‘On the bubble…’
The Philadelphia Eagles just miss out on the ‘Top Ten’ at this stage. Whilst they have one of the most talented teams in the league (Michael Vick, Lesean McCoy, Desean Jackson etc.), Head Coach Andy Reid failed to mesh the individual stars into a winning team in 2011.
Vick’s health is also a concern and he started poorly in his opener against the Browns but still got the win, if Philly can get it together and gel as a unit then they’ll definitely be able to challenge the Giants and Cowboys for the NFC East crown.
‘The wildcard team…’
Peyton Manning’s decision to join the Denver Broncos was one of the most controversial off season moves in recent memory. Having spent a year rehabilitating a serious neck injury, the long-time Indianapolis Colt takes over a playoff calibre team in a division that’s wide open.
Whilst Denver packed off Tim Tebow to the Jets, Manning is left with good young receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, a savvy veteran runner in Willis McGahee and former Colts tight end Jacob Tamme who knows the system well.
The Broncos are no slouches on defence either thanks to LB Von Miller (Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011), DE Elvis Dumervil (26.5 sacks in last two years) and one of the league’s best cover- cornerbacks in Champ Bailey.
If Manning can stay healthy and shake off a year’s worth of rust whilst navigating a tricky early season schedule, then who knows where these Broncos finish up!
‘The surprise package…’
Don’t sleep on the Chicago Bears this year either. This team was 7-3 in 2011 before star runner Matt Forte and gunslinger Jay Cutler went down hurt.
The Bears got to the NFC title game in 2010, and bring in offensive reinforcements this season in the form of RB Michael Bush to backup Forte, QB Jason Campbell as insurance and most importantly Brandon Marshall at receiver (via trade with Miami), reuniting Cutler with his favourite target from his time in Denver.
Mike Tice replaces Mike Martz as Offensive Co-ordinator and should improve an O-line which has had its struggles. Add in a typically strong defensive unit, and you can expect the ‘Monsters of the Midway’ to just edge out the plucky Detroit Lions for a playoff spot this season.
‘The bottom line…’
Whilst I like both Baltimore and San Francisco to make it to their respective title games, when all is said and done look for the Green Bay Packers to defeat the Houston Texans in Superbowl XLVII.
The Packers have the league’s best player in Rodgers and too many weapons on both sides of the ball, despite a surprising week one loss to the 49ers. This team will show it’s true championship pedigree and bounce back to reign supreme in 2012.
Do you agree? Let us know your predictions and opinion on who will go all the way this year and who won't.
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