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home : columns : joel alvstad May 25, 2016

9/3/2014 10:06:00 AM
Swami sees a repeat performance this NFL season

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

It was another late night for me at the Citizen office Friday night.
I got back from the Windom football game at about 11 p.m. and prepared to do my Friday night football web update. After leaving a few phone messages for coaches to call me at the office, I had some time to kill so I decided to do some prep work for one of my favorite pastimes: fantasy football.
I've been in so many leagues over the years that sometimes it's hard to keep everything straight. So as I walked to the printer to pick up a "cheat sheet," I felt my phone buzzing for a text message. It was a number I didn't recognize, so I was leery about looking at it, but the message seemed inconspicuous enough.
It read, "I'm the best in the game."
Suddenly, I saw a flash of light from my phone and in front of me on my desk was the magical Turban of Wisdom. By wearing it, I become the Swami, seer of all things football.
I set it on my head and heard the voice of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, whose rant after last year's Super Bowl rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
But here's the thing about Sherman and the Seahawks defense: they walk the walk. Seattle was nearly impossible to move the ball against last year, and they're very difficult to score on at home.
That's bad news for the rest of the NFL, as the Seahawks look to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots in 2004 and 2005.
I scribbled notes furiously, and came up with my prediction for the coming season.
NFC North: While I'm convinced the Vikings are capable of winning the division, I'm not entirely sure they will - at least not this year. I'm taking Green Bay in first (believe me, that was hard to write), with the Vikings a wild card team in second. The Bears and Lions follow behind.
NFC South: I think the Saints have just too many weapons to stop. Atlanta has a bounce-back year in second, followed by Tampa Bay and Carolina.
NFC East: Philly might go 9-7 and win the division. Giants second, followed by Washington and the team with next year's first overall draft pick, the Dallas Cowboys.
NFC West: Top-to-bottom, the best division in football. Seattle wins a close race with the 49ers earning a wild card. The Rams and Cardinals just miss the playoffs.
AFC North: I think the balance of power in the division has switched, with Cincinnati in first, followed by Cleveland, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
AFC South: Same story, different year. It's the Colts' division to lose. I think Tennessee edges much-improved Jacksonville for second with the Texans fourth.
AFC East: Again, still the Patriots' division to lose. I think Miami earns a wild card, followed by Buffalo and the Jets.
AFC West: Manning's still in Denver, right? The Broncos are first, followed by the wild card Chiefs, San Diego and Oakland.
NFC Playoffs: While I didn't see the Vikings winning the division, I think they will end the Packers' season at Lambeau Field before falling at Seattle in the NFC championship game.
AFC Playoffs: A lot depends on home field, and I think the Patriots will mount a run to win home field and beat the Broncos for a Super Bowl berth.
Which brings us to the Super Bowl. Another high-powered AFC passing game against the best secondary in the business. It didn't work so well for Peyton Manning and the Broncos last year, and it won't work well for Tom Brady and the Patriots this year. Sherman and Company celebrate winning the 49th Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on their division rival's home field.
With that, the turban vanished from my head, leaving only a headache as the phone rang.
Expecting it to be a coach, I answered, only to hear these words on the other end of the line.
"You heard it here first."

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