Aug 30, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin (11) celebrates a touchdown catch during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Chiefs 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

My NFC East (and NFL) Preview

Aug 20, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) prepares for the snap against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Well, due to a combination of poor time management and school starting back up for me, I won’t be able to finish my ambitious rankings series of all the NFC East. With that being said, I was still able to make my predictions for the NFC East (and NFL) this season.

Tonight’s game: take the Giants at -4. Jason Witten and Jay Ratliff are injured, the Giants are the defending champs, and the champs tend to do well opening night. Combined with the hellacious Giants pass rush being unleashed on the terrible Cowboys OL, I see a good start to the season for the defending champs. Giants (-4) 27, Cowboys 17.

My projected standings:

1) New York Giants 11-5

2) Philadelphia Eagles 10-6

3) Dallas Cowboys 8-8

4) Washington Redskins 6-10

My reasoning: I think the Giants are going to play more like the team that showed up from Week 16 through the end of their Super Bowl run than the team that was 7-7 through the first 14 games of last season. Remember, they had their best regular season in their recent run the year after they won their first Super Bowl title. That team jumped out to a dominant start before falling into disarray after Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh at a nightclub, causing the team to fall into a tailspin. That team lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in a Wild Card game in New York. I think the Eagles have more talent on paper than any team in the division (and maybe in the NFL), but I’m expecting Michael Vick to miss at least 4 games this year, which will put a serious dent in their win total. When healthy, though, this Eagles team will be very tough to beat. I think Dallas is weak on both the offensive and defensive line, and the lack of depth behind their skill position players will come back to haunt them because Demarco Murray, Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant all have injury histories. The Redskins will be much improved this season with Robert Griffin III at QB, but it’s tough for a rookie to lead his team into the playoffs, especially in a difficult division and with a questionable secondary and offensive line.

Nov. 20, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross (31) and defensive back Prince Amukamara (20) celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Eagles defeat the Giants, 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Here are the rest of my NFL predictions:

NFC North:

Packers 13-3

Bears 11-5

Lions 9-7

Vikings 4-12

My thinking: The Packers are arguably the best team in the NFL despite a step back on defense last year, and the Bears are greatly improved with Brandon Marshall and a healthy Jay Cutler. Detroit’s defense is shaky and Minnesota is not good.

Dec. 25, 2011; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) greets Chicago Bears corner back Tim Jennings (26) after the Packers beat the Bears at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Bears 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

NFC South:

Falcons 12-4

Saints 9-7

Panthers 7-9

Buccaneers 6-10

My thinking: The Saints will struggle somewhat in the wake of Bountygate and the Falcons and their new passing attack will benefit. The Panthers still need more defense to contend and the Bucs are a couple pieces away.

Aug. 24, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against Miami Dolphins defensive back Vontae Davis (21) during the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

NFC West:

49ers 10-6

Seahawks 7-9

Cardinals 4-12

Rams 4-12

My thinking: The Rams and Cardinals are both terrible and Russell Wilson is a 3rd-round rookie QB. The 49ers will regress from last year but it will still be enough to capture a weak division.

Jan 14, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Saints 36-32. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

NFC Playoff Seeding:

1) Packers

2) Falcons

3) Giants

4) 49ers

5) Bears

6) Eagles

NFC Playoff Results:

Wild Card Round:

Eagles (6) defeat Giants (3) 27-23

Bears (5) defeat 49ers (4) 20-10

Divisional Round:

Packers (1) defeat Eagles (6) 38-31

Bears (5) defeat Falcons (2) 31-17

Championship Round:

Packers (1) defeat Bears (5) 30-24

My thinking: a healthy Eagles team is too much for the Giants and the Bears match the Niners on D and surpass them on offense. The Eagles D can’t keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, however, and the Bears benefit as Atlanta flounders in the postseason again. The Packers win the 2010 NFC title game rematch and advance to the Super Bowl again after a 1-year hiatus.

Jan 23, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) speaks with reporters after the 2011 NFC championship game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Packers won 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

AFC East:

Patriots 13-3

Bills 9-7

Jets 6-10

Dolphins 4-12

My thinking: The Patriots and Bills both have incredibly easy schedules, and both made serious offseason additions (Brandon Lloyd, Chandler Jones, and Dont’a Hightower in New England, Mario Williams in Buffalo). The Jets offense looked abysmal in the preseason and I have a strong feeling that the best part of Miami’s season will have been “Hard Knocks” when it’s all said and done.

August 24, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball to tight end Rob Gronkowski (not pictured) for a touchdown during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New England Patriots 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

AFC North:

Steelers 11-5

Ravens 10-6

Bengals 8-8

Browns 3-13

My thinking: Terrell Suggs being out for most of the year with a torn Achilles pushes the Steelers just past the Ravens in the division this year, but both are dangerous teams that are tough to beat. The Bengals will fall back to Earth a bit this year with a harder schedule, and the Browns are terrible.

November 6, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: The Baltimore Ravens offense lines up against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

AFC South:

Texans 12-4

Titans 8-8

Colts 6-10

Jaguars 4-12

My thinking: The Texans are far and away the best team in the division, and will play like it. Tennessee has a QB controversy and a difficult early slate of games. The Colts are set to dramatically improve with new QB Andrew Luck and new HC Chuck Pagano, and I saw enough of Blaine Gabbert last year to vault the Colts over them.

Aug 25, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints during second quarter of their preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

AFC West:

Chiefs 10-6

Chargers 8-8

Broncos 8-8

Raiders 5-11

My thinking: The Chiefs have an awesome roster but struggled with injuries (Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Matt Cassel) and consistently awful QB play last year. With Cassel healthy, I expect him to rebound to his decidedly mediocre self and it’s enough to win a weak division. The Chargers are consistent underachievers and lost their #1 WR Vincent Jackson to free agency, while the Broncos have question marks surrounding their defense. It also remains to be seen whether Peyton Manning’s neck is 100% healthy or not. The Raiders are entering a rebuilding period.

Aug 30, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) runs away from Green Bay Packers cornerback Brandian Ross (39) at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

AFC Playoff Seeding:

1) Patriots

2) Texans

3) Steelers

4) Chiefs

5) Ravens

6) Bills

AFC Playoff Results:

Wild Card Round:

Steelers (3) defeat Bills (6) 27-13

Ravens (5) defeat Chiefs (4) 24-16

Divisional Round:

Ravens (5) defeat Patriots (1) 27-21

Texans (2) defeat Steelers (3) 23-20

Championship Round:

Texans (2) defeat Ravens (5), 20-17

My thinking: The Steelers’ physical play at home overwhelms the Bills and the Ravens do the same to the Chiefs on the road. The Patriots struggled with the Ravens last year (and really should have lost, but eked out a win thanks to the un-heroics of Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff-neither of whom are with the team this year) and will lose to them this year, while the Texans match the Steelers on offense and defense and use home field advantage to earn a win. The Texans only lost to the Ravens by a TD in the playoffs last year on the road with backup TJ Yates at QB, and Schaub’s return and home-field advantage are the difference this year.

Jan 7, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) celebrates with receiver Kevin Walter (83) and receiver Andre Johnson (80) after scoring on a 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Bengals 31-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Super Bowl:

Packers 28, Texans 20.

The Packers’ high-powered offense does enough to put up points on the stout Texans defense and the Packers’ D forces a couple turnovers to seal a victory.

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