2010 NFL Season Preview and Week One Picks

The NFL is back!
The NFL is back!

Football is Back Again!

Once again, it's that time of year. Get ready to lace up the cleats and strap on your chin guard. I might watch a few other sports from time to time, but nothing compares to the NFL. Sixteen games and a cloud of dust separate the winners from the losers. There are no scoreless ties or hundred plus game seasons. Every Sunday counts and every victory is crucial. You either play hard or go home.

As I did last season, I will be writing weekly hubs picking the games both for the actual winners and against the point spread. Last year, I had my share of hits and misses during the regular season, but I predicted the playoffs pretty well overall. I correctly picked nine out of the twelve playoff teams and I even picked two out of the four conference championship teams. Plus, not only did I pick the Jets to get to the AFC Championship as a wildcard, but I also correctly picked the Saints to win the Super Bowl.

Just in case you aren't familiar with the various terms, "straight up" means simply which team actually wins the game and "against the spread" means you are betting that the margin of victory will be within a certain amount of points. If you are giving points, then you are betting your team will win by at least that many points. If you are getting points, then you are betting that your team will either win or lose by less than the point spread for the game. So for example, if you are betting on the favored team with a 4 point spread they would need to win by at least 4 points in order for you to win. Conversely, if you bet on the underdog they would need to either win the game or lose by less than 4 points in order for you to win.

However, before I get into picking the individual games, this first hub will be devoted to predicting the winners of each division, as well as the playoffs and the eventual Super Bowl winner. In future weeks, I will devote more time to analyzing the individual matchups, but in the first week it's kind of a crap shoot anyway, since you don't have any actual games to judge teams by.

So go break open that piggy bank, get all your money together (a second mortgage is a possible option), and get ready to bet it all on my Superbowl pick. Don't miss the chance to cash in again this year.

A Video of NFL Players Getting Hit Hard and Often

The AFC East
The AFC East

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the AFC East title in 2010?

  • The Buffalo Bills
  • The Miami Dolphins
  • The New England Patriots
  • The New York Jets
See results without voting

AFC East Preview

Thanks mostly to a great defense and a solid running game, the Jets almost made it all the way last year and have added plenty of talent. New York's biggest question mark this season is whether Mark Sanchez can be consistent and play good enough to let them do it again. The addition of Santonio Holmes (once his four game suspension ends) should go a long way to helping him do that. I'm not quite so sure about LaDainian Tomlinson. If he can be content to play a role and allow Shonn Greene to be the guy, then he might be a big boost, but if not they may regret letting Thomas Jones get away. One thing for sure is the defense should benefit from the presence of LB Jason Taylor and CB Antonio Cromartie. This defense could be very scary if they all mesh well.

The Patriots have been on a slow, but steady, decline over the past few years. They should have enough left they will still be in the fight, but they lose more and more talent every offseason and they aren't getting any younger, either. Between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and their overall experience, New England will have a good shot at making the playoffs once again, but the glory days are starting to recede into the rear view mirror and that's no longer a given.

The Dolphins might miss Jason Taylor, but they will benefit from QB Chad Henne's strong arm and the acquisition of WR Brandon Marshall. Miami's biggest weakness the last couple years was Chad Pennington's inability to get the ball down the field. With RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams there to take the pressure off him, Henne will be able to take advantage of Marshall's penchant for catching 100 passes every year. They might have problems replacing Joey Porter and Taylor, but they will have Karlos Dansby to pick up some of the slack. The bigger concern is going to be the corner backs, especially if they aren't able to generate a pass rush.

Buffalo is going to be a disaster once again. They've already suffered a bunch of injuries and they still have Trent Edwards at QB. Their streak of missing the playoffs (currently over ten years) will continue and they could even be worse than last year, when they won just six games.

I'm picking the New York Jets to win the AFC East this year.

The AFC North
The AFC North

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the AFC North title in 2010?

  • The Baltimore Ravens
  • The Cinncinnati Bengals
  • The Cleveland Browns
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers
See results without voting

AFC North Preview

Baltimore should be the top dog in the AFC North this year. On defense, they have a few issues with the secondary, but otherwise they should be as dominant as they usually are. The big difference from last year will come on offense. Adding Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to Derrick Mason, Donte' Stallworth and TE Todd Heap, will make the Ravens one of the most dangerous offenses in the AFC. RB Ray Rice will have plenty of room to run and Joe Flacco will have five explosive weapons to look for on passing plays. There is no reason they shouldn't put up a ton of points this season.

If Pittsburgh can overcome the loss of Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games during his suspension, they should be in the thick of the fight. Most of their defensive issues last season can be traced to the loss of Troy Polamalu, so they should be solid on that side again, now that he is back. As usual, they are stacked on offense. WRs Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El and Mike Wallace, TE Heath Miller, and RB Rashard Mendenhall should help keep things afloat until Big Ben returns. However with Byron Leftwich injured, Dennis Dixon will likely need all the help he can get during those first four games.

Cinncinnati has the potential to be solid on defense again, but I think their offense will come undone this year. Ochocinco is one of the top threats and even having lost a step or two TO will still be a presence, but someone has to get the ball to them. They got sent home quick from the playoffs because Palmer couldn't get it done and he isn't going to be any better this year.

Cleveland might eventually turn things around with Holmgren as GM, although the GM part is where he failed in Seattle. But they still have Eric Mangini as coach and they just replaced a bad QB (Derek Anderson) with a horribly washed up QB (Jake Delhomme) that gives up the ball like he's handing out candy on Halloween. That's just a recipe for disaster and I think that's what you will see in the Dawg Pound this season.

I'm picking the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North this season.

The AFC South
The AFC South

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the AFC South title in 2010?

  • The Houston Texans
  • The Indianapolis Colts
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars
  • The Tennessee Titans
See results without voting

AFC South Preview

There was a rather seamless transition between former head coach Tony Dungy and new head coach Jim Caldwell. Last time that happened was in Oakland after Bill Callahan took over for John Gruden as Raiders coach and took them all the way to the big game (coincidentally against Gruden in his first year after replacing Dungy in Tampa Bay). Unfortunately, that Super Bowl appearance was followed by Oakland devolving into the worst franchise in football with 10+ losses every year since. Of course, the Colts starting QB is Peyton Manning, not a 40 year old journeyman, so that history isn't likely to repeat. As long as Manning is in town and healthy, Indianapolis will more likely than not be a contender. Plus, they are still stacked on offense, with the one possible complication being the physical status of Center Jeff Saturday's knee problems. Once again, Indy will have little trouble setting the pace in this division.

The Titans should be competitive once again, but they still have issues on defense. Finishing 8-2 down the stretch was impressive, but they won't be sneaking up on people this year after an 0-6 start like they did last season. They also need to be ready for the post 2000 yard slump by Chris Johnson. On the average, running backs who have gained 2000 yards in a season have seen a 56 percent decline in production the following year. In fact, the last two (three if you count Barry Sanders' early retirement) to do it, Terrell Davis and Jamal Lewis, saw their careers decline shortly after topping 2000 yards. I don't expect Johnson to be worn out after just one season in the league, but he could have a down year in 2010. That would put the focus of the offense on Vince Young and we all know how that turned out last time.

The Texans finally turned the corner last year and got beyond an 8-8 record. So, the big question is, can they do it again? With Matt Schaub at QB and Andre Johnson stretching the defense, while TE Owen Daniels makes the tough catches, they have enough on offense to contend for a playoff spot. It's really going to depend on how well the defense plays, especially with Brian Cushing suspended for the first four games.

Taking up the rear (again), will be the Jaguars. Outside of RB Maurice Jones-Drew, there just isn't much to point to as a positive on this team. If they win eight games this season it will be surprising.

I'm picking the Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South.

The AFC West
The AFC West

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the AFC West title in 2010?

  • The Denver Broncos
  • The Kansas City Chiefs
  • The Oakland Raiders
  • The San Diego Chargers
See results without voting

AFC West Preview

Once again in 2010, the AFC West should be a case of the good, the bad, and the ugly, plus the Broncos. As was my prediction last year, I think San Diego will win the division by default once again. That's simply because they are the only good team in the AFC West. The Chiefs might make a few steps forward, but they are still a couple years and a pass defense away from any chance of contending. The Raiders, of course, are the ugly ones. They did finally pull the trigger and send Jamarcus Russell packing, but they will remain the crazy neighbor on the block as long as Al Davis is running the show.

As for the Broncos, if they ever figure how to win games in the second half of the season they may stand a chance at returning to the playoffs. Until then, they will continue to be second runner up (or worse) to the Chargers every year.

The San Diego Chargers will easily win the AFC West once again.

The NFC East
The NFC East

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the NFC East title in 2010?

  • The Dallas Cowboys
  • The New York Giants
  • The Philadelphia Eagles
  • The Washington Redskins
See results without voting

NFC East Preview

This is going to be one of the tough picks. Three out of the four teams in the NFC East could be playoff teams if things unfold just right. On the other hand those same three could be complete flops if a few key things unfold badly.

The one exception to that is Dallas, who are as usual stacked with talent, especially on offense. If Dez Bryant can stay healthy and Miles Austin doesn't become a one year wonder, then they should have no problem complimenting their always solid running game with a high power passing game. The secondary gave them some problems last year, but outside of that, they played pretty well on defense. They did finally manage to get over the hump and win a playoff game last season. Things should go about the same or even better this year.

Last year, the Giants ran away with the first half and then injuries (and attitudes) caught up to them and they bowed out rather unceremoniously with some ugly losses that knocked them right out of the playoffs. Barring the same sort of injuries again this year, New York should be pretty good on offense. The place they need to worry about is on defense. Last year, they were absolutely terrible in the second half of the season. If they improve the defense and get after the QB again, they'll be fighting for the division title. But if they play like they did down the stretch last year, they will be fighting not to finish at the bottom of the division.

In Philadelphia, it all revolves around Kevin Kolb. The Eagles took a huge risk by shipping McNabb off to Washington and handing the reins of the offense over to Kolb. However, with WR's DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, TE Brent Celek, and RB LeSean McCoy lining up around him, Kolb has all the weapons he needs to make that gamble pay off. Last year, the problem was the offensive line's inability to keep anyone out of their backfield, especially once center Jamaal Jackson was injured. Unfortunately for Kolb, they have looked a bit shaky during the preseason and the offense has continued the trend of the past few years of sputtering in the red zone. On the positive side, Kolb's sense of timing and accuracy are much better fits for the West Coast Offense if he can manage to find time to throw the ball. However, a leaky line and a new QB usually doesn't add up to instant success and how good Kolb plays will be the determining factor for the Eagles this season.

It also doesn't help when that perennial starter you just replaced is going to be standing on the other sidelines twice a year. Philly sending Donovan McNabb to Washington was the big surprise move (and possibly most foolish) of the offseason. Nothing like putting pressure on the new guy right off the bat. The Redskins do have the potential to be competitive this season. Their defense will be solid and can keep them in games. If D-Mac can add enough to the offense to get them over the hump, they could possibly land a wildcard spot. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a lot to work with outside of TE Chris Cooley. As is the tradition, most of Washington's free agent pick ups were overpriced and past their prime. It's pretty much going to be all McNabb again like it was in the early days with the Eagles. Except he isn't twenty something years old like he was then, which is why I don't think they finish any better than third in the division.

I'm picking the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East.

The NFC North
The NFC North

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the NFC North title in 2010?

  • The Chicago Bears
  • The Detroit Lions
  • The Green Bay Packers
  • The Minnesota Vikings
See results without voting

NFC North Preview

Last season, all the questions in the NFC North centered around the QB's. Could Aaron Rodgers replace Brett Favre in Green Bay? (Yes.) Will Brett Favre retire or play another year? (Yes/Yes.) Is Jay Cutler the franchise QB the Bears have been looking for the past few decades? (Not even close.) Can Mathew Stafford step in as a rookie and be successful? (Not really, but he showed some signs.) Will Brett Favre retire again at the end of the season or play a second year with the Vikings? (Yes/Yes.)

For his part, Rodgers proved that, without a doubt, the Packers made the right choice when they picked him over Favre. He may not be the future hall of famer that Brett is, but he has proved he is capable of being a superstar in he NFL and he has a longer shelf life, by far, than Favre has left. Rodgers put up huge numbers, even while running for his life behind a porous line early in the season. He also compensated for a defense that took half the season to adjust to the switch to the 3-4 alignment. If they can solidify the O-line and the defense plays like it did in the second half of the season, Green Bay should win the division comfortably.

The only challenge the Packers will face in the NFC North will come from Brett Favre and the Vikings. Minnesota isn't likely to get the advantage of a slow start by Green Bay this season, as they did last year. In fact, with Percy Harvin once again suffering from migraines and Sidney Rice being out at least the first six weeks with a hip injury, the Vikings could be on the other end of that equation. Regardless, with Favre, Adrian Peterson, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, and WR Bernard Berrian in the backfield, plus those giant linemen both on offense and defense, they should be in position for at least a wildcard spot. Their one achilles heal could the pass defense.

As I predicted last year, most of Jay Cutler's success in Denver was due to the great offense he had around him and the main reason why he never did anything more than rack up huge yardage totals was because of the bad decisions he constantly is prone to making. Unfortunately for the Bears, those receivers didn't come to Chicago with Cutler, but all the bad decisions did. The result was their new savior was more of a turnover machine and Mike Martz is the new offensive coordinator. The problem with bringing Martz in to make an honest QB out of Cutler is that Martz' pass happy offensive style thrives when led by an accurate QB, who makes smart decisions. That's pretty much the opposite of Cutler's pedigree. The one shining spot for the Bears in recent years has been their defense, but even that has been rapidly declining the past few years. Adding Julius Peppers via free agency and getting Brian Urlacher back from injury might help a little, but not enough. Chicago will be fighting to avoid last place this season.

Things are starting to look up in Detroit and, as previously mentioned, Mathew Stafford showed some flashes of hope last year. If that carries over, the Lions should pick up a few more victories this season, but don't expect too much out of them. A combination of them playing better and the Bears dropping off may make a third place finish possible, but more likely than not, they'll hold their traditional fourth place spot.

It will be very close, but I'm picking the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North.

The NFC South
The NFC South

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the NFC South title in 2010?

  • The Atlanta Falcons
  • The Carolina Panthers
  • The New Orleans Saints
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
See results without voting

NFC South Preview

The NFC South has an interesting tradition. Every year, the winner of the division the previous year ends up finishing in last place. But if any team has a chance to break the "first to worst" tradition, it's the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, almost by default. New Orleans looks almost as good on offense as they did last year and their defense is still solid. They may slip a little overall, but barring a plague of injuries (which is where the curse part might come in) they should be a playoff team. More importantly, there is pretty much no one in their division except Atlanta who looks like they could be a threat to them.

Speaking of a team that went from the top of the NFC South to the bottom due to injuries, the Falcons should be in position to contend for at least a wildcard spot. Atlanta's defense could be a little soft, especially in the secondary, and that might trip them up a little. However, their offense should be able to carry them most games. Between QB Matt Ryan, RB Michael Turner, TE Tony Gonzalez, WR Roddy White and a pretty solid offensive line, they should have no problem scoring points.

Carolina actually would have made the playoffs last year if John Fox would have based the offense on the running game, instead of giving Jake Delhomme so many opportunities to turn the ball over. In fact, when they briefly did that, they were competitive, but they promptly went back to the pass happy style and faded right back out of the picture. Jake Delhomme leaving for Cleveland will probably be a good thing, since it should force them to rely on the run more this season. Julius Peppers leaving to Chicago and linebacker Thomas Davis being out for the season with an injury, not so much. Without a defense to prop them up, this offense will struggle and John Fox will likely be one of the first coaches out the door, once the firing season begins.

Tampa Bay looks like they are probably heading in the right direction and QB Josh Freeman played decent for a rookie on a bad team. However, their defense was terrible and they seriously lack any talent in skill positions, with the exception of running back. They might challenge the Panthers for third place in the division, but that's about as much as Buccaneer fans should really hope for.

I'm picking the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South.

The NFC West
The NFC West

You Pick the Winner

Who do you think will win the NFC West title in 2010?

  • The Arizona Cardinals
  • The San Francisco Forty-Niners
  • The Seattle Seahawks
  • The St. Louis Rams
See results without voting

NFC West Preview

As is the tradition most years, the NFC West will be a case of one good team and a bunch of mediocre also rans. This year though, it will be San Francisco doing the proverbial cake walk. Alex Smith still isn't the guy he was supposed to be when the Niners drafted him, but he showed that he can be a capable starter if he doesn't have to be the focus of the game. With Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr. and Vernon Davis lining up to catch his passes he should be able to do enough to allow Frank Gore to win the games on the ground. Throwing Brian Westbrook into the mix at key points should help the offense and Smith, specifically, a lot also. The bigger key is going to be for the defense to play like they did last season when they allowed the second fewest points in the NFC. If they can keep the games down to a low scoring contest, they should run away with the NFC West.

The Cardinals are the only team that has any chance of challenging the Forty-Niners in the NFC West. However, after losing Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin during the offseason, those chances are pretty much slim and none. Now that Matt Leinart has finally been sent packing, Derek Anderson is the only experienced quarterback in Arizona and he just got passed over in favor of Jake Delhomme in Cleveland. You know the guy that had 22 turnovers in 11 games. Expect to see rookie QB John Skelton taking snaps this season, possibly before mid-season. Plus the defense, which didn't look so hot last season, lost LB Karlos Dansby and DB Antrel Rolle. Both of those guys were key players that will be missed greatly.

Seattle and St. Louis will both end up fighting for last place. Both the Seahawks and Rams have the potential to field good defenses, but they also both have giant holes in their lineups on offense. It wouldn't be very surprising if neither one of them won six games this year.

I'm picking the San Francisco Forty-Niners to win the NFC West, almost by default.

And the Winner is...

Who will end up holding the Lombardi Trophy in February?
Who will end up holding the Lombardi Trophy in February?

Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Pick

So boiling everything down, we have the Jets, Ravens, Colts, and Chargers as the division winners in the AFC. Along with that, I believe the Titans and Dolphins will make the playoffs as the AFC wildcards. In the AFC Championship game, I'm picking the New York Jets over the Baltimore Ravens.

In the NFC, we have the Cowboys, Packers, Falcons, and Forty-Niners as the division winners. Along with that, I believe the Vikings and Saints will make the playoffs as the NFC wildcards. In the NFC Championship game, I'm picking the Green Bay Packers over the Minnesota Vikings (yeah, you read it right).

In the Super Bowl, I'm picking the New York Jets to beat the Green Bay Packers. So there you have it; now you know what will go down during the 2010 NFL season.

Note: Rather than doing a 32 team poll asking who you think will win the Superbowl, I would like to encourage you to feel very free to let me know what you think of my predictions (good or bad) in the comments and list your own predictions, if you disagree with me.

My Picks for the Week One Games - Straight Up and Against the Spread

Favorite
Underdog
Point Spread
Straight Up
Against the Spread
Thurs., Sept. 9
5:20 PM PDT
6:20 PM MDT
7:20 PM PDT
8:20 PM PDT
@New Orleans
Minnesota
5.0
New Orleans
New Orleans
Sun., Sept. 12
10:00 AM PDT
11:00 AM MDT
12:00 PM CST
1:00 PM EDT
Miami
@Buffalo
3.0
Miami
Miami
@Chicago
Detroit
6.5
Chicago
Detroit
@Tennessee
Oakland
6.5
Tennessee
Tennessee
@New England
Cinncinnati
4.5
New England
New England
@New York Giants
Carolina
6.5
New York Giants
New York Giants
Atlanta
@Pittsburgh
2.5
Atlanta
Atlanta
@Tampa Bay
Cleveland
3.0
Tampa Bay
Cleveland
@Jacksonville
Denver
2.5
Denver
Denver
Indianapolis
@Houston
2.5
Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Sun., Sept. 12
1:15 PM PDT
2:15 PM MDT
3:15 PM CDT
4:15 PM EDT
Arizona
@St. Louis
4.0
Arizona
St. Louis
Green Bay
@Philadelphia
3.0
Philadelphia
Philadelphia
San Francisco
@Seattle
3.0
San Francisco
San Francisco
Sun., Sept. 12
5:20 PM PDT
6:20 PM MDT
7:20 PM CDT
8:20 PM EDT
Dallas
@Washington
3.5
Dallas
Dallas
Mon., Sept. 13
4:00 PM PDT
5:00 PM MDT
6:00 PM CDT
7:00 PM EDT
@New York Jets
Baltimore
2.5
New York Jets
New York Jets
Mon., Sept. 13
7:15 PM PDT
8:15 PM MDT
9:15 PM CDT
10:15 PM EDT
San Diego
@Kansas City
4.5
San Diego
San Diego

More by this Author


8 comments

Michael Willis profile image

Michael Willis 6 years ago from Arkansas

Great Hub as usual. Good to see you back here writing articles. Looking forward from you as the season continues.


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

N'Orleans was a good game. Seahawks beat the niners. I feel bad for Singletary


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks Michael. It's about time the NFL got around to playing again.

Yeah ocbill, hopefully this was just an off game for the Niners. That's the one game from this weekend that might end up making me rethink my seasonal predictions.


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Actually, I'll amend that last comment. I haven't watched the game yet, but the Jet's offensive performance isn't inspiring a lot of confidence for me right now.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

Great introduction to the season. Easy to read and full of facts.

We get a live game in the UK every Monday ..... at 1am :-) But I'll be watching the highlights at a reasonable hour.

I'll still be supporting the Dolphins.

Cheers for a great Hub


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks Shinkicker,

Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I've been on the run. I think Miami has a decent shot, but the Jets did get back on track pretty good against the Pats this week.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

I am a few weeks behind in my Hub reading. . taking the 60dc aint easy . .specially when the season starts up right in the middle of taking it. . but I wouldnt miss a NFL Hub of yours for any other reason .. I have 3 weeks to make up for!!!

Jets v Buffalo and another week of hamstring rest for the island of Revis...but they did it without him in Miami which only speaks for the force that the Jets are this season . .rock em sock em .. nothing like a little Jet football in NY this year!


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

I've been nothing but impressed with the Jets so far. I think they will win it all this season.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working