Some people call “the most wonderful time of the year” the holiday season. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, etc. Me? Nah. Christmas Eve falls on Saturday, Sept. 11 for Michael Anthony Moses and fellow football fans nationwide. As the season starts off, it’s time for predictions:
Rookie of the Year:
RB, Buffalo Bills
The Clemson standout will pick up right where he left off. Thanks to drama and injuries to Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, Spiller was named the starting back. A gifted athlete with blinding speed, he should be the focal point of the offense. Ryan Mathews (San Diego), Jahvid Best (Detroit) and Sam Bradford (St. Louis) will all come close.
QB, Indianapolis Colts
This should be a given. The guy is more consistent than Tiger Woods at Hooters. The second the Colts lost the Super Bowl, I thought to myself, “Well, Peyton’s going off next year.” It’s like Jordan in his prime after a bad game: Stay out of the way, and consider yourself warned.
TE, Green Bay Packers
It’s Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target: a 6-foot-6 receiver playing tight end. A matchup nightmare. He will put up No. 1 receiver numbers this season and challenge Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates as the game’s top tight end.
Kansas City Chiefs
Write it down — they make the playoffs. Matt Cassel has a year under his belt to learn the offense. His top target, Dwyane Bowe, is back to full health. Thomas Jones joins Jamaal “Chris Johnson Jr.” Charles to form a hell of a 1-2 punch, and you know strong safety Eric Berry, the top defender in this year’s draft, will bring stability and playmaking ability to the secondary.
RB, Tennessee Titans
Not quite a “bust,” but definitely not repeating any type of 2009 campaign.
New York Jets
Sanchez hits the sophomore slump.
QB, Minnesota Vikings
His streak of consecutive starts will come to an end.
• Steelers’ head coach, Mike Tomlin, came out and said that he was going to back himself into a corner and say that Ben Roethlisberger would be the starter when he returns. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben returns, has a bad game or two and the fans start to call for DD to return. When it’s all said and done, one of the two things will happen: Dixon becomes the most sought after quarterback in the NFL and skips town or Big Ben hits up a Chuck E. Cheese’s bathroom stall and Dennis Dixon becomes the new long-term QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
• It’s a given: Derek Anderson is going to thrive in Arizona, just because of the city where he played before this. I don’t know how this stuff always happens to Cleveland. He goes from wearing a Browns jersey to throwing passes to Larry Fitzgerald? If DA goes to the Pro Bowl, I wouldn’t even be surprised. These things happen to Cleveland.
• The San Francisco 49ers will be in the NFC Championship game. A balanced attack with Frank Gore running the ball, Vernon Davis/Michael Crabtree catching the ball and Patrick Willis leading the defense, SF will be a tough team to beat. All quarterback Alex Smith needs to do is be consistent.
• Rex Ryan should have his own TV show. After just the first episode of Hard Knocks on HBO, Ryan stole the show. He’s hilarious, he’s smart, he’s witty and best of all his players love him. Rex loves the spotlight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if by next season he has his own TV show.
• TO and Chad will work out. This wasn’t a PR move by the Bengals. Cincinnati has the most potential in the NFL. If Carson Palmer ever wakes up from his career-long nap, they’ve got it all. Benson in the backfield, a solid defense and arguably the best receiver tandem in the NFL.
• Last but not least, my Super Bowl prediction. I believe the Saints will “Brees” through the NFC, meeting the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas. I know exactly what everyone is going to say: I’m biased and will always pick Pittsburgh. My reasoning is simple: When people aren’t expecting anything from the Steelers, they come out on top. Troy Polamalu is back to improve a defense that ranked third in the league against the run. But the Saints will be prepared for the other black ‘n’ gold and repeat as NFL Champions.