The past two summers I’ve taken a mid-July stab at throwing out some NFL predictions.

The best of NBA free agency is behind us, the World Cup is over, and baseball is ... well baseball. Time to talk football.

In 2008 it didn’t go so well. Only 5 of the 12 teams I had going to the postseason made it.

So in 2009 I switched it up, picking the worst team in each division and adding two “gutter wildcards” in each conference. That went better, as I hit on 7 of 12 teams.

This summer I decided to combine the two. Forget the wildcards, I’m going to give you my best and worst of each division.

Here goes nothing.

AFC East

Best – New England Patriots

The popular pick is the Jets – big free agency moves, big coach, big personalities. Have you ever heard less about the Patriots in an offseason? Tom Brady should be closer to 100 percent and the last I checked he’ll still have Randy Moss and Wes Welker as targets. There are some questions marks on defense, but I think the Patriots will prevail.

Worst – Buffalo Bills

This one is a no-brainer. What a mess. Chan Gailey is the new head coach and he has no offensive weapons in sight. The defense will be decent but with Trent Edwards at quarterback and a weak receiving corps the Bills won’t be able to score enough to compete in one of the league’s toughest divisions.

AFC North

Ray Rice and the Ravens offense got a major boost with the acquisition of Anquan Boldin.

Best – Baltimore Ravens

If Anquan Boldin can stay healthy, the Ravens are very dangerous. Joe Flacco should take a step forward and Ray Rice is one of the best young running backs around. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed aren’t getting any younger, but the Ravens’ defense will still be top-notch.

Worst – Cleveland Browns

When it comes to being bad, this team has it all. An over-the-hill quarterback coming off his worst season will lead one of the least-explosive offenses in the league. The defense showed potential at times last season, but don’t forget that they allowed a combined 72 points against the Chiefs and Lions.

AFC South

Best – Indianapolis Colts

Some think the Texans will finally climb to the top of the hill in this division but I just don’t see it. While the Colts certainly have some chinks in the armor – cornerback, offensive line, special teams – their potent offense will keep them atop the AFC South … for now.

Worst – Jacksonville Jaguars

Without John Henderson and Marcus Stroud terrorizing offensive lines up the gut, the Jags defense is no longer feared. After hitting his big payday David Garrard has proved to be average. Not that it’s all his fault, Mike Sims-Walker is a nice receiver but has no business being a No. 1.

AFC West

Best – San Diego Chargers

With LT gone and Vincent Jackson flaking out there are some serious questions on offense for the Chargers. But Philip Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks around and the San Diego defense is by far the best in this incredibly weak division.

Worst – Kansas City Chiefs

I had to do some backspacing as my fingers instinctively began to type Oakland Raiders. However, I think the Chiefs might just be bad enough to retain their position as the AFC West’s worst. Then again, this is coming from the guy who thought Jamarcus Russell was poised for a breakout season last year. Oops.

NFC East

Demarcus Ware and the Cowboys' defense will stand out in the NFC East this year.

Best – Dallas Cowboys

I tried to find a reason to pick against the Boys but I can’t – their defense is just too good. And the offense isn’t too shabby either. Jason Witten is at the top of his game and with Dez Bryant breathing down his neck Roy Williams should be motivated. The combination of Marion Barber and Felix Jones in the backfield is potent.

Worst – Washington Redskins

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. One day you’ll realize this isn’t fantasy football. Sure you got a legit quarterback in Donovan McNabb but your $100 million man Fat Albert Haynesworth is pouting, your running backs are old, and your receivers aren’t that good.

NFC North

Best – Green Bay Packers

Favre, Shmarve. I’m going to take my chances with the Pack here. Green Bay has a great mix of youth and veteran leadership on defense and one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers. For this pick to work though the Packers are going to have to do a better job of keeping Rodgers upright.

Worst – Detroit Lions

The NFC North is a tough division to be rebuilding in right about now. The Lions are just too feeble on defense to stay out of the cellar. I do expect them to double their win total, but that’s not saying much.

NFC South

As long as Sean Payton and Drew Brees have a full cupboard in New Orleans, I see no reason to pick against them in the NFC South.

Best – New Orleans Saints

After the clinic they put on the Colts in second half of the Super Bowl, how could you not pick the Saints? Drew Brees is a surgeon and has all the tools. Defensive coordinator Greg Williams gets everything out of his defense and head coach Sean Payton is an offensive mastermind.

Worst – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Josh Freeman might be one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, but will we find out? It’s hard to say when two rookie wide receivers may be starting and his offensive line isn’t great. The young Bucs seem to have done some good drafting, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be good for more than 6 wins.

NFC West

Best – San Francisco

In what could be the NFL’s worst division the 49ers are the most stable team. Frank Gore is a horse and Michael Crabtree is a rising star. Quarterback is still a major question mark but head coach Mike Singletary has the defense back on track.

Worst – St. Louis Rams

Where to start. Let’s just all hope for Sam Bradford’s sake they don’t throw him in the fire too early. Aside from Steven Jackson there aren’t a whole lot of good things to say about this team. Rams fans should pop in that Super Bowl DVD (or would it be VHS?) from back in 2000, kick their feet up and enjoy.

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