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Adam Anshell's 2011 NFL predictions

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Adam Anshell

aanshell@pfwmedia.com
PFW Video Senior Producer

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By Adam Anshell

Leading up to the start of the regular season, PFW is posting the NFL predictions of its editors/writers, who forecast the order of finish in each division, the outcome of Super Bowl XLVI, and Offensive and Defensive MVPs. In the 10th of these predictions, PFW video senior producer Adam Anshell looks into his crystal ball.

AFC East

1. New England — If anyone can mold all of the new talent and personalities into a cohesive, winning unit, its "The Hood."

2. N.Y. Jets — Are they any better than they were in 2010? I don't see a third straight AFC-championship appearance for Rex's crew.

3. Buffalo — I always say, if you're not going to win, at least be entertaining. That much can be said for the free-wheeling Fitzpatrick-led Bills O.

4. Miami — Underrated defense will keep Dolphins in games. Chad Henne and lack of a running game will keep 'Fins from winning them.

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh — Another year of development for the young Steelers wide receivers and a full season of Big Ben could mean another Super Bowl run in Pittsburgh.

2. Baltimore — It's time for Joe Flacco to prove whether he can carry a team or not. I'm not convinced he can take the next step.

3. Cleveland — A favorable early schedule could build confidence. Wouldn't be shocked if Browns were surprise team of '11.

4. Cincinnati — Defense regressed in '10 and offense is in full rebuild mode. Andy Dalton may eventually be good, but expect serious growing pains in '11.

AFC South

1. Houston — This time it's REALLY their year. Seriously. Again. Finally.

2. Indianapolis — Rise of the Texans is more of a season-long concern than Peyton's neck.

3. Jacksonville — Every year I don't see much happening for the Jags, and every year, they're better than I expect.  But seriously, I don't expect much this year.

4. Tennessee — Defense a work in progress in a high-octane division. Not a good match. A lot of growing, and losing, expected in 2011.

AFC West

1. San Diego — Too talented to repeat 2010 debacle. Will start 1-3, calls for Norv's head wiil begin again, then finish 12-4.

2. Kansas City — 2010 was not a fluke, but brutal late season schedule could leave Chiefs out of playoffs. Check weeks 11-15. Ouch.

3. Oakland — Not sure what to make of this team. Anything from 4-to-8 wins would not be a surprise.

4. Denver — I like a lot of the pieces, but just not the whole. John Fox will get most out of the team, but that could still mean double-digit losses.

NFC East

1. Philadelphia — Despite dominating the offseason, I expect early-season trouble for the Eagles. They'll right the ship by season's end and win the division.

2. Dallas — Can the Cowboys really fly under the radar? With so many offensive weapons, I expect a serious bounce-back season.

3. N.Y. Giants — Injuries taking their toll, but still a dangerous team. If Eli doesn't improve expect a backlash in the Big Apple.

4. Washington — I don't think as highly of Mike Shanahan as Mike Shanahan does. If the 'Skins can somehow post a winning season, that will change.\

NFC North

1. Green Bay — Not worried about a Super Bowl hangover. I'd still feel a lot better about repeat chances with a trusted run game.

2. Detroit  — I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, even though I see glaring holes in the run game and defensive secondary.

3. Chicago — Thought of the Bears as an 8-8 team last season, and we know how that turned out. So congrats Bears fans, I see 8-8 again.

4. Minnesota — I've wavered between the Vikes being "terrible" or "not that good". I've settled on "competitive," which is actually a compliment.

NFC South

1. New Orleans — Love the defensive changes the Saints have made and no one questions the offense. May be the best team in the NFC.

2. Atlanta — Initially picked the Falcons as a Super Bowl team, but the lack of improvement in the defensive secondary scared me off.

3. Tampa Bay — Overachieved in 2010 but still a very talented team. May take a step back in record but will be a force in coming seasons.

4. Carolina  — Active in free agency but mainly in re-signing players from a two-win team. Another long season in Charlotte.

NFC West

1. Arizona — Admittedly a bit of a homer pick. Keep an eye on LB O'Brien Schofield and WR Andre Roberts for breakout seasons.

2. St. Louis — Brutal start to the schedule could put a young team in rough shape early. I think 8-8 seems about right.

3. Seattle — Impressed with the talent that was brought in, but with the T-Jax / "Clipboard Jesus" QB combo, the Seahawks will be a double-digit loser.

4. San Francisco — If you're going to tank to get Andrew Luck, shouldn't you make it less obvious? Might as well trade Frank Gore to seal the deal.

Offensive MVP: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

Defensive MVP: Giants DE Justin Tuck

Super Bowl XLVI: Saints over Steelers

 

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