Mike’d Up: NFL season predictions and Pirates playoff baseball?

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Michael Kowaleski

Kowaleski:

NFC East: Eagles
NFC North: Packers
NFC West: 49ers
NFC South: Saints

NFC Wildcard #1: Falcons
NFC Wildcard #2: Rams

AFC East: Patriots
AFC North: Ravens
AFC West: Broncos
AFC South: Texans

AFC Wildcard #1: Chiefs
AFC Wildcard #2: Steelers

NFC Champion: 49ers
AFC Champion: Patriots

NFL Champion: 49ers

MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
Coach of the Year: Chip Kelly
Biggest Bust: Doug Martin, RB, Bucs
Biggest Surprise: Zach Sudfeld, TE, Patriots

Kelley:
NFC East: Giants
NFC North: Packers
NFC West: 49ers
NFC South: Falcons

NFC Wildcard #1: Seahawks
NFC Wildcard #2: Saints

AFC East: Patriots
AFC North: Bengals
AFC West: Broncos
AFC South: Colts

AFC Wildcard #1: Texans
AFC Wildcard #2: Steelers

NFC Champion: Packers
AFC Champion: Broncos

NFL Champion: Broncos

MVP: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Coach of the Year: Marvin Lewis, Bengals
Biggest Bust: Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Biggest Surprise: Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
The Pirates are on the verge of postseason baseball for the first time since 1992.

Kelley:
The Pittsburgh Pirates have secured its first .500< season since 1992. Yes, those Pittsburgh Pirates. Twenty long years of suffering have come to an end for Pirates fans everywhere. The last time the Pirates were in the postseason, Barry Bonds was a base stealing machine with a significantly smaller head.

The Pirates turnaround is a remarkable story for baseball and may just be the storyline of the year. Andrew McCutchen has changed the culture of the Pirates. Gone are the days of management shipping out high-quality players for prospects and cash. This team is built around McCutchen and stars are joining. First, it was A.J. Burnett, then Marlon Byrd, now Justin Morneau. Believe it or not, the Pirates could very well make a postseason run, but regardless of what happens, this team is built for the future with a roster loaded with young talent.

Being a Pittsburgh native, I have never lived through a winning season. To be honest, I never thought I would see this day. Congratulations to the Pirates.

Kowaleski:
I have to quote the esteemed News Editor Ben Brown as he points out, “Congratulations. The Yankees do it every year.”

I had to include it, but don’t let Ben Brown get you down, Mike. I’m as excited as a non-Pirates fan can get about this. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the Buccos for a while now, and while I can celebrate with the rest of Western Pennsylvania, I also have to accept that this broken streak means I’m growing up. When their last winning season ended, I was three weeks old.

But as we acknowledge the inevitable passage of time, we have to Buc up and look to the future. Namely, the MLB Playoffs. Let’s seriously talk about the Pirates’ chances in the postseason.

Currently, the Pirates are projected to be the No. 3 seed. If things shake out pretty consistently, they’ll face the L.A. Dodgers in the first round. Mike, as much as we want to see Pitt make a run for the first time since we were born, there is absolutely no way they make it past my favorite player, Yasiel Puig, and the Dodgers. In fact, the only way I see them making it out of the first round is if they face Atlanta. And I don’t like their chances even then.

We are also assuming that they’ll MAKE the playoffs. They’re currently one game ahead of always-dangerous St. Louis for the wild card, and could easily fall out of contention by October.

I’m praying for a miracle run, man. But I don’t see it in the cards.