2010 NFL Season Predictions

Aug. 12, 2010 - Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America - Aug 12, 2010: Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis ( ) enjoys the pregame introductions. The Ravens led the Carolina Panthers 10-3 at the half as the teams played their first preseason game at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.

2010 NFL Division Previews & Predictions: AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West | NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West | 2010 Question Marks Series

We’re just days away from the 2010 NFL season opener, which means there’s no better time to make playoff and Super Bowl predictions when no team has even taken a snap yet.

Who doesn’t love being illogical?

Click the links above if you want to read detailed previews for all 32 teams. In this article, you’ll get more prediction and less gab, although seriously, don’t shortchange me here – go check out the individual previews.

All right, I’ve already wasted enough time – let’s get nasty.

AFC East:

1. Patriots
2. Dolphins
3. Jets
4. Bills

Now that Darrelle Revis is back at practice for the Jets, I admit that a small part of me wants to flip the Dolphins and Jets. But I’m going to trust my gut and say that everybody’s chic pick in the NFL this year will take a step back because of Mark Sanchez. And while I have the Pats finishing first, their lack of a pass rush is a massive concern and I wouldn’t be shocked if they fizzled in the postseason again like last year (or miss the postseason altogether, for that matter). The Dolphins are my sleeper to make the postseason thanks to the additions of Brandon Marshall and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, while the Bills are rebuilding from the top down and it’s going to take awhile.

AFC North:

1. Ravens
2. Bengals
3. Steelers
4. Browns

Although they have some major issues in their secondary, the Ravens are largely the same team that went into Foxboro last year and destroyed the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs. With Joe Flacco heading into his third year (plus the addition of Anqaun Boldin), I love Baltimore’s potenital. The Bengals are going to challenge for first place again after winning the division last year and while I don’t think the Steelers are going to make much noise, I wouldn’t count them out either. The Browns are rebuilding the right way and will surprise people with their defensive play, but they don’t have nearly enough playmakers on offense to be competitive on a weekly basis.

AFC South:

1. Colts
2. Texans
3. Titans
4. Jaguars

The Colts are once again the class of the division, but the Texans and Titans will give them four tough games this season. Tennessee is closer to Houston than people think in terms of competing for a Wild Card spot, although both teams have major question marks on defense. The Jags aren’t pitiful like most projected fourth-place finishers are, but they lack an identity.

AFC West:

1. Chargers
2. Broncos
3. Chiefs
4. Raiders

If the Broncos had Elivs Dumervil (torn pec/out for the year) and more playmakers on offense, I would have seriously considered moving them to the top of the division. But they’re going to struggle generating a pass-rush and they have little to no explosion on offense. I think best case scenario they finish no better then 8-8. That means San Diego returns to the top of the heap and while they’re clearly the best in the division, they have a ton of question marks thanks to some decisions made by GM A.J. Smith this offseason. The Chiefs and Raiders could be improved and I wouldn’t doubt either of them could finishing second, but they’re a little further away from competing then people think.

Feb 07, 2010 - Miami Gardens, Florida, USA - PEYTON MANNING waits for the pre-game coin flip at Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium.

AFC Playoff Teams:

1. Ravens
2. Colts
3. Patriots
4. Chargers
5. Bengals
6. Dolphins

I’m taking a big risk assuming Baltimore’s secondary is going to hold up, although I’m enticed by this team’s Super Bowl chances this season. The Bengals aren’t flashy, but between them and the Jets I think New York is the team to disappoint after making the playoffs last season. As I wrote above in the AFC East prediction paragraph, Miami is my sleeper in the AFC.

NFC East:

1. Cowboys
2. Eagles
3. Giants
4. Redskins

The Cowboys have the most talent in the division, which is why they should come out on top once again. However, this team loves to get in its own way, so fans shouldn’t be making Super Bowl plans quite yet. Obviously, the biggest question in Philadelphia is whether or not Kevin Kolb can replace Donovan McNabb. If he can, the Eagles have one of the deepest teams in football and could easily make a return trip to the postseason. The Giants thankfully booted defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan and replaced him with Perry Fewell, but to assume all of their problems will just disappear is naïve. The Redskins will be more competitive with Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan leading the way, but offensive line, running back and wide receiver trouble will hold them back again this year.

NFC North:

1. Packers
2. Vikings
3. Bears
4. Lions

This may turn out to be the most competitive division in football, with three of the four teams competing for playoff berths down the stretch. The Packers are the most complete team in the division, although now that Lord Favre is back in Minnesota, the Vikings are going to be powerful once again. But because of their secondary, Green Bay has the edge as long as their O-line can hold up. The Bears seem to be a lot of people’s sleeper team, but their offensive line and secondary scares me, as does the prospect of Jay Cutler throwing 60 interceptions in Mike Martz’s offense. The Lions are improving, but the lack of overall talent keeps them down again.

NFC South:

1. Saints
2. Falcons
3. Panthers
4. Buccaneers

Consistency leads me to choose the Saints over the Falcons again this year, but there’s no doubt Atlanta can match up with their biggest division rival. The key is whether or not the Falcons’ secondary has improved with the addition of Dunta Robinson and if their ever-improving pass rush can build off of an impressive showing this preseason. The battle between the Saints and Falcons for first place in the South could be one the most exciting aspects of the 2010 season. At the bottom of the division, the Panthers and Buccaneers are relying on inexperienced starters on both sides of the ball and while they’ll give teams some trouble, they won’t be able to compete for 16 games.

NFC West:

1. 49ers
2. Cardinals
3. Seahawks
4. Rams

Ugh. This is the worst division in football and if the 49ers can’t take advantage of it now, then they probably never will. (Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, but you get my drift.) Mike Singletary’s squad is the team to beat in the West, even though they have questions at quarterback and along the offensive line. I think the Cardinals could surprise if Derek Anderson can revert back to 2008 when he almost led the Browns to the playoffs, although they still have problems on the line and D.A. was atrocious in his final year in Cleveland. The Seahawks are a mystery team and could very well compete in Pete Carroll’s first year, but they have issues at receiver, along the offensive line and in the secondary. The Rams are awful, but an improving offense (save for the receiver position) led by rookie Sam Bradford offers hope for the future.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints hands quarterback Drew Brees #9 the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NFC Playoff Teams:

1. Saints
2. Packers
3. Cowboys
4. 49ers
5. Falcons
6. Eagles

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Saints play with a target on their back, especially when they have a couple of big questions left to be answered on defense (i.e. run defense, outside linebacker, free safety). But with Drew Brees and Sean Payton in charge of the offense, New Orleans will once again be lethal offensively. The Packers are more complete from top to bottom (albeit, their two tackles have to stay healthy for that statement to carry any validity) as of right now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they own the top spot come playoff time. The obvious omission here is the Vikings, whom like the Jets in the AFC, I see disappointing in 2010.

Wild Card Playoff Predictions:

Patriots OVER Dolphins
Bengals OVER Chargers

Eagles OVER 49ers
Falcons OVER Cowboys

Divisional Playoff Predictions:

Colts OVER Patriots
Ravens OVER Bengals

Falcons OVER Saints
Packers OVER Eagles

Championship Predictions:

Ravens OVER Colts
Packers OVER Falcons

Super Bowl Prediction:

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 51-45 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Packers OVER Ravens

(My cohort here at The Scores Report and huge Green Bay fan John Paulsen just spit his White Russian all over his computer screen reading that projection or wet himself…or both.)

Again, I’m taking a big leap of faith that the Ravens’ secondary can overachieve and that the Packers’ offensive line won’t be held together by duct tape by Week 8, but these are my predictions and I’m sticking with them.

What are yours?

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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