Each year, I perform the futile endeavor of predicting the six playoff teams in each conference and selecting a Super Bowl champion. In the four years I’ve been doing this, I’ve gotten two Super Bowl losers right and no winners. So I’m shit at it. But I like it. Screw you.
First, the NFC…
#1 Seed – Atlanta Falcons
They’ve got the quarterback, running back, offensive line and receivers. They added arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the history of the game. They’re front four on defense is better than the seven guys behind but with Anderson and Abraham on the edge, they’re capable of consistently game-altering plays.
#2 Seed – Chicago Bears
Maybe I’m crazy but I love this club and I think they’ll put the conference on alert by winning at Green Bay in Week One and beating the champs the following week. The Bears have one primary weakness, in the secondary, but should be able to compensate with their first productive offense in a generation.
#3 Seed – Philadelphia Eagles
This is more of an anti-Giants selection. The Eagles are good on the offensive line and at the skill positions but I think no coordinator will be missed more than the late-Jim Johnson. Johnson’s attacking style compensated for a lack defensive talent for over a decade and his passing will force McNabb and the boys to put up 30+ each week. I think they get to ten wins and that should be enough to take a fading NFC East.
#4 Seed – Seattle Seahawks
I’m notorious for clinging to teams whose window has already closed and that might be the case here. But the Cardinals were one of the worst teams in football last December and I think that’s closer to who they truly are. Matty H has the best receiving corps he’s ever had. He’s got runners with something to prove and a left tackle itching to re-start a Hall of Fame career. Most importantly, his back is healthy. I think nine wins takes the West and I think the Seahawks hit that number. #5 Seed – Green Bay Packers
I think the top wildcard is coming from the North and I foresee some passionate performances from the Packers against the Vikings. As a matter of fact, I think the Packers will beat the Vikings twice. Why? Because I want to see Favre’s face when they do. The Packers lost 9 of their 10 games in 2008 by a total of 41 points (and two of those in overtime). They’re good.
#6 Seed – New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been close for several years but it seems they get their ass kicked in Chicago every winter, putting them out to pasture. After a December 6th game in D.C., the Saints face @ Atlanta (dome), home Cowboys (dome), home Bucs (dome), @ Carolina (warm). Those aren’t particularly easy games but they won’t need to battle the elements – a fight they’ve been losing since Sean Payton/Drew Brees took over.
Philadelphia Eagles over New Orleans Saints (There’s that weather…)
Green Bay Packers over Seattle Seahawks (The better team dominates.)
Atlanta Falcons over Green Bay Packers (Go with the better run game.)
Chicago Bears over Philadelphia Eagles (McNabb mistakes cost club.)
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
The most exciting football game of the year is played as Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler each eclipse 300 yards in a dome-set shootout. With the game tied at 31 late and 1:13 on the clock, Devin Hester fields a punt on the Bears eleven yard-line and crosses midfield. Cutler hits Desmond Clark over the top on a play-action pass, gaining almost twenty yards. After a short Matt Forte gain and a kneel down, Robbie Gould knocks through a 46 yarder to send the Bears to the Super Bowl. Chicago 34, Atlanta 31.