I wrote (most of) this while on a plane on my way to take part in a fantasy draft in Baltimore. Might sound crazy, taking a day trip to draft fantasy players when most drafts take place online these days, but I’m doing it for you guys – Crown Royal is running a fantasy league full of independent bloggers, and I’ll be representing the 49ers (sorry, Raiders fans) in a contest that’ll allow me to give away some Crown Royal merchandise to those of you nice enough to read this here website. I would’ve invited you all to the whiskey tasting after the fantasy draft, but flying everyone cross country wasn’t in the cards. Maybe next time.

Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers Week 3 Preseason 2013If my team is REALLY good, I might be able to get Crown Royal to sponsor an event or two for all of you, but we’ll see how well I draft. More on that later, but I may have drafted the guy pictured to the right. During the season, I might even entrust one or more of you to run the team for a week to see if you can help the BASG squad “Reign On,” as Crown Royal would say, so stay tuned.

Since I’m feeling loopy today after arriving at SFO at 4:15 this morning, I figured there would be no better time than now to make some predictions about the NFL season. No weekly against-the-spread picks from all the Guys this season – that post was incredibly difficult to format each week, plus I got tired of nagging everyone to get their picks in on time each week (except Bay Area Duck Guy, who was always on time – but then again, he very well may become President some day, or my boss … that reminds me, I should think about being nicer to Joey during our BASGcasts).

We here at BASG have enough on our plates covering the 49ers and Raiders without proving every week that gambling on football isn’t a viable long-term investment plan. However, I feel like I’d be missing out on the latest craze if I didn’t throw some predictions for the 2013 season against the wall … and hope you forget these when they turn out to be completely wrong in a few months.

After two hours of sleep last night, I got in the car and listened to “Mike and Mike” prattle on about which teams would make the Super Bowl on my way to SFO. A few hours later I caught a few minutes of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless screaming about which teams would make the Super Bowl during the “Free DirecTV Preview” portion of my flight, which was followed by an hour reading Sports Illustrated’s NFL Preview issue. Can you believe Peter King picked the Patriots to win the whole thing???

With all that “research,” I think I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be. Just like my weekly picks last year, do NOT take these predictions with anything more than the finest granule of sodium chloride.

NFC West ***because we don’t have to start with the AFC East like all those other publications***

  • San Francisco 49ers: 11-5 (1)
  • Seattle Seahawks: 10-6 (5)
  • St. Louis Rams: 9-7
  • Arizona Cardinals: 7-9

The division of brutality – if they don’t all injure each other there could be three playoff teams coming out of here, and the 49ers and Seahawks would probably both finish 13-3 if they played in the AFC. If the 49ers can get through a rough first five games, they’re in a spot where they can start rolling as the regular season draws to a close (as opposed to last year, when they were never really the same after the brawl at Foxboro led to getting temporarily knocked out in Seattle). The Seahawks can do everything but block, and the Cardinals’ line is worse. But all Seadderall jokes aside, that secondary they have up north is ridiculous. The Rams are scary, too – especially with Tavon Austin.

NFC North

  • Minnesota Vikings: 10-6 (3)
  • Green Bay Packers: 9-7
  • Detroit Lions: 7-9
  • Chicago Bears: 6-10

Seems like the Vikings got rid of some guys who talked a little too much (Percy Harvin and Chris Kluwe) and an over-the-hill CB in Antoine Winfield, and they weren’t bad to begin with last year. Everyone’s talking about Eddie Lacy when stopping the run was actually the Packers’ biggest problem last year. The Lions are up and down and thought Reggie Bush was the answer (the Kardashian curse is real, just ask Lamar Odom), and the Bears will implode in Jay Cutler’s final year with the team, since general manager Phil Emery pretty much said he wanted to blow up the team anyway.

NFC South

  • Atlanta Falcons: 11-5 (2)
  • Carolina Panthers: 10-6 (6)
  • New Orleans Saints: 9-7
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11

Atlanta will continue playing well during the regular season, while the Panthers’ improved defense will see them rise after finishing 5-2 in their last seven games last year. The Saints will play inspired football with Sean Payton back at the helm … at home, anyway. On the road, their lack of defensive firepower can’t be hidden. And while a lot of people like Tampa’s spending spree, when does that ever work in the NFL? I’m not sold on Greg “play through the victory formation” Schiano, either.

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys: 8-8 (4)
  • New York Giants: 8-8
  • Washington Redskins: 8-8
  • Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8

And Fox will still act like this is the best division in football. Oh, the RIVALRIES! Each of these teams is flawed, but every team in this division except the Eagles has someone slobbering behind it, saying these guys are ready for a big playoff run. The Eagles are the only one of the NFC East teams I’m looking forward to watching this season, just to see if Chip Kelly can make Madden Vick come to life while attempting to become the first NFL team to run 80 offensive plays per game.

AFC West

  • Denver Broncos: 10-6 (2)
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 7-9
  • Oakland Raiders: 4-12
  • San Diego Chargers: 3-13

Can’t push away the thought that Denver probably squandered their best hopes of winning it all with Peyton Manning last year, when they gagged away that game against the Ravens at home. Andy Reid should’ve taken a year or two off. The Raiders are bad, but it seems like they’ll probably play hard — that’s probably enough to get a few wins in this lousy division. The Chargers need to blow the whole thing up ASAP, and getting Manti Te’o to reprise the role of Junior Seau is both ludicrous and really sad.

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens: 10-6 (3)
  • Cincinnati Bengals: 9-7 (6)
  • Cleveland Browns: 6-10
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-11

Maybe it’s just because we follow his brother’s every move, but doesn’t John Harbaugh still seem strangely underrated? Losing the psychotic Ray Lewis shouldn’t make a difference in Baltimore, not with the similarly unbalanced Terrell Suggs still around to talk a lot and play nowhere near as well as he used to. The Bengals have a lot of talent but a quarterback who seems good, not great. And I can’t wait for the first year in forever where the Steelers are a bonafide dumpster fire of a team.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts: 11-5 (1)
  • Houston Texans: 10-5-1 (5)
  • Tennessee Titans: 6-9-1
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-12

I stopped myself tonight from drafting Andrew Luck on a fantasy team for the third time in a two-week span. But unless his offensive line plays horrendously, he’s going to blow up in his second year and make everyone feel silly for leaving him out of the “dawn of a new quarterbacking era” conversation. Yes, I predicted a tie — just seemed right for whatever reason. What do you mean, “Why?” I’m tired, leave me alone. Will the Jaguars keep their same color scheme when they move to London? These are the things I think about while sitting on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Baltimore.

AFC East

  • New England Patriots: 9-7 (4)
  • Miami Dolphins: 8-8
  • Buffalo Bills: 5-11
  • New York Jets: 3-13

The AFC sure has their share of stinky teams this year (last year too, now that I think about it). The Patriots could actually use some time in a halfway decent division so they could come to grips with reality (they’re a weird team with an aging quarterback and a terrible defense) and get some better draft picks. The Dolphins might actually outpace that 8-8 record I penciled in; Ryan Tannehill shouldn’t be placed in the Blaine Gabbert compost bin just because they both play in Florida – Tannehill’s pretty good. The Bills are C.J. Spiller and sadness, and the Jets STILL EMPLOY MARK SANCHEZ. There was once a commenter on this site (who’ll go nameless) who called me racist a couple years ago because of something I wrote about Sanchez being a feeble excuse for a quarterback. That commenter and his wacky ideas. (RIP)

***

The Lombardi Trophy

Rematch???

Playoff Predictions ***just so we can see how wrong one person can be in one day***

NFC

  • Wildcard: Panthers over Vikings; Seahawks over Cowboys
  • Divisional: 49ers over Panthers; Seahawks over Falcons
  • Championship: 49ers over Seahawks

AFC

  • Wildcard: Ravens over Bengals; Texans over Patriots
  • Divisional: Colts over Texans; Ravens over Broncos
  • Championship: Colts over Ravens

Super Bowl: 49ers over Colts

No HarBowl II — this time the overblown storyline I’m looking for is Andrew Luck going against his former coach at Stanford, with the 49ers prevailing in snowy New York Jersey a year after experiencing heartbreak in the Superdome. And just like the headline promises, this game is a rematch … of Week 3 of the regular season, when Indianapolis visits Candlestick Park.