Well, I suppose it's about time for some mid-season Super Bowl XLIII predictions. My knowledge of pro football pales in comparison to my knowledge of college football (except concerning the Carolina Panthers), so take what I say with a grain of salt (in other words, don't place your kids' college funds on what I say in a late-night betting match with your buds). However, based upon my observations, here's how I think the rest of the season very well may play out, regardless of the Browns' big win over the Giants last night.
12 teams will go to the playoffs, the four division champions from the AFC and NFC (for a total of eight), and two wildcards from each conference (for a total of four), making a total of those 12 lucky teams.
The Tennessee Titans end up winning the AFC South and grab first place in the conference, followed by the Denver Broncos, who win the AFC West.
The Buffalo Bills are the AFC East division winners, and they'll face the wildcard Pittsburgh Steelers. The AFC North is won by the Baltimore Ravens, who'll face the wildcard New York Jets.
The Bills beat the Steelers and go on to face the Broncos. Brett Favre wins it for the Jets in the last seconds of his game against the Ravens, and the Jets go on to face the Titans.
Titans beat the Jets, Broncos beat the Bills in overtime.
Titans face the Broncos and win the AFC Championship game, taking them into the Super Bowl.
The New York Giants win the NFC East, while the Arizona Cardinals win the West, securing the NFC's top two spots.
The Carolina Panthers win the NFC South, facing the wildcard Washington Redskins in their first playoff matchup. The Minnesota Vikings take the NFC North and face the wildcard Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Carolina demolishes the Redskins just like they did in the preseason, and they move on against the Cardinals. Tampa Bay equally destroys Minnesota to move on to face the Giants.
Carolina beats the cardinals, and Tampa Bay beats the Giants, so the two NFC South teams face off in the NFC Championship game. Carolina wins in the final seconds, moving on to the Super Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers will rally for their second Super Bowl appearance under Jake Delhomme. This time, the Patriots will not be a factor (as in the 2003 Super Bowl), but the Titans will fight hard to the last second of the game. Steve Smith drops what would be a game-winning TD pass in the endzone on 4th and long, and the Titans run out the clock.
Final score: Carolina 31, Tennessee 35