over Baltimore Ravens
After the way Favre left Green Bay and all the problems he’s caused since, with the drama he’s created every off-season, did you really think karma would have this end any other way? Favres replacement Rodgers will cap off an amazing individual season that sees him vault into the elite quarterbacks in the NFL with a Super Bowl win.
What are your predictions for this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments!