How close were our NFL predictions?
AFC East - New England. New York Jets, Buffalo, Miami
Final: New England (10-6), Miami (9-7), Buffalo (5-11), NY Jets (4-12)
As I thought, the New England Patriots were the class of their division. In what could have been Bill Belichik's finest coaching performance, the Patriots overcame countless injuries to continue with their success, and were looking healthier and more focused towards the end of the season. Disappointment is the only word to describe the season for this division's other teams.
AFC North - Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Cleveland
Final: Cincinnati (11-5), Pittsburgh (11-5), Baltimore (6-10), Cleveland (6-10)
Carson Palmer had an MVP-type season and led the Bengals to their first division title in 15 years. Ben Roethlisberger still had a successful season despite struggling with injuries and will lead the Steelers into the playoffs.
AFC South - Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Houston, Tennessee
Final: Indianapolis (14-2), Jacksonville (12-4), Tennessee (4-12), Houston (2-14)
I expected the Colts to be the best team in the NFL, and they were. Indianapolis flirted with a perfect season, winning 13 straight games before losing their first. Peyton Manning and the Colts look poised to take advantage of their home field advantage throughout the playoffs and head to the Super Bowl.
AFC West - Kansas City, San Diego, Oakland, Denver
Final: Denver (13-3), Kansas City (10-6), San Diego (9-7), Oakland (4-12)
Wow, was I wrong here. The Broncos made a mockery of my last place predictions, and cruised to a first round bye in the playoffs. Jake Plummer enjoyed his best season as a professional, and will hope to upset the Colts in the playoffs.
NFC East - Philadelphia, Dallas, New York Giants, Washington
Final: New York Giants (11-5), Washington (10-6), Dallas (9-7), Philadelphia (6-10)
The Eagles finally had enough of Terrell Owens, suspending him and eventually releasing him after another incident detrimental to the team. The Owens fiasco combined with hernia troubles for Donovan McNabb led to the demise of the Eagles. The Giants took advantage of this, and led by Eli Manning enter the playoffs looking confident and looking like a realistic Super Bowl contender.
NFC North - Chicago, Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit
Final: Chicago (11-5), Minnesota (9-7), Detroit (5-11), Green Bay (4-12)
Reminiscent of the 1985 team, the Bears utilized their smothering defense to dominate a beleaguered division. The remaining teams in the division will all be looking for new head coaches in the off-season as their former coaches have all been fired. Packer's quarterback Brett Favre may have also played his final NFL game as well, as retirement is looming for the aging star.
NFC South - Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, New Orleans
Final: Tampa Bay (11-5), Carolina (11-5), Atlanta (8-8), New Orleans (3-13)
Surprisingly the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked great all year and took home the division title for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in 2003. Carolina displayed flashes of brilliance as well and look very capable at walking into Detroit for Super Bowl XL.
NFC West - St. Louis, Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco
Final: Seattle (13-3), St. Louis (6-10), Arizona (5-11), San Francisco (4-12)
OK, I messed this prediction up as well. The Seahawks were the class of the NFC, and will have home field advantage all through the playoffs. Running back Shaun Alexander made NFL history as well when he broke the NFL record for most touchdowns in a season with 28 and should take home MVP honours for his accomplishments.
Super Bowl - Indianapolis (14-2) v. Carolina (11-5)
With the Eagles eliminated from playoff contention, the NFC team that the Colts will beat up on will be the Carolina Panthers. The Colts enjoyed a near record-breaking season, and I do not see any team in the NFL that will be able to stop this fine-tuned group.