John: This is the time of year when teams start to jockey for position. Philadelphia and Minnesota are both in excellent position. It shouldn’t be too long before they clinch their divisions. In the South, New Orleans, Carolina, and Atlanta are all bunched up. The team that stays healthy and gets hot will win that division. The Seahawks and Rams are battling out West. They match up later in the year and whoever wins will control their destiny. Detroit and Green Bay need help if they want to make the playoffs. Washington and Dallas have mediocre records, so even if they get on a roll it might not be enough. The NFC is incredibly strong this year. In the AFC, just finish above .500 and you’re in the playoffs. In the East, it will be the Patriots yet again and the North will be the Pittsburgh Steelers. The South and West are far dicier. Tennessee and Jacksonville are going to battle for the South. Their matchup on New Year’s Eve could very well decide the division. In the Wild Wild West, only Denver is out of it. The Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders are all still competing for the division, but I believe the Chargers will pull it out.
Russell: Outside of Philadelphia and Minnesota, the NFC is very hard to predict. Carolina and New Orleans are tied, with Atlanta only a game behind. The Rams and Seahawks both have a good shot to win their division, but I predict it will be the Rams. My wild card teams are Atlanta and Carolina. In the AFC, it feels like the same teams every year. New England and Pittsburgh are leading their divisions as always. Tennessee and San Diego are my other division winners. My wild card teams are Baltimore and Jacksonville. They both have tremendous defenses.
Donald: The schedule always gets tough this time of year. The Rams are the team I can’t stop thinking about. They have been awesome. They came from nowhere and they just beat the Saints. They are a comeback team and you can never count them out of a ballgame. I could see them giving the Patriots trouble if they meet up in the Super Bowl. In the AFC, the teams I am looking at are New England, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Tennessee, and Jacksonville. The Jaguars will give you a lot of trouble on defense. They don’t have the nickname “Sacksonville” for no reason, and their defense is nothing nice. In the NFC, Philadelphia and Minnesota are going to be tough. That being said, I still have to go with the Rams.
John: As always, New England is the team to beat. They have a formula. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, does not have a formula. One week, they run the ball 50 times and then the next they throw the ball 50 times with Big Ben [Roethlisberger]. They also play down to the competition, which New England does not do. I have the Patriots coming out of the AFC. In the NFC, I have Philadelphia. New Orleans might have something to say about that. They have a solid running game and they have shown they can win in cold weather. My Super Bowl prediction is Philadelphia vs. New England.
Russell: My final two teams in the AFC are New England and Pittsburgh, with the winner going to the championship. In the NFC, Philadelphia and Minnesota are going to be the final two teams remaining. I am an NFC North guy, so I have to go with the Vikings. So my Super Bowl pick is New England vs. Minnesota.
Donald: Rams and Patriots is my prediction. The Rams are an awesome team, but I have to go with the Patriots. After their comeback last year, there’s no way I am picking against them. Pittsburgh is a tough team, but I have to go with Tom Brady. The only way to beat them is to sack Brady. I don’t see that happening.