It's way to early to know whats going to happen in this years NFL season. Training camps haven't even started yet. But what's the fun in waiting? I'm bored on a Sunday afternoon, so I figure I'll give my predictions for this year based solely on my opinion. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know...So without further ado...
Philadephia Eagles- They loaded up this year, and both Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb know the window is almost closed. If it's going to happen, it happens this year.
New York Giants- They only lost Plaxico Buress and Derrick Ward. Ward is replaceable, Plax is not. You gotta believe there is a little drop-off from last year, but not much. Still one of the best running games and defenses in the league
Dallas Cowboys- I pretty much believe they bounce back this year and probably finish with the same record as the Giants. They lost T.O. but they plan on running more anyway, plus with a Top 10 defense, Dallas steals one of the wild-card spots.
Washington Redskins- They are SLOWLY improving. Their defense will be good again, but there offense just seems confused. Are they smash mouth? Are they an air it out team? Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell need to get it together or they will both be looking for new jobs in 2010.
Minnesota Vikings- I'm just assuming Brett Favre is playing for them this year. The Vikings have the best running back in Adrian Peterson and best run defense in the league, which makes them a very dangerous team. Throw in a Hall of Fame QB, a fast WR (Bernard Berrian) for play actions, and a home run threat in rookie Percy Harvin, and this could be the team that sneaks up and wins the Super Bowl...maybe.
Green Bay Packers- The Brett Favre fiasco took a toll last year. But make no mistake, this a very good team that did go 13-3 two years ago. They have a high powered offense with a very capable QB in Aaron Rodgers (4,038 yds and 28 TD's in 2008) and a good young defense. Could be the other wildcard.
Chicago Bears- I know they went and got QB Jay Cutler, which instantly means improvement, but I feel like Cutler's ability as a gun swinger will now be limited in Chicago. They have a good young running back in Matt Forte and NO receivers. Plus an aging defense. A good team? Yes. But unfortunatley the NFC isn't weak enough for them to sneak into the playoffs.
Detroit Lions- You have to be better this year when you lose every game last year...right? RIGHT!?!?!?
Atlanta Falcons- I gave them the division title, but not by much. They have Matt Ryan, a really good young QB who can manage the game, but also make the throws when needed. They also have a beast at RB in Michael Turner. As long as they don't lose the games they are supposed to win, they could win the division.
Carolina Panthers- Perhaps the best running game in the league won't repeat what they did last year. DeAngelo Williams had a phenomenial season, and Jonathan Stewart was great coming off the bench, but I just don't believe they repeat it. QB Jake Delhomme is done. I see no reason why the Panthers should have given him that extension (especially after his 5 INT performance in the playoffs last year). They finish second in the division just because the rest of the teams aren't that good.
New Orleans Saints- Great high powered passing game. That's it. No defense and a running game that should be good but the play calling just isn't balanced enough. They come close to making a run at the playoffs, but really it's just because the division is weak.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- It's officially re-building time in Tampa. The Bucs got rid of the face of their franchise in Derick Brooks, and fired head coach Jon Gruden. Then they drafted QB Josh Freeman in the first round. For this season, this team isn't that good and should finish in the 4-12 range for their record.
Seattle Seahawks- With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and the addition of WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh and this team should bounce back just fine. Plus an extremely weak division and a greedy defense and the Seahawks could be dangerous come playoff time.
Arizona Cardinals- The defending NFC Champs return just about the entire team, but can Kurt Warner really stay healthy again all year? They come back down to earth this year but still contend. Plus the Super Bowl Hangover is real and could really bite this team hard.
San Fransisco 49ers- Who plays QB for them this year? Who cares. This team's rebuilding process is taking longer then expected and QB Alex Smith has probably just half the season to prove he can play and live up to Number 1 pick standards. A solid defense and RB Frank Gore win them a few games.
St. Louis Rams- They could finish above the 49ers just because they hired a tough coach in defensive guru Mike Spagnolo. An emphasis on running the ball with Steven Jackson and defense is the way of like now for Rams fans, but it may take a few years for the plan to work out. Good thing the division isn't that good.
New England Patriots- They're Back. And everyone knows it. Tom Brady is healthy and there is a collective chip on their shoulders. This team is the definition of a Super Bowl hopeful.
New York Jets- With the hiring of new head coach Rex Ryan, this team will eventually develop a new swagger and an emphasis on defense. I think they are still one year away from contending with the Pats for the division, and it all goes with the development of first round QB Mark Sanchez.
Buffalo Bills- This is the surprise for the division seeing as how the Dolphins were a playoff team last year. They added T.O. and have continued to improve their defense. I think the Bills sneak a couple wins and are mathimatically still in it late, but will fall short until they put just a few more pieces together.
Miami Dolphins- Last year's season was a mirage. Yes, they have master builder Bill Parcells at the helm, but they also have an extremely tough schedule. Plus they won't be surprising people (especially New England) with the Wildcat offense. The Dolphins will come back down to earth this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers- The defending champs will have a bullseye on their backs, but they are good enough and tough enough to withstand it. They will be able to contend again this year as the best defense in the league remains in tact. Offensively they get Rashard Mendenhall back healthy and WR Limas Sweed should play a bigger role in the passing game. This team is still one of the favorites to win it all
Baltimore Ravens- An aging defense that still has one to two years left in the tank and finally an offense that can be considered respectable. Baltimore won't be able to get past the Steelers in the regular season, but if they can avoid them in the playoffs, they could sneak up and contend for a Super Bowl. QB Joe Flacco has to continue to play well for it to happen though.
Cincinnati Bengals- I believe this will be the most improved team in the NFL, and could actually contend for a playoff spot depending on what Baltimore does. QB Carson Palmer is 100% and WR Chad Ochocinco is focused and ready to reclaim his place as one of the leagues best WR's. Plus a Top 15 defense to boast, and the Bengals could surprise people.
Cleveland Browns- The only thing Browns fans have to look forward to is the official beginning of the Brady Quinn era. Is that a good thing? We'll see.
Indianapolis Colts- The window is starting to close for Peyton Manning to get another ring. A whole slew of coaching changes could mean a couple more losses, but the staff is familiar so it might not change a thing. Everyone is healthy as of now, so the Colts should remain dominant and make another run at the Super Bowl.
Houston Texans- The surprise of the year. I'm going out on a limb with this one. And it only happens if this team stays healthy, which they really have not been able to do. They have a high scoring offense with QB Matt Shaub throwing to top WR Andre Johnson, and a very versatile RB in Steve Slaton. Plus a good young defense led by former number one pick Mario Williams and this team should sneak into the playoffs.
Tennessee Titans- Despite the great run game and good defense, I think last year was a fluke for the 13-3 Titans. They lost the centerpiece of their D in Albert Haynesworth, and if something happens to Kerry Collins then Vince Young takes over. Those are not good things, so I see Tennessee falling down a bit from last year.
Jacksonville Jaguars- The team cleaned house in the offseason after an extremely disappointing 2008 season in which some pegged this team as a Super Bowl contender. The division is good, and they still have to put some pieces together. I see improvement, but not enough to get them out of the basement.
San Diego Chargers- This is a very dangerous team. They no longer have to rely on RB LaDanian Tomlinson. QB Philip Rivers established himself as a gun slinger who can take over a game with his arm, and back-up RB Darren Sproles showed a home run ability like no other. Plus getting LB Shaun Merriman back this year will bloster a good defense. A dangerous team that should run away with the division.
Kansas City Chiefs- The rest of the teams in this division are interchangeable, but I put the Chiefs here just because of adding the right pieces to help them improve. They got QB Matt Cassell from the Pats, a new head coach in Todd Haley from Arizona, and a few front office guys who were responsible for building the great New England teams of this decade. Give it a few years and the Chiefs will be contenders.
Oakland Raiders- They have to be better. Their defense is not bad, and they have the best CB in the league in Nnamdi Asomugha. Darren McFadden will be back healthy and he should make some kind of difference. It should also be fairly obvious that QB JaMarcus Russell will lose the job for journey man Jeff Garcia at some point in the year.
Denver Broncos- Wow, this team had high hopes. Then came Head Coach Josh McDaniels. He shoved QB Jay Cutler out the door, and is currently not making any friends with WR Brandon Marshall. He set this team back a few years, so they should get comfortable at the bottom.
Wild Card Round- NFC- New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Green Bay
AFC- New York, Baltimore, San Diego, Indianapolis
Divisional Round- NFC- Philadelphia vs. Green Bay Minnesota vs. Dallas
AFC- New England vs. Indianapolis Pittsburgh vs. San Diego
Conf. Championship- NFC- Philadelphia vs. Minnesota
AFC- New England vs. Pittsburgh
Super Bowl- Philadelphia vs. New England
Super Bowl Champion- New England Patriots.
It always evens itself out no matter how many surprises there are. New England is back and rady to win.