College football and the NFL have made their returns, and all is right in the world again. We covered it all on Mad Dog Unleashed this week, including restarting up our weekly football spots. Peter King joined Doggie to discuss all the latest news in the National Football League.

I always enjoy listening to Peter and I couldn’t agree with him more on the 49ers and New York Giants. The Giants offense is having all sorts of problems and Eli Manning is going to spend the season under siege. Manning has never missed a game due to injury in his entire career, but I think this might be the season that ends. Eli is going to get banged around, and the offense is going to continue to struggle.

The 49ers on the other hand could have an off year. They have the makings of a perennial power that has an 8-8 type season, only to bounce back again the following year. Frank Gore is on his way down and Carlos Hyde may not be ready yet, they have several injuries and the defense will absolutely take a step back. The 49ers could surprise people by sitting home in January and watching the playoffs, rather than participating.

With NFL on the mind, Doggie gave his Super Bowl prediction on Thursday afternoon. He hates people that make predictable predictions with nothing interesting, so Russo made a very entertaining pick. Take a listen.

I hope Dog is right about the Chicago Bears, but I just don’t see it. Their offense is great, no question about it, but their pass defense is going to struggle, and their special teams right now are atrocious. They will sorely miss Devin Hester, even if he wasn’t the player he was in years’ past. I think the Bears might improve some, but I don’t see them much better than 9-7.

My thoughts are similar on the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t expect Ray Rice to bounce back; I think he’s on the downside of his career. And not that the Ravens are bad, but they strike me as a 9-7 team.

If I was going to take fliers on two teams for the Super Bowl, in the AFC I would take the Indianapolis Colts. You need a quarterback in this league and with Andrew Luck entering his third season, I really expect him to break out. In year two he greatly increased his completion percentage and cut way down on his interceptions; that puts him in position to have a career year and establish himself as a top five quarterback in the NFL. His development could catapult the Colts to the Super Bowl.

In the NFC, I’m going to add the Saints and Packers to Russo’s “chalk” picks, despite the Packers’ terrible performance Thursday night. My NFC flier would be the Washington Redskins. RG3 had another year to get healthy, Mike Shannahan is out, and Jay Gruden is building an offense around Griffin’s strengths. They have some talented defensive players, a solid running back with Alfred Morris, and three legitimate receiving threats with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed. I think the Redskins might start off slow while everything new continues to jell, but I expect them to get hot and win the NFC East. It’s not impossible for them to reach the Super Bowl.

We didn’t just talk NFL this week, Gary Danielson joined the program as well. Gary previewed what is certain to be a great week of college football on Saturday, and gave his picks for the new final four college football playoff.

Focusing on Gary’s final four selections, I don’t know how anyone can argue with Florida State and Alabama. ‘Bama has some turnover on the roster including quarterback, but Nick Saban’s teams are always loaded, and they are there every year. Florida State is the defending national champions, Jameis Winston is back, and their conference is terrible.

Oregon I’ll disagree with, because I think between the Michigan State, UCLA and Stanford games, they will get picked off at some point. I’m not sure a one-loss Oregon team will be in the final four. Ohio State does have an easy schedule the first couple months of the season, but I just don’t see them reaching the final four without Braxton Miller.

I think you have to take Oklahoma. I know Bob Stoops has the reputation of late to lose a game when he shouldn’t, but I see things setting up well for Oklahoma. Both of their tough games against Kansas State and Baylor are in Norman, and I like Trevor Knight as a running and passing quarterback.

The fourth spot, I’ll have some fun and take Michigan State. Even if Michigan State loses to Oregon, and both finish the year with one loss, I could see Michigan State getting in because Oregon’s loss comes later in the year, despite Oregon beating them in Week 2. Oregon fans would be screaming from Tallahassee to Eugene, and it would make for some great controversy the first year of the football playoff.

Football was obviously the focus of the show, but we talked baseball as well. Orioles manager Buck Showalter joined the program to talk about his first place O’s as they run away with the American League East.

I loved the Orioles in spring training. Russo and I were down in Sarasota in March and I thought this team would really hum. I’m not always right, but I was here. However, if you would have told me that Matt Wieters would have gone down for the season early and Manny Machado would go down shortly thereafter, I never would have thought the Orioles would have continued to play as well as they have. Nelson Cruz is an MVP candidate, they are pitching better than expected, and Adam Jones is a tremendous outfielder. This team has a legitimate chance to make it to the World Series. They may not be better than the Angels, but it should make for a fun ALCS.

Stream of Consciousness

The popular pick in knockout pools is the Eagles this week, but I think the Jaguars will at a minimum make everyone sweat it out … It’s amazing the 49ers are playing the Cowboys in Week 1, and no one seems to even care … It seemed I was wrong about the Brewers not being a legitimate team, until now … How did it take Mr. Moneyball, Billy Beane, this long to acquire Adam Dunn? … Its amazing to think that the Yankees and Red Sox will finish the season against each other with Derek Jeter retiring in a totally meaningless series … Does anyone actually care about the FIBA World Championships? … Ben Revere is leading the NL in hitting with a .314 average. Ben Revere. That’s right … Set the DVRs and make sure to watch Michigan State against Oregon. It will be one of the best college football games of the year … I know the NFL is a pass-happy league, but if I was the general manager with the first pick of the 2015 draft, I would consider taking Todd Gurley … It’s one of the great weekends in sports: It’s the start of the NFL season. Enjoy it, folks.

Tweet of the Week

Good or bad, positive or negative, we provide you with the best tweet sent to @MadDogUnleashed …

Exciting week for the channel. Stephen A Smith debuted in his new 1-3 pm ET time slot. He and Doggie together was pretty electric stuff.

Supreme Twitter Trolling

I don’t think there are videos you can find online funnier than Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segments. Here is the latest, an NFL version.

Mad Dog Underground

Mad Dog Underground returns next week. Until then, click here for the most recent episode. Enjoy.

Next Week on MDU

Every week is a great week for sports talk at this point, as we get to talk football every week. We’ll have the U.S. Open men’s final on Monday, two Monday Night Football games, the first week of NFL games on Sunday and three huge college football games to react to. Gary Danielson will join Monday at 4:35 pm ET, Peter King Tuesday at 4 pm, Ira Kaufman Wednesday at 5 pm, Steve Phillips Thursday at 5 pm and Herm Edwards Friday at 5pm. Plus, NFL picks with Steve Torre at 5:35 pm.

You can follow Bill ZimmermanMad Dog Unleashed and Mad Dog Sports Radio on twitter, or follow along on Facebook.

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