I thought that perhaps now that the judge had ruled on Brady’s suspension that we might have been able to start to put this behind it… but I was so so so wrong. Look, I’m a Bears fan. I don’t hate the Patriots, but I also don’t root for them at all. Even I think this new headset “scandal” is freaking ridiculous. I mean seriously, this just looks like a desperate attempt by NFL teams and fans to try and smear the Patriots. It may be easy to smear the Patriots in today’s sports landscape, but that does not mean that fans should be looking for any and every chance to discredit the success of this version of the Patriots. I, like many other sports fans across the country, are sick of hearing about this story. It’s been overblown, and dissected from nearly every angle. Now that it is actually football season I would love to actually have discussions about playoff races and fantasy football instead of PSI and messed up headsets.

I’m off to a hot start with my picks, now that I’m 1-0 with the Pats win. I thought about making the Pats my eliminator pick, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Now onto my Week 1 picks and NFC preview:

Colts over Bills.

Packers over Bears.

Jets over Browns.

Chiefs over Texans.

Seahawks over Rams.

Dolphins over Redskins.

Panthers over Jaguars.

Cardinals over Saints.

Lions over Chargers.

Bengals over Raiders

Broncos over Ravens

Buccaneers over Titans

Cowboys over Giants

Eagles over Falcons

Vikings over 49ers

SO those are my picks for the week. Top eliminator picks are Panther Dolphins, Packers, and Eagles. Hard to go wrong with any of those four teams.

NFC PREVIEW

These are the NFC teams that I think will make the playoffs:

1. Seahawks 2. Packers 3. Eagles 4. Falcons 5. Cowboys 6. Cardinals

Just missed: Vikings, Rams, Giants, Lions, Saints

There’s always next year: Redskins, Bears, Buccaneers, Panthers, 49ers

The NFC has some really good teams at the top of the conference. The Seahawks and Packers are legit Super Bowl contenders, even after Jordy Nelson was lost for the year. These teams have a great shot to play for the NFC title game again, but the main threat to upset one of those two is the Eagles. Their offense has looked so explosive in the preseason. The biggest object is health. Three of their top offensive weapons, Bradford, Murray, and Mathews, may or may not be made of glasss. We aren’t sure, we are still running tests to make sure. I do have optimism that at least two of them can stay healthy, hell Murray did it last year. This year I think that Bradford can make it through the year healthy(now watch him shred his knee again, *knocks on wood*), and he has looked really good running Chip Kelly’s offense.

The Falcons could be the most talented NFC South team. Julio Jones is in line for a big year in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and that could make Matt Ryan look really good this year. If they defense can just improve a little bit, and the offensive line have better injury luck than they did last year(shouldn’t be that hard) the Falcons could win 10 games. The Cowboys should return to the playoffs behind the strength of their offensive line and solid qb play. They will miss Murray, but the offensive line is just too talented to let the running game go to hell. If the Cardinals can keep Carson Palmer they could be a really good team. Their defense is good, and the offense can be sustainable, again if Carson Palmer can stay healthy.

Here are ten semi-serious thoughts about the non-playoff NFC teams in 2015:

Vikings: What does Adrian Peterson have left in the tank? Rams: Can Nick Foles elevate this team to the playoffs, or will the lack or WR haunt this team? Giants: OBJ part 2? I think so, inn two years time he will be the league’s best WR Lions: Can Megatron stay healthy for the whole year and regain his elite form? Saints: Could the Saints move on from Brees next offseason? Redskins: Please let the RG3 saga end, I here there are some qb needy teams in the AFC. Bears: I think this is Cutler’s last year with the Bears, the new regime was not very committed to him until it was clear he was going to be the qb for the year. Buccaneers: Can Lovie Smith finally a decent offense with his huge WR, Doug Martin, and Jameis Winston. Panthers: Will the Panthers call me in October to play WR or OL? 49ers: Seriously, is everyone in San Fran ok. Just breathe 49ers, this is going to be a tough season.

Wild Card winners: Cowboys over Falcons, Eagles over Cardinals.

Alright, I really had a hard time picking the NFC championship game. I wanted to pick the Seahawks, but a rematch of the SB is lame. I think the Packers could actually beat the Seahawks in a rematch. So Packers over Seahawks.

Packers vs. Patriots in the Super Bowl. This would be a great game if it were to happen. The best qb currently, against the best qb of all time. A pissed off Brady and the Patriots with their greatest chance to send a huge F you to the league. A chance for Rodgers to cement his legacy as a great qb with his second super bowl title. However, I think that Belichick and Brady and all of the Patriots would be so ready for this game that they will be hard to beat. So I think that the Patriots will repeat as Super Bowl Champs.

Quickly some superlatives:

MVP: Rodgers, he will basically look like the same old Rodgers without his top weapon, giving voters a good reason to vote for him

OPOY: Andrew Luck, he is going to light up the league this year and lead one of the best offenses in the league

DPOY: JJ Watt, really who else. it’s like picking LeBron for MVP, is it boring? yes. Is it a bad pick? No not really

OROY: Nelson Agholor: If Gurley was not missing a few games to start the season, this would probably be his award. Agholor will be a top target on a high powered Philly offense.

DROY: Ill take Randy Gregory, he should get a chance to make some plays in Dallas, could help make their defense just good enough to win 10 games.

Coach of the Year: Chip Kelly. Man do I think the Eagles could fly this year9this is probably going to come back to bite me) but I just can’t pick against him, especially if Bradford can stay healthy(knocks on wood again).

Alright those are my predictions for this NFL season, check out my AFC Preview here.

Ted Van Green

Spark Sports NFL Analyst

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