RTI’s NFL Preview Issue

It’s that time of year again… yep, when the Swami grows the prediction beard. Oh, it’s also time for the NFL to kick off the season!! I know each person has their pre-season rituals of donning the red (or black) on Fridays, warming up the tailgate wagon, drafting 10 or so fantasy football teams, and of course reading the Random Thoughts Illustrated NFL preview issue. (Don’t forget, the folks here at RTI did predict a Green Bay Super Bowl victory last year!) So in order to not throw off your mojo, here it is!

 

 

 

AFC East 

New York Jets (12-4)
New England Patriots (10-6)
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Miami Dolphins (5-11)

It’s the usual suspects again in this division. The Patriots do seem to be reaching in some areas and the offensive line has a few more question marks so they will end up having to slide in with a Wild Card berth. The Bills will improve slightly and if they were in another division might get to 7-9. Meanwhile the Dolphins should simply be slapped around for not making the Orton trade. Question of the Year: Which will be larger, the number of Mark Sanchez Touchdowns or Outlandish Statements by Rex Ryan?

AFC North 

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
Cleveland Browns (7-9)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)

In lieu of saying the same things as always about the Steelers and Ravens, we just want to point out that Cleveland really looks like they may be starting to get things turned around. And if that is the case and they become a contender in the next couple of years, that should cement the legacy of Mike Holmgren. And how smart does the Browns’ strategy of holding out for Colt McCoy look right now instead of looking for Clausen or Tebow?! Question of the Year: What week will officially eliminate the Bengals from the playoffs? Week 5 or Week 6?

AFC South 

Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
Houston Texans (8-8)
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)

Reason #206 why I still think Peyton Manning is underrated historically as a quarterback: There isn’t a prognosticator or analyst in the country that can tell you how this division comes out and it is 100% because of the uncertainty of Peyton’s health. Add to that Peyton as a valid excuse for not winning the division may have kept both Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak employed longer than they should have been. Question of the Year: Will the number of commercials featuring Peyton Manning in week 1 outnumber the number of games started by Mr. Manning in 2011?

AFC West

San Diego Chargers (11-5)
Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)
Oakland Raiders (6-10)
Denver Broncos (6-10)

It seems like overused logic, but the reality is that the Chargers are our pick by default. The Chiefs, if even with last year, have a much harder schedule and will regress record-wise and the reality is that it feels like they may regress on the field as well. Oakland won 8 last year and thus should probably be given more credit, but they just drafted Terrell Pryor with a 3rd round pick so we just can’t. And Denver is looking like a bastion of mismanagement, so it’s back to the Bolts. Question of the year: Will they show Pryor in street clothes on the sidelines more times in the first 5 weeks of the season than he throws touchdowns in his first 3 years in the league?

NFC East 

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
New York Giants (8-8)
Washington Redskins (7-9)

Whenever the whole world thinks a team is great, inevitably it doesn’t happen. What? You mean the same thing was said about the Phillies this year? Oh, well, I guess it doesn’t apply to the city of Brotherly Love. We do see Dallas bouncing back with a healthier year and with addition by subtraction (be gone Roy & Marion!!). The Giants problems in the defensive backfield seem to be an indicator that this could be the plagued team of the year. Question of the Year: Will Mike Shanahan have a myocardial infarction once he realizes that his offensive backfield is made up of Rex Grossman, John Beck, Tim Hightower, Ryan Torain, and Roy Helu Jr?!

NFC North 

Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Detroit Lions (8-8)
Chicago Bears (6-10)
Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

Green Bay is awesome, etc. So let’s just get to RTI’s Team-Crush of the decade. They already have 2 of the Swami’s favorite NFL Players (Calvin Johnson & Ndamukong Suh) but they have also built this team into a fast and furious offense and a mauling defense. If nothing else, Detroit fans have a team that should be fun to watch and they won’t have to be ashamed of. Question of the Year: Which week will Donovan McNabb flip out and the fans start chanting Christian Ponder’s name?

NFC South 

New Orleans Saints (11-5)
Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
Tampa Bay Bucs (7-9)
Carolina Panthers (6-10)

The Falcons are the official RTI team of choice, so all commentary would be biased. The Saints are good. Now, to the others. The Bucs have been dishearteningly bad this preseason. I know preseason isn’t supposed to matter but they just are starting to look like they might take a step back. And Carolina…well I’m in the minority by simply giving them a 4 game improvement. It just doesn’t seem possible that they will be as bad as last season again with that strong of an offensive line. Question of the Year: Will the Saints even notice that Reggie Bush is gone?

NFC West 

St. Louis Rams (9-7)
Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Seattle Seahawks (5-11)
San Francisco 49ers (4-12)

The Niners will win the Andrew Luck lottery and reunite him with Jim Harbaugh. The Cardinals will at least be better and Larry Fitzgerald has a QB that can at least get the ball over 20 yards downfield. And in the greatest accomplishment, Sam Bradford will lead an NFC West team to a winning record!! Look for the Bradford/McDaniels combo to be exciting to watch on the eastern side of the Show-Me State. Question of the Year: How on Earth did Pete Carroll convince himself that Tavaris Jackson was the answer at QB?!

NFC Playoff teams: Saints, Falcons, Rams, Packers, Cowboys, Eagles
AFC Playoff teams:  Chargers, Titans, Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, Jets
NFC Championship Game: Saints over Packers
AFC Championship Game: Chargers over Jets
Super Bowl XLI: Chargers over Saints


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Categories: Football

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