I think that everyone can agree with me when i say, "Thank God the preseason is over!" That being said, it is time to look forward to games that matter and determine who will compete for the NFL title in January
1. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Miami Dolphins
The Patriots are still the top of the AFC and should coast to the division crown. I think that Brett Favre will put the Jets ahead of the Bills. That running game will be able to open up a bit more and the defense should show some improvement.
The Bills, while I like their running game, have questions in the passing game. Trent Edwards needs to show that he can be productive for 16 games. The Miami Dolphins need to do some serious rebuilding and shouldn't contend for anything but a high draft pick.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Cleveland Browns
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Baltimore Ravens
I know this looks familiar but I didn't do that on purpose. The Steelers are still going to win the division though it will be close. The drafting of Mendenhall will give the Steelers a great 1-2 punch and Santonio Holmes should give Big Ben a quality wide receiver, other than Hines Ward to throw to.
The Browns are going to be a fun team to watch. Derek Anderson should have a solid season if he is healthy and Jamal should run for 1000 yards. However I don't think the defense is good enough to win the division.
Though the Bengals are dysfunctional they have weapons on the offensive side of the football that will keep them out of last place. The Ravens are in last for two reasons; one is the aging defence that the Ravens did not instill with youth and two there quarterback is Joey Flacco.
I did not like Flacco and I am against rookie QBs starting their first year. This year will be a disaster for the Ravens.
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Houston Texans
4. Tennessee Titans
The Colts will just barely squeak the division title. The gap has quickly shut as Jacksonville's defense is one of the best in football and the running attack give the Jaguars the ability to play physical football better than any team.
Garrard doesn't kill his team with mistake and manages a game well. Houston is a team that will continue to improve. If Schaub and Johnson can stay healthy they have a chance contend for a wild card spot.
Tennessee is last because I don't believe in Vince Young. As an NFL QB you have to be able to throw the football and have people who can catch. Vince can do neither and his mental mistakes will cost the team
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Denver Broncos
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers should easily win this division. Even without Merriman, there is no way the Chargers don't win this division. The Broncos will finish second but not come close to making the playoffs because of that defense. The Oakland Raiders and Chiefs are interchangeable. Both franchises are rebuilding and have a long journey before they can make the playoffs.
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New York Giants
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Washington Redksins
The Dallas Cowboys are the best regular season team in the NFC. They have so much talent on both sides of the ball it's hard to see them losing the division crown. The Giants have drafted and adapted to their losses well enough that they will finish in second.
That running game and the evolution of Eli should lead to more points and less pressure. The Eagles, with a healthy McNabb, will contend for a playoff spot. When the Eagles added Asante Samuel Jim Johnson must have been like a kid in a candy shop.
With two shut down corners expect the aggressive blitz packages to be much more effective than last season. The Redskins did acquire Taylor, but the secondary is much weaker than last year.
The transition to a new offense will lead to a slow start for the Skins that will cause them to be the best last place team in the NFL.
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Detroit Lions
4. Chicago Bears
The Minnesota Vikings are head and shoulders ahead of the other teams in their division. The best running attack will benefit from the emergence of Sidney Rice as a great receiver. The addition of Jared Allen will make the best run stuffing team a formidable pass rushing team as well.
The Packers are here because I have no faith in Aaron Rodgers' ability to perform or stay healthy. Had Brett played for them, I would have picked them to go to the Super Bowl. The Lions do have the best QB in the division but that defense will hurt them too much.
The Bears aging defense, their lack of a running game, and their horrible situation at QB will make this proud franchise the laughing stock of the NFC North.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Atlanta Falcons
The Bucs are the most well rounded team in the division. Good QB play and the a solid defense will help them to edge out the Saint for the division, but it is the health of the RBs that will determine that.
If Cadillac, Graham, and Dunn are all healthy they will win the division. The Saints have a great offense, but it still in the air about the impact that Vilma and Eliis have. Reggie Bush can't be an every-down back and that is why McCallister's health is critical to the Saints' success.
The Panthers may have some weapons on offense, but the defensive line is not what it used to be. The Falcons need to rebuild and like the Ravens, I don't believe in rookie QBs starting.
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. St. Louis Rams
4. San Fransico 49ers
The Seattle Seahawks are better in every facet of the game compared to the teams in the NFC West. They will easily roll through into the playoffs in the last year of Mike Holmgren. Arizona is almost second by default in that the bottom two teams are so bad.
The St. Louis Rams need to stay healthy if they want to get to .500. Pace needs to stay healthy but that defense won't win them any games. For the 49ers I give you one name. JT O'Sullivan.
AFC Playoff Seeds
1. New England Patriots—The ease of their division will give them home-field throughout as long as they stay healthy.
2. San Diego Chargers—In an easy division and a large amount of talent should give this team a bye, but the loss of Merriman may cost them a game and home field throughout.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers—The Steelers additions along with the health of Polamalu will give the Steelers a better record than the Colts.
4. Indianapolis Colts—The team's division is the second best in football (NFC East takes that title) but health of the team along with the lack of cupcakes in their division will hurt their record.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars—The most physical team in football will make the playoffs again and are easily the best team that won't win their division and are better than the Steelers.
6. Cleveland Browns—Finally Cleveland will see postseason football. No referees are going to screw this one up. Their offense is too explosive and any improvement on defense should but them in the playoffs.
NFC Playoff Seeds
1. Dallas Cowboys—The most talented team in the conference, but I still don't see playoff success for this team.
2. Minnesota Vikings—This team plays in a horrible division, stuffs the run and runs the football better than anyone and added one of the best pass rushers in football.
3. Seattle Seahawks—A solid team but they lack the crazy skill at key positions that the Vikings and Cowboys have to get a bye week. Improved play of the WRs and RBs may give them a bye week but I doubt it.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—A solid team but like the Seahawks don't make me say, "Wow!"They don't have very much when it comes to WRs and their defense can't carry them like the Bucs of Sapp, Brooks, and Dungy.
5. New York Giants—Seems familiar, but the Giants will play the Bucs in the first round again. The play of Eli and the running game should take some of the load off the defense's shoulders. The improved secondary should help the defense remain effective even with the loss of Osi.
6. Philadelphia Eagles—The Saints may have a dynamic offense, but the acquisition of Asante Samuel put the Eagles in the playoffs. McNabb's health aside, the Eagles have good players at the skill position and decent receivers. The defense will get many more sacks and give QBs nightmares since Jim Johnson can leave his two CBs on islands without worry
That is my prediction of how the 2008 NFL regual season will end. Now it's time to still back, relax, and watch.