Predictions for 10 Teams in the NFL
Everyone's making their predictions, so I have decided to make my own bold predictions.
With their 2010 draft picks and veterans, the Baltimore Ravens' defense is looking more stacked than ever. I don't see any defense holding a candle to theirs this year.
And the much improved offense will be letting them be on the field less often, so I'm sure that'll help too. They are one of my AFC favorites for the Superbowl this year.
Arizona Cardinals: Derek Anderson and Beanie Wells
Currently, Cardinals depth charts show Matt Leinart and Tim Hightower as the starting QB and RB, respectively. I believe that Leinart will bomb in his first several games, causing Derek Anderson to play. And he is a good QB when he has the weapons around him, a la Anderson in 2007, when he and Braylon Edwards were having a career year together. Tim Hightower didn't have a sophomore slump as many second year starters have, and rebounded off his poor 2.8 average in 2008. I think Beanie Wells will be the starter by the end of the season, averaging almost a yard more than his 2009 average (4.5).
New England Patriots: Wes Welker and Pats Runningbacks
Wes Welker will be JUST fine. The "if" he will be just as good after surgery is a myth—I have been saying it since he got injured. When he comes back, he will be just as good. Expect another 100-plus reception year from Welker.
Patriots will have a running game too, with Taylor, Morris, Faulk, and Ellis on the roster. I don't think we'll see the Pats have a huge running game, but an improvement over the last couple years. It will ease the load of work for Brady, Moss, and Welker.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
With Big Ben out four-to-six weeks this season, I think the backup quarterbacks will do just okay with the offense. The problem is, I don't think the Steelers will doing that well on defense this year—at least not as good as they have in the past. I believe that the Steelers need Ben when the defense is playing bad (see Steelers vs. Packers, regular season 2009) but he will be out, so the Steelers may very well get off to a bad start this year.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan and Michael Turner
The Atlanta Falcons will be the NFC South champions this year. As much as I like the Panthers, who could also capture it, I believe Matt Ryan and Michael Turner will rebound from their down years and show that they are both going to be in the NFL for a long time.
Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Cassel and Defense
Matt Cassel, I believe, will rebound from his first year with the Chiefs and have a decent year. If the defense does a good job, then they could get into the playoffs.
That's the problem. The defense hasn't been changed much since 2009, and this will be the deciding factor in how good the Chiefs are. The defense will not play well enough to get to the playoffs.
St. Louis Rams: Defense and Sam Bradford
With quarterbacks like Alex Smith, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, and Matt Hasselback in the division, I see the Rams defense stepping up this year and having a decent year under the direction of head coach Spag.
Everyone is predicting them to play poorly this year, but honestly, the quarterbacks in the division aren't good, to say the least. When the Rams defense plays against teams with bad quarterbacks, I believe they will make them look like fools, and while I do not expect them to do much better than 7-9, expect them to rebound, and have the confidence roll with them into the 2011 season where they will have an even better win-loss record.
And I haven't even mentioned that Sam Bradford will do better than most think he will, with decent wide receivers and a great runningback in Steven Jackson.
Denver Broncos: Kyle Orton
I've been saying it all along. People keep hyping up Tebow and keep making predictions that he will be the starting quarterback for the Broncos by the end of the 2010 season, but facts are facts: There's a reason why no other team would've picked him in the first round unless they wanted to use him as a wildcat QB or a runningback. There's a reason why he's third on the depth chart. And there's also a reason why Kyle Orton, who I said will have the job in Denver for a while, just got a two-year extension.
I won't down how much of a heart Tebow has or how much he tries to succeed...I don't doubt any of that. But it's more about Kyle Orton—he's a good passer. You don't get an 80-plus QB rating unless you're at least a decent quarterback. I believe Kyle Orton will have a career year and will stick it to all the Tebow fans (Tebow fans are NOT particularly BRONCO fans). He's a good athlete and seems to have the quiet personality somewhat like Aaron Rodgers has, although obviously, he's not as good or as much of a quality leader.
Regardless of whether the Broncos have a huge name wide receiver or not, Orton will do well this year.
New York Jets
Listen, I've liked the Jets since right after Favre left the team. I've been a fan of them. But the problem is, I don't think they will live up to their hype. I like Rex Ryan's coaching and many of the players on the Jets, but I just have an odd feeling, that, with Darrelle Revis out, they will not be getting much farther than a first game in the playoffs.
Oakland Raiders: Jason Campbell and Defense
The Oakland Raiders are the worst team since 2003 or so, and for many reasons.
But there's just as many reasons, now, why they look like a formidable playoff team.
Regarding Jason Campbell, ever since he left the 'Skins, there's one thing people seem to forget to mention about him—his touchdown total and passer rating has gone up every year he's been starting. Why not this year? He has better wide receivers than he did in a 'Skins uniform. A decent offensive line, coupled with a decent running game, should also help him out. I believe he'll continue to get better, and dare I say it, he could be one of the top 10 quarterbacks this season.
As for the defense, they drafted well to help that side of the ball out. They've gotten rid of some key players, but I believe Al Davis is over the "crazy" syndrome he had for the last several years and has turned this team mainly over to Tom Cable, who has made this team a formidable playoff team. Davis doesn't look crazy, but the defense against the Cowboys sure does.
BONUS Prediction: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will be the same—hype as usual, but not doing much in the playoffs.