Saturday, September 1, 2012
More predictions and surprises
By Pat Yasinskas
We showed you my season previews and predictions for NFC South teams on Thursday. Just scroll back and you’ll find each of them.
But one page I forgot to guide you to is the one where all the ESPN writers make their predictions on division winners, playoff teams, the Super Bowl winner and individual honors. Here’s the link to get you there.
I’m at the very end of the list, because we go in alphabetical order.
Here are my predictions:
Super Bowl champions: Patriots
AFC East: Patriots
AFC North: Steelers
AFC South: Texans
AFC West: Broncos
AFC wild cards: Ravens, Chargers
NFC East: Giants
NFC North: Packers
NFC South: Saints
NFC West: 49ers
NFC wild cards: Falcons, Panthers
AFC champion: Patriots
NFC champion: Packers
Coach of the year: Bill Belichik
MVP: Drew Brees
Offensive ROY: Adrew Luck
Defensive ROY: Luke Kuechly
Now, let's take a look at some highlights of what some other writers had to say about the NFC South.
AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky might be the most popular guy in Atlanta. He picked the Falcons to make the Super Bowl. Kuharsky, who takes predictions much more seriously than I do, called me before making his pick. He said he wanted to do something outside the box and asked if it was ridiculous to pick the Falcons to win the Super Bowl. I told him I didn't think it was outside the realmof possibility, and to run with it. Kuharsky also picked Atlanta's Mike Smith as Coach of the Year and Tampa Bay safety Mark Barron as Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Kuharsky is the only panelist with an NFC South team reaching the Super Bowl. Of the 16 of us, 13 have the Falcons winning the NFC South. Bill Williamson has the Panthers winning the division, and Adam Schefter and I went with the Saints.
As far as individual awards, John Clayton, KC Joyner, Jeffri Chadiha, Kevin Seifert, Dan Graziazno and I all went with Kuechly as the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bill Barnwell joined Kuharsky in selecting Barron as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
As I told you above, I have Brees as the MVP. There was only one other vote for an NFC South player in that category. Barnwell picked Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to win the MVP.
Barnwell and Kuharsky no doubt went out on limbs. But, you know what? They could end up looking like geniuses in January and February.