Leading up to the start of the regular season, PFW will post the NFL predictions of its editors, who forecast the order of finish in each division, the outcome of Super Bowl XLV, and Offensive and Defensive MVPs. In the second of these predictions, PFW associate editor Kevin Fishbain looks into his crystal ball.
1. New England: Brady has a healthy Wes Welker and a new weapon: tight ends. The offense of ’07 returns.
2. Miami: Henne has plenty around him to lead a powerful offense.
3. N.Y. Jets: Too many distractions to succeed in a loaded division.
4. Buffalo: Injury-ravaged preseason will not help the cause of a team without a quality QB or defense.
1. Baltimore: It could be the best offense the city has seen since the days of Cal Ripken Jr.
2. Pittsburgh: Steelers could be 2-4 when Roethlisberger returns; that’s asking a lot out of Big Ben.
3. Cincinnati: A nice combination of wide receivers and cornerbacks, but a brutal schedule for T.O. and crew.
4. Cleveland: The city won’t get any sports relief on the gridiron with weaknesses at every skill position.
1. Indianapolis: The league’s best QB and receivers, along with a healthy secondary, could send the Colts back to the Super Bowl.
2. Houston: If Steve Slaton holds on to the ball, the Texans make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
3. Tennessee: Defenses will not allow Chris Johnson another 2,000 yards, so Tennessee will need a lot from Vince Young.
4. Jacksonville: Jags need a franchise quarterback to help M.J.D. and climb back into AFC playoff talk.
1. San Diego: Not as good as 13-3 but still tops in their division by a lot.
2. Kansas City: Cassel, RBs need to make up for a poor defense. New coordinators, though, put them in contention.
3. Denver: Orton is nothing more than serviceable at QB. Dumervil loss hurts an already-weak defense.
4. Oakland: Jason Campbell was 20-32 as a starter in Washington; don’t see much more success in Oakland.
1. Dallas: Offensive line injuries are a concern, but offense is still high-octane enough to give them a chance to play in Super Bowl at home.
2. N.Y. Giants: Defense has to be better than ’09 to make playoffs in an improved division.
3. Washington: Consider me on the Shanahan-McNabb bandwagon, with enough veterans around to make a surprise run at the wild card.
4. Philadelphia: Too difficult a schedule and too tough a division means too much pressure for Kevin Kolb.
1. Green Bay: Offense and secondary are potent enough to bring them a Super Bowl.
2. Minnesota: Favre will not outdo ‘09 stats, but A.P. will.
3. Chicago: Jay Cutler has to perform better than he did in ’09 with Mike Martz at the helm, right?
4. Detroit: Four wins will double their output from the last two seasons combined. Baby steps.
1. Atlanta: With Matt Ryan and Michael Turner healthy, Atlanta regains its ’08 swagger.
2. New Orleans: Big Super Bowl hangover in the Big Easy for a team whose defensive issues will show.
3. Carolina: They might have the league's best RB tandem, but neither Matt Moore nor Jimmy Clausen can take a team to the playoffs.
4. Tampa Bay: Those in Tampa are high on Josh Freeman, but still not enough around him.
1. San Francisco: I still don’t trust Alex Smith, but I do trust Patrick Willis, Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and an easy schedule.
2. Arizona: Not sold on Matt Leinart, but the Cards benefit from being in the league’s weakest division.
3. Seattle: When a majority of a team’s offseason news involves Charlie Whitehurst, it’s going to be a long season.
4. St. Louis: Bradford experiment will be entertaining to watch, but way too many holes outside QB and RB.
Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Defensive MVP: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh
Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay over Baltimore
Other editors' predictions: Eli Kaberon
PFW's Kickoff Issue (Vol. 25, Issue 9) contains a detailed position-by-position analysis of each team, as well as predictions and much more. You can obtain a copy at retail outlets nationwide, or buy a print edition or an online digital edition at PFWstore.com.