I break down the season slightly different than most people – most analysts go through and pick their Super Bowl teams and then back their way into records for every team. I go through the entire league schedule and pick every game, then totaling up what records the teams will end up having. The good part is that it doesn’t fall prey to preconceived notions and it definitely allows a tough schedule to have an effect on a team’s final record. The down side is that I end up with some surprises that I may not have made otherwise, as you’ll see with this year’s AFC playoff teams. And I still ended up with 2 new playoff teams in each conference, which is close to the typical 5 teams that surprise people.
Breaking it down by division then a playoff prediction, starting in the NFC
The Cowboys have talked themselves into believing they are a Super Bowl favorite despite bringin
g back most of the team that got drubbed by the Vikings in last year’s playoffs. I expect Marion Barber to have a big season – did you know the guy played last year with a hole in his quad muscle? Think about that – a freaking HOLE in his quad!! Now that he’s healthy, he’s a battering ram that will open up the field for Miles Austin to go deep and Dez Bryant to be a monster. Their offense will be as good as any in the league and their attacking defense will be enough to carry them to the division crown.
NY Giants (9-7)
I don’t actually think the Giants are that good. Yet their schedule falls pretty nicely for them and I think they have enough pieces to be in the mix. Nobody likes Eli Manning, but the guy threw for over 4,000 yards last year and obviously has the support of his team. The NFC East is a lot like the Kardashians in that everyone thinks they’re famous and are a big deal, but stop and think about it for a minute. Kim has some incredible assets (like the Cowboys) and the rest of the family is only famous by association. By association, I guess that makes the Giants equal to Courtney, the next best in the family. And now it’s time to get to the ugly family members…..
So the equation that irrational Eagles fans are selling is Andy Reid equals a winning record. Well when you subtract McNabb and Westbrook and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, and add in a first year starter in Kevin Kolb, it changes things considerably. Kolb may turn out to be a very good quarterback, but even Aaron Rodgers struggled in his first year as a starter. I personally think Kolb does not have the dynamic fire needed to be a premiere quarterback in the league, but he does have enough physical skills to ensure the Eagles stay close.
I saw that the Sports Guy picked the Skins as his sleeper team and has them in the playoffs. I’d like to see that just to stick it to the Eagles and their ridiculous fans. McNabb still has gas in the tank and will definitely be motivated, but he has no one to throw the ball to and the Skins are dealing with the pain in the ass that is Albert Haynesworth. New Sheriff Shanahan will eventually lead them to success, but it won’t be this year.
The Saints offense is still as dangerous as Dan Hampton on an open microphone. (The former Bear Hampton is the one that said the Vikings should hit
I thought the Falcons would break out last year and they got bit by the injury bug slowing their quarterback, running back and slot receiver. This year with a healthy Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Harry Douglas, the Falcons look poised to challenge for the division title. The Falcons could be that team to makes the leap to elite and makes a deep run in the playoffs.
Their biggest improvement was the removal of the Human Turnover Machine, Jake Delhomme as their starting quarterback. However, Matt Moore will struggle now that teams can scheme to stop him. They also lost Julius Peppers and Steve Smith hasn’t played since breaking his arm. Oh, and don’t forget they have a lame duck coach that will be moving on after the season and despite the running tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, this smells like a .500 team.
The Bucs have some nice pieces in place for future success, but the immediate future looks painful.
They are the tallest midget. The NFC West is hideous, and the Niners could run away with the division by barely being over .500. They have the defense that is the fiery design of Mike Singletary and offensive weapons in Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabree. If Alex Smith can effectively use his VD and Crabs, it will open things up for Gore and a successful season.
This text from my brother in
Pete Carroll was able to get out of Southern Cal before the shit hit the fan, but he managed to jump right int
o another steaming pile when he went north up the coast. He has almost completely turned over the roster which would be a good thing since the Seahawks were bad, but then when you factor in Carroll’s lack of success in past NFL stints and the overall lack of success of college coaches in the pros, it is a pretty scary proposition.
Well, it does appear that Sam Bradford has many of the intangibles and that can help someday return the Rams to respectability. Unfortunately that someday is not this year. Strap on that helmet tight, Sam and live to fight another season.
The Packers have the favorite for league MVP at quarterback have a healthier offensive line to give him more
time to use his considerable arsenal of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley and James Jones. The secondary will be tested early without Al Harris and Atari Bigby but they get a scheduling break playing poor or less established passing games early in the year – Philly,
The Vikings are dealing with plenty of questions after a very successful previous season. Can
Favre hold up? Who is going to be their receiving threat? Is their defense too old? Will the rest of the team resent the special treatment that Diva Favre has gotten? Does anyone like Coach Childress?
Hard to imagine a team going to the Super Bowl when the quarterback hates the coach and the rest of the team doesn’t like either one of them.
Like Blake Lively, the Lions are bursting with young assets. With the addition of Suh and VandeBosch on the defensive line, the Lions could slow a few offenses, which will give Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best the opportunity to outscore some teams. While 5-11 doesn’t seem like a big jump, when you’re in
Coach on the hot seat? Check. Overrated quarterback with an attitude problem? Check. Arrogant offensive coordinator with only one success in his career? Check. Overpaid for a notoriously lazy defensive lineman? Check. Get the fan base excited about signing a third down back? Check. Sounds like another crappy season in
The Patriots are back to where they prefer, under the radar. And Randy Moss is in a contract year, which means he has the potential for a monster year. After last season’s schedule, this year’s slate looks easier than J-Woww after a couple shots of tequila. As long as Brady can keep his Bieber hair out of his eyes, he’ll have a solid arsenal of receiving weapons. Can the Patriots stop anyone? Maybe not, but they will have the offensive firepower to outscore most teams.
NY Jets (10-6)
The Jets remind me of the Seinfeld episode about “The Race” when George pretends he hasn’t seen Jerry since high school and goes on a rant about the millions he made as an architect. Jerry’s response: “You really built yourself up into something, didn’t you?” And that is extremely applicable to the Jets. They were 9-7 last
year. They brought in a bunch of big name veterans past their prime. They got a break to even get into the playoffs. Is that enough to make them Super Bowl favorites? I don’t think so.
The Dolphins have addressed their biggest need, which was a playmaking wide receiver who could actually, you know, catch. They got Brandon Marshall who when paired with Chad Henne give the Dolphins a very potent offense. Unfortunately they face a deadly stretch of games at GB, Pit, at Cin, at Bal, and Ten. If they go 2-3 during that stretch it would be a heck of a
The Bills managed to find themselves a dynamic game changer in CJ Spiller, but unfortunately they still have Trent Edwards at QB, a leaky offensive line and a defensive line that can’t slow anyone. Could Spiller be a poor man’s Barry Sanders?
Every year you start with Indy at 12 wins and then adjust it up or down a game or two. I ex
pect Peyton to bounce back from his Super Bowl pick-6 and be in F-U mode most of the season. Add to that the embarrassment of weapons he has at his disposal and the Colts will blast through the regular season like Justi
n Timberlake blew through the hottest women in Hollywood before settling on Jessica Biel.
Every year people expect the Texans to break through. Every year they let
everyone down. It’s kind of like sending Lindsay Lohan to rehab – when are we finally going to give up on her putting it all together? Well, I’m giving the Texans one last chance because if they just do the simple things, they have the talent to be successful. They have a great wide receiver in Andre Johnson and a strong defense to go with a QB who is solid in the regular season. That should be enough with their schedule.
I have no clue what to expect from this team. Two years ago they went 13-3. Last year they started 0-8 and got blasted 59-0 by the Patriots. Yet they have one of the fastest RBs in the league in Chris Johnson who expects to get 2,500 yards this season. Vince Young and his “Uncle Rico” motion isn’t pretty, but he has been able t
o lead the team to wins. Yet I don’t see this team keeping up with the elite in their division.
Can’t we just move this team to LA and get it over with? No one in
gone. They might be the most non-descript team in the league with their only star a running back with a knee extremely close to needing a scope that will knock him out for 2-3 weeks at a minimum.
I expected to have this team fall off considerably this year with a rookie bell cow running back and the loss of Vincent Jackson to a hold out. Yet their schedule is so soft, even Norv Turner can lead this team to double-digit wins.
The Raiders are a lot better than people think. Despite the crazy Al Davis, they have quietly put together a great offseason with the drafting of a game changing linebacker and the trade for a serviceable quarterback in Jas
Thomas Jones will be key to keeping Jamaal Charles fresh, yet the Chiefs still have too many holes defensively to get over the .500 hump.
It now seems pretty obvious that the 6-0 start last year was the aberration. Josh McDaniels put himself in the cross-hairs with his love affair with Tim Tebow, but that is dangerous considering Timmy T is not ready to be the starter. Without Brandon Marshall and with a banged up Knowshon Moreno, the offense will struggle and their defense wasn’t good to begin with.
The Bengals boast an attacking defense and a powerful running game. And with the addition of TO, Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley, Carson Palmer has run out of excuses. It’s time for his resurgence like recent pictures of Britney Spears in a bikini and utilize his assets. Despite wearing down at the end of last season, I expect the Bengals to get it done.
This may have been my biggest surprise. I have them starting 1-3 with Dennis Dixon as the starter but the schedule for the Steelers provides a softer landing for Big Ben than landing on the chest of Salma Hayek. With a recommitment to the run, the Steelers have the ability to slug it out with anyone.
I was expecting to have the Ravens in the mix for a Super Bowl birth. Unfortunately, while they improved their offensive weapons with the additions of Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth and TJ Houshmandzadeh, their defensive secondary is a mess with the injuries to Ed Reed and Dominique Foxworthy. That does not bode well to compete with the receiving threats in Cincy and games at
AFC Playoff Teams: (1) Colts, (2) Patriots, (3) Chargers, (4) Bengals, (WC) Texans, (WC) Steelers
NFC Playoff Teams: (1) Packers, (2) Saints, (3) Cowboys, (4) 49ers, (WC) Falcons, (WC) Vikings
hAFC Championship: Colts over Patriots
NFC Championship: Packers over Saints
SUPER BOWL CHAMPION:
Maybe I’m just a homer, but I think all the parts are there for Aaron Rodgers to establish his own legacy in
QUICK HITS for DEGENERATE FRIDAY – Week 1
Thursday pick: Saints (-5) over Vikings
Falcons (-2) over STEELERS – the Matt Ryan rebound begins
Dolphins (-3) over BILLS – Spiller isn’t enough
Lions (+6.5) over BEARS – Misery begins in the
GIANTS (-6.5) over Panthers – G-men get revenge on
PATRIOTS (-4.5) over Bengals – Brady celebrates new contract with big opener
Browns (+3) over BUCCANEERS – who cares?
JAGUARS (-2.5) over Broncos – barely more interesting than the previous suck-fest
Colts (-2) over TEXANS – Texans not quite ready for prime time
Raiders (+6) over TITANS – Raiders may not win but that spread is too big for the resurgent Raiders
Packers (-3) over EAGLES – easiest game to pick this week
49ers (-3) over SEAHAWKS – welcome to the big leagues Coach Carroll
Cardinals (-4) over RAMS – someone has to win this game
Cowboys (-3.5) over REDSKINS – McNabb gets a rude welcome in DC
JETS (-2.5) over Ravens – break in the new stadium in style
CHIEFS (+4) over Chargers –