Friday, September 10, 2010

NFL Preview and Predictions

By Kshell

This 2010 NFL season appears to be wide open like every other NFL season has in the past few seasons. With free agency, the draft, and most importantly in previous years the salary cap there are no longer dynasties. The New Orleans Saints are looking to become the first team to repeat since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots.

I'm not going to waste anyone's time discussing the possible lockout for the 2011 season. This preview will focus on this season only. In the following post there will be a run down on each division and then predictions will be posted on the bottom.

NFC East: The NFC East is the hardest division in all of football. This division offers four teams who could win the division title and nobody would be surprised. I'll start with the defending division champions the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys earned their first post season win since 1996 last year then was destroyed by the Vikings. The Cowboys return 20 of 22 possible starters and added rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant.

The Philadelphia Eagles made some major changes this offseason. They released Brian Westbrook and traded away franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb away. Trading McNabb away was big news. Trading him away in division to the Washington Redskins sent shock waves throughout the NFL. The Eagles are in a bit of transition with Brian Dawkins, McNabb, Westbrook, Kearse, and Jeremiah Trotter. Any Reid still remains with the ball club and has new quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb like Aaron Rodgers a few years ago has some big shoes to fill.

Speaking of the Redskins it appears every year they make a big move in the offseason. Trading a 2nd rounder to acquire McNabb was a giant move. The Redskins released Jason Campbell and fired failing head coach Jim Zorn after just two seasons. The Redskins hired two time superbowl winning head coach Mike Shannahan to run the team and coach the team. One thing to watch out for is the constant feud between Shannahan and high priced defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

The New York Giants have had a quiet offseason. Its weird that a team in a big market with a Superbowl MVP quarterback in Elli Manning and a Superbowl winning coach in Tom Coughlin. This team is quietly flying under the radar. The Giants will need another big year from the other Steve Smith. The Giants must find someone in the running game to step up as well look for Bradshaw to be that guy.

NFC South: This division has the reigning Superbowl champions New Orleans Saints. This division has developed a weird trend over the years. Since 2002 the first year these divisions were formed every team who has taken last place the year before has made the playoffs the following season. In fact with the exception of 2008(Atlanta made it as a wild card) the last place team would go on to win the division title the very next season. With that in mind it appears the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make the playoffs. I think all trends come to an end at some point.

The New Orleans Saints still have a powerful offense and nobody in the NFL much less the NFC South is going to stop this offense. The Saints should become the first team in NFC South history to repeat as division champions. The Sean Payton-Drew Brees duo has scored more points in the history of the NFL than any other head coach-quarterback combination.

The only threat at winning the division crown from the Saints is the Atlanta Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons for the first time in franchise history last season recorded back to back winning seasons. The Falcons were hurt last year with Matt Ryan banged up along with Michael Turner. This is a very good team but must improve on their 28th ranking against the pass to compete especially in this division.

The Carolina Panthers have finally ended the Jake Delhomme era. The Panthers still have a good offensive line. The Panthers still have the very dangerous Steve Smith at wide receiver. They were very fortunate to have someone of Jimmy Clausen's talent drop to them in the draft. The Panthers have a great running game in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. They could be a sleeper team.

Tampa Bay ended the 2008 season losing their last four games and costing themselves a shot at the playoffs. Then last year happened where they were disasterous. Trying to repeat the past they drafted defensive tackles with the 3rd pick overall and in the 2nd round as well. The Bucs season will hinge on how much Josh Freeman has developed.

NFC North: This division features two Superbowl contenders in the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The Vikings are the two time defending champions and swept the Packers last season. The Packers lost a crazy wild card game last season and are a young team on the verge of breaking out.

The Minnesota Vikings when its all said and done have Brett Favre back. Favre had a career best season last year throwing for 33 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. He was also 40 years old which makes his season even more incredible. Most people forget about his great season and focus on the costly pick he threw in the NFC championship game. Thats a game that could haunt the Vikings into this season. The Vikings out played the Saints yet lost in Overtime. Then had to watch the Saints win the Superbowl. This year will be tough with Sidney Rice out for the first 9 games. Adrian Peterson is still an amazing running back and the Vikings still have a great pass rush.

The Green Bay Packers are the trendy team this season to pick to advance to the Supebowl. The problem is the Packers under Aaron Rodgers have never won a playoff game. The good news for the Packers is that Rodgers became the first quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in his first two seasons as a starter. The Packers-Vikings rivalry might be the most intense rivalry in football right now. With Favre going to the Vikings this went from a good rivalry to a hateful rivalry.

The Chicago Bears are hoping the magic of Mike Martz sparks the offense. Jay Cutler and Matt Forte had dissapointing season. Peter King of Sports Illustrated picked them to win the Superbowl last season. The Bears are still lacking a #1 wide receiver and the defense is still another year older.

The Detroit Lions seem to be a team that people are high on. The Lions are also just 3-37 in their last 40 games. The Lions have tons of young talent but still could be a year or two away.

NFC West: This is by far the worst division in all of football. The two time defending division champion Arizona Cardinals lost a ton of key players in the offseason. The 49ers appear ready to take the division.

The Arizona Cardinals lost Kurt Warner to retirement, traded away Anquan Boldin and released middle linebacker Dansby. Matt Leinart who was supposed to take over as the next starting quarterback was instead released. Derek Anderson the former probowl quarterback in 2007 coming off a disasterous season throwing 3 touchdowns to 10 interceptions takes over. The Cardinals hope to pound the ball behind Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. The Cardinals still have Larry Fitzgerald.

The San Francisco 49ers appear to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The team has all the ingredients to be a successful football team. Run the ball well? check. Play good defense? check. Good offensive line? Check. Playmakers in the passing game? check. Playmakers on defense? check. Tough hard nosed football team? check. Good quarterback? undecided. Thats the only glaring weakness of the 49ers is former #1 overall draft pick Alex Smith. If Smith can finally materialize into that starting quarterback or at the very least be a game manager the 49ers can go deep this year.

Seattle Seahawks well just check out my 2010 season preview. They are in blowing up the team mode.

The St.Louis Rams have won just three games total the last two seasons. In fact the Rams have had the 2nd worst record in the NFL in 2007, 2008 and 2009 they finally achieved the worst record in the NFL. The Rams are a long shot to win this crappy division. This season will be about developing #1 pick overall Sam Bradford.

AFC East: This is an interesting division that features three teams who have made the playoffs in the past two seasons. The division features the hoody, the swear machine, the wild cat, and the checkdown.

The New England Patriots when Tom Brady is healthy have won the division every season with the exception of 2002. The Patriots not the Jets won the division title last year. The Patriots were one fluke catch away from 2007 being crowned as the greatest team in NFL history. This year Brady appears to be fully healthy. He also just signed a nice extension making him the highest paid player in NFL history. The Patriots still have Bill Bellicheck, Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker so they'll score plenty of points. The defense still appears a few years away. Holding the Oakland Raiders 2011 first round draft pick should help them in the future.

The New York Jets are a team everyone feels like they know so well. They had by far the best Hard Knocks. Revis is in camp and will be tested early facing the Ravens then Randy Moss. Every year Rex Ryan has been a coach his defenses have been ranked in the top 6 in the NFL. This year should be no different. The Jets were one game away from the Superbowl and with better production from second year quarterback Mark Sanchez they might kick the door down.

Miami Dolphins are an interesting team. They acquired Dansby on defense to shore up the defense. The Dolphins also traded for big play receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall just catches 100 passes regardless who his quarterback is. The Dolphins with Marshall and the wild cat will be a hard team to game plan for.

The Buffalo Bills have electric rookie runningback C.J.Spiller. Unfortunetly for the Bills they have no defense, no quarterback, no receivers. Their head coach hasn't coached in the NFL since the 90's. He was fired as an offensive coordinator last. Ralph Wilson appears to be setting the stage for a move to Toronto. Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills so maybe they'll prove everyone wrong. Still haven't made the playoffs since the music city miracle in 1999.

AFC South: The Indianapolis Colts simply own this division. Peyton Manning just wins 12 games or more every season thats the bottom line. The only team who has ever dethroaned the Colts was the Tennessee Titans in 2002 and 2008.

The Colts head into this season as the heavy favorites to win the division. Manning simply is an amazing quarterback and although he tends to freeze up in the playoffs the regular season he rules. Manning just wins 12+ games every year and despite having a head coach who appears to be clueless on the sidelines the Colts lost just one game all last year when Manning finished the game(the Superbowl). The Colts despite all their success have just one championship but as long as Manning is there they'll always be on the short list of favorites.

The Texans are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in their history. The Texans have been that classic break out team for the past three seasons now. The Texans feature quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson. The Texans must learn to defeat the Colts if they want to win the division. The Texans are just 1-15 vs Peyton Manning and the Colts.

The Tennessee Titans in 2008 had a 13-3 record which was the best record in the AFC. After going one and done to the Ravens in the playoffs the Titans struggled last year. When Vince Young took over as starter the team rallied behind Young and finished the year 8-8 after starting off 0-6. Chris Johnson ran for over 2,000 yards last season. The Titans could be a team who is ready to bounce back.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have Maurice Jones-Drew at runningback. That is about the only positive. Jack Del Rio still has a job despite making the playoffs just twice in his coaching career. Look for Del Rio to be fired at seasons end.

AFC North: This division features a team who won the division title(Bengals), a team who won the superbowl just two years ago(Steelers) and a team who has won a road playoff game the last two playoffs(Ravens). The other team just acquired Mike Holmgren in the offseason as team president.

I'll start with the defending division champions the Cincinnatti Bengals. The Bengals were a tough defensive team who ran the ball behind former first round bust Cedric Bensen. The Bengals picked up Terrell Owens in the offseason to team him up with Chad Ocho Cinco. Carson Palmer hasn't really looked the same since that injury in the 2005 playoffs. The Bengals swept the division last year going 6-0. The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1990.

The Baltimore Ravens are the trendy team this year to make the superbowl from the AFC. Joe Flacco already has 3 road playoff wins. The Ravens are a tough hard hitting football team. They talk a ton of trash and back it up. The defense still features Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. The offense finally has some stars in Ray Rice, Joe Flacco. They traded for Anquan Boldin, signed T.J.Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth. The Ravens appear to have no weaknesses.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will start the year off with franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger serving a 4 game suspension for being a moron in the offseason. How the Steelers respond in those 4 games should decide how the rest of their season goes. The Steelers are still a tough defensive team with a two time superbowl winning quarterback and a superbowl winning head coach.

The Cleveland Browns brought in quarterback Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to replace Derrick Anderson and Brady Quinn. This team appears to lack talent and given Lebron James "the decision" this should make for a very long year for Cleveland sports fans.

AFC West: The San Diego Chargers have owned this division. The Chargers have won the division four years in a row under Phillip Rivers.

The Chargers appear to be lacking in talent unlike previous seasons due to hold outs from Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill holding out. The Chargers also let go the face of the franchise LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson is replaced by rookie runningback Ryan Mathews from Fresno State. With Mathews and Rivers the Chargers should appeared to be the favorites still. The Chargers need to find a way to get over the hump and make a Superbowl. Seeing Drew Brees a former Charger hoisting the Lombardi trophy must have been hard.

The rest of the division hasn't really competed with the Chargers. I'll go with an interesting team the Denver Broncos. Josh McDaniel has ran off their franchise quarterback(Jay Cutler) and top player(Brandon Marshall). He has also traded three draft picks to trade up for Tim Tebow a player many believed would have fallen to them in the 2nd round. The Broncos appear to be headed towards another bad season. The Broncos have just one playoff win since John Elway retired.

The Oakland Raiders are finally saved from the JaMarcus Russell horrible experience. Jason Campbell is just average quarterback but compared to Russell he looks like Joe Montana. The Raiders still have a shut down corner in Nnamdi Asomugha who in one season allowed just a paltry 65 yards passing. The Raiders are hoping this is the year they break through and surprise some people.

The Kansas City Chiefs look good on paper. They have been drafting well the last few seasons and have plenty of young talent. Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel are the coordinators. When they were last coordinators together they won three superbowls. The Chiefs feature runningbacks Jamaal Charles who had more rushing yards than anyone in the 2nd half of the season besides Chris Johnson. The Chiefs are the biggest threat to dethroan the Chargers.

Now its on to the predictions hope you all enjoy.

Leon Neal: Washington Huskies runningback 1991-1995
AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: Oakland Raiders(sleeper)
Wild Card: San Diego Chargers and New York Jets
AFC Champion: New England Patriots

NFC East: Washington Redskins
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks
Wildcards: Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers
NFC Champion: Minnesota Vikings

Supebowl Champion: Minnesota Vikings

Pinnin4Gold: Contributer to Seattle Sports Blog

NFC West
San Fran
St Louis

NFC North

NFC South
New Orleans
Tampa Bay

NFC East
New York Giants

NFC Wild Cards: Vikings, Atlanta

NFC Championship: Packers vs Cowboys

AFC East
New England
NY Jets

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders

AFC Wild Cards: NY Jets, Tennessee

AFC Championship: Baltimore vs Colts

Super Bowl: Packers vs Ravens

Champion: Ravens

Patton Richard: Contributer to Seattle Sports Blog
AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Wildcards: New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals

1st round:
Jets at Ravens
Bengals at Patriots

2nd round
Ravens at Chargers
Patriots at Colts

3rd round
Ravens at Colts

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
Wildcards: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings

Seahawks Record: 5-11

NFL Playoff Matchups:
Eagles at Saints
Vikings at 49ers

2nd round:
Eagles at Packers
Vikings at Cowboys

3rd round:
Packers at Cowboys

Superbowl: Ravens vs Cowboys
Champion: Ravens

NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers
NFL DMVP: Patrick Willis
NFL ROY: Jahvid Best

3 Bold Predictions: Detriot Lions win as many games as the Seattle Seahawks

Oakland misses the playoffs by tiebreakers

Kevin Kolb makes the pro bowl.

Seattlehawk94: Contributer to Seattle Sports Blog and
WEAK: SuperChokers
Norte: Ravin Maniacs
lEast: Belicheats
Sur: Cults
Jokers: Bungholes, J-E-R-K-S

Wee-st: Whiners
Norse: Viqueens
SEC: Ain't's
lEast: Eggles
Jokers: OGmen, Pantaras

Seahawks 4-12

Belicheats over SuperChokers

Ain't's over Viqueens

Belicheats over Ain't's

Andrew Gragg: Highschool soccer coach and Cougar Fanatic

Wild Card


Wild Card

Super Bowl
Ravens over Packers

Aaron Rodgers

Michael Clouse: Friend of the Seattle Sports Blog and huge Buffalo Bills fan
AFC Division winners:
West - Chargers
North - Ravens
South - Colts
East - Patriots

Wild Card - Texans and Bengals

NFC Division Winners:
West - 49ers
North - Packers
South - Saints
East - Giants

Wild Card - Cowboys and Vikings

SB - Packers over Ravens

MVP Aaron Rodgers
Offensive ROY: CJ "The Thriller" Spiller

Marc Hewitt: High School ref and former High School coach
NFC East Cowboys
NFC North- Packers
NFC South- New Orleans
NFC West- Cardinals.
Wild Card- Vikings, Eagles

AFC East Pats
AFC North- Ravens
AFC South- Colts
AFC West-Chargers
Wild Card- Bengals and Jets.

Superbowl- New Orlenas vs Pats

MVP Tom Brady

Alex Brink: Former WSU starting quarterback from 2004-07, went 3-1 in Applecups
AFC East: New York Jets
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Wild Card: Houston Texans and New England Patriots
AFC Champion: Baltimore Ravens

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
Wild Card: Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons
NFC Champion: Green Bay Packers
Supebowl Champion: Green Bay Packers

Geoff Baker: Seattle Mariners beat writer for the Seattle Times since 2007
AFC East: New York Jets
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Wild Cards: Balitmore Ravens and Tennessee Titans
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Vikings
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals
Wild Cards: Green Bay Packers and New York Giants
NFC Champion: New Orleans Saints
Superbowl Champion: Pittsburgh Steelers

Kshell: The main author of the Seattle Sports Blog
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Green Bay Packers(Have a $50 bet they win the division over Vikings)
NFC South: New Orleans Saints(Have a $50 bet they go further than Vikings)
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers because the other three teams are terrible
Wild Cards: Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons
NFC Champion: Green Bay Packers

AFC East: New England Patriots- They still have Tom Brady
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: San Diego Chargers
Wild Cards: Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Champion: San Diego Chargers

Superbowl: Green Bay Packers over San Diego Chargers

NFL MVP: Phillip Rivers(He is my fantasy quarterback in my keeper league so wishful thinking perhaps).

Well thanks to everyone who posted me their predictions and hope you enjoyed the predictions. Interesting stat last year 10 of the 12 playoff teams won in week one so keep an eye out for week one winners.

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