Dallas CowboysTotal wins: 9
This team smells overrated to me, mostly because I'm not completely sold on this Romo character. Nor Wade Phillips, whom I'm convinced was hired merely to keep the head coach's office warm while offensive coordinator/long-time back-up QB/Jerry Jones favourite Jason Garrett is groomed as the head coach of the future. Let's say they take three in the division; obviously they'll split with Was as usual, but other than that I'm not sure. Split or sweep NYG? Split or be swept by Phi? Getting @Chi before the cold sets in is a nice break, as is GB at home. I'm thinking they could take three from the NFCN. The AFCE might be a little tougher; I'm gonne give 'em two there. They get @Buf early as well, by the way. They actually don't have any cold road games other than the finale @Was, and that's not that cold. They round out the schedule with StL and @Car. They'll win one of those. They could win both. That's nine or maybe ten right there. Maybe they'll be better than I thought. Too close to bet, though.
Division champ: 3–2
It's possible, I guess. I think anybody could take this division other than NYG. Those aren't good enough odds for a toss-up.
SB champ: 12–1
Doubt it, and those are seriously short odds.
Week one: –31/2 NYG
I'm thinking they probably win this, although it's early enough in the season that the Giants won't be completely sick of Coughlin yet, so it's far from certain. I'll pass, thanks.
Full disclosure: J—'s a 'Boys fan by birth, of course, although he's hardly fanatical about them. In fact, I've met a lot of people during my extensive travels in the great state of Texas, and it seems like they were all casual Cowboys fans. It seems like everybody knows how they're doing that year, but nobody really freaks out about them. Those are just the fans I met, of course. I know there's a lot of die-hards out there.
New York GiantsTotal wins: 8
Mark my words: this team will start out strong and collapse down the stretch. By December the players will be polishing their golf clubs and openly speculating about who the new coach will be next year. The schedule doesn't do them any favours either. They get @Dal and @Was in the first three weeks, @Chi and @Buf in December, one of their "home" games is in London and another is aginst the NYJ. I can't imagine them going .500.
Say they take two division games, splitting Was and Dal. The only NFCN game I'm sure they'll win is MN at home. They could actually win two from the AFCE, especially if NE is resting starters in the final week. That leaves @Atl and SF; they could split those. That's six. Take the under, these guys look grim.
Division champ: 7–2
As I said before, they're the only team I don't think can win it.
SB champ: 40–1
Week one: +31/2 @Dal
I have no idea. None.
Full disclosure: I'm not sure I can name a hardcore Giants fan, and I lived in New York for over ten years. I went to game once and the fans seemed really mellow, completely the opposite of Jets fans. I should be biased because I grew up a Giants fan (I switched because of Parcells and have stuck with the Jets since), but I'm really not. I like the Giants okay, but I don't really care that much if they win or lose.
Philadelphia EaglesTotal wins: 91/2
I'm pretty psyched that I called them last year; I think it was my only really bold prediction that turned out right. I think they'll be good this year, too. I think they can take four in their division. I think they can sweep the NFCN, but I'll play it cool and give 'em three. I'll say two from the AFCE; beat Mia, lose @NE, split the other two. That leaves Sea and @NO, which is pretty tough. I'll give 'em a split. That's ten. Close. I'd totally bet this if you could somehow guarantee me that McNabb would stay healthy all year. I know you can't. Neither can I. Skip it.
Division champ: 8–5
Possible, but they have the shortest odds of the four; not worth it.
SB champ: 20–1
I can see them pulling this off, and I like the odds. I firmly believe a healthy McNabb can do anything. What the hell, take it, let's add 'em to the list.
Week one: –3 @GB
I'd be all over this one if it was in Philly, but it's hard to bet against the Pack at Lambeau, especially before we've had a chance to see how good they are.
Full disclosure: M— loves the Eagles, and I like him so I want them to do well so he'll be happy. Plus I moved to Philly in the past year, where Eagles fandom is not only ubiquitous, but takes on a religious fervor unlike that of any New York team, even the Yankees.
But that's not why I'm always biased in favour of the Eags. I'm biased because I love McNabb. Seriously, he's gotta be my favourite non-Jet in the league.
Washington WarriorsTotal wins: 71/2
Are you ready for the 'Skins, people? I think this team's gonna surprise a lot of people this year. I think they can win four division contests. I think they can win three from the NFCN, but I'll be safe and say two. I think they can win two from the AFCE a well. That leaves AZ and @TB. They can take both of those. That's ten games. Grab that over.
Division champ: 4–1
Longest odds of the four and by golly, I think they can do it. Take it.
SB champ: 50–1
Let's stay realistic here.
Week one: –3 Mia
I think they'll win this, but I'd let Campbell get a few starts under his belt before you start betting on these guys.
Full disclosure: P— is a 'Skins freak, on of the biggest fans of any team in any sport I've ever known. He is also a dear friend. He also has a big mouth, likes to posit himslef as a heel and revels in the misfortunes of others' favourite teams. So I root against the 'Skins. I also tend to be biased against them because I root against Dan Snyder under all circumstances.