Okay, its time for the debut of my Thursday prediction column. Get ready to jump out of your chairs and ask “who is this guy, and what is he thinking?”. Well I am the Champ, and, as I mentioned yesterday, I am not afraid to go out on a limb to support an athlete or team those folks from ESPN or NBC simply don’t have the balls to support on the air. If you take issue with my predictions, feel free to duke it out in the comments section, and I’ll be more than happy to respond. I present them in no particular order, as I have full faith that each of the five are as respectful and legitimate as the rest of them. Without further ado, I present to you this week’s 5 bold predictions:
1) Kurt Warner to pass for 5,000 yards if he can avoid injury
I have talked about this before in commenting on a past Joboo column, but I wanted to make it one of my 5 official predictions this week. Some people laugh when I throw the 5,000 yard mark out there and say it’s a sacred sort of record that will never be broken. Let me tell you, this is no Joe Dimmagio hit-streak record we are talking about. The NFL is going through an era where QBs are picking up more and more yardage through the air. The 5,000 passing yard mark will be hit again, and it will be hit again soon. I happen to think that Kurt Warner is the man who can do it. He was able to chalk up 4,800 back in 2001. I will take a perfectly capable Edgerin James, and a young Anquan Boldin/Larry Fitzgerald duo over an aging Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce/Torry Holt combo. I think Kurt has all the weapons in place this year to get the 5,000 yard mark accomplished, as long as he stays healthy. My prediction is that he does it if he doesn’t get hurt, but that there is a distinct possibility he breaks his thumb sometime in the first six weeks.
2) Green Bay will beat Chicago this Sunday
We’ll be able to evaluate this one right away. I’m not including any ifs ands or buts in this one. I’m just going to flat out say it: The Packers will beat the Bears in Week 1. Brett Favre has a little bit more left than most are giving him credit for, and the Bears are perhaps the most overrated team in the NFL. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, I just don’t like this Bears team. Their offense is worthless and the defense hit its peak a year ago. Start bashing me now on this one, and we can see whose right on Sunday.
3) The Lions will win the NFC North this year
I am not saying this team is a Super Bowl contender by any means. What I am saying is that they will win the weakest division in football by default. This division is so bad it makes the Kansas City Royals look good. By process of elimination, I think the only team in this division even capable of winning 9 games and taking the division is the Detroit Lions. I think the new Mike Martz offense should bode Jon Kitna well, and he should be able to connect with Roy Williams and Cory Bradford often. Kevin Jones will enter the passing game, and should be able to rush for 1,200 or so yards. Its not going to be enough to win the Super Bowl, but it will be enough to sneak into the Playoffs by winning the weak NFC North.
4) The Michigan Wolverines will win the Big Ten this year
Not sure how “bold” this one is, but I’ll leave that one up to the reader to judge. Everyone is high on Ohio State because of the rankings, but I think Michigan has the more well-rounded football team. I don’t think UM will lose to ND again, but I don’t see OSU standing much of a chance against Texas. Even if those games don’t go as I think they will, it really has no effect on Big Ten play anyway. This prediction might come down to the UM v. OSU game on November 18th. However, I feel confident that Lloyd Carr’s crew will get it done and win the Big Ten this year.
5) Joey Harrington will start for the Miami Dolphins by season’s end
This one will probably come down to Duante Cullpepper’s surgically repaired knee falling apart. I mean this is something that can happen as early as tonight in the Pittsburgh game. I’m not saying it will happen tonight though. I’m saying it will happen before the season is over, and that Joey H. will again be starting games in the NFL- in a Dolphins uniform. It might happen other ways, but I think injury to Cullpepper is the most likely here. Brace yourselves, Joey will be back!