For the teams that don't need to rely so much on hope rather than talent, it should be a fun NFL season. I lived in Minnesota for three years and went to graduate school at Minnesota State University, Mankato (the training camp location of the Minnesota Vikings), so I became a fan of the Big Bad Purple Machine. Also, former Bills corner back Antoine Winfield is one of my favorite players on the Vikes and in the NFL. So I have a lot of reasons to root for the Vikings. They're certainly loaded at almost every position, but still do have question marks. They have injuries at wide receiver, a departure of a reliable 3rd down back in Chester Taylor and Farve looked more like the NY Jets Farve this past Thursday instead of last years Pro Bowl Farve. I hope the Vikings can get it done this year, but I like a few other teams to do just a bit better.
As for my predictions, I like the Green Bay Packers to play the New Orleans Saints at the Super Dome for the NFC Championship. There are a lot of teams in the NFC that I like this year including Dallas, Minnesota and San Francisco, but I think this is a league of quarterbacks. Simply put, the Saints and Packers have the most stability at quarterback in the NFC.
The AFC is going to be tougher to predict. There are a number of teams at the top with the talent to get it done, but only two or three with a proven track record. Although the Jets did make it to the AFC Championship game last year, they did limp into the playoffs. In fact, they would not have made the playoffs if a number of other teams didn't layup in weeks 16 & 17. I love the fire and the talent the Jets have brought in, but I do not see them as AFC Championship contenders this year. The Bengals are another team with talent. I like Carson Palmer and they have a solid running game, but it always seems like something just doesn't go right for them (injuries, jail time, suspensions). Bengals fans have gone through a lot over the years, so it'd be nice to seem them make a Super Bowl run, but I like these three teams just a bit better.
As long as Payton Manning is under center in Indianapolis, the Colts are a Super Bowl favorite. The San Diego Lightning Bolts are primed once again for a solid season as well, but I like the new Baltimore Ravens to take on the old Baltimore Colts at Indy in the AFC Championship. It's hard for me to pick against Manning, especially at home, but I think the Ravens are loaded with weapons on the outside. They also have a dynamic running game with Rice and McGahee. I have the Ravens running over the Colts in an upset at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The New Dallas Stadium will be rockin' for Super Bowl XLV. I think the game in an engineering marvel like that will be a spectacle in itself. You could watch TV on TV with the size of that jumbo tron. With weapons all over the field, I think a Packers Vs. Ravens Super Bowl will be exciting to watch. Again, I like the Ravens weapons on the outside and running attack to prevail. My pick to win Super Bowl XLV is the Baltimore Ravens.