A Glimpse At The 2011 NFL Season According To A So-Called Expert: Matt Lombardo

The temperatures have plummeted suddenly into the sixties, leaves are beginning to turn and there’s a certain crispness in the air that can only be broken by the perfect spiral of soaring pigskin. That’s right, the greatest time of the year, football season, is upon us again. Despite a 136-day lockout, the excitement around the NFL is at perhaps its highest levels ever.

As the opener draws closer by the minute, the time for me to sit idly by in hopes of avoiding making a Super Bowl prediction is rapidly drawing to a close. Preseason predictions are rarely worth the paper they’re printed on, but in this upside down world of teams sprinting through a nonexistent offseason, the Lombardi Trophy is truly anyone’s game this season.

Some teams have positioned themselves better than others with free agent acquisitions to finish their journey with confetti falling for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, some teams stood pat in an effort to draw on existing team chemistry to propel them to glory once again. All of these stories, subplots and themes for the upcoming season make for a wild ride for the next six months.


NFC South

New Orleans Saints              11-5

Atlanta Falcons                    11-5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers     8-8

Carolina Panthers               3-13


NFC North

Green Bay Packers          13-3

Detroit Lions                     8-8

Chicago Bears                   7-9

Minnesota Vikings         6-10

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles       10-6

New York Giants            9-7

Dallas Cowboys             9-7

Washington Redskins    4-12

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals      10-6

St. Louis Rams            10-6

SF 49ers                          5-11

Seattle Seahawks        4-12



AFC South

Houston Texans            11-5

Tennessee Titans          8-8

Indianapolis Colts       8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars 2-14 

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers     13-3

Baltimore Ravens       12-4

Cincinnati Bengals      4-12

Cleveland Browns      3-13

AFC East

New England Patriots  14-2

New York Jets                13-3

Miami Dolphins             5-11

Buffalo Bills                     2-14

AFC West

San Diego Chargers      11-5

Denver Broncos             8-8

Oakland Raiders            8-8

Kansas City Chiefs        6-10



Division Champions: Green Bay Packers (Bye), New Orleans Saints (Bye), Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals.

NFC Wild Cards: Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams

NFC Wild Card Round: Philadelphia Eagles over St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons over Arizona Cardinals.

NFC Divisional Round: Green Bay Packers over Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints over Philadelphia Eagles

NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers over New Orleans saints.


Division Champions: New England Patriots (Bye), Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye), San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans.

AFC Wild Cards: New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens.

AFC Wild Card Round: San Diego Chargers over Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets over Houston Texans.

AFC Divisional Round: New England Patriots over New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers over San Diego Chargers.

AFC Championship: New England Patriots over Pittsburgh Steelers.

Super Bowl XLVI: New England Patriots over Green Bay Packers


NFL Coach of the Year: Ken Wisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals

NFL Offensive MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

NFL Defensive MVP:  Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year:  Mark Ingram RB, New Orleans Saints

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Peterson CB, Arizona Cardinals

NFL Comeback Player of the Year:  Steven Jackson, RB St. Louis Rams

Co-NFL Breakout Players: Ryan Matthews RB, San Diego Chargers

First Pick of the 2011 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills Select Andrew Luck QB, Stanford.

Matt Lombardo is the Philadelphia Eagles beat reporter and host for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL


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