It's hard to believe that a just over a year ago, I typed numerous predictions that were horribly, horribly wrong. Continuing my lifetime of not learning from my mistakes, I return, to make more awful predictions.
Hm. Well, the Pats got younger at their most crucial position on the defensive side of the ball, with Rosey Colvin being replaced by Mayo. Plus, they don't have exactly the most daunting schedule this year, and while 16-0 is too much to hope for, I think 14-2 is well within reach.
The former Jersey-B team got way more respectable with the off season additions of Alan Faneca and Damien Woody helping out the running game. Plus, I heard that they had a slight upgrade at quarterback...Look for the Jets to fight for a wild card spot this year.
Buffalo/Toronto is an interesting case this year, as Marshawn Lynch looks to be poised to break out, but the uncertainty on the offensive line might hold him back. They've got a proven NFL starter under center, but I don't see them playing in January. I'm pretty down on the Fins...as is every NFL prognosticator, commentator, and I'd venture to guess most Miami players. But, look for exciting things out of the Ricky Williams show, provided he doesn't get TOO high.
Maybe I've been watching too much "The Wire"(no such thing as too much). Maybe watching Ray Lewis' kid brother on Hard Knocks got to me. Maybe I believe in Joe Flacco...I mean Kyle Boller...I mean Troy Smith...I mean Joe Flacco again. Quarterback carousel aside, I have to think that the defense bounces back from the embarrassment of last season to continue carrying this team to greatness. Maybe.
Pittsburgh was impressive at times last year, but Willie Parker needs to get in the end zone more, and Limas Sweed needs to live up to the hype. If your offense is dependent on a starter returning from a big injury, and in the injection of a talented rookie, you most likely aren't ending up1st in the division. The "Browns" might be one hit wonders, and even if they aren't, preseason injuries to Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards makes me question this potent offense.
I think Cincy is irreparably broken, and needs a coaching change immediately. I really like Marvin Lewis, but this stuff is getting out of hand. Negative press at every turn, and now with a big(ger than reported) injury to Chad Johnson, I don't see them breaking .500. Again.
Here goes the division I feel the worst about. I have no idea how this is going to finish. I'm ignoring the growing rumors that Peyton had a second knee surgery, and that the knee swells up at the slightest movement. I'm also going to ignore the Marvin Harrison gun story, as did every news outlet across the country this off season.
No one should want to play the Jags this year. This is an angry team, with a dangerous quarterback, and a dominant defense. The Texans got derailed last year by fluky injuries, so I look for former Falcon Matt Schaub to have a great year. Tennessee is not this low because I'm down on them, but because I'm frankly dumbfounded. How did this division get this good? Can we annex one of these teams to the AFC West, so that we can have three of them in the play offs? Speaking of...
Well, duh. Since LDT has revealed himself only to vanish during meaningful playoff games, San Diego should be pretty set throughout the regular season. The fact that the rest of the of the division happens to be the anti-AFC South helps alot too.
I'm tired of reading about how Jay Cutler is going to turn the corner this year. You mean with his best receiver benched for the first game...that just HAPPENS to be a division game? Right. The Raiders actually intrigue me, but when it comes down to it, I choose the proven commodity of Mike Shannhan over some kid who has to knock out a paper route before coming to the office everyday. I just think those hours are going to eat at his teenage mind and body. How is the fact that Al Davis tried to force Lane Kiffen into quitting after last year not being mentioned at all? The owner trying to get rid of the coach, and failing, would be a pretty big deal heading into a new season, if you ask me. The only thing worse than that, is if you're picked to finish behind that team.
Hi Herm Edwards.
4. Super Bowl Hangovers
In light of last night's Fantasy Draft, Dallas has to put up points, or I'm done. The only thing working against them is the fact that they have been remarkably healthy/lucky for the past three years, and something has to give...right?
I want Philly to win this division. I think the people of Philadelphia need their team to win this division. And if Donovan F. doesn't win this division, he could be job hunting come next season. They have the defense. They have the QB. They just have to get it done. The Redskins are breaking in a first year coach, they have an aging defense, and I just don't see them going on the miracle run of last season.
Up in New York, no matter what they tell you, it is REALLY HARD to replace the starting defensive ends off of a Super Bowl winning team. Especially when they are the reason for your past success.
1. Green Bay
You asked for it, you got it. The Aaron Rodgers era is underway. At least he's got a dominant defense, a decent running game, and some talented skill players to help he along. And since each of the other three teams is missing a major part of a successful football team, they win by default. Minnesota has the D, but is starting Tavaris Jackson, and Adrian Peterson hasn't played a full season since his freshman year in college. The Lions have the talent, but no running game or defense. The Bears allegedly still have a defense, but they don't have anything else.
Carolina wins this. I mean, the Saints. I mean Tampa Bay. Look, all I know is Atlanta finishes fourth. After stabbing their fans in the face by not drafting Dorsey, they twisted the knife by starting the new 'franchise quarterback' behind an offensive offensive line. Ok, enough about them, or I'm going to shoot myself.
If Delhomme is back 100%, and Peppers and the defense can rebound from the abysmal showing last year, look for them to make some noise. The Saints look to be poised to come back after starting really slow last year. Every time a team wins this division, the next year their in the basement. Unfortunately, the Falcons are parked in the basement for the foreseeable future, so Tampa will be sharing the space with them.
3. St. Louis
How is the West in both conferences freaking embarrassing? The Seahawks are perennially good, mostly because their division is garbage. The departure (and subsequent unemployment) of Shaun Alexander means running back by committee here, which appears to be the way most of the L is moving. Hasselbeck is always a consistent QB, and his receivers looked to be developing into something special at the end of last year.
The Niners are going to continue to be awful, even with Mike Martz running the show. With Patrick Willis holding down the defense, they should bottle up the other two teams in the league, who have their own problems. The Rams should be interesting this year, in the sense that they are going to be imploding before week 8. Good times. Is Matt Leinart officially a bust, since he has gotten beaten out by a 55 year old man in Kurt Warner? The Arizona defense stars Carlos Dansby...and no one else.
AFC Playoff Teams:
NFC Playoff Teams:
3. Green Bay
Pats over Philly...again. Sorry Philadelphia phans, but they will not be denied this time, especially since now Belichick is cheating in HD.
Week 1 Picks:
I'm tired of writing, so nothing witty about these games. Home teams, as always, in bold.
Washington (+4.5) over Giants
Baltimore (+1.5) over Cincy
Jets (-3) over Miami
Pats (-15.5) over KC
Houston (+6.5) over Pitt
J'ville (-3) over Tenn
Detroit (-3) over Atl
Seattle (+1) over Buffalo
N.O. (-3) over Tampa Bay
Philly (-7.5) over St. Louis
Dallas (-5.5) over Cleveland
Carolina (+9.5) over San Diego
Zona (-2.5) over San Fran
Indy (-9.5) over Chi-Town
Minnesota (+2.5) over Green Bay
Denver (-3) over Oakland