Michael Blunda's 2010 NFL predictions

Posted Sept. 02, 2010 @ 3:33 p.m.
Posted By Michael Blunda

Leading up to the start of the regular season, PFW will post the NFL predictions of its editors/writers, who forecast the order of finish in each division, the outcome of Super Bowl XLV, and Offensive and Defensive MVPs. In the fourth of these predictions, PFW associate editor Michael Blunda looks into his crystal ball.

AFC East

1. New England: Defense will miss Ty Warren, but healthy return of Wes Welker should make offense as potent as ever.

2. N.Y. Jets: Rex Ryan's "D" will be great even if Darrelle Revis sits. But for Jets to take off, Mark Sanchez needs to cut down on his turnovers.

3. Miami: Additions of Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby should help 'Fins get back over .500 and fight for wild-card berth.

4. Buffalo: With injuries abounding, no passing game to speak of and a defense in transition, Chan Gailey's squad appears headed for AFC cellar.

AFC North

1. Baltimore: With a lights-out defense and Anquan Boldin added to the offensive mix, Ravens are set to fly to top of conference.

2. Pittsburgh: If Steelers can hold serve with Big Ben out, they'll bounce back now that Troy Polamalu has returned to wreak havoc.

3. Cincinnati: Offense has boom-or-bust potential with T.O. on board, but unlikely the Bengals reach double-digit wins again in tough division.

4. Cleveland: Could be better than expected after productive offseason, but nobody will mistake them for a contender with Jake Delhomme under center.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis: Even if they take a step back after near-perfect '09, Colts should cruise to playoff bye on the arm of Peyton Manning.

2. Houston: Between Matt Schaub's lethal passing attack and a "D" that improved last season, Texans could give Indy a run for its money.

3. Jacksonville: Pressure is on Jack Del Rio to win now, and by adding some defensive difference makers, Jags will be better than most think.

4. Tennessee: Losing a pair of defensive cogs, Titans will need Chris Johnson to again go bonkers if they hope to flirt with .500.

AFC West

1. San Diego: The Bolts will regress with two key offensive holdouts and multiple defensive holes, but their sea of talent makes them the class of the division.

2. Oakland: This improved team could be one of the league's annual surprises with an upgraded "D" and Jason Campbell in the fold.

3. Kansas City: The addition of two top-notch coordinators should vault the Chiefs back toward respectability, but Matt Cassel needs to perform.

4. Denver: The loss of Brandon Marshall cripples Denver's offense, while Mike Nolan's departure and Elvis Dumervil's injury will set back the "D."

NFC East

1. Dallas: Tony Romo and his set of weapons will be unstoppable, and the "D" will be good enough for the 'Boys to capture this formidable division.

2. N.Y. Giants: "D" can't possibly be as bad as it was in '09, and Hakeem Nicks' breakout will help Big Blue rebound in grand fashion.

3. Philadelphia: Kevin Kolb will prove to be just as effective as his predecessor, but a brutal second-half schedule will do Eagles in.

4. Washington: Mike Shanahan, Donovan McNabb will lead to more wins, but still too many holes for 'Skins to contend in daunting East.

NFC North

1. Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers will post ridiculous stats on loaded offense, and "D" will once again excel as Pack earns playoff bye.

2. Minnesota: WR injuries are concerning, but Brett Favre's return and Jared Allen's ruthlessness keep Vikes in title hunt.

3. Chicago: Now healthy "D" will be better with Julius Peppers around, but Jay Cutler's ability to run Mike Martz's offense will determine Bears' fate.

4. Detroit: Lions took a major step forward this offseason and should begin their ascension if Matthew Stafford lives up to his potential.

NFC South

1. New Orleans: Defending champs are almost certain to regress on "D," but Drew Brees and his unit's firepower keep Saints among league's scariest clubs.

2. Atlanta: Injuries derailed them in '09, but healthy Falcons should rebound quickly if Michael Turner is the offensive centerpiece.

3. Carolina: Panthers have the skill players to hang in most contests, but they won't be able to overcome big departures on defense.

4. Tampa Bay: The budding young arm of Josh Freeman should lead to a better record, but it won't be enough to cover up the Bucs' myriad weaknesses.

NFC West

1. San Francisco: Mike Singletary will have this "D" playing at a high level, and Frank Gore will anchor an offense that should make a serious jump.

2. Arizona: Offense will stumble with Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson at the helm, and defense will also take a step back after letting Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle leave.

3. Seattle: Pete Carroll should rejuvenate fading franchise, but it's going to take time before 'Hawks are back in contention.

4. St. Louis: Sam Bradford will be the franchise QB the Rams have long needed, but they still have to get him weapons and upgrade a porous "D."



Offensive MVP:
Tony Romo, Dallas

Defensive MVP: Patrick Willis, San Francisco

Super Bowl XLV: Dallas over Baltimore

 

Other predictions: Arthur Arkush | Kevin Fishbain | 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.