If you are familiar with the tale of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, you know that it is basically about a man who falls asleep for 20 years and wakes up to a world that has changed drastically. Well, I fell asleep. Yep, I found a nice comfy spot in Sutcliffe Park and caught some zzz’s. For 4 weeks! No joke. I just woke up yesterday. It’s not 20 years like Rip Van Winkle, but a lot has changed in the past 4 weeks. Where do I begin?
Let’s start with the NFL standings at the time. They looked like this…
National Football Conference
NY Giants 5-0
Green Bay 2-2
New Orleans 4-0
Tampa Bay 0-5
San Francisco 3-2
St. Louis 0-5
American Football Conference
NY Jets 3-2
New England 3-2
San Diego 2-2
Kansas City 0-5
Based on the above information, in no particular order, here are the teams that I expected to be the NFC division winners, NY Giants, Minnesota, New Orleans and Arizona. My wild card teams were Philadelphia and Atlanta. As for the AFC, here are the teams that I expected to be the division winners, New England, Baltimore (I hate Pittsburgh, just can’t pick them to win the division even though it makes sense), Indianapolis, and Denver. The wild card teams were NY Jets, and….ughhh, ok, I guess I have to give them credit—Pittsburgh. The teams I expected to be in the Super Bowl this year, before my 4-week-long slumber party in the park, were the NY Giants and Baltimore. Why these teams?
Well, the Giants got off to a 5-0 start and had a 1.5 game lead on us, so I just did not think that the Eagles would be able to overcome all of that to win the division over the Giants. As far as Dallas goes, I refuse to give Wade Phillips any credit as a competent head coach at all and Tony Romo still has yet to win a playoff game. Plus I thought that the Eagles would sweep the Cowboys this year which would basically end any discussion that included Dallas in the playoffs. Guess I was wrong. Minnesota with a 5-0 start looked like that they would win that division if Fave-Rah managed to stay healthy. I figured that the NFC South was going to be a very close race and just picked New Orleans because of the 4-0 start that they had. Finally, I picked Arizona to repeat as the NFC West champs again simply because I did not have any faith that San Francisco would be able to hang onto the lead that they had. The 49er’s looked like they were responding to their new coach, who I like and think will be successful, but I thought they were still a young team and that this would be a year of growth for them. I thought that the Giants would have the best record in the NFC and therefore the road to the Super Bowl would go through them and figured that Fave-Rah would not hold up, so Minnesota wouldn’t be able to beat the Giants at home and that New Orleans wouldn’t be able to win outdoors in Giants Stadium either, which explains my pick for the Giants to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Why Baltimore? It looked like Indianapolis would finish with the best record in the AFC and that if any team could beat the Colts at home; the Ravens had the best chance to do that.
That was all then, 4 weeks ago. What about now? Now? Well, let’s look at the standings now, and then I’ll have some explanations and predictions for you that might get me committed to the mental ward at Norristown State.
National Football Conference
NY Giants 5-4
Green Bay 5-4
New Orleans 9-0
Tampa Bay 1-8
San Francisco 4-5
St. Louis 1-8
American Football Conference
New England 6-3
NY Jets 4-5
San Diego 6-3
Kansas City 2-7
Based upon the current standings, what I heard happened the past 4 weeks while I was sleeping, and what I think will happen in the next 7 weeks, the NFC Division champs will be Philadelphia (at least I think so, I mean, the scenario I came up with had a three-way tie between Philly, NY, and Dallas. I was able to eliminate NY but got a migraine trying to break the tie between Philly and Dallas.), Minnesota, New Orleans, and Arizona. The NFC wild card teams will be Dallas and Atlanta. I predict that the AFC division champs will be New England, Pittsburgh (I’m sick to my stomach thinking about that, but it is true, they will win that division.), Indianapolis, and Denver–truthfully, this pick came down to a coin flip because I think the winner will finish 10-6 or 9-7. The AFC wild card teams will be Cincinnati and Houston. I believe that the Super Bowl will feature Minnesota against Indianapolis.
I know, I know, you’re screaming out loud, “YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!!!” and asking me, “How could you possibly believe that Philly will win the NFC East?” I’ll tell you how. I think the Eagles will finish with a 5-2 record over the next 7 games making them 10-6. Same goes for the Giants, 5-2, 10-6 overall. Dallas has a tougher final 7 games than either the Eagles or the Giants, and I see the Cowboys finishing 4-3, making them 10-6 as well. That is where I get my three-way tie and figure that the Eagles win the division based upon all the tie-breaking rules that the NFL has, but like I said before, I got a migraine trying to figure it all out, therefore, I’m not certain that the Eagles would win the division if there is a three-way tie.
I’m certain that the Eagles will be in the playoffs. Unfortunately I just don’t see them going too far because I don’t think that they can beat a good team on the road which they will have to do at least once if not, twice or thrice.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants don’t make the playoffs. Four weeks ago I would have never thought I would have typed that last sentence. Hard to believe it might happen. The Eli I know and love is back. He was kidnapped by aliens two years ago and now he has returned. I’m so happy to have him back. Wooo! Hooo!
If Fave-Rah stays healthy I think that they can beat the Saints at the Superdome in New Orleans. That is why I see Minnesota representing the NFC in the Super Bowl rather than any of the other teams.
Cincinnati is for real. I think they finish 11-5 MAYBE even 12-4 (notice the big maybe?). Even though Pittsburgh is behind the Bengals in the standings, I think that Pittsburgh will win the division. I just don’t believe that Cincy knows what to do in the position that they are in, Pittsburgh has been there before. You know what I mean? That means that the team that wins this division will have 11 or 12 wins, possibly two teams could have 11 or 12 wins. Wow! With that said, if Cincy does win 11 or 12 games, I don’t think that they have enough experience to make a run to the Super Bowl. I could see them in the AFC championship game though. I have so much vitriol for Pittsburgh that I refuse to think that they have any shot at going to the Super Bowl, even when they will more than likely win 11 or 12 games this year. Do you know how you feel when someone scratches their fingernails on a chalkboard? That feeling you just got? That is the same feeling I get when I think about anything good happening for the Steelers.
So, I picked Indianapolis to go to the Super Bowl because
- I just don’t think that Cincy can beat them at home in a playoff game.
- I don’t like Pittsburgh and hate to have to even remotely acknowledge that they are a good team. I would not be too terribly upset if that city was permanently set on fire like Centralia, PA and eventually became a ghost town. Yinz might not like that though.
- I have an almost identical loathing for the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox as I do for Pittsburgh. However, I don’t wish for the city to burn perpetually. I like the city. Just don’t like any of their teams or their fans. They have forgotten what it is like to be a bunch of the biggest losers around and it is about time they started to remember what that feels like.
Three pretty simple reasons why I picked Indy to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Honestly, I’d much prefer to see the Bengals there instead of the Colts. I’m as big a fan of Peyton Manning and the Colts as I am of the French—especially after what happened the other night—but if I picked the Bengals to go to the Super Bowl I should be sent to a cuckoo’s nest. I wonder what I’ll say in another four weeks from now?