As promised, this week I am back to give my projections for the other half of what makes weekends in the fall so damn enjoyable, that being the NFL. Before launching into this, I will give only two small caveats…(1) Anybody that knows me can vouch that my interest in the NFL pales next to my love for college football. (2) Having lived in Hawaii for the last three years, my ability to watch all that much is stifled tremendously. I mean, would you really get up at 5am to watch the Raiders and Chargers play on Sunday? Didn’t think so…

Without further ado, here we go…

MVP ~ Peyton Manning, Broncos. A strong case could have been made for him last year, if not for the
otherworldly performance turned in by Adrian Peterson. This year, w/ Welker et al. in town, I think he takes it

Offensive POY ~ Adrian Peterson, Vikings. I think the Sooner-alum still puts up massive numbers, but the Vikings failing to make the playoffs keeps him from taking home the MVP.

POY ~ Luke Keuchly, Panthers.
Loved this guy coming out of BC, and all he did as a rookie was tackle everything
that moved, including the refs and cheerleaders. Look for him to put up north of 150 tackles this year. Easy.

Rookie of the Year ~ EJ Manuel, Bills. I just don’t see Montee Ball doing enough in Denver, or Geno Smith doing
anything w/ the three-ring circus that is the Jets right now, to unseat Manuel. It won’t always be pretty, but he’ll end up proving why he was the only QB taken in the first round last spring.

Comeback POY ~ Brian Cushing, Texans. It’s hard to call RG3 a comeback, as he never actually missed a game (though he probably should have, as anybody who watched the playoffs last year knows). I look for Cushing to return to his spot in the middle of the Texans D, taking some pressure off Watt and making life a lot more miserable for QBs in the AFC.
Lineman of the Year ~ Mike Iupati, 49ers. A good long look was given to Joe Thomas and Max Unger here, but Iupati is my pick. An absolute road-grader that makes Colin Kaepernick’s life a lot easier. (To be fair, this might be a bit of a homer pick, as last spring I met Iupati and his wife at Jud’s Burgers in Boise, Idaho. Both extremely nice people, sitting and talking football w/ me for twenty minutes as they waited for their food to be ready. Quality afternoon all around)
Coach of the Year ~ John Fox, Broncos. This is more for his work in amassing an offensive juggernaut, but
still…(Also, it should be noted that a strong case could be made for Pete Carroll in Seattle, but after what he did to both the Patriots and USC in the past decade, I wont allow myself to even consider it)

AFC East ~ Patriots. I don’t care what went down this off-season. This division is still theirs to lose.

AFC North ~ Bengals.I know picking against the defending Superbowl champs isn’t smart, but…

AFC South ~ Texans.Is this the year they put it all together? Not w/ Matt Schaub at the Q…

AFC West ~ Broncos. And it’s not even close.

Wild Cards ~ Ravens, Chiefs. Colts are also a strong play. In a dreadful AFC though, that’s about it.

NFC East ~ Eagles. This is literally a four-team toss up. Complete guess here.

NFC South ~ Falcons. But the Saints will make them sweat for it.

NFC North ~ Packers. Though this one will be fun to watch.

NFC West ~ Seahawks.Three years ago, this was a laughingstock, sending a 7-9 team to the playoffs. Now? The best in

Wild Cards ~ 49ers, Saints.

Super Bowl ~ Broncos
  over Seahawks.
I think a small part of me just died typing that…

Next week…fantasy football projections…(and then that’s it w/ the football talk
  for a while, I promise)

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