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Half of the NFL football season is over and I am starting to see teams separate themselves fro the rest of the league. Every year I make my final four prediction half way through the season. (6-0 picking AFC and NFC championships since 2009). The famous quote was “defense wins championships” but not in today’s flag football league. Defenses are not intimidating anymore as they are not allowed to hit like the old days. The soon to be new quote (which the NFL loves) “offense wins championships.” My football mother is going to hate to read that one, as she is from the old school and loves hard nose football. She used to say “if you can’t take the hit, you shouldn’t be out there playing.” The league has evolved and you must have success throwing to compete. My final four teams all consist of our leagues top passers. We very well could see a Super Bowl Manning vs Manning! If so we can finally stop the talks of who is the best Manning.

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This year the AFC is very simple to pick who will be in the playoffs. As there are only five teams who are playoff ready. It seems like every year three teams make playoffs which are New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Houston and Denver also have really emerged and are going to make the strongest run at a Superbowl, as they sit at the top of my AFC power rankings. I am handing division titles to New England, Denver and Houston. All three teams are powerhouses and have weak divisions with no contenders. No disrespect to the defensive Dolphins who definitely can give the Brady Bunch a run for the division title. Pittsburgh and Baltimore have a different situation as they are battling for yet another division title. The Steelers are banged up right now but when they get healthy, they will yet again “Steel” the division from Baltimore.

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On the other hand the NFC has a few more contenders than five. Atlanta and New York are playing amazing football right now and both are way ahead of their divisions. Also the 49ers are in a close race but they will take the NFC West with ease. My favorite division this year is the NFC North as it is wide open. All four teams are very tough opponents and even the last place Lions can make a run. The rest of the NFC is very close for a wild card race. All teams that are in second or third place in their division are within two games of each other. The worst record of my contenders is 2-5 the Saints and the best record is 5-3 with Minnesota and Green Bay tied. All it takes is for a team to get hot down the stretch.

Predictions

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh Steelers | 11-5

  • Steelers have been winning with the absence of a running game.
  • They still have to play Baltimore twice, week 11 and week 13.
  • Pittsburgh will be healthy and rolling by the time they see Baltimore
  • The Steelers have a slightly easier schedule the second half than Baltimore.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans | 13-3 bye

  • Houston is playing great football and has this division on lock
  • They get to see the Colts weeks 15 and 17 who are the only contender
  • If Colts make a run it stops vs Houston two of the last three weeks
  • Great rushing team, needs to improve passing and defensive turnovers

AFC EAST

New England Patriots | 11-5

  • Offensive Juggernaut
  • Highest net points in the NFL as they out scored opponents by 92 so far
  • Top 3 in NFL in turnover ratio
  • Slow start to season, as they are young and meshing.
  • Weak division, with a very easy schedule to finish the year.

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos | 12-5 bye

  • Peyton is on track for one of his best seasons ever.
  • Very tough first half schedule.
  • Very easy second half schedule
  • Denver went 4-3 while trying to mesh and learn the offense.
  • Much better squad than any of the past Colts teams.
  • It seems like Peyton is now automatic in getting Denver 4+ touchdowns
  • He now has complete control of the offense.
  • This is the easiest divisional champion pick and my Superbowl Champ
  • Denver can win out if they beat Baltimore week 15
  • My #1 power ranking

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Slot 1: Baltimore Ravens

Slot 2: New York Jets, Miami Dolphins or Indianapolis Colts

Baltimore will be the only wild card team to have a chance at Super Bowl

NFC North

Green Bay Packers | 12-4 bye

  • They should have only two losses (replacement refs biffed one)
  • Fairly easy second half schedule, half of the games verse division.
  • When healthy is one of the hardest passing teams to stop.
  • Role players proved they can step up when needed
  • Very active on defense, they force turnovers and pressure the QB
  • Chicago has tougher second half schedule
  • Minnesota is tough but not ready to win division.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons | 14-2 bye

  • Are 4 games ahead of division.
  • Weak division
  • Matt Ryan has been almost flawless this year
  • Very tough at home
  • Balanced offense with a great rushing and passing game
  • Fairly easy remainder of schedule
  • Defense causes confusion and mixes up coverage.

NFC East

New York Giants | 9-7

  • One of the best offenses in the NFL
  • Great at rushing the ball
  • Top passing offense
  • Tough remainder of schedule
  • The Giants know how to finish
  • Veteran team and they play well together
  • Very active defensive line, they get pressure on QB

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers | 10-6

  • 2nd best defense in the NFL
  • Very hard to run the ball on
  • Coached well and are very disciplined
  • Seattle is tough but nowhere near ready to make playoffs
  • Great at running the ball and play action

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Slot 1: Chicago Bears

Slot 2: Philadelphia Eagles

Both teams can make a Super Bowl run

With all that being said, my final four NFL playoff teams this year are…

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Denver Broncos over Pittsburgh Steelers

Denver is the best team in the NFL and has the best Quarterback ever to live, who is playing better than ever. The Steelers have the most veteran based team, a great defense and have not even played their best football this year yet.

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Green Bay Packers over New York Giants

These are two of the top five offenses in the NFL. Green Bay is starting to pick back up and look like the monster we know. The Giants offense is hitting on all cylinders and can go point for point with anyone. Green Bay on revenge of last year looking to smash teams in the playoffs. It’s one of the worst feelings ever to lose that big game falling short of a Super Bowl.

Your 2012 Superbowl Champion Denver Broncos over Green Bay Packers.

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