Well, we are now four weeks into the season and my football-prediction ministry needs to be revisited. What follows is a breakdown of the four divisions we are following this year, my original predictions, and a brief description of how things are working out. Remember, I do this for you so you won't look silly talking football with your friends or congregants, so pay attention...
This is the division I know most about. I am a Pats Fan, but here I have tried to be as objective as possible.
Originally I predicted that the Pats would win the division but it would be a close race between them, the Dolphins, and the Jets. I also felt the Dolphins were better than the Jets and that the Bills would donate their games toward inflating the records of the other three teams.
Which is to say that my predictions of Pats, Dolphins, Jets, then Bills are fairly close to the current situation, which features a tie for first (Pats and Jets) with the Dolphins one game behind and a Bills team that has lost to all three of its division opponents.
Now I am keeping with my original prediction. The Jets will fade a little as they become more dysfunctional toward the end of the year. The Dolphins will fix their special teams, and the Pats defense will grow and mature enough to stay in contention. Pats and Dolphins will still make the playoffs...
News The Pats have traded star Wide Receiver and general crowd-pleaser Randy Moss to the Vikings. Optimists believe this will affect the Vikings more than it will the Patriots, who have developing players to complement Wes Welker. Pessimists note that nobody can replace Moss and defenses will be able to better allocate their players against the Pats. Of course, now the Pats seem to be growing a teeny tiny running game...
Originally I predicted the Chargers with the Broncos coming a close second, then the two really, really bad teams--the Chiefs and Raiders--battling for last. I also said that the Chiefs would eventually prevail over the Raiders.
Now I am keeping with my original prediction. Yes, the Chiefs are undefeated, but they played some truly bad teams. They will win a few more, of course, but they will naturally start to fade. Still, they have proven that they are better than the Raiders, which is something. Also, the Broncos and Chargers are both only half a game out of first.
What to Watch: The Broncos' non-existent running game will eventually catch up to them. Right now Kyle Orton (again, not Tim Tebow) is leading the league in passing yards and pass attempts. However, there are red zone problems and Orton runs a serious risk of losing his arm before the bye week. The offense is out of balance. Orton's 11 yards rushing last Sunday led the team. This week starting RB Knowshon Moreno is back, but they are playing the frightening Ravens defense... Perhaps Tebow should start...as a tailback.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I picked (in descending order) 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, and Seahawks. The real standings at this point are Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks in a tie...and the 49ers winless.
Now I slink off to a corner and re-evaluate myself. Thank God I'm on sabbatical. Alex Smith is a mess. Singletary is too. I do think the Rams are for real, though. I also believe that the Cardinals are not. So today I decree that the Rams win the division, then the Cardinals, then the Seahawks. Of course, if any of the other of the three teams finds a quarterback, I am prepared to be wrong.
News Sam Bradford.
Originally I picked the Packers, Vikings, Lions, Bears
(sigh) OK, I was right about the Vikings and poor old Bret. I was also right about the Packers, who will win the division. HOWEVER, I was wrong to doubt Cutler and the injury to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford puts their ascendancy a bit beyond hope. Still, the Bears will fade a bit if Cutler does not play this week and I still think the Lions can make a run at the Pats on Turkey-day. so...
Now I say Packers, Bears, Vikings, Lions.
What to watch Will Randy Moss be the big difference in Minnesota? I actually think not. There are too many problems there. However, I think they will be happy to get him back and, perhaps, they will return to contention in the Wild Card race...
Here is a link (just scroll down) to my initial predictions, which can also be found under "Sports Pages"
There ya go. Now you can talk football...