Training camp is coming and inspired by other writers - I thought it was time for me to let you all know how the 2010 season is going to unfold.
Why did I put cheerleaders on the cover, well I just think we needed to start with some eye candy from the champs.
1. NY Jets
2. New England
I think the Jets have improved in all aspects of the team and Ryan has shown that they know how to play to Sanchez strengths. The staff needs to control all the personalities - but I think they will be bound together because they know they have a very real shot at the Super Bowl.
Both New England and Miami are rebuilding. But both teams have the talent and the experience to make it to the playoffs and further if everything clicks for them. Both teams are going to be more exciting to watch than the Jets.
Buffalo - well no offense - but I think it will take a miracle for them to get more than 5 wins. I think they will pick in the top 3 in the 2011 draft.
Baltimore is going to battle this one out with Cincinatti. The only question I have with Baltimore is the state of the secondary. Otherwise they have what it takes to take it all the way.
Cincinatti look like they have al the pieces. I have questions about their stability though - Carson Palmer, Chad 85, and Cedric Benson needs to be productive all season.
Pittsburgh - What will they do with Big Ben out for 6 games and no Santonio Holmes - rebuild for next season.
Cleveland are on the right track- and will improve from next season, but I think they are on a 3-5 year plan with Delhomme s the caretaker until McCoy (or someone else) is ready to take the reigns on a team that by then will be ready for the new franchise QB.
With Manning behind center on a team that is at least just as strong as in 2009 - Indianapolis have to be favorites to win this one. However I don't think they will be as dominant in 2010.
Houston or Tennessee are neck and neck - however I think Vince Young still has something to prove and he can not be counted on as the sure thing - yet !
Jacksonville. Now I know i might be a little biased here, because quite frankly I think their off-season and draft has been misarable. However if the defensive transition is a succes - they do have a backbone that could challenge Houston or Tennessee. But to be honest I see them drafting in the top 5 in 2011 and not outside the top 10 with a new Head coach in charge.
1. San Diego
4. Kansas City
Prior to the latest contract development in San Diego - the Chargers would have been clear favorites - they still are, but it is getting closer.
I think that the rest is really up for grabs.
The uncertainty i Denver post Brandon Marshall, a new defensive coordinator, some big rookie recievers with tons of potential a more experiences D-line and a beefed up O-line. I think Denver has the potential - but can they unleash it.
Oakland without Russel - I think that says it all. Campbell might just be what this franchise need - a low key QB, who is a top professional that will win the team over with his personality and performance on the field. Don't uderestimate a team that has built up so much frustration - and now all of a sudden has an upportunity to actually be competitive. This could end up as a blood bath on the opponents.
Kansas City. They have aquired som spectacular playmakers on offense and defense. I think they still have some missing pieces, but with the coaching staff they have they could surprise a lot of teams. They drafted two of my favorite playmakers of the draft in Berry and McCluster, so i might be a little overly positve in that acount.
2. NY Giants
Dallas looks set to challenge for a spot in the Super Bowl. Im not convinced that Romo has got what it takes when it is on the line or if the pressures from Jerrry Jones will get to much on the nerves of the team.
The Giants will have the right of first challenger - but also the Eagles and the Redskins has what it takes to make a serious challenge. With the Eagles everything i on the line with the QB transitions from McNabb to Kolb/Vick.
I think the Redskins need another season to be a serious contender, there is just to many question marks - even with out Haynesworth or with him. Shanahan really needs to work some magic on that O-line, but it a relief to finally see som sense in the Redskins organization.
1. Green Bay
Green Bay or Minnesota - this should be neck and neck ---- if Favre is under center, anything but a super bowl is a fiasco in Minnesota.
At least Detroit has improved - but they still have a long way to go or so it seems. anything but a loosing season will be great in Detroit.
It seems to me that Chicago is doing all the wrong things in the build a franchise manual. They trade away a lot of draft picks for a big play QB without any WRs to go to. They spash the cash in free agency on players that have peaked in their performance - and they don't have any draft picks to build the franchise from within. And you have a HC and GM who needs to perform NOW to keep their jobs. I might be wrong - but I think you really have to be a die hard fan to love this franchise.
1. New Orleans
3. Tampa Bay
As reigning champs The Saints is the team to beat. I have a feeling that everything just came together last season for the Saints - and can they find that again and (over)perform.
Atlanta has to be a better team this season. Matt Ryan will be a better QB - and they can't have that many injuries again. They are going to push the Saints, but I think they will have to settle for a wild card spot.
When I look at the talent they are collecting in Tampa, I think this will be an exciting team to follow - if they can keep this team together and keep developing, they are going to be serious contenders in a couple of years.
Maybe I should have put the Panthers over Tampa. But the QB situation, Steve Smiths broken arm, the lack of a quality veteran #2 WR and a non Peppers defense. If you can stop the run and rattle the QB, then the Panthers aren't going to score a lot. And why would you go for both Clausen and Pike ?
1. San Francisco
4. St. Louis
San Francisco looks like the team to beat in the west. If Alex Smith can take his game to another level and become the franchise QB that his talents promises - then the 49'ers could beat any team in the NFL. Iupati and Davis probably need another season to fully thrive. But playing against the 49'ers both offenses and defenses needs to prepare for pain.
I think that the management in Arizona have made some bold moves that could keep this team at the top for the next 5 years. Matt Leinart will have his shot and a lot hangs on his shoulders for the team to make the transition succesfull. How ever the team should have cap room and transfermarket manouverability in 2011 to get a new franchise QB if Leinart is a bust. But I have a feeling that Wisenhunt knows what he is doing.
Seattle clearly had a great draft - but I just don't think it is enough. Pete Carroll has stated that they are on a long term development path and they still need a lot of pieces to the puzzle. But if the O-line can protect Matt Hasselbeck and the defense can step it up then they might be looking at a winning season.
St. Louis still has a long way to go, and if they start Bradford too early and don't give him some proper protection (who said David Carr), then this could be the end of the franchise in St. Louis. But you can start to see the image of good things - now they need to stay on track.