The NFL season is up-and-coming and this year is going to be full of excitement. With the NFL Lockout finally over, things may be different this year after all the time that was off for the players. Can the Packers repeat? Can the Steelers avoid the Super Bowl hangover? Are the Eagles good enough for the hype?

Here's what I think in the 2011 FootBasket annual NFL season preview!

Records Predictions Division-By-Divison

AFC North

1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

Joe Flacco is getting older and he is getting better. But the big question is: Can he finally pull it through when it comes in the big moments? Can he finally lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl?

Baltimore lost some key offensive weapons like Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, and more. However, they got another veteran back in Ricky Williams to accommodate Ray Rice, who I expect to have another big year.

The Ravens also got Lee Evans, a veteran receiver to help fill the role of Derrick Mason, who left for the New York Jets. The team picked up loads of young receives such as Torrey Smith and Titus Young. But the big sleeper is Tandon Doss, who has the best hands in college football according to many ESPN experts and I expect him to be a rookie sleeper.

The defensive side of the ball is already good, but I think this team is ready to go for next year.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)

The Steelers came oh-so-close of the Super Bowl but fell as the Packers were declared champions. Ben Roethlisberger struggled, despite the injury. From the last two Super Bowl appearances by the Steelers in 2006 and 2009; they have a "Super Bowl hangover" the next season, struggling. I think the same thing will happen this year for Pittsburgh, sadly.

3. Cleveland Browns (9-7)

I think the Steelers squeak by Cleveland because of a division win, which is why they'll be behind them in the AFC North. However, the Browns will be much better than last season as I think Peyton Hillis will be better and Colt McCoy will be improved. They have the tools to become a playoff-contender.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14)

Things are not looking for Cincy. They basically lost everybody and they will have to rely on basically Andy Dalton, Cedric Benson, and A.J. Green on offense. However, I do expect a pretty good rookie year from Green and hopefully Benson can bring back his strong running game. Carson Palmer is out of the question, so it's up to Dalton to learn on his own. Cincy is in for a terrible season.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)

Many think the Colts will struggle this season because of Peyton Manning and his neck injury. At 35, he isn't getting any better but I still think Manning is the best quarterback in the league and will still be able to dominate. He'll be back for Week One, I know that. They got Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana as great O-Line pick-ups to pave the way for Addai on offense. Dallas Clark will be back as well as Austin Collie, both who suffered from injuries. Indy also got some solid pick-ups like Tommie Harris and Ernie Sims on defense. The big question will be is if their secondary can take control, especially with Kelvin Hayden gone. Adding to that, can they still contend in the playoffs?

2. Houston Texans (9-7)

The Houston Texans are in for a great year, in my opinion. Although the record may not look like it, their offense will be clicking. They were very poor on defense last year, which led to the disappointing season, but with Wade Phillips in as defensive coordinator, the 3-4 defense could maybe help Houston. Matt Schaub is in for a solid year with Andre Johnson. Arian Foster will not be the only one having a solid year, as Ben Tate will finally get a chance to show off his skills too to create a one-two punch here in Houston.

3. Tennessee Titans (6-10)

The Titans are in rebuilding mode with Jake Locker as their prized quarterback for the future. Matt Hasselbeck will be their man for next year. Let's hope Kenny Britt can produce for the receiving game. And once Chris Johnson gets his big contract, can he play like he deserves it? Could he produce another 2,000-yard season, or something close to it? We'll see.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)

The Jaguars aren't looking too good. Blaine Gabbert is in, but David Garrard will still be starter. There are some burning questions about Maurice Jones-Drew's health, but I think he'll be fine. The departure of Mike Sims-Walker is a big blow to the team. But no matter what happens, this team does not appear to be heading in the right direction for next season.

AFC East

1. New York Jets (12-4)

Rex Ryan could finally lead the Jets to the Super Bowl this time, but can he get past the AFC Championship? It's been a problem for him and NY for the past two seasons, losing to the Colts and the Steelers in the big conference game. Mark Sanchez is improved and the additions of Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason are definitely helpful. Can LaDainian Tomlinson produce another solid year and can Shonn Greene improve? Jets are looking like they are going in the right direction.

2. New England Patriots (11-5)

Yes, this will be the year the Patriots WILL NOT win the AFC East. The Jets are taking over, but New England still has the main pieces with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, so anything's possible. Chad OchoCinco and Albert Haynesworth were some solid pick-ups as well. Can a Brady-Ochocinco tandem produce like what happened when Moss was there? We'll see, but New England is still a playoff-team.

3. Miami Dolphins (9-7)

The Dolphins are my surprise team for this season. They look like they can be a playoff-contending team. But the question is: Is Chad Henne the real deal? This is the make-it-or-break-it season for the Dolphins quarterback if he can lead this team to success or not. Reggie Bush was a solid acquisition. This team looks to do very well.

4. Buffalo Bills (6-10)

There's really nothing to exciting about the Bills, but they get the job done for some reason. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not that bad at QB, and with Stevie Johnson still there, the passing game looks pretty good. Fred Jackson will still be running. C.J. Spiller was in for a prized season, but was a disappointment so I expect him to do a lot better this year, in my opinion. Buffalo is still rebuilding, but they got the tools needed for success.

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers (13-3)

Surprised? You should be. You must think I am crazy out of my mind to pick the Chargers to have the best record in the AFC. But yes, this is what I am doing for sure. The AFC West will be much stronger this season, but it's still going to be tough. With Phillip Rivers under QB, I think he'll finally be in for an MVP-like season, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, and Malcolm Floyd are still there and the running back tandem of Tolbert-and-Matthews looks unstoppable! This looks like a bright year for San Diego!

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

The Chiefs will finish the same record as last season, but they'll still be good. Matt Cassel will have a solid year and Jamaal Charles could make a claim for the best running back in the league. Overall, it seems like the Chiefs will be back in the playoffs again. Also, Dwyane Bowe is in for a great year, too.

3. Oakland Raiders (8-8)

The Raiders will still finish around the same as last season. Jason Campbell will be the starting quarterback, but can he produce? The team also picked up Terrelle Pryor, who I think should play tight end. Will he play different positions? We'll see. The McFadden-Bush tandem still seems good up-in-the-air. Hue Jackson is gonna help this team rebuild. What I really want to see is a good year from Darrius Heyward-Bey, though.

4. Denver Broncos (4-12)

Yep, the Broncos will have another bad season. The quarterback mix up is ugly, but Kyle Orton will be the starter. God knows what Tim Tebow is gonna do this year. What about Knownshon Moreno? Can he get a big year this year? Von Miller looks to make a claim for defensive rookie of the year. The receiving game for Denver looks to be solid if the Orton-Brandon Lloyd connection can click like last season. But Denver is gonna do pretty bad to say it nicely.


NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)

This is a no-brainer here. The Super Bowl champions are in for a big season, in my opinion, and Aaron Rodgers looks to put up MVP numbers. The question is: Can Ryan Grant come back from last year's injury? Green Bay relied a lot on passing last season and they need to get run game going with Grant and James Starks. The passing game is good to go with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and James Jones. And don't forget about Jermichael Finley! Clay Matthews is gonna light it up on defense. Overall, a good year coming for Green Bay.

2. Detroit Lions (10-6)

Shocked? You shouldn't be. Matthew Stafford is healthy and ready to go. It was a pre-season game last night, but the Detroit Lions literally just destroyed New England, who had their first team all the way up to the third quarter! That's saying something, especially when they beat them 34-10. This defense is going to be electric! Jahvid Best may have a great sophomore year and good numbers are coming out from Calvin Johnson. This is gonna be a revival year for Detroit.

3. Chicago Bears (8-8)

I like Jay Cutler. He's gonna have a good season, but the Chicago Bears as a whole? Not so much. They did pick up Roy Williams, but Cutler still doesn't have the best targets. Matt Forte will be running the ball well. It's just going to be one of those seasons for Chi-Town.

4. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

They did pick up Donovan McNabb, but it won't be enough. Minnesota is just not good enough and ready enough for a playoff appearance. As expected, Adrian Peterson will have a good year. Watch out for the solid tandems coming up with McNabb to Berrian or Harvin. That is going to be fun to watch. Also expect a resurrected season from Visanthe Shiancoe.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

The Saints were shocked by the Seahawks last season, but they look to be much better this year. Drew Brees did have 33 touchdowns, but his interception count was still pretty high at 22! He's going to be a little more careful this season when throwing the ball. The addition of Mark Ingram helps a lot, too. The Saints will be back to reclaiming the NFC South this season.

2. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)

The Falcons will tie with the Saints, but will lose an important divisional match-up, which makes them fall to second place in the standings in the NFC South. Matt Ryan is poised for another big year and Michael Turner looks to produce enough on the ground. Roddy White will still be dominant at receiver, too. And don't forget about rookie Julio Jones. What I worry about is Tony Gonzalez, who is aging. Atlanta finished best in the NFC, but got destroyed in the playoffs. They need to be much more prepared coming this playoff-time.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

The Buccaneers look like they'll have a big year with an improved Josh Freeman and Mike Williams, but it'll be one of those seasons, like the Chicago Bears had. LeGarrette Blount will be churning the yards even more for the Bucs on the ground this year. But it's not going to be enough for a playoff-berth in Tampa Bay.

4. Carolina Panthers (4-12)

They got Cam Newton, who has looked fairly well in the pre-season. He looks like a good candidate for rookie of the year, in my opinion. He will have his moments this year, but the Panthers will still be in rebuilding mode. The running game for this team will be one of the bests with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Newton just makes it more dangerous. And with Steve Smith back, it helps even more.

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)

Despite all the free-agent acquisitions, the Eagles won't finish best in the league. There are like the Miami Heat of the NFL. They don't live up to the hype completely in the regular season, but they do just enough in the playoffs. Michael Vick will have another great year, as well as the run-game with McCoy and Brown. The wide receivers are too much to handle with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Steve Smith. The defense is even more deadly with Jenkins on the line. But there's also Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. This is gonna be a crazy year for Philly!

2. New York Giants (10-6)

Eli Manning will have an underrated season. Brandon Jacobs will revive himself, helping out Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield. Steve Smith was a big loss, but they still have Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, but poised for breakout seasons. Giants will make the playoffs and squeak by the Cowboys who are behind them.

3. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

The Cowboys have Tony Romo back, but it might take a while for things to gel. Jason Garrett is the new coach, and he helped out big last season. He's surely gonna make this team back into playoff-contenders this season. I see Felix Jones in for an awesome season and let's not forget about Marion Barber and Tashard Choice. Dez Bryant will have a big year, too.

4. Washington Redskins (7-9)

Despite what people say, I actually think Rex Grossman could have a decent year as well as the Redskins as a whole. The running back situation is a big question with Ryan Torain, Tim Hightower, and Roy Helu, but things will get worked out. Santana Moss is still here, so that'll help out a lot too.

NFC West

1. St. Louis Rams (11-5)

I really don't care what about what happens in this division, but this may be the toughest division for this season. All of these teams have legitimate shots to make the playoffs! But the Rams will be out on top led by Sam Bradford. Steven Jackson will be awesome on the running game as usual. But the big addition is Mike Sims-Walker, who'll definitely help out Bradford. Chris Long is in for a breakout season, having more than a solid eight sacks he had last year. Great year coming for St. Louis.

2. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

Kevin Kolb is going to fit well in Arizona, in my opinion. He's going to have a solid tandem here with Larry Fitzgerald, who signed a mega-deal recently this week. Beanie Wells is going to need to produce well enough on the ground, though, however. The team also has Patrick Peterson on defense. AZ is going to be back into their Super Bowl form sooner than later.

3. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

With the rebuilding going on, I think Pete Carroll can still make this team look good this season. I think Tarvaris Jackson will have a good season with Sidney Rice and Mike Williams to throw to, as well as Zach Miller. And let's not forget Marshawn Lynch on the ground. But can Aaron Curry finally have a good year for the Seahawks? He is turning into bust form now and needs to be that intimidating linebacker the Seahawks hoped he could be. He needs to step it up.

4. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)

Jim Harbaugh will be able to turn this team around. I really don't know what he is going to do with Alex Smith. It seems like no one can fix him. But Harbaugh is a quarterback guru, who helped mentored guys such as Stanford's Andrew Luck. Maybe he can finally make Smith look like a first-overall pick like he was six years ago when he was drafted? We'll see. Braylon Edwards will help, but Michael Crabtree needs to step it up. Vernon Davis will also do well along with Frank Gore on the ground. The 49ers are heading into the right direction though.

Playoff Predictions

So here is how the playoffs will turn out.

But first, here are the playoff-standings:


  1. San Diego Chargers (13-3)
  2. New York Jets (12-4)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
  5. New England Patriots (11-5)
  6. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)
  3. New Orleans Saints (11-5)
  4. St. Louis Rams (11-5)
  5. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
  6. New York Giants (10-6)
Now for the playoff-predictions:

Wild Card:

Colts (12-5) beat Chiefs (10-7)
Patriots (12-5) beat Ravens (11-6)
Saints (12-5) beat Giants (10-7)
Falcons (12-5) beat Rams (11-6)

Divisional Round:

Chargers (14-3) beat Patriots (12-6)
Colts (13-5) beat Jets (12-5)
Falcons (13-5) beat Packers (13-4)
Eagles (13-4) beat Saints (12-6)

Conference Championship (Biased Version)

Colts (14-5) beat Chargers (14-4)
Eagles (14-4) beat Falcons (13-6)

Conference Championship (Un-Biased Version)

Chargers (15-3) beat Colts (13-6)
Eagles (14-4) beat Falcons (13-6)

Conference Championship (Not-So-Biased Version)

Colts (14-5) beat Chargers (14-4)
Eagles (14-4) beat Falcons (13-6)

Super Bowl (Biased Version)

Colts (15-5) beat Eagles (14-5)

Super Bowl (Un-Biased Version) 

Eagles (15-5) beat Chargers (15-4)

Super Bowl (Not-So Biased Version) 

Colts or Eagles win.


MVP: Phillip Rivers
Offensive Player: Aaron Rodgers
Defensive Player: Mario Williams
Offensive Rookie: Julio Jones
Defensive Rookie: Von Miller
Comeback Player: Jermichael Finley

And that's that for this year's NFL season preview. I'll come back here in February to review.

Enjoy this season of football!


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