Injuries decimated the defense last year, and the Pats still went to the playoffs and spanked the Jags before running into the Steeler buzzsaw. They have the best coach. They have the best quarterback. They got the dynamic young runner they needed in Laurence Maroney. And they are reloaded and healthy on defense. The Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl once again.
After years of putzing around with substandard signal callers, the Dolphins went out and got Daunte Culpepper this off-season, who I think will bounce back and have a nice season for The Fish. Nick Saban is a solid head coach that led this team on a second half tear, and they take the next step into the playoffs this season behind Ronnie Brown and a potent front seven defensively.
I loved the Jets draft and feel Mangold and D’Brick will be the cornerstones of what will evolve into one of the league’s best lines in time. The Jets will be good defensively, and have intriguing options ready behind Pennington this time in Kellen Clemens and Patrick Ramsey. On the right road, but still a year away.
The Bills are going to be god awful this season … despite having three Buckeyes (Whitner, Clements, Youboty) in the secondary. Losman is overrated, McGahee won’t stay healthy, their line stinks, and the defense lacks impact players and depth.
I feel this year will be a bit of a setback for The Inbred, but that they still will win what should be a very tight division race that involves all four teams. Their schedule and division is tough, and it’s about time this team experienced a little bad luck. This all said, I still can’t put them at worse than 10-6.
I’m still not sold on the Bengals defense, which I can’t believe I’m still saying three years into the Marvin Lewis Era. If Palmer stays healthy, their offense will be amongst the best in the league, and keep them in contention for another playoff berth.
I find it laughable that so many people feel that this team has no chance of finishing .500. Last years Browns team could have won eight games, and they scored the fewest points in all of football. The key for the Browns will be staying healthy (especially on offense where the depth lacks) and scoring touchdowns when they get into the red zone, which has been a huge team weakness for many moons now. Braylon, Winslow, Jurevicius … all are guys this team did not have last year.
Washington , Wimbley, and McGinest are huge upgrades to a defense that was already pretty good last year. The Browns have to start quick and end strong, as the middle of the schedule is very tough.
Steve McNair is a big upgrade at QB if they can keep him healthy, but I still don’t see the Ravens as a better than .500 team in the tough AFC, and especially in this division. The defense will once again be good, but their offensive line has deteriorated over the last couple years, and their backs and receivers still do very little for me.
Another 12 win season, another playoff flameout for the Colts … who are rapidly acquiring choker reputations. I’m not as bothered by the loss of Edgerrin as most, and this team will still be a well oiled offensive machine in 2006. However, I can’t get the images out of mind of what the Steelers did to that Colt offensive line in the playoffs last year. The defense continues to improve slightly each year, but I still see this team as just not mentally or physically tough enough to get over the hump this season.
Many people forget the Jags won 12 games last year, thanks in large part to them getting smoked in the first round of the playoffs. The loss of Greg Jones hurts, because Fred Taylor is incapable of staying healthy at this point in his career. This will once again be a tough team that is unpleasant to play, with the best pair of defensive tackles in the league. However, I feel they come up just short of the playoffs this season.
I like Gary Kubiak, I love Andre Johnson, and I still think David Carr can be a productive signal caller in this league. I don’t like much else on this Texans team though. The line is still weak, and losing Domanick Davis for the year hurts badly, especially in the wake of passing on Reggie Bush. The defense has two young stars in Mario Williams and Dunta Robinson to build around, and should be a little better this season.
When you pick up Kerry Collins two weeks before the season starts and anoint him your starting QB, that’s a pretty good sign you are going to suck this year. The good news for the Titans is that Jeff Fisher is still one of the leagues best coaches, and the team has talented young players like Vince Young, Lendale White, Ben Troupe, Albert Haynesworth, and PacMan Jones to build around.
Love him or hate him, Shanahan is a helluva coach, and will once again have the Broncos in double digits in the win column. This should be the year that Shanahan’s mental warfare campaign against Tatum Bell finally inspires him to be the Broncos workhorse back, and Javon Walker was also brought in from
Green Bay . For my money, the trio of D.J. Williams, Ian Gold, and Al Wilson is the best 4-3 linebacking unit in the league, and Champ Bailey and John Lynch are strong leaders in the secondary.
Schottenheimer continues to get the most out of his talent wherever he goes, and he has the best running back in football in my view in LaDanian Tomlinson. Phillip Rivers will not be a drop-off from Drew Brees, and the front seven will be very strong once again behind guys like Jamal Williams, Shawne Merriman, and Donnie Edwards.
Some hits to the offensive line concern me, and dropped the Chiefs just out of the playoff mix for me. Trent Green and Larry Johnson are one of the best run/throw combos in the league, and the Chiefs brought in Ty Law and Patrick Surtain to man the corner positions, hoping to fix a perennially poor pass defense.
Art Shell is a retread, and a very puzzling hire. Aaron Brooks makes Manny Ramirez look like Socrates, and is one of the worst pressure QBs in NFL history. The Raiders are going to be a very bad football team.
Parcells in his fourth year with a team is usually the time he takes the next step, and he has a very good chance to go deep in the playoffs with this Cowboys team. Love him or hate him, TO is a weapon, and appears to be the missing piece here just as he was in Philly. The defense has the potential to be very good as well, and showed flashes of it last season.
The Giants are talented enough to go to the Super Bowl this year, and will go as far as Eli Manning will take them. I still think it will be at least one more year before Eli is ready for that kind of leap, but this is a scary team nonetheless. The offensive weapons are aplenty, and adding guys like Arrington, Demps, and Sam Madison to the best pair of bookend defensive ends (Strahan and Umenyiora) in the league should make for an exciting year for The G-Men.
Philly has a very easy start to their schedule courtesy of last years last place finish, and it’s easy to see them getting out to a good start and fading late. Adding Donte Stallworth late in the preseason was a good move, and if they can keep McNabb and Brian Westbrook healthy this year … this offense has the ability to be even better than the one they had the year they went to the Super Bowl.
The Skins were getting a lot of preseason love from the pundits before looking like complete ass in the preseason. Shoulder injuries to power runners are never a good sign, and I’d be surprised if Portis logs even 100 carries for the Skins this year. Brunell is also a long shot to make it through the season, and has just the untested Jason Campbell behind him. The defense will carry this team to nine wins.
The Bears are in a terrible division, are coached well, and have a great defense. For these reasons, they are a near lock to go to the playoffs again despite Rex Grossman and Brian Griese manning the QB position for them. A healthy and productive Cedric Benson in 2006, combined with mistake free QB play could make this team a serious contender to represent a weak NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Lions are a feel good pick under the likable Rod Marinelli, with Mike Martz as head coach, and residing in the weak NFC North. Let’s be straight. The Lions are going to suck again.
Brett Favre should have hung em up. His three starting interior linemen this year are Jason Spitz, Scott Wells, and Tony Moll. Who? Once Ahman Green goes down again, things are going to start to get ugly in Titletown. On a positive note, Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk are two of the best young linebackers in football.
I guess this would be considered my surprise pick, especially given all the love the Panthers are getting this pre-season. Call it a hunch, call it stupidity … I like Mike Vick to have a very solid bounce back year, and to lead the Falcons to a NFC South title and an appearance in the Championship Game of the NFC. He has his best receiving corps ever in Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and Ashley Lelie … and still has a strong set of runners despite the trade of Duckett to
Washington . The defense needs to toughen up against the run for them to take the next step, but on the whole is still a very solid unit.
Carolina will once again be one of the better teams in football. I liked what they did in going out and drafting DeAngelo Williams as DeShaun Foster Insurance, and signing Keyshawn Johnson to team with Steve Smith, Keary Colbert, and Drew Carter. Defensively, they added Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Nail Diggs … and lost very little. I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a playoff team once again this year.
The Super Bowl losers have traditionally suffered a hangover the next year, and I expect the Seahawks to take a couple steps back from last year’s phenomenal season. The losses of Steve Hutchinson and Joe Jurevicius offensively should not be overlooked. Still, in this division, even a down year from
Seattle should be good enough to get it done.
The Cards have the best pair of starting receivers in the league, and went out and added Edgerrin James and Matt Leinart into the mix this off-season. Until I see different though, the Cardinals will always be the Cardinals to me. This is far from a ten win defense, and like last year, the Cardinals will fail to live up to their sleeper expectations under Denny Green.
New England over
New England over
NY Giants over
Dallas over NY Giants