This is it, the year when Saints fans can take the paper bags off of their heads. Yes, I predict New Orleans will get their first ever NFC Championship. Years of futility and what “could have been” minus injuries, suspensions, and plenty of bad luck, can all be shelved with the year coming in the Big Easy.
Look at the weapons on offense. Drew Brees spreads the ball around and seems real comfortable with what he has to work with. Marques Colston is healthy, Lance Moore is a pleasant surprise, and Jeremy Shockey is simply on a mission. Shockey worked as hard as anyone this offseason and feels he has much to prove. Oh yeah, the Saints also have a lethal one-two punch at running back with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. If their defense can play average to good, this offense should outscore anyone in their path.
I am predicting the Saints to face Philadelphia in the NFC Championship game. Michael Vick will produce in some capacity and have the city that booed Santa Claus going nuts for him to be on the field more by the end of the regular season. The much improved receiving core should prosper with the addition of Jeremy Maclin. This kid is the real deal and I also predict that he will win NFC Rookie of The Year. A solid defense, a sufficient running game, and a positive Donovan McNabb should prove to be too much in the toughest division in football.
I see the Saints getting by the Eagles in the NFC Championship game and advancing to the Super Bowl.
In the AFC, the more things change, the more they stay the same is my theme for Indianapolis. Peyton Manning is the most consistent quarterback in the league and the Colts have beefed up the backfield. This move will aid Manning in using effective play-action as the defense will again have to respect the run. Bob Sanders is a maniac on defense and is all over the field in every game he participates in.
The only real threat this year in the AFC will be New England. I know, the Steelers fans are whining already, but don’t expect Big Ben to be the same guy with his allegations and off-field distractions. Everything, and I mean everything, fell perfectly into place last season. If that happens this season, I am not sure it will be enough to get by New England or Indy. Playing in the worst division in football will get the Steelers into the playoffs, but I see an early exit for Pittsburgh this season.
New England will thrive with the return of Tom Brady. Watch Randy Moss have a huge year. However, I predict that New England will lose to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game in a nailbiter.
In February of 2010, I see Indianapolis and New Orleans battling for the big prize. I am going to predict that New Orleans will win the highest-scoring Super Bowl ever played 41-35.
Other predictions for the year:
Atlanta will go 8-8 and be hit hard with a rash of injuries.
Cleveland will win 5 games.
Edgerrin James will have 1,000 yards rushing for Seattle.
San Francisco will make the playoffs.
The Rams will just miss making the playoffs.
Brett Favre will put up average numbers at best and will be the recipient of a cheap shot when the Vikings play at Green Bay.
Terrell Owens will get hurt by the time the snow falls in Orchard Park.
Carson Palmer will miss at least half of the season with nagging injuries.
Dallas’ new scoreboard will block 6 punts.
Well, those are my predictions for the season, sure to be heckled and ridiculed. Feel free to comment on things you may agree or disagree with.