New England Patriots (11-5) As much as I wanted to put them lower. Had a fantastic draft stealing Aaron Hernandez out of Florida (fourth round) to replace Ben Watson who went to Cleveland. Rob Gronkowski out of Arizona State will help too at TE and upgraded perennial weak linebacker positions with Brandon Spikes AND Jermaine Cunningham out of Florida. Note the school they clearly targeted, never a bad thing. Oh and Wes Welker's back.
Miami Dolphins (10-6) Sure they didn't add much: Karlos Dansby and Brandon Marshall of notable acquisitions but they made their moves count as both are obvious upgrades.
New York Jets (9-7) Mark Sanchez hype aside, the team made some very impressive moves-Jason Taylor, LaDanian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie, and my favorite, Santonio Holmes who I believe could have the biggest impact of all (note I didn't necessarily say "positive" impact). After initially loving their deals, starting to wonder if they aren't Redskin type-castoff moves where veterans go to get one last paycheck (see Taylor, Jason and Tomlinson, LaDanian). Time will tell but I have concerns over all the new faces meshing not to mention their coaches big mouth and constant pressure to perform. Don't forget this team barely made the playoffs last year....
Buffalo Bills (4-12) The C.J. Spiller pick probably saves this team from even more losses. While the team could max out at six win potential in my mind, I've got to put them here just to teach them a lesson in perpetual ineptitude. Until they start resembling a real football team, they belong here and deserve their fate. Enjoy watching Spiller and his highlight-reel plays on offense and special teams.
Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) Love the T.O. and Ocho pairing. Aside from "Must See TV" every Sunday I think (and hope) they can win. Sure, there will be bickering over who wasn't thrown to on a given week, but winning will solve most of that sideshow crap. Defense gets Keith Rivers back and the draft was solid with Jermaine Gresham who I'd have to offensive ROY if not for Spiller. He'll be the next Jeremy Shockey-the guy the Bengals should have taken in 2001 instead of Levi Jones.
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) So the team got Anquan Boldin. Big deal. Will he spread the field? Sure. Can they beat teams like the Colts and Patriots? No, they aren't good enough yet. Best regular season team money can buy until they prove otherwise in January.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) Ben Worthlessberger probably costs his team 3-4 wins this season with his offseason stupidity. Those first four weeks his 'suspension' (seriously, how do you get to practice and play pre-season if you're 'suspended?') is sure to get reduced to four and the team will probably go 2-2 in such games. Defense is always solid and deep keeping them in games. They should put the thug Ben on a terrible towl. Now, how's that for irony? (can you tell I don't care for this team even before the juvinille allegations?)
Cleveland Browns (5-11) Team brought in Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong in a trade with Philly. Drafted Joe Haden who I'm quickly losing faith on. Don't think he'll be a good fit. Delhomme pickup is worthless impact-wise but he should help mentor the real prize, Colt McCoy, provided he doesn't ruin him first. Scott Fujita on defense was a solid move but the offense still looks terrible, as always. Watson or no.
San Diego Chargers (10-6) Everyone wants to jump on the Ryan Mathews bandwagon. This team still has holdouts with Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill among others. Loss of L.T.'s leadership will hurt. What they do in the regular season is irrelevant anyway since they don't win when it counts.
Oakland Raiders (9-7) I think the loss of the Russell plaque is probably worth 2-3 wins right there. Add that to their usual five, and that gets you eight right there. Louis Murphy leads an improving WR corps which Jason Campbell (a real QB) should help improve. On defense added solid pickup Ronaldo McCain out of Alabamy which should stop the series of 1st round busts-(Bey and McFadden) along with the seven straight 11-plus loss seasons.
Denver Broncos (5-11) Remember how last season ended? 8-8 after an aberration 6-0 start? Expect more of the same. Season highlight will be when boy-wonder, Dudley Do Right, the sickening Tim Tebow takes over for this declining club. Whatever. Who cares. Lost Tony Sheffler on offense and Elvis Dumervil on defense (injury). Old team. Another one I just don't care about, nor have anything good to say so I'm done.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) Smartly drafted ball-hawk Eric Berry who will be a Pro-Bowler for years in the Ed Reed mold. My DROY pick. Dexter McCluster will add high-light reel plays similar to Spiller as he moves the chains. Not sure what, or how much third round pick Javier Arenas brings to the table. Draft really declined after that. WR Chris Chambers didn't do anything his first go-round in KC why would this time be any different? Never thought I'd see him as a journeyman player. They are getting there...slowly.
Indianapolis Colts (12-4) Again, as much as I hate to do it, as I'm tired of 'all things Peyton" I have to do it until they prove me otherwise. Solid vets all around. Hopefully they choke in the playoffs or prove me wrong as I'd love to see them .500 or less. On offense, the machine rolls. Only hope is for the defense to go down.
Houston Texans (10-6) This team is terrible at RB and WR after Johnson. Still, they'll find their way to at least eight wins as always and go from there. Chances are the "D" keeps them in games and they steal one or two (from Jax).
Tennessee Titans (8-8) Sure, all Vince Young does is "win, win, win no matter what" but can be stay healthy and focused? I doubt it, especially the latter. Defense lost Kyle Vanden Bosch which will hurt and Keith Bullock, a steady stall wart. Stop Chris Johnson, stop this team, is the basic formula.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13) If the L.A. Jaguars, oops-jumping the gun there. If no one comes to watch them and cannot see them because of blackouts, will anyone care? Its the old "tree falling in the forest" adage. Added an aging Aaron Kampman in a move that reminds me of when the team got Hugh Douglas from the Eagles a few years back. How did that work out? Like Johnson in Teneesee, stop MJD, stop this team. Not drafting Jesus Tebow will be the dumbest thing (ticket-wise) they ever did. Looking for a 1st round bust? Start here: Tyson Alualu. They don't even have their depth chart done yet. What does that tell you? They don't know either and they don't have a clue.
MYnnesota Vikings (12-4) Sure, the team was back-stabbed by Sidney Rice who stupidly will cut into his future earnings and production with a lost first half of the season, but they got Favre back. That's all that matters. Chester Taylor's loss was negated by Toby Gerhardt after some initial rumors that Albert Young would actually get the job! Ouch. A few tweaks all that was needed for this ready-built team. The defense speaks for itself and if Madieu Williams can get his rightful place on the bench, this team could really do something. Chris Cook is looking solid in camp. Yeah, this is my team and I'm going down with the ship.
Chicago Bears (10-6) Why exactly did this team add Julius Peppers? They already had Mark Anderson and could have used the money elsewhere like on the OL where they need to protect Culter who I think will improve this year. Why? Because Johnnie Knox, Devin Aromashodu, and Earl Bennett easily give the Bears their best depth in years. This along with Greg Olson and Desmond Clark to go with Matt Forte, Taylor, (breath) and Hester give the offense no excuses.
Green Bay Packers (9-7) Skip Bayless and Rob Parker couldn't stop oozing about Aaron Rodgers on Friday's ESPN First Take. Is he a top five QB like they said? Yes. Is he top three? No. I'd take Brady, Manning, Favre, and Brees any day over him. Don't forget Rodgers (1-3 vs Minnesota) can't beat his No.1 rival despite gaudy stats. All flash and no cash, is what I say. Did I mention he's also 0-1 in the playoffs? What good is 4,200 yards if you can't A. beat your No. 1 rival and B. win in the playoffs? Overrated but I do understand the hype, cheeseheads. Its fueled by anti-Favre anticipation of wanting him and the Kings to look bad. Losers.
Detroit Lions (3-13) Suh will be a good player but just counting his days until NFL free agency like they all do. So they brought in Nate Burleson, Jahvid Best, and Kyle Vanden Bosch? So what. They also always win the expert's picks in the draft winners/losers and we all know what that means. Much like in the soccer world, this club needs to get relegated down and someone resembling a real team, take its place. I've got nothing more to say until they prove me wrong.
New York Giants (11-5) Have you seen their secondary? Forget Rolle, Deon Grant (78 tackles-five INT), Tyrell Thomas (85 and three INT), and Corey Webster (51 and one) prove this unit is deep and that's without former first round pick Kenny Phillips. You know the line can bring it. Did you know Steve "not that one" Smith caught 107 passes last year? Me neither.
Dallas Cowgirls (10-6) Why is the record so low? Not only is this the hardest to pick division, but I think the teams will beat each other up to the tune of 1-1 records against one another. NFL and ESPN so desperately wants them to play the Super Bowl at home in Jerry's palace yet if the Vikings didn't crush them (and I mean crush them last year) the Saints would have, so what's with all the hype? 1st playoff win since 1996? So what, that only bought them another week before they got showed up. Have I made that clear enough? So you think Dallas' newest thug, Dez Bryant is going to change things? They'll need more than him.
Washington Redskins (9-7) McNabb and Shanahan get all the flash. McNabb's a proven player so that helps the revolving QB door which alone is worth two wins. WR is still thin behind Moss. Haynesworthless and Hall on "D" are headcases. The rest are just hired guns. Paper champions already I see. Kinda like how they always win the FA derby? Where does that get them?
Philadelphia Eagles (6-10) Youth movement. No McNabb. No Brown who I really liked, and no Cocong. Good luck. No Westbrook for leadership. But hey, they brought in Kolb and Brandon Graham who many think could be DROY! These aint your daddy's Eagles although they could will their way to eight wins, I just don't see how or why that would matter with all the veterans they lost and the experience they brought.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) NFL's ghetto team (did you see how they went after Favre in the NFC Championship game?) really didn't lose anyone of note, other than Fujita. I think they traded former first round pick Jamaal Brown which will probably hurt the line's cohesive unit but they aren't going to repeat this year anyway. You get the sense it was a good, one-year run anyway and they are just happy to bring something to New Orleans after 2005. Now that that's done and they can't sneak up on anyone, they'll actually have to earn wins. I could continue to analyze but the fact is, they are the hunted this year and their inability to sneak up on anyone will be the difference.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) Some people predict a Matt Ryan slump. I don't see it. Doesn't it seem like Dunta Robinson signed here six years ago?
Carolina Panthers (7-9) I am not looking forward to prettyboy Jimmy Clausen and his era and the Notre Dame stink that follows him. Matt Moore is just a placeholder before this Tebow-like goody-goody takes over. As always no depth behind WR Steve Smith. You think they'd correct that one of these years. Secondary looks thinner than usual.
Tampa Bay Bucs (2-14) With the first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft...added some nice pieces on offense with WR Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn but that's too much youth to incorporate to any offense at one time, especially when you consider their de-facto leader is baby-faced Josh Freeman himself. What do you say about the defense when you can only name 2 players and one-Gerald McCoy you think will be the NFL's 1st bust of the 2010 draft class?
San Francisco 49ers (10-6) Had the most peculiar draft of all in 2010. Added two OL in Anthony Davis out of Rutgers and Mike Iupati out of Idaho to give Alex Smith absolutely no excuses. If it works, consider this to be a future draft blueprint. Smith has looked good in the pre-season so we'll see. Ted Ginn helps out depth wise and special teams but he's not No. 2. Still thin there. Still, we all know the "D" runs this team. Taylor Mays will be a starter soon enough.
Seattle Seahawks (9-7) Earl Thomas and fellow first rounder, Russell Okung step in as instant starters and should have immediate impcat. What was a point of concern OL with the loss of Pro Bowler, Walter Jones is no more. Golden Tate is intriguing here.
Arizona Cardinals (6-10) Its not I don't like the moves they've made Kerry Rhodes replaces Antrel Rolle as best he can, Early Doucet and Boldin, and Joey Porter for Karlos Dansby. Considering all the talent they lost, I think they did tremendous replacing them. Especially on short notice and against the clock (free agency). Its who is leading them, Matt Leinart, for the reason for the record as I have no faith in this party animal. He just screams reality show and I just scream thinking he's the answer when for four years he's proven otherwise. Hopefully Derek Anderson beats him out so I can move them back up to Wild Card talk.
St Louis Rams (3-13) With the second pick in the 2011 NFL draft...wouldn't it be funny if in getting three wins, they went from one win two years ago to two wins last year and three this year? Look out for 2022! (16-0). I've used that joke before. I don't expect Bradford to be able to do much here.
Playoffs AFC (1) Indianapolis Colts (2) New England Patriots
(3) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (6) Baltimore Ravens
(4) San Diego Chargers vs. (5)Miami Dolphins
(1) Indianapolis vs (5) Miami Dolphins
(2) New England Patriots vs (3) Cincinnati Bengals
(1) Indianapolis vs (3) Cincinnati Bengals
NFC (1) Minnesota Vikings (2) New York Giants
(3) New Orleans Saints vs (6) Chicago Bears
(4) San Francisco 49ers vs. (5) Dallas Cowgirls
(1) Minnesota Vikings vs. (5) Dallas Cowgirls
(2) New York Giants vs. (3) New Orleans Saints
(1) Minnesota Vikings vs. (2) New York Giants
Super Bowl: (1) Minnesota Vikings vs. (3) Cincinnati Bengals
Winner: Favre and the Vikings
Offensive Rookie of the Year: C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (Jermaine Gresham, 23rd, Bengals runner-up)
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs (Kareem Jackson, 20th, Houston runner up)
Coach of the Year: Marvin Lewis, Bengals
MVP: Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Gotta have them get some awards if I'm going to have them going as far as I do) 1,846 yards.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jared Allen, Vikings
First round busts: Gerald McCoy,(3rd), Bucs, Tyson Alualu (10th) Jax, Jason Pierre Paul (15th Giants), Joe Haden (7th) Browns I correctly guessed Darius Heyward-Bey and Aaron Maybin last year.
Coaches to get fired: Andy Reid resigns (never can get that one right), Eric Mangini, Browns, John Fox, Carolina Panthers, Raheem Morris, Bucs, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville.