RTI’s NFL Preview Edition

As with baseball, I didn’t work out if the proposed records below are all possible together, but it’s a rough approximation. Here is my breakdown and preseason prediction for how the NFL season will end up.

AFC East
This division was surprisingly balanced last year. However that will definitely be changing this year. The Patriots went 11-5 and get back Tom Brady. That’s bad news for everyone else. I seem to remember that he went 18-1 the last year he was healthy. Miami had virtually no cold weather games which definitely helped them and their schedule is much tougher this year. The J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets have a new coach (upgrade) but are starting a quarterback who’s college coach didn’t even thing was ready (downgrade). Their backfield is good, but I don’t see the Jets really making a massive splash. And that leaves Buffalo who has the mercurial T.O. in his first year with the team (upgrade) but he’s 35 years old, and only 6 times has a 35 year old or older receiver had a 1,000 yard season, and 3 of those were Jerry Rice (downgrade). In addition, the Bills fired their offensive coordinator 1 week before the season (downgrade). This really appears to be the Patriots’ division.

1. New England Patriots (13-3)
2. New York Jets (9-7)
3. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
4. Buffalo Bills (6-10)

AFC North
The AFC North will be a two horse race that should be good to the end. The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers will be everything they always are. A hard-nosed blue-collar workman-like…ok, have I hit the clichè threshold yet?! The Steelers will be the Steelers. And the Ravens will win the division. The Ravens were very good last year and one would only imagine that Flacco & Rice (which is my favorite dish at Panda Express, by the way) will be improved which should only enhance the team’s strengths. While the Bengals are still the Bengals I do expect them to lose with some style. I imagine that Chad EightFive will have a very nice bounce-back year and if Chris Henry stays out of a police cruiser, he could really have a breakout year. And then there are the Browns. There are a lot of what-ifs that could take them from complete train-wreck to at least some level of respectability, but that’s as good as they could get.

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)
4. Cleveland Browns (6-10)

AFC South
The AFC South is probably the hardest division to predict. All four teams could make playoff runs, but they all have enough inherent flaws to also fall short. Indianapolis had significant upheaval this offseason with all of the coaching changes, but they still have Manning, Wayne, Clark, & Freeney, so they should be able to weather that storm. The Jaguars could be the most stable of the division provided Maurice Jones-Drew can stay healthy while carrying the load. The Titans look poised to slip a bit. The ground game is fantastic, but I just don’t know that Kerry Collins can have another year like he’s had recently, and the loss of Haynesworth on the line will hurt their run defense. The true wild card is Houston who seems to be everyone’s darling to leap to the forefront. But can Matt Schaub stay healthy? Or is Andre Johnson good enough to make even Grossman look good. There’s one thing I know for sure…. Houston DEFINITELY made the right decision taking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. Everyone should give them some love for that foresight.

1. Indianapolis (11-5)
2. Jacksonville (10-6)
3. Houston (9-7)
4. Tennessee (8-8)

AFC West
You’ve heard the phrase, “a face only a mother could love?”… Mothers are abstaining from comment in Kansas City, Oakland, and possibly even Denver. Denver could conceiveably be 4-12 or 8-8. It just depends on how they react to all of the change. The other two are wretched, and the Chargers should have clinched a playoff spot before December 1st.

1. San Diego (13-3)
2. Denver (6-10)
3. Oakland (5-11)
4. Kansas City (4-12)

NFC East
The NFC East will be an amazing battle all season long. The Giants are many pundits pick to make it all the way to the Super Bowl, though Eli’s receiving corps is not the most impressive I’ve ever seen. The Eagles have lots of weapons, but Westbrook’s health as well as all of the changes on defense both in personnel and the passing of Jim Johnson throw up a caution flag as well. The Redskins could have one of those Ravens-esque seasons where they run well and play good defense and Jason Campbell is only asked to make a few key plays all season. And then there’s the Cowboys. Again, a very questionable receiving corps casts some questions as does their weak secondary. But the Running Backs, Quarterback, Tight End and the Pass Rush should keep them in most games.

1. New York Giants (11-5)
2. Philadelphia (10-6)
3. Washington (9-7)
4. Dallas (9-7)

NFC North
The second best division in the NFC is clearly the NFC North. Chicago will be much improved with Cutler running the offense and the defense should be stout as always. The Vikings have to be better with Favre under center than with Tavaris Jackson. While Favre was at the top of the list of interceptions last year, he was also the 3rd most accurate passer in the NFL. So if he will lay off forcing a few balls then he could dramatically improve that stat. And with those running backs and a very good front four on defense, I expect the Vikings to control many games. And you can’t leave out Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers will likely jump into the discussion of the elite QB’s in the NFL this year, and their schedule seems very favorable to a strong run by the Cheeseheads. And Detroit… well I expect them to win a lot more than last year.

1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
2. Minnesota Vikings (11-5)
3. Chicago Bears (10-6)
4. Detroit Lions (3-13)

NFC South
It’s hard to predict how this division goes. The one thing I feel sure of is that Tampa Bay will not be very good. The Falcons should be able to improve on last year as guys mature and with the addition of Tony Gonzalez, but history says that they never make the playoffs in back to back years and their schedule is tougher this year and they have to face 5 teams that will have 2 weeks to prep for them. That will likely hurt. The Saints offense should be stellar, so the big question there is if their defense can just be improved enough to keep them in it. And Carolina is a hard one to peg. They were 12-4 last year, but with the dud of a playoff performance from Delhomme and some of the guys aging it has thrown a big question mark. That being said, Deangelo Williams should be poised for another good season.

1. New Orleans Saints (10-6)
2. Carolina Panthers(9-7)
3. Atlanta Falcons(8-8)
4. Tampa Bay Bucs(4-12)

NFC West
Let’s just say that the NFL will not be going out of their way to showcase the two Western divisions. While the defending NFC Champs do live in this division, I have no love for the Cardinals. Warner is getting old and seems unlikely to avoid injury this year coming off taking the 3rd most hits of any QB in the league. I don’t think the hair dye will stem the tide. Seattle should be much improved if Hasselback can stay healthy. The signing of Houshmanzadeh could be a huge coup. The Niners and the Rams should both show periodic signs of life, but overall neither one should be a big threat to win the division.

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
2. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
3. San Francisco 49ers(7-9)
4. St. Louis Rams (5-11)

Playoffs:
AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, San Diego
NFC: Giants, Eagles, Packers, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks

AFC Title Game: Patriots over Ravens
NFC Title Game: Packers over Giants

Super Bowl: Packers over Patriots

(Disclaimer… I made this up in 3 minutes… I would not be betting the mortgage on this…)

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Categories: Football

2 replies

  1. go packers. 3 minutes was plenty of time for that pick. go yankees,oops wrong sport. sometimes I, just can’t help myself. What’s a website? The picks are on file. gpa ed

  2. reply again. go packers. 3 minutes was plenty of time for that pick. go yankees, oops wrong sport. sometimes i just can’t help myself. the picks are on file.

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