Here are my observations for the upcoming NFL season. I am sure they are going to make a lot of people mad, but this is just what I have been thinking while listening to and reading all the NFL news in the last month.
No excuse for not repeating as Division Champs again this year. They’re talented in all facets and face weak opponents in their division.
Seemingly doing the right things in the offseason (re-signing Warner, keeping Dockett/Boldin) for the first time in a while might be a sign of good things in the future.
Their young team really came together in the playoffs; let’s see if they can keep it up.
The offense has increased its talent with the addition of Tony Gonzalez. They will continue to be a potent attack with Turner and the evolution of Matt Ryan, but it might not be enough this year.
People forget their defense was not any good last year. They did a great job of slowing the game down with Michael Turner to counter their defensive inadequacies, but can they do it again?
They lost their middle linebacker in free agency and had no major additions. They won't catch anyone by surprise this year.
It’s hard not to be biased about this one, but there is no reason they can’t be better than last year.
The secondary is much younger and more talented, the lines got better, and Flacco has an extra year under his belt.
If their mediocre receivers can stay healthy the team will be fine. If they start getting injured, this team might struggle to score points against better defenses.
Please don’t act like Terrell Owens will solve the Bills’ problems. Their defense is still mediocre and their quarterback is unproven.
Edwards looks good when healthy, but he hasn’t played a full season yet—something he will need to do to keep the Bills in the playoff race.
No possible way they are winning this division over the Patriots and it’s hard to argue they are better than the other teams in the division. This has letdown written all over it.
I guess these guys will be good again this year. Everyone seems to think so, but I don’t know with this team. They still didn’t get anyone to help Steve Smith against good defenses.
Delhomme as your QB after that debacle last year? Kemoeatu out for the year in the middle of your defensive line?
I don’t know about this one. Hopefully, their running game can keep it up or they might have a hard time this season.
I think the addition of a real QB will help pick up the inconsistent defensive play of last year. Hester might be a break-out stud WR this year with Cutler throwing to him.
Matt Forte is a definite stud. Should have no problem winning eight games this year, but anything more will be up to the defense.
Can it return to its stout form, or will they show their age?
This team is a major unknown. If Carson Palmer is healthy, the sky is the limit for the offense. The defense improved greatly last year, but that could just be a one year fluke.
While it’s hard to believe they will catch the two monsters at the top of their division, this team will surprise some people this year.
I see them beating a few good teams and getting their record back up to a respectable level.
Mangini won a lot of games his first year in New York, essentially with smoke and mirrors. Can he do it again this year in Cleveland?
He has two more-than-serviceable quarterbacks and an emotional, sporadic, talented wide receiver to throw to.
But the defense that was starting to improve stepped back last year. I just can’t see them winning a lot of games this year.
This is another unknown to me. Romo’s stats will probably drop but he will probably become a better quarterback, spreading the ball around to the open receiver.
Three really good running backs certainly help too, but I am not sure their lines will be able to stack up to their opponents’ in the NFC East.
If that young secondary can improve from last year they will still be a good team, but the loss of Owens will cost them a few important touchdowns (even if dropping him was the right move).
On paper, they are above-average on both sides of the ball, but that might not be enough to make a real playoff push.
I think this team will fall off the face of the earth.
They have receiving talent, but what else? That certainly did not help the Cardinals all those years before the rest of the team stepped up.
They might have had the worst defense in the league last year (close call with the Lions), and the additions of old players and rookies generally do not pay off in the first year. Orton was decent in Chicago last year, but he had a pretty good line and a stud RB to dump off to.
This won’t be pretty for the Broncos this year.
Anyone who says three wins this season will be deemed a success is stupid. I don’t care how bad my team was last year…three wins is NOT a successful improvement.
They were in many close games last year, and it’s not that hard to improve drastically in one season. Just ask the Dolphins, Ravens, and Falcons, who seemed dead in the water before last season.
Just hope they can develop a good offensive line to protect their major investment. And that D line, there is no possible way it could be worse than last year. Right?
Green Bay Packers
Another ridiculous myth that people are spewing: Brett Favre would not have allowed that team to lose all those games last year.
Anyone remember the three years BEFORE McCarthy took over? Rodgers is leading a solid offense with a defense that was decimated with injuries last year. If that unit can play 75 percent as well as they did two season ago, this team will win the division.
Rodgers will put up a lot of points in a division that is offensively scarce. They should be able to take advantage of that fact.
My sleeper team of the season! Just kidding, they have been everyone’s sleeper team the last three years.
That being said, their offense is stacked with talent and will cause some serious damage. Too bad they can’t find anyone to suture up the defense, because they give away a lot of points as well.
In a division with two solid, well-coached teams, the Texans will struggle to hide that fact. Look for another mediocre season for the perpetual sleeper team.
As for one of those well-coached teams in the Texans’ division…this year will be a turning point.
The lines looked old last year and it took a great season from Peyton Manning to drag this team to an incredible amount of wins. How exactly did they win 12 games with absolutely no running game and a mediocre defense?
Was last year’s struggle an aberration? Because I just can’t see them winning a ton of games like last year if that isn’t the case. Sanders and Freeney are eternally injured, and without them they are not even a mediocre defense.
Peyton can only do this for so long! I think.
This team is like the Broncos to me. Just like the WRs of Denver, the Jags really have nothing spectacular at any position other than RB. Their defense slipped drastically last year and their offensive line is a mess.
Two rookie offensive bookends usually aren’t a remedy for a terrible line either.
Add in the fact they got rid of all their best receivers and you have a team with no real opportunity to be successful in the long run.
Kansas City Chiefs
This is another team that people are picking as a sleeper. I think this one makes a little more sense though.
Their record stunk last year, but they lost a ton of close games.
Their division isn’t any good, and their young roster is one year older. Plus…they got rid of Herm Edwards!
I am not sold on Cassel as a franchise QB though. Especially when they have two talented guys on the depth chart behind him. Why, exactly, did they spend all that cap money on him again?
He will certainly be the key to any success they have this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won their division, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if they came in last. So essentially, I have no clue.
Anyone who thinks last year was a fluke should be careful. While they had a few wins last year because of the sheer shock of the Wildcat offense, they were winning games straight up by the end of the season.
Parcells knows how to draft defensive players as well as anyone. Pennington is still one of the most underrated QBs in the league.
And as much as I don’t think Pat White is an NFL-caliber quarterback, he is a weapon in the wildcat. All of those things add up to a solid team.
Oh the Vikings, how glad am I that I am not a fan? Really glad! This team is stacked in all facets. All they needed was good game management and decent mistake-free football by their quarterback.
Then they had to go and sign a QB who is about as opposite of "mistake-free" as you can be.
Does anyone think Brad Childress knows what he is doing? I certainly don’t, and I can see him and Favre completely miscalculating the strengths of this team.
You have the best RB in the league, two great lines, and a speedy WR. Just play a mistake-free power game and air it out every once in a while to keep teams honest.
I am sure they won’t, because the Vikings seem to be allergic to good coaching and magnets for wasted physical talent. (And yes I know they were a playoff team despite those things last year).
New Orleans Saints
Don’t kid yourself into thinking their defense will be any good this year. But with an elite QB and a great offense overall, they should minimize the time the defense has to be on the field.
They'll do what the Falcons did last year and what the Colts do every year. Then, if they fall behind in a game, they certainly have the ability to air it out and play comeback football.
I see this team winning the division if they do something that resembles that. I mean, with all the injuries last year and the addition of a good defensive coordinator, there is no reason they can’t.
New England Patriots
How exactly are defenses supposed to stop the Patriots offense this year? Tom Brady now has the best receiving corps he has ever played with. And the running game is always good in New England.
They will revert back to their 2007 form, when they were outscoring teams by three TDs in the first quarter.
Added to that, their defense went from really old to really young in a span of two seasons. While they might not be as savvy as they once were, they won’t wear out in the last quarter like they used to.
This team will probably be unstoppable again this season.
New York Giants
I can’t decide whether these guys or the Patriots are a more complete team. They certainly have the best combination of offensive and defensive lines in the NFC, and possibly the NFL.
Their secondary is young and proven, and they enhanced their linebackers this offseason. Their running game is still going to be the best in the league, and their QB is a Super Bowl MVP.
The receivers are their apparent weakness, though not because of physical talent. This team is also well -coached. They have it all and I expect to see results this season.
New York Jets
This is also a team I cannot possibly look at from an unbiased view.
Let me get this straight. An average defense spent $63 million (or something) on an above-average outside linebacker and a backup safety? And now people think that a good defensive coordinator will automatically turn those things into a top-10 defense now that he is a head coach?
Marvin Lewis, Romeo Crennel, Mike Nolan anyone?
And since when do they have the best offensive line in football like people are saying? It is certainly a strength of the team, but come on.
They have talent everywhere on their roster, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into big wins…just look at them last year.
Does anyone have any idea what this team will do this season? They never seem as bad as their record, and they certainly have talent in all of the skill positions on both sides of the ball.
But their lines have been bad and their overall play inconsistent.
They seemed to give full effort for Tom Cable at the end of the season last year. If they do the same this year they won’t be a joke.
They better give their all or he will punch every one of them in the jaw. Plus, their division is pretty terrible.
Here’s a few things I don’t understand: How exactly is a QB with known accuracy issues a "perfect fit" in a west coast offense? Because that’s what I am hearing.
Also, anyone who thinks Vick ISN’T a threat to McNabb’s job isn’t paying attention. He most certainly is and will continue to be until McNabb is gone or Vick fails miserably.
With all that said, I still think he is an awesome weapon for any team. But this Wildcat thing seems to be out of control. Will they really use him for that?
I remember that formation failing versus every good defense in the league last year. Now it seems like every expert is reporting the wildcat will be HUGE this year.
But I guess if it’s going to work, having Vick would certainly be nice. Plus, that offense is stacked with talent.
Their defense is usually top-notch as well. I can’t really see them having a bad season, unless you see losing in the NFC Championship game a bad season.
What is there to predict really? Their defense will be top-five. Their quarterback will win games in the clutch. Their coach will consistently make good changes to the offense in order to succeed.
The only thing I would question would be their offensive line. It hardly tore up the league last year, and I don’t see any reason why they would drastically improve in the offseason.
It won’t matter. Ben will have two or three games where he will get absolutely drilled and they will adjust before the end of the season. Same ol’ boring predictable successful Steelers.
San Diego Chargers
For the sake of God, please win more than nine games this year. Your defense will have its superstar back. Your quarterback took a giant leap last year. Your division is weak.
I still can’t get over the fact that you fired your coach after going 13-3 and losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champ. I don’t and will not get that move until you prove to me that you are better because of it.
It certainly could and SHOULD be this season, but I said that last year.
San Francisco 49ers
The defense is a little different, however. They have a great middle linebacker in Patrick Willis and a bunch of underachieving talent in the secondary.
But I think Singletary understands the strengths of this team, and he will game plan accordingly. They should be able to beat bad teams though, including the ones in their division.
They seem to be banking on Matt Hasselbeck’s back. That is something I would not be doing if I were them.
I understand he is a Pro Bowler when he’s healthy, but when was the last time he was at full strength?
I think their WR corps is underrated, but it won’t matter if Seneca Wallace is throwing to them.
And what happened to the defense last year? Why did it drop off the table in such an offense-deficient division? Not sure anyone understands why, which is why I think it won’t improve all that much.
But this team ultimately goes where Matt’s back takes them.
St. Louis Rams
This team gets my vote for worst record this season. Who do they have other than a stud RB?
Bulger seems to be broken goods, and I can attest that their backup isn’t the most reliable guy in the world either.
Their lines are a mess, and they lost their best WR.
The defense is littered with high draft picks that have not yet panned out.
I love their choice for a new head coach, but I am afraid there is nothing he will be able to do to prevent another high draft pick in April.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This defense imploded last year when they heard that Monte Kiffin was leaving after the season. I can’t see them being as bad this year, but I see no reason why they would return to their former self.
Barber has to start aging sometime, and Derrick Brooks is gone.
I know they are young, but defenses as good as they were don’t just happen quickly. And the offense will probably struggle in its passing game.
None of the quarterbacks are particularly proven; the receivers and running backs probably cannot carry the offense. I can’t see anything remarkable happening this season.
Jeff Fisher teams seem to bring it to every game. They play football correctly, and he rarely allows his teams to lose from their mistakes.
Now that their offensive and defensive lines are solid, he is utilizing them to the team’s fullest potential.
With the addition of a good secondary and a great running back tandem, the Titans will win a ton more games this season.
But they cannot deny they have a QB problem.
What happens if Collins goes down or shows his age this season? I don’t think Young has done anything to prove he can be a winning quarterback. Maybe they should make a move for another old, white, accurate Collins…Todd.
Yes, I think that would solve all their quarterback problems.
Well at least they didn’t just go out and buy the most expensive free agents in the offseason like they usually do.
Oh wait, they did.
And has that worked for them previously? I don’t think so. So why keep doing it? I don’t know.
The DeAngelo Hall signing was bona fide ridiculous. That being said, the Haynesworth deal was not a terrible at all.
They are stacked in the secondary and added a first round defensive end. Those things should add up to another year of stout defense.
But, they have to play the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants six times a season. If the management was more concerned with helping Campbell than replacing him they would be able to win at least four of those.
But they aren’t and they won’t win any more than three of them this year. Being an above-average team in the best division in football must be a bummer.