The 2010 NFL regular season is upon us, so time for some predictions. It’s always fun to try and look ahead to January/February, as the NFL can be both very predictable (go ahead, pick Peyton Manning to be MVP. I’d like your odds.) and rather crazy (see the Giants & Broncos of 2009). Also, this is a great chance for all of you to come at me around Valentine’s Day with your “what the hell were you thinking?!?” comments.
Most overrated football team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Let me see if I understand this. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin pretty much flipped a coin in order to choose between quarterbacks Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon. Dixon gets the start as the Steelers take on the Falcons, Titans and Ravens. It’s not entirely out of the question that Pittsburgh could start the 2010 campaign 1-3. Tomlin has even hinted that Roethlisberger may not have a job upon his reinstatement. Unstable locker room environment. Unproven quarterback. Three difficult contests in team’s first four games. Playing in the same division as the Ravens and Bengals. Tell me again why the Steelers are a “sexy” Super Bowl pick?
Most underrated football team: New England Patriots
My, how the tables have turned. Heading into the 2010 NFL season, the country is abuzz regarding the New York Jets, the Dolphins are a popular pick and the Patriots are merely an afterthought. I wouldn’t sleep on an offense containing Tom Brady, Randy Moss and a Wes Welker that’s still recovering. Now I know what you’re going to say. “Their defense is terrible.” No, the Pats’ defense just isn’t very good. It doesn’t have to be with this offense, though. Disrespecting this proven champion would be an epic mistake.
2010 NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Throwing for over 4,000 yards is becoming a seasonal habit for Rodgers, now unquestionably one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Some players are said to “get better” with every game. Rodgers seems to improve after about every four downs, and there’s no reason to believe the 26 year old QB has hit his peak. How ironic will it be if Rodgers wins the MVP Award the same year that Hollywood Brett Favre is finally forced to retire due to old age and injuries?
Division champions: Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Chargers, Cowboys, Packers, Falcons, 49ers
Wild Card teams:Dolphins, Bengals, Giants, Vikings
Super Bowl XLV: Baltimore Ravens defeat Green Bay Packers
The Baltimore Ravens aren’t going to break NFL scoring records in 2010, but they enter the regular season with the most well-rounded offense in the entire AFC (that’s right, I said it). Many people have running back Ray Rice, a God among mere mortals, winning the 2010 NFL MVP Award. Quarterback Joe Flacco is getting to that “hey, this guy’s pretty good” level, and having Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and a T.J. Houshmandzadeh with a chip on his shoulder should help Flacco’s development.
Doubters will point to the fact that the Ravens defense, one that will be missing Ed Reed for at least the first six weeks of the season, is weaker than in previous seasons. Those people are correct, but Baltimore’s defense won’t be giving up 30 points a game during 2010. It also doesn’t hurt that the 2010 Ravens have the best offense in the history of the franchise.
Oh yeah, and John Harbaugh will win Coach of the Year.
What we’ll learn after the 2010 NFL season is done: The Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and, yes, the Cleveland Browns are going in the right direction. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers are not.
Jack Del Rio, Gary Kubiak, John Fox, Josh McDaniels and Lovie Smith will be unemployed by Valentine’s Day 2011. Tom Cable, Eric Mangini and Tom Coughlin will not.
And Gus Johnson will remain the best announcer in all of sports.
More from Associated Content: 2010 Giants preview, 2010 Browns preview, Go away Brett
More from me: Follow ZacWassink on Twitter