OK, I'll confess. Prior to making these predictions for the 2008 NFL season, I got a little bit of inside information; some important data that might not be available to all prognosticators. What was it?
Well, because I'm a super nice guy, I'll tell ya. The Washington Redskins will definitely, 100 percent certain, start the season 0-1. And if you promise to lock this in the vault, you can take it to the bank that the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants will get out of the gate with a victory.
I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill ya.
Seriously, folks, I have spent long hours studying the schedule; reading tea leaves; viewing the way planets will align over the next several months; contemplating the biorhythms of every starting and backup quarterback; reading the Farmer's Almanac to determine weather patterns for every part of the country; and, most importantly, walking through countless fields to find as many four leaf clovers as possible.
As a result, I am now totally prepared to predict division champions; wild card teams; playoff results and, the granddaddy of them all, the SUPER BOWL CHAMPION.
Now, you can cheat and scroll down to the end to find out which team will be wearing the crown come next February, or you can patiently read through the incredible insight I am about to offer before ruining the entire season by knowing in advance who was the killer … err, which team will stand alone come judgment day.
We'll start with the division nearest and dearest to our hearts, the AFC North.
Six weeks ago, I was convinced the Browns were going to sweep the Steelers at home and on the road en route to the team's first division title since Sarah Palin had zits.
But then came the rash of injuries and the disturbing biorhythms on one of the Browns' quarterbacks (my biorhythmist – it may not be a word but it sounds good – will not allow me to divulge which one).
So, much to my dismay, I simply cannot pick the Browns to win the division. But I refuse to mention the name of that team down southeast of Cleveland, but unless you've already started tailgating, you should be able to figure out the team in question.
Here's how I view the AFC North:
In the East, the Patriots are rapidly growing long of tooth, but even they look like spring chickens compared to the quarterback upon whom their toughest foe, the New York Jets, will be relying.
The planets tell me that there will be no undefeated regular season for coach Bill Belichick's boys, but a baker's dozen wins are obtainable for Mr. Personality.
Here's how I view the AFC East:
The Tennessee Titans made some noise at the end of the 2007 season (no, it wasn't the thud of the Browns' playoff hopes crashing to the turf) and have a bright future, according to the tea leaves.
In fact, this is the year they finally overtake the Colts, who won't be able to win the division unless Peyton Manning is healthy enough to start all 16 games.
Here's how I view the AFC South:
The Chargers needed some time to get acclimated to their new coaches and the weather … well, maybe it was only one of the two … and now should be ready to roll from the get-go.
Here's how I view the AFC West:
Now, quickly through the NFC.
In the AFC, look for the Colts and Chargers to advance to the title game, with the Colts, behind a now-healthy Peyton Manning leading the way, advancing to the Super Bowl.
As for the NFC playoffs, look for the Cowboys and Seahawks to end up meeting in the NFC title game and for coach Mike Holmgren's Seahawks to advance to the Super Bowl
The title game will feature a pair of head coaches – the Colts' Tony Dungy and the Seahawks' Holmgren -- in what most people expect to be their final year on the sidelines.
This game will forever be known as the "Farewell Bowl" and will be won in dramatic fashion by the Colts.