Back in March, I made my 2008 MLB predictions. Since the Yankees aren’t doing much of anything lately, and the NFL season has already kicked off, I figured it’s decent timing to revisit my MLB predictions and give my NFL season predictions.
I was way off in my MLB playoff predictions. Barring late-season heroics, my A.L. East winner (NYY), A.L. Central winner (DET), A.L. Wild Card winner (SEA), and N.L. Wild Card winner (ATL) will all miss the playoffs. Ouch. Otherwise, I was in the ball park with my other predictions/descriptions. My A.L. Cy Young winner has a great chance to win the N.L. Cy Young (Sabathia), and that’s about it for my award predictions (I’m not sure if Matt Kemp qualifies as a rookie – if so, I might get that pick right, too). So that’s that. I am, however, the #1 seed in my fantasy baseball league playoffs.
On to the new American pasttime, starting with the division of the defending Super Bowl champion New York football Giants. Wild Card picks have an asterisk.
1. Dallas Cowboys. They have arguably one of the most potent offenses in the league, but I’m not sold on their defense. They still have a lot to prove in the playoffs, too.
2. New York Giants.* This is the league’s most competitive division, and I think the Giants can make it back to the playoffs. Losing Strahan and Osi hurts, but their secondary is improved, and if Jacobs can stay healthy and if they can win some games at home, they will prove that their SB win wasn’t that big of a fluke.
3. Philadelphia Eagles. I think Donovan McNabb will bounce back in a big way. Their defense is younger and improved.
4. Washington Redskins. New coach, higher payroll, worse results. I still can’t believe they made playoffs last year, but they won’t for sure this year.
1. Green Bay Packers. I think Aaron Rodgers will step up in Favre’s absence. They aren’t much different than their 13-3 team last year.
2. Minnesota Vikings. Their stalwart defense got better, but their success will still ride on Tavaris Jackson’s maturing. He will improve, but not enough to take them to the playoffs.
3. Chicago Bears. Same story as last year: good defense, terrible offense. Their window of opportnity is closing with their aging defense.
4. Detroit Lions. Poor Lions. I like Calvin Johnson, Roy Williams, and rookie RB Kevin Smith, but they have a ways to go as a team.
1. New Orleans Saints. Potent offense, good defense. The addition of Shockey will pay dividends for Drew Brees. What happened to Reggie Bush?
2. Carolina Panthers.* Jake Delhomme is back, and they have a good running game. Will their defense return to form? I think they will surprise a lot of people and sneak into the playoffs.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I still love that defense, but Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway are fossils.
4. Atlanta Falcons. They will be happy with a 4-12 record as long as they can make fans forget about the Vick situation.
1. Seattle Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck has no receivers, and their running game is questionable, but their defense and home field will keep them in a tight division race.
2. Arizona Cardinals. Still trying to get over the hump and into the playoffs, but not this year.
3. St. Louis Rams. I think Marc Bulger will bounce back after a horrid year, and Stephen Jackson is in his prime. Their receivers are the weakest they’ve been in years, though.
4. San Fransisco 49ers. Patrick Willis is a beast, and is one of the best LB in only his second season. A new offensive scheme should help, but not much.
1. New England Patriots. They won’t go undefeated because their defense has a lot of question marks, but they will win 13 or 14 games.
2. New York Jets.* Favre should be fine in a new role. They made some good moves in the offseason, but it won’t be enough to go far into the playoffs.
3. Buffalo Bills. They may have a better defense than the Jets, and Marshawn Lynch is a good player, but they have no quarterback.
4. Miami Dolphins. They will be competitive in a rebuilding year, and could win 6+ games.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers. This is still their division to lose. Ben R. will regress back to the mean, and their defense isn’t what it used to be, but they will still find a way to win.
2. Cleveland Browns. Everyone is high on them this year, but I don’t think Derek Anderson will repeat last year, and their secondary is awful.
3. Cincinnati Bengals. Carson Pamler, T.J. Hoosyomama and Chad Javon Ocho Cinco will keep them in games, but that’s all they have going for them.
4. Baltimore Ravens. Their defense isn’t what it used to be, and their quarterback play is still putrid. Stud rookie RB Ray Rice will be the starter by week 10.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars. I think this is their year to finally beat the Colts. It’s a trendy pick, but I’m hopping on the bandwagon. This division is the AFC’s equivalent to the NFC East. Brutal.
2. Indianapolis Colts.* I can’t believe I picked them second in the division – it will be close. Peyton Manning is recovering from an injury, Marvin Harrison is old…
3. Houston Texans. Their defense is improving, and I love the Schaub to Johnson connection – if they can stay healthy. If not, they will be in fourth place.
4. Tennessee Titans. Good defense and running game, but the passing game is still terrible. I just don’t think Vince Young is the answer, regardless of his “leadership.”
1. San Diego Chargers. LT is the best RB in the game, and I’m high on Phillip Rivers this year. Their defense is questionable only because Merriman is foolishly playing with a ripped up knee.
2. Denver Broncos.* Jay Cutler has his diabetes under control, Brandon Marshall is an emerging star, and their running game is always solid.
3. Oakland Raiders. They could surprise people with JaMarcus Russell improving and rookie Darren McFadden. I don’t think McFadden will perform close to what Adrian Peterson did last year, though.
4. Kansas City Chiefs. Wow, they are bad. Dwayne Bowe is a good reveiver, but he has no one to throw him the ball.
NFC championship game: Saints over Cowboys
AFC championship game: Chargers over Jaguars
Super Bowl: Chargers over Saints (should be a fun one to watch)
MVP: Drew Brees (Saints)
Rookie of the Year: Ray Rice (Ravens)
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis (49ers)
Comeback Player of the Year: Marc Bulger (Rams)
Coach of the Year: Jack Del Rio (Jaguars)