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Start gearing up for another unpredictable NFL season

With the 2008 NFL season underway, there may be many questions being asked about what is going to happen this season.
What can you expect from last year’s Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants? Will the New England Patriots be the same powerhouse team they were last year and who is this year’s surprise team?

AFC North- Though the Pittsburgh Steelers have become a little soft, they are still tougher than most teams in the NFL and they are still the toughest team in the AFC North.

Expect them to win the division, but they will have some serious competition with last year’s surprise team, the Cleveland Browns.
No, they were not a fluke and they will continue to be competitive. With one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and a strong young defense the Browns will snag the last wild card spot in the AFC.

AFC East- For the last several years the New England Patriots have dominated the AFC East and they will continue to do so.
It does not matter that Brett Favre is now playing for the New York Jets; honestly Alan Faneca was a better addition to the team than Favre was.

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And since I am in an honest mood, I expect the Buffalo Bills to come second in the division.

To all the excited Jets fans, Favre is not going to be your savior. Remember when Favre was complaining about his receivers in Green Bay, which most quarterbacks would love to have, well what do you think he will say about Jerricho Cotchery and Laverneus Coles? Good luck with that.

AFC South- This has arguably become the toughest division in the NFL, and the winner of this division will be the toughest team in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

What!? Don’t be too surprised, this pick is not that crazy, this division has become home of smash mouth football and the Jaguars do it better than any other team in the NFL.

Do not worry, I did not forget about the Colts, though they will come second in the AFC South they will also be a wild card team.
AFC?West- Even with Shawn Merriman hurt, the San Diego Chargers will easily win the AFC West. If it was not for the Chargers being the best team in the AFC this would be the worst division in the league. Seriously, expect the Chargers to win their division by at least three games.

The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders have not done enough during the offseason to improve their teams and make them serious competitors.

NFC?North- If you want to talk about tough defensive teams, look no further than the NFC North.

The Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings all could easily come ranked in the top five in defense this upcoming season. But the toughest defense goes to the Minnesota Vikings, who will also win the NFC North. I believe that defense wins championships, just take a look at the 2007 New York Giants. The Vikings defense will overwhelm offenses; they are solid from top to bottom.

Also expect another big year from Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, this will be the year where he becomes the NFL’s best running back, Peterson is no fluke.

NFC East- The home of the Super Bowl champions, the New York and the toughest division in the NFC, perhaps the NFL.

For the third straight year, I expect this division to send three teams to the playoffs.

The Dallas Cowboys will be crowned division champs, they are not a flashy team but they will be solid and they are well balanced. I have very few questions about the Cowboys as a team and I expect them to be the best team in the NFC.

Also expect the Philadelphia Eagles to bounce back and take second place in the East and a playoff spot.

They did not do much to improve their offense during the offseason; but they did improve their defense with the additions of Asante Samuels and Chris Clemons.

As for the Giants, they will likely round off the playoff picture for
the NFC, even with the losses to key defensive players like Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan and Gibril Wilson.

NFC South- Of all the divisions in the NFL, the NFC South is by far the most unpredictable and arguably the worst. Since 2003 each team has won this division at least once.

But the team that has improved the most was the New Orleans Saints with key additions like Jonathon Vilma, Jeremy Shockey, and Randall Gay who will play nickelback.

These additions will help them win the division, which should be a tight race between the Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.

NFC?West- When talking about the NFC West, the first thing that comes to mind is predictable. This is a division that makes subtle changes and does not change much.

The Seattle Seahawks will win this division with no problem.
But if there is going to be a surprise team this season, it will be the San Francisco 49ers. Many analyst expected big things from the 49ers last season, but this season should be a little different.

The 49ers defense will be great if their offense can stay on the field for more than 25 minutes a game, if that happens expect bigger things from San Francisco.

This season you will see a power shift within both conferences, and it will show in the playoffs.

The Dallas Cowboys will take on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game where the Cowboys will advance to the Super Bowl.

In the AFC championship you will see the San Diego Chargers take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, and finally this is the year that the Chargers get over the hump and advance to the Super Bowl.

Finally, the winner of Super Bowl XLIII will be the Chargers, whose
3-4 defense and great running game will be too much for many teams to handle.