I've probably made that announcement a couple-hundred times since, well, sometime in April when the NFL Draft was getting underway. The statement will become 100% accurate Thursday, though, when Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings return to New Orleans for a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game with the Saints.
Week by week during the season, I'll be posting my picks for the games each week. With all the variables that come into play during the year, those picks may end up being a bit inconsistent with the ones you'll see below. This, more or less, is just my feeble attempt at predicting how the season will go overall with, of course, a healthy dose of Chiefs optimism.
After looking through the schedule a few times, here's what I came up with:
- *-New England Patriots 15-1
- x-New York Jets 10-6
- Miami Dolphins 6-10
- Buffalo Bills 2-14
- z-Baltimore Ravens 14-2
- Pittsburgh Steelers 7-9
- Cincinatti Bengals 6-10
- Cleveland Browns 4-12
- z-Indianapolis Colts 14-2
- Houston Texans 9-7
- Tennessee Titans 8-8
- Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9
- z-San Diego Chargers 12-4
- x-Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
- Oakland Raiders 6-10
- Denver Broncos 5-11
- z-Dallas Cowboys 11-5
- New York Giants 10-6
- Philadelphia Eagles 7-9
- Washington Redskins 5-11
- *-Green Bay Packers 13-3
- x-Minnesota Vikings 12-4
- Chicago Bears 5-11
- Detroit Lions 3-13
- z-Atlanta Falcons 12-4
- x-New Orleans Saints 11-5
- Carolina Panthers 5-11
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13
- z-San Francisco 49ers 11-5
- Seattle Seahawks 6-10
- Arizona Cardinals 5-11
- St. Louis Rams 3-13
(* = clinched division and home-field advantage; z = clinched division; x = clinched wild card)
Wild Card Round
Colts over Chiefs - Kansas City, for the third consecutive time in their last three playoff appearances dating back to 2003 (and fourth time out of the last five dating back to 1995), will be eliminated by a more talented and experienced Indianapolis squad. (My prediction for these two teams to face eachother in the playoffs again was purely a coincidince.)
Chargers over Jets - San Diego will get some redemption from last season's heartbreaking playoff loss to the Jets with a blowout victory this time around.
Saints over Cowboys - Drew Brees will outplay Romo, and shortly after the game Jerry Jones will fire head coach Wade Phillips. Let the Bill Cowher rumors begin.
Vikings over 49ers - An overpowered 49ers team will be ousted by the Vikings early, ending what should be considered a successful season in San Francisco.
Ravens over Colts - Joe Flacco outplays Peyton Manning? No. But the Ravens outplay and outcoach the Colts in route to their second AFC Championship appearance in three years.
Patriots over Chargers - New England outlasts San Diego in a shootout, and head coach Norv Turner will be fired as a result of repeated playoff letdowns.
Packers over Saints - The Packers, looking a lot like the 2009 Saints, oust New Orleans, ending their title defense.
Vikings over Falcons - Favre and the Vikings return to the NFC Championship game after a tough battle with a good Atlanta team.
Ravens over Patriots - Brady, Moss, and company can't overcome a balanced attack from Baltimore.
Packers over Vikings - Favre says goodbye to Green Bay and the NFL after coming up a game short of the Super Bowl yet again.
Ravens over Packers - Baltimore, with the help of the "big three" - clutch quarterback play, solid run game, and consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback - will hold off the league's best offense and win Super Bowl XLV.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Offensive Player of the Year: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Defensive Player of the Year: DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Rolando McClain, Oakland Raiders
Coach of the Year: Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers
Comeback Player of the Year: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears