Five days and counting.
Yes, the NFL is back, and I'm sure there are many of you chomping at the bit for the season to start.
Here are five questions and my opinions heading into the first week of games:
1. Did the 49ers do the right thing when they gave the starting job to journeyman J.T. O'Sullivan over former No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith?
The jury will be deliberating for a while on this one. O'Sullivan played for Mike Martz in Detroit, thus had the leg up with the new offense. The 49ers paid Smith a lot of money, and that's not to sit the bench. Of course, I thought the 49ers should have taken Aaron Rodgers over Smith to begin with. Obviously the 49ers are admitting they made a costly mistake, at least right now.
2. Will Tom Brady and Peyton Manning be able to overcome injuries and get off to fast starts this season?
Maybe we'll see how important or unimportant training camp really is. My gut feeling is that veterans like Brady and Manning have such great expertise at running their offenses that the rust should come off quickly.
3. Did commissioner Roger Goodell do the right thing when he reinstated Adam Jones to active duty this week?
Absolutely not. Jones should have been forced to sit half the season. The guy is a powderkeg just waiting to go off. That's what happens when you surround yourself with questionable people. Even if you are a good guy, sooner or later, you are going to screw up. Jones can only be a good boy for so long.
4. Who will have the better season " the Jets or Packers?
On paper, I think the Packers are the better team. They play solid defense and have a good running game. Those two factors alone will win you a lot of games. If Rodgers can stay away from costly mistakes and manage the game, he and the Packers will be in the playoffs. Favre is certainly better than Chad Pennington, but the Jets have other issues that will keep them out of the post-season.
5. What rookie will have the biggest impact with their team this season?
Call me a homer, but I really like Darren McFadden. He doesn't run like a rookie. I love his vision, his extra burst of speed and his cutting ability. He could be the best running back in team history when all is said and done.
Staying with the NFL theme, here are my predictions for the upcoming season and playoffs
NFC East " Dallas, New York (WC), Philadelphia (WC) and Washington.
NFC South " New Orleans, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta.
NFC North " Green Bay, Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago.
NFC West " Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis.
AFC East " New England, N.Y. Jets, Buffalo and Miami.
AFC North " Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Baltimore.
AFC South " Indianapolis, Jacksonville (WC), Tennessee, Houston.
AFC West " San Diego, Denver (WC), Oakland and Kansas City.
If I had to pick a Super Bowl matchup without having seen a regular-season game, I would go with Indianapolis and Dallas.
Well there you have it. It's time to get the chips, dip, soda and beer ready for what promises to be an entertaining season.
PRO PICKS CONTEST
The Gold Dust West and the Nevada Appeal are sponsoring the Pro Picks contest this season.
The only place to drop off your picks will be the Gold Dust West. The prize allocation format and prizes have changed a bit since last year.
Watch the Appeal daily for more information on this popular contest.