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2010 NFL Preview: Packers and Ravens Will Rule The Day

Posted on September 08, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay faithful should have lots to celebrate in 2010.

A year ago I made the bold prediction that the Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers would meet in the Super Bowl. As it turns out, I think I may have had the right picks, just the wrong season. Both the Ravens and Packers enter the 2010 season as good bets to be playing in the House That Jerry Built come February.

It won’t be easy for either team as both conferences include a number of teams with enough weapons capable of making a run toward the post season. Plus, being that this is the NFL, you can always bet on at least one team that struggled a year ago to be in the playoff mix.

Here are my picks for 2010:


NFC East: Some are predicting that the Dallas Cowboys could become the first team ever to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium. With a solid quarterback in Tony Romo, a strong running game and one of the best defensive players in the league in DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys definitely have the weapons to make a run. However, under Wade Phillips the Cowboys have generally come up a bit short in big games and I don’t know that they have the full stable of talented players needed to be a Super Bowl team. They should win the division as the New York Giants have, at-best, Wild Card talent and the Eagles and Redskins both look to be a year away from contending. However, with a veteran coach and veteran quarterback, the Redskins could be a candidate for making a big turnaround in 2010.

Who Will Win the NFC Championship?

  • Dallas Cowboys (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Green Bay Packers (33%, 1 Votes)
  • New Orleans Saints (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Atlanta Falcons (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Minnesota Vikings (0%, 0 Votes)
  • San Francisco 49ers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Other (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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NFC South: For seven straight years the team that has finished last in the NFC South one year has reached the playoffs the next. That streak will likely end this season as there is little likelihood that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reach the post season. Each of the other three teams in this division have a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs. As the defending Super Bowl champs, the Saints are the likely pick in the division, but while they have one of the best offenses in football the defense is a question mark, especially now that Pro Bowl defensive back Darren Sharper will miss much of the season with injuries. Atlanta, which last season posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in team history, should make it three in a row this year. The Carolina Panthers have a question mark at quarterback, but enough talent at other positions to make a run.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will have the tough challenge of repeating as Super Bowl champs in 2010.

NFC North: The battle between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings has become one of the most interesting in football. Already a great rivalry, the Brett Favre situation has made it even more intense. Last year the Vikings had the upper hand, but look for Green Bay to even things out this time around. Aaron Rodgers has moved into the upper echelon of quarterbacks and has a plethora of weapons. The question for the Packers will be whether their defense can play well enough to keep the offense from having to outscore their opponents every week. Last season the decision by Brett Favre to join the Vikings made them an immediate Super Bowl contender. Though most people expected him to return this year, the expectations for the Vikings seem to have been tempered a little. Until Favre proves that he is completely healthy and able to play at the same level as in 2009, the Vikings will be a question mark. The Chicago Bears spent a lot of money in the offseason, but will be fortunate to match their total of seven wins a year ago. The Detroit Lions are better than last season, but will still have a double digit loss season.

NFC West: The strange saga of Matt Leinart has overshadowed all other news in the weakest division in the NFC. Arizona will still be a contender, but the loss of key performers on both sides of the ball will make it difficult for them to claim a third straight division crown. The San Francisco 49ers have been improving ever since Mike Singletary became the head coach and should finally reach the playoffs in 2010. Sam Bradford will be interesting to watch with the St. Louis Rams, but he will take a lot of lumps until they are able to give him enough protection to show his stuff. The move by Pete Carroll back to the NFL was surprising until NCAA sanctions hit USC. He joins a team that still has a solid starting quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, but will need some significant retooling before they are ready to contend.


Who Will Win the AFC Championship?

  • Baltimore Ravens (100%, 2 Votes)
  • Indianapolis Colts (0%, 0 Votes)
  • New England Patriots (0%, 0 Votes)
  • New York Jets (0%, 0 Votes)
  • San Diego Chargers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Tennessee Titans (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Other (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Mark Sanchez showed as a rookie that he can be a big-game quarterback in the NFL.

AFC East: Many are predicting that this will be the year the New England Patriots return to earth and the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins rise to the top of the division. New York made a surprising run to the AFC Championship Game a year ago, but made some curious offseason moves. A team that depends on the running game, letting Thomas Jones go and signing LaDainian Tomlinson is at best a wash and likely a step back at that position. The Jets also have question marks on the offensive line and at receiver. The defense should again be good, but will they be able to maintain the high level they displayed a year ago? The Dolphins added a big target for quarterback Chad Henne in receiver Brandon Marshall. Defense will also be the key for them. Conventional wisdom is that New England no longer has enough elite talent to contend for the Super Bowl. However, as long as they have Tom Brady under center, Randy Moss catching passes and Bill Belichick calling the shots, the Patriots must still be considered a threat. It looks like it will be another lost season for the Buffalo Bills, but rookie C.J. Spiller could be the best rookie in the league.

AFC South: The Indianapolis Colts have won at least 12 games every season since 2003, including 14 victories a year ago. That streak should remain in tack in 2010 as Peyton Manning and the Colts should again be among the elite teams in the NFL. As usual, the key to their season will be the play of their defense. Another team who will achieve success if their defense plays well is the Tennessee Titans. Though the offense has Chris Johnson and Vince Young, it is the defense that will determine if they can get back to the top of the AFC after winning only eight games a year ago. The Houston Texans will also contend for a playoff spot, but have the misfortune of playing in such a strong division. The Jacksonville Jaguars could be a surprise team in 2010, but also could be looking for a new coach midway through the year if things start off slow.

Ray Rice is one of the best all-around backs in the NFL.AFC North: The recent addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh gives the Baltimore Ravens another big weapon for developing quarterback Joe Flacco. The combination of an improved passing attack and running back Ray Rice make the Ravens offense one of the toughest in football to defense. The Baltimore defense should again be among the best in the league, though injuries have depleted their depth even before the season has started. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the first quarter of the season without their starting quarterback, which will make it tough for them to improve on their 9-7 record from a year ago. The Cincinnati Bengals have a talented team and are the defending division champions, but seem to always be a team teetering on the edge. The combination of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco could give Carson Palmer a tremendous set of weapons or a tremendous headache, depending on whether both players are getting enough balls thrown in their direction. The Cleveland Browns will probably be slightly better than a year ago, but their division doesn’t make a major turnaround appear likely.

AFC West: Though they have lost some talented players from recent teams, the San Diego Chargers still appear to be the class of this below-average division. The Oakland Raiders are probably the second best team in the division, though still have a number of weaknesses. This needs to be the season that Darren McFadden proves that he is an elite NFL running back. The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos are both mediocre teams, but look for one of them to hang around as a contender through the first half of the season.



Division Champions: Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers
Wild Cards: Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints
NFC Champion: Green Bay Packers


Division Champions: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers
Wild Cards: New York Jets, Tennessee Titans
AFC Champions: Baltimore Ravens

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