Could It Be?!: NFL's Surprises for 2008 and Projected Records

Mike CraigCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2008

The 2007 NFL Season ended on a interesting note. Super Bowl XLII had AFC's first seeded team, the undefeated New England Patriots against the NFC's 6th seeded team, the New York Giants. It was a re-match from the 17th week of the regular season when the Giants had almost beat the Patriots in what looked some-what of a shoot out. Of course, the 16-0 Patriots couldn't possibly lose the Super Bowl could they?

Well they did! The New York Giants, led by Eli Manning put on an amazing last offensive drive that got them the win. That whole drive was a highlight real. With the way the New England Patriots played that day, anybody could have beat them. The New York defense of course is what caused the Patriots to play the way they did. To sum it all up, the Giants were in fact, the better team that day and the Patriots just started dying out there towards the end of the 2007 season. It showed in the Playoffs.

With that being said, what is in store for us in the 2008 season? We have seen a number of players change uniforms. That list includes Jeremy Shockey, Jason Taylor, Javon Walker, and of course, the legendary number 4, Brett Favre. Does that mean the teams that acquired these big named NFL stars will have a better season? Yes and no.

For those of you who say, 'The Pre-Season doesn't matter,' or 'The Pre-Season is just for warm-ups', you would be wrong. While in fact the Pre-Season is for warming up for the regular season, its not JUST for warm-ups. AND the Pre-Season does matter. What doesn't matter about the Pre-Season is the records. Its how the starters play, and its who wins the starting jobs that matter. After all, just look at QB Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. He played in all 4 Pre-Season games played well in 3 of the 4. How 'bout the Patriots, of course they went 0-4 in the Pre-Season, however like mentioned before, records don't count. Its how the playing counts. If Tom Brady goes down, the Patriots now know that they have a good back-up in QB Matt Gutierrez.

New Orleans Saints
The Saints already have what it takes to be a playoff team. They missed out last season because the team wasn't playing to its potential. Now that the Saints have acquired TE Jeremy Shockey, QB Drew Brees has another threat to throw to. The Saints could possibly be a team we see in the NFC playoff bracket this year. We should expect the passing game to open up once again for the Saints and see Reggie Bush come back to being talked about with his amazing speed.

Washington Redskins
This is a team that won 3 of 5 Pre-Season games and that was due partially because of a certain QB from Hawaii. Colt Brennan showed that his bad showing in Hawaii's Bowl Game last season was exactly what it looked like, a bad showing. Other than that one game, Brennan has showed people why he broke so many records in college football for passing. The Redskins also have Jason Taylor which they acquired in a trade with the Dolphins. Jason Taylor is injured at the time being, but it isn't anything that will keep him out of the season which is a good thing for the Redskins. Last season, Jason Taylor was about the only good player the Miami Dolphins had. I'd expect to see the Washington Redskins in the playoffs again.

Oakland Raiders
Here is a team that has been making a lot of improvements lately. They only won 1 of 4 games in the Pre-Season. Again though, records doesn't mean a thing unless of course its the regular season. However I do not expect to see the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs this year. QB JaMarcus Russell is the future of the Oakland Raiders. He had a decent showing in the Pre-Season. Plus they have two good running backs in Justin Fargus and rookie Darren McFadden. The Raiders acquired WR Javon Walker in the off-season. Smart choice? Maybe.

Javon Walker hasn't really shown his talents off since he was in Green Bay. His first year with the Denver Broncos he did really good, but after that, there wasn't really much he did do. Hopefully Javon Walker will pay off some dividends for the Oakland Raiders.

New York Jets
How many players did the New York Jets get during the off-season? That answer is a lot. The Jets have made their line stronger by acquiring Guard Alan Faneca. He didn't want to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers anymore and which case the Jets signed him when he was in the free-agency. TE Bubba Franks was another pick up the Jets got. Released from the Green Bay Packers, Bubba Franks signed with the New York Jets. This of course is also a part of the offensive line AND the receiving core.

Now why does all of this matter? I mean so what, Kerri Collins or Chad Pennington have some protection and perhaps a new target to throw too? Wrong! The New York Jets also acquired QB Brett Favre from the Green Bay Packers in a trade. They also released Chad Pennington who went and signed with the Miami Dolphins. Brett Favre will increase the Jets chances of winning greatly. It will also give RB Thomas Jones more room to run. After all they will be no more crowding the line when Brett Favre has targets like Jericho Cotchery and Lavernes Coles to throw to. Not to mention the fact that Favre likes to throw it to Tight Ends as well. The Jets are a team we could possibly see in the playoffs this year.

This is how how the season will most likley turn out:

New York Jets
New England Patriots (11-5)
Miami Dolphins (7-9)
Buffalo Bills (4-12)

Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns (10-6)
Baltimore Ravens (7-9)
Cincinnati Bengals (2-14)

Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Houston Texans (10-6)
Tennessee Titans (7-9)

San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs (6-10)
Denver Broncos (5-11)
Oakland Raiders (5-11)

Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants (11-5)
Washington Redskins (10-6)
Philadelphia Eagles (2-14)

Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
Chicago Bears (7-9)
Detroit Lions (5-11)

New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
Carolina Panthers (6-10)
Atlanta Falcons (5-11)

Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
St. Louis Rams (5-11)
Seattle Seahawks (5-11)

1: San Diego Chargers
2: New York Jets
3: Pittsburgh Steelers
4: Jacksonville Jaguars
5: New England Patriots
6: Indianapolis Colts

1: Green Bay Packers
2: Dallas Cowboys
3: New Orleans Saints
4: Arizona Cardinals
5: New York Giants
6: Washington Redskins


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