Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Version of an NFL Preview

Normally, you only see me during hockey season, but since that won't be for another little while I decided to give you my version of an NFL preview.
Heads of the NFC
Dallas Cowboys
This looks to be the year for "Da Boys." Their franchise QB is finally confident and focused, they have a great talented WR corps coming into their own, and their defense looks as solid as ever. I see that they can finally break their playoff curse and maybe even make the Super Bowl. (which will be in their home stadium!) With all these expectations come a lot of pressure, but Romo looks like he finally put his personal life on the back burner and has taken responsibility for his team.
Green Bay Packers
The Pack are definitely going to turn some heads this year. Their entire starting offense is a fantasy football player's heaven and those stats should start to translate into "Ws" on the schedule. Aaron Rodgers look like he has finally stepped out of the shadow of a certain Wrangler jeans spokesman, and is poised to take the team back to and maybe even above where they were last decade.
Heads of the AFC
Indianapolis Colts
If it ain't broke then don't fix it. The Colts have their key players back from last year's Super Bowl run and seem to be poised for another run deep into the playoffs. Peyton Manning isn't the type of quarterback to have "up and down" years, and should be pretty consistent throughout the season. I'm going with the defending AFC champs to make it back again.
San Diego Chargers
I might take a bit of heat for this, but yes, I am taking the Chargers as my other pick to make the AFC championship. Yes, I know they are not as hyped as the Jets/Bengals/Dolphins, but they have a solid team and a forgiving division. Denver looks to be falling, Oakland isn't quite there yet, and Kansas City looks hopeless so San Diego looks to have their path to the playoffs on a silver platter. After that, all it takes is a few wins to make it to the AFC title game.
Surprise Teams
Chicago Bears
The Bears are back, and they may not be who Dennis Green thinks they are. (see what I did there) But in all seriousness, the Bears will be one of the surprises of the season. Cutler will still throw the interceptions, but he will throw for a lot more yards and TDs as well. The Bears have one of the most underrated WR groups in the NFL, featuring a bunch of current unknowns on the verge of a breakout. (Knox, Aromashodu, Doucet, and of course Hester) The addition of Julius Peppers should stabilize the defense and make the Bears a legitimate playoff contender.
Oakland Raiders
Yes, this one is a real longshot. Actually, I'm not expecting them to make the playoffs but they will be much better than they ever have in recent memory. Al Davis likes his 2010 squad a lot (not that it means all that much in reality) and so do I. Jason Campbell may not be Jim Plunkett (another Davis reference), but he will be much more effective in Oakland than Russell. Beyond that, I don't have a lot of cold hard facts. This is more of a gut feeling.
San Francisco 49ers
Defense is the word in San Francisco, and the 49ers certainly have a good one. They have a good group of guys and a coach who bases himself on defense and teamwork. Yes, their QB situation is shaky, but the consistent Vernon Davis and the explosive Michael Crabtree are good options for any QB. Frank Gore will also continue to be a workhorse for the team, accumulating his huge number of carries as usual.
Biggest Disappointments
Philadelphia Eagles
Anyone who personally knows me can verify that it is hard to find a bigger skeptic/critic of Donovan McNabb than myself, but even I have to say that he will be greatly missed in Philadelphia. They put all their faith in a "pass-happy" rookie QB who is being backed up by a "passing-deficient" convict. I'm not saying anything personal against Kevin Kolb, but I don't think one or two good games is enough to trade away your franchise QB. Sure they have great receivers but they don't mean much unless Kolb can get the ball to them.
Denver Broncos
The loss of Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins and Elvis Dumervil to injury dealt a crushing blow to the Broncos in the off-season this year. Their QB situation is very shaky (and no, it WON'T be Tebow) and now they are without a dynamic deep threat WR. Knowshon Moreno seems set for a breakout year, but running game means little unless you have a solid passing attack to compliment it. On top of it all, their best defensive player (Dumervil) is out for at least a few games with an injury and their defense is getting quite old and losing its luster.
Seattle Seahawks
Yea, I know they weren't very good last year either but they seem doomed to get worse. This team looks like they are digging deep into the talent pool to make a team and I wouldn't expect anything great, especially if Hasselback gets hurt again. (Its becoming almost a ritual)
And What about the Steelers...
The Steelers 2010 season is quite hard to predict. The Roethlisberger suspension will be a setback, but they still have a chance to recover afterwards. If Leftwich leads the team to at least 1 or 2 wins and Ben plays as well on the field as he is in training camp, then the Steelers look like a playoff team. The only thing that worries me is that Cincinnati and Baltimore also look like playoff teams. It will be tough, but if I had to make a guess, I will say "yes" that the Steelers will make the playoffs.

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