So, they're out. The predictions. Andy Benoit's got them up. I'm happy to see the Eagles on top of the NFC East, though those injuries are sure making me nervous. Don't get me wrong, I think Andy Benoit is a great football thinker, and I read his page all the time, but what I can't figure out is how he, like much of the universe, is convinced that the Colts are the chosen team in the AFC South. This is a team sport guys. Peyton Manning might be one of the chosen few, but he only has one ring so far. (Someone should ask Big Ben what he thinks about that.) And I can't quite figure out why people are being so dismissive of the Titans.
Anyway, I'm calling it right now. The NFC North is going to be the most interesting division in the NFL this year. Not the best, the most interesting. Here's why:
#1: The Lions really stink. Really badly. Think zombie breath. That's the number one reason this'll be an interesting year. Golden Boy Matthew Stafford, who might be the real thing if the team manages his preparedness well, could be one hell of a story. Or one hell of a bust, if they let him go out there and get killed. And besides, Calvin Johnson is sick. And they've got Jim Schwartz, who you all probably know from the Titan's defense, which wreaked lots of havoc last year. All they need is one win and we've got a story. I predict it'll be September 21 against San Francisco. Otherwise, we might have to wait until the Tampa Bay game.
#2: The Vikings need a quarterback. I think Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels are both good enough to drive the boat, but I just don't know. QB competitions are rarely healthy, and this one may be detrimental to a team I would otherwise favor for the divisional title.
#3: Jay Cutler is a big fat tantrum waiting to happen. Again. He's already proven himself to be a total prima donna, and a big fat rocket for an arm isn't gonna keep his big fat mouth from opening. People need to stop riding his jock like they do Peyton's. And I'm totally intrigued with this Devin Hester is now a #1 receiver thing. Lastly, people think this could be the year that Matt Forte becomes, gasp, Adrian Peterson's equal or better. I'd love to see that.
#4: The Pack is on the way back. Probably not to the promised land, but I think this Rodgers guy is the real deal and I love Donald Driver. Unless someone important gets hurt or this defense blows up, I think the Packers will win at least 9 games and get the division. They might get past the Falcons, if the playoffs get scheduled like that. Otherwise, forget it. But we will see a change of leadership in the division.