NFC Predictions

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In the NFC, there are really only 3 teams to consider for the championship this year. Gone will be the surprising cinderellas. Get used to the big three. 49ers, Packers, Saints. These teams are better than the rest, and by a big margin. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the Saints will crumble because of the suspension of their head coach. Brees doesn’t need anyone to tell him what to do, and the defense is still good enough win games.

 

Here is what I see happening in the NFC, followed by great recipe for hickory smoked chicken and white BBQ sauce.

 

NFC East Division

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)**
2. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
3. New York Giants (8-8)
4. Washington Redskins (6-10)

Summary:

The east is a beast in 2012. The winner will have a record of 9-7 and I predict it will be the Eagles. Last year they were paper giants (no pun intended) this year they will prove why they were picked to win it all last year. They are better all around and if Vick can stay on the field, they could finish with a better record than I predict here. The Giants? Sure they won the whole thing last year. The game was very entertaining, but as we saw on Wednesday, they are hard to watch. The only bright spot is their rookie RB Wilson, he is going to turn some heads. I am not sure why so many people are down on Romo and the boys. Sounds like a bad sitcom or really horrible musical group doesn’t it? Anyway, I wouldn’t count them out. He has plenty of weapons, it’s just that he never seems to win the big ones. Is it true they haven’t advanced deep in the playoffs since 1996? Robert Griffin III is the staring QB is Washington, did you hear? I live here in the metro area, and I am sick of hearing about him. They even have a segment on local sports radio: RG3-o’clock. Lame! They will win around 3 games in this tough division and 6 overall. UPDATE:  The skins have something with Bobby Tre, and could finish much higher than last place.

 

NFC North Division

1. Green Bay Packers (14-2)**
2. Detroit Lions (10-6)*
3. Chicago Bears (9-7)*
4. Minnesota Vikings (3-13)

Summary:

The Black & Blue Division of the NFC is tough. Competitive? Kinda. Anyone sick of the Packers yet? Well deal with it, because until Rodgers retires or takes a hit he can’t handle, Green Bay is around and winning. I don’t really see any way they finish with less than 14 wins. The Lions are going to play this year with something to prove. Stafford, Megatron, Titus, Pettigrew, Kevin Smith? They all could be considered fantasy starters meaning they will score points in the real world of football. This offense, along with a stout defense? This could be the year they put it all together. The Bears were rolling until Cutler was lost for the year. Starting 7-3 and not making the playoffs? That sucks! It is a new year and the Bears have added some great players. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery might be the weapons they need to get back in the playoffs. The Vikes? Well they are not going to make much noise this year. Is Christian Ponder the franchise QB they think he is? Will AP get back into pre-injury form? Will they find someone to catch the ball other than “the headache”?

 

NFC South Division

1. New Orleans Saints (10-6)**
2. Atlanta Falcons (9-7)
3. Carolina Panthers (8-8)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)

Summary:

This division can go to any team minus the bucs. We don’t really know how the suspension will affect the Saints. My guess is they will be fine. Brees will take a small step back this year, but they will win the division barely. This is the year for Matty Ice to show what he can do. I predict that he fails to win the big games and comes up short in the mad race in the NFC for the playoffs. It will be fun to watch the panthers offense and fun to watch the other teams offense as well. Their defense is the reason they don’t make the playoffs this year. The Bucs have fallen from graces. Remember just a couple of years ago, all the buzz in Tampa? The youth is there, but the wins are not. Atleast this year.

 

NFC West Division

1. San Francisco 49ers (11-5)***
2. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)
3. Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
4. St. Louis Rams (2-14)

Summary:

This is the who cares? Division of the NFC. Can you name one player in this division you are really excited about? I got one for you, Russell Wilson. They really like this kid in coffee town. He will be one to watch. The niners are the gem of this division and if there is a Harbaugh Bowl they have the best shot at being one of the representatives. The rest of the division in one sentence: Who is going to get larry the ball, will pete stick around all year long and how long do we have to wait to call them the Los Angeles Rams again?

 

*** = NFC Champion
** = Division Winners
* = Wild Card

 

Here is what’s going to happen in late January & early February.

 

AFC

The Ravens and Patriots battle it out in the snow and Tommy Boy pulls it out once again ruining the chance for the Harbaugh bowl.

 

NFC

The 49ers defense contains Rodgers and the Packers just enough in Lambeau in this nail-biter. Jim Harbaugh has a crazed look on his face as he is doused in Gateraide as the ball goes through the uprights.

 

Super Bowl XLVII

The Patriots fans are once again disappointed and they have plenty of places in New Orleans to drown their sorrows, as the 49ers romp the Pats behind Frank Gore and this kid Alex Smith who everyone is talking about.

 

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Hickory-Smoked Chicken

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken, cut in half

white BBQ sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt, finely ground
¼ teaspoon cayenne

Finely ground kosher salt and ground black pepper
½ cup vegetable oil

PREPARATION:

To prepare the sauce: Combine all the first six ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Place in an airtight container or bottle and refrigerate until you’re ready to use. Keeps up to 4 days.

To prepare the chicken: Wash the chicken and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Smoke over hot coals and hickory wood at 300 to 350 degrees for 3 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Halfway through the smoking process, baste the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper once more.

After you take the chicken off the pit, immediately place it in the bowl of white sauce, turning the chicken to coat evenly. Place the chicken on a cake rack and allow it to rest for a few minutes prior to serving. Discard any sauce that you’ve used for coating chicken.

 

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