I wanted to pick the New England Patriots to Threepeat -- oops, sorry, Pat Riley -- I really did.
But I couldn't. It's not that I don't think they have the talent to do so, and I certainly don't think the coaching-staff defections will hurt all that much. It's just that winning three Super Bowls in a row just doesn't happen in the modern NFL, or any NFL for that matter.
Picking the chalk team in New England to win it all again just isn't sexy. I like sexy. So the pick to win the Super Bowl this year is sexy in an Angelina Jolie sort of way: dirty and nasty, but still alluring nonetheless.
|Randy Moss is about to have a big season. (AP)|
They play dirty and they act nasty, but their offense is as sexy as they come.
Watching Randy Moss and Jerry Porter catching bombs from Kerry Collins will make those Daryl Lamonica to Warren Wells days come back into focus for the Raiders and owner Al Davis, who probably thinks Wells is still on his roster for all we know.
Oakland will win the AFC West, win two playoff games and then beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl for the second time in history.
The Eagles are the class of the NFC, which is why they will return to the game for the second consecutive year and make it five championship games in a row. Move over, Buffalo Bills, you have company on that lose-the-big-game train.
In the end, if our past preseason picking is an indication, the Patriots will probably find a way to get the rings again. The Colts will probably be right there with them, and the Raiders will be picking up the pieces of a below-.500 season with coach Norv Turner being summoned to Big Al's office come January.
For now, though, we're sticking with the Raiders and Eagles in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
Anybody know where Kenny King is these days? Rod Martin?
Division and playoff predictions
AFC East: Patriots, Bills, Jets, Dolphins.
AFC South: Jaguars, Colts, Texans, Titans.
AFC North: Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Browns.
AFC West: Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers.
NFC East: Eagles, Giants, Cowboys, Redskins.
NFC South: Panthers, Falcons, Saints, Bucs.
NFC North: Vikings, Bears, Packers, Lions.
NFC West: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, 49ers.
AFC wild cards: Colts, Ravens.
NFC wild cards: Falcons, Saints.
AFC Championship Game: Raiders over Jaguars.
NFC Championship Game: Eagles over Panthers.
Super Bowl: Raiders over Eagles.
MVP: Randy Moss, Raiders. Watch the amazing numbers he puts up in the Oakland system. With the Raiders the choice to win it all, somebody has to be the MVP. Moss is that guy. Watch how much the Vikings miss him.
Offensive player of the year: Moss. He will have 100 catches and 16 touchdowns. And make us that love the deep passing game and smile a lot.
Defensive player of the year: Julius Peppers, Carolina. He's poised to put up huge sack numbers. Could the sack record be ready to fall?
Coach of the year: Dennis Green, Cardinals. The Cardinals will win the NFC West, which is quite a feat for a franchise that has had so many losing seasons. That's good enough to get Green coach of the year.
Offensive rookie of the year: Kyle Orton. The Chicago Bears rookie is a favorite of ours. He has the look of someone special.
Defensive rookie of the year: Mike Patterson, DT, Eagles. We've loved this guy for a long time, so we're sticking with him. He's a big reason the Eagles let Corey Simon walk.
Most-improved player: Bob Sanders, S, Colts. He'll be going to the Pro Bowl if he stays healthy.
Comeback player of the year: Steve McNair, QB, Titans. He'll bounce back from an injury-plagued season to have a Pro Bowl type year. He'll need to because the Titans are so young.
Step-back player: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers. Something isn't right. In 2004, he was being billed as the next great quarterback. So far this summer, he has looked awful. He's better than that, but he isn't nearly as good as his press clippings from 2004 just yet.
Step-back team: San Diego Chargers. They had a great season in 2004, but the feeling here is that it was more of an aberration than a trend. I still have questions about Drew Brees.
Team on the rise: Arizona Cardinals. They will win the NFC West. But it will be the defense that plays a bigger part in it than people expect.
Best free-agent pickup: Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals. He is far from washed up. You wait and see.
Worst free-agent pickup: Sammy Knight, S, Chiefs. Teams will throw over the top of him a bunch. He's a big hitter who doesn't have good cover skills.
|NFL Preview Series|
|Aug. 22: AFC East||Sept. 2: Toughest WRs to cover|
|Aug. 23: NFC East||Sept. 2: Toughest CBs to beat|
|Aug. 24: AFC North||Sept. 4: Toughest QBs to defense|
|Aug. 25: NFC North||Sept. 4: Toughest DBs to throw on|
|Aug. 26: Hardest to tackle||Sept. 6: Most severe injuries|
|Aug. 26: Toughest tacklers||Sept. 7: Off-radar impact players|
|Aug. 29: AFC South||Sept. 8: Preseason Awards - Prisco | Judge|
|Aug. 30: NFC South||Sept. 8: Opening night|
|Aug. 31: AFC West||Sept. 9: Week 1 Peek|
|Sept. 1: NFC West|