Posted on: August 8, 2008 3:39 pm
So hear we go. Into the first week of the preseason, and i am going to do some prognosticating. Now just so you know I base all of my sports prediction expertise on the fact that I picked the Detroit Pistons to win the NBA championship the year they picked up Rasheed Wallace. By the way i know I am a terrible speller and no I don't proofread my blogs because its a blog and not an English paper.
The NFC has tried to close the gap with the AFC from top to bottom and has made some good strides. There is an infusion of good young talent with players like Adrian Peterson, Marques Colston, Ryan Grant and several defensive stars. Not to mention the Giants beat the almighty Patriots to win the Super Bowl.
My rankings of the teams by division (not the order they will finish), playoff predictions at the end.
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Atlanta Falcons
NO is clearly the class of the division. Drew Brees should lead a high powered offense to the playoffs. The offense is loaded, the schedule is soft, and defense got a big boost in Sedrick Ellis (though the D is still pretty bad).
Tampa Bay is old, Earnest Graham is not going to repeat his performance. They will take a big step back this year, lucky for them the other two teams will also.
Carolina could have been a sleeper pick to make the playoffs. Now Steve Smith is out 2 games, and the schedule is setting up pretty tough. Also, will Jake Delhomme be 100% and how will Jonathan Stewart pan out. The offensive line is good, the defensive line is excellent. If Steve Smith can come back and play well, and they get some help from rookies and Vets on offense they may be able to surprise some teams. They could easily beat out Tampa and they play well against the Saints (won 3 of the last 4) so they still have a chance, I just don't think they will capitalize on it.
Atlanta is a young team starting over. Mike Smith is a great young coach who is going to build the run the ball-stop the run style of play in Jacksonville. Is Matt Ryan the franchise QB. Who the hell knows but with the money he got, they are stuck with him for a long time. They have some good pass rush with Jamaal Anderson and John Abraham. They resigned Grady Jackson after he threatened to eat all of their children (biggest man I have ever seen) and he can help stuff the run. They got micheal Turner to run and Jerrious Norwood is a good foil for him. Roddy White came on big last year. Harry Douglas is a fast rookie who could thrive in a slot position. All in all, they may improve their team but won't improve their record.
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. NY Giants
3. Washington Redskins
4. Philadelphia Eagles
I am of the opinion that Tony Romo is a choker and without TO and Witten and that line he would be an average QB. Bt they have TO, and Witten and that line as well as Marion Barber and Felix Jones. They will win the division. But can they win in the playoffs? No.
The other three teams. is as good a guess as any. The Giants get the edge because they won the Super Bowl. Can Eli Manning keep improving. Maybe. The one thing about Eli is that he knows he is not nor will ever be Peyton. That doesn't mean he can't be great though. Plaxico Burres is dangerous. Steve Smith will start at WR this year and is in line to blow up. He has the talent. The running game is brutal with Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward. The d-line will attack QB's again and the secondary is a bend don't break type. The schedule is not very nice though. Division games plus road games @Cleveland, @ Minnesota, and @ Pittsburgh.
I like the Redskins new offense because it will feature Clinton Portis. Jason Campbell improved last year. Also, he won't be required to win to many games with his arm. He just can't lose them. WR's, ehhhh. Randle El hasn't sone anything since he let the Steelers. Santana Moss is a speedster but has trouble with physical teams. Chris Cooley is an underrated TE who can catch and block. The defense will carry this team. I am not a fan of Jason Taylor, but he still has one good year left. Andre Carter had 10.5 sacks last year and four forced fumbles. Erasmus James is coming back from double knee surgery and should have an impact in the later weeks. The DB's are very good. LaRon Landry scares WR and TE's coming across the middle (and he's the free safety). If only Sean Taylor were still there. RIP man. Schedule wise they should be OK. No overly tough road games outside the division.
The eagles could be really good or really bad. Brian Westbrook is basically unstoppable if he gets the ball. If you stop him running, he will catch it. Lorenzo Booker is going to end up being a great pickup. He can catch the ball and is a shifty runner. If you let him run he will torch you. They really need the WR's to step up. Reggie Brown was supposed to be that guy. This might be his last chance. Kevin Curtis is a streaky player who you don't want to rely on. DeSean Jackson will contribute on special teams but may not be ready to start in the NFL. The defense is good. Great corners and Safeties. The d-line is underated. Trent Cole was a double digit sacker last year. Jerome McDougle will be back as a backup, but can he perform? The schedule sets up nicely for the Eagles. They need to win some division games and they can make the playoffs
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Detroit Lions
4. Chicago Bears
The Brett Favre drama is over. We know the Vikings wanted him, Favre knew it and Tavaris Jackson knew it. Question is will it affect him? They better hope not because there is not much behind him. The Vikings have two strengths, which happen to be very important in the NFL. First, their running game. Their line might be the best in football. Adrian Peterson is the most dynamic player to come out of college in a long time. Expectations are huge for him. Will he put up monster stats again? Probably not. And not because he can't. The Vikings are going to let Chester Taylor share some of the workload to keep AP healthy and fresh. Second, the defense is staked everywhere. Just look at their depth chart. Best defensive tackle combination in the game. Added Jared Allen. LB are very good. DB's are good. It's almost not fair to have the best offensive and defensive lines on the same team. There is a lot of hype about Bernard Berrian. Don't believe it. He is a burner. Expect Sidney Rice to get most of the receptions though. Berrian will see about 70 receptions though and catch some long TD's. But this team is going to run run run. The Vikings have a tough schedule. they play at Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tennessee. They host the Colts and Giants.
Are the Packers really better with Aaron Rogers? I don't think so. I watched him a lot in college and wasn't impressed. He reminds me of Chad Pennington. Accurarte but week. And Jeff Tedford QB's always struggle in the NFL. It's probably good that they drafted Brian Brohm. Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson make a good Running Tandem. The o-line is only average though. Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones are good WR. It is going to be up to Rogers to get them the ball though. The defense has problems. AJ Hawk is a stud. The LBs and DB's are good. The D-line is young and average though. They are going to need to stop the run with the schedule they have (Vikings, Jaguars, Titans, Colts, etc.)
I don't know what to think about the Lions. I love the Kevin Smith pick. Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams are bonafide superstars. Kitna can throw the ball. But they are the Lions. Hopefully they can run the ball to et up the throw and do some damage. I don't know much about the defense except it wasn't very good last year. I know if it was Ernie Simms' girlfriend running up the middle he would put her in the turf (ooooh cheap shot on a seminole).
The Bears are going to have to rebuild. They missed their window, Lovie Smith will probably be fired this year unless they put up some wins. Cedrick Benson was a miss, the defense is getting old, and Kyle Orton Vs. Rex Grossman is not what you want in a starting QB competition. They lost their 1st rd pick this week. They have no offense. Their schedule is tough. What else can you say?
1. St. Louis Rams
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. San Francisco 49ers (who will beat the Dolphins out for the #1 draft pick and select Alex Smith, again)
I am probably the only person outside of St. Louis that thinks the Rams are going to be good. Last year was a result of injuries. Stephen Jackson is one of the best backs in the game. Mark Bulger is a great QB. The line will be better with Orlando Pace and Richie Ingonito back. Torry Holt is a great Wr. Dane Looker, Dante Hall, and Drew Bennet will compete for the number 2 spot. They signed Reche Caldwell who could be in the mix also. I like their defensive line. Adam Carriker and Laroi glover are solid tackles. Leonard Little, James Hall and rookie Chris Long are going to harass QB's all season long. They have average LB's and DB's. But I really think that pass rush will help out. They also have a good special teams unit which can make a difference. They have a hard schedule for what thier record was last year, but it's about the same schedule the rest of the division has to play. And it doesn't take much to win the West.
The Seahawks have a chance. They have and awesome set of DB's. The d-line is good as well as the LB'ers. They have no WR's and their Running game is questionable. They have lost a couple of players on their line early in preseason. I don't believe in Julius Jones at all. He is soft and Holmgren isn't going to put up with him after Sean Alexander. Bobby Engram is playing in his 53 Nfl season i think. Nate Burleson is everyones break out player every year yet he never broke out. Maurice Morris might be an answer at Running back. Matt Hasselbeck is the most underrated QB in the league. He puts up 20+ TD's every year. He is a gamer. If the Seahawks are going to do anything, he has to be the guy to do it. And it is Mike Holmgrens last season so maybe they will play for him.
The Cardinals are like the Lions. No matter the talent they have they find a way to screw it up. Awesome WR in Boldin and Fitzgerrald. one of them will probably be traded before the season is over because they don't like Arizona. Edge is getting old and isn't the player he once was. And there is no one behind him. Are 2 Qb's better then one? They are when it's Leinhart and Warner. Arizona will be 7-9 ish like they always are. They can only hope the other teams in the division go 6-10.
The 49er's are going to rebuild. Alex Smith is in a make-or-brake year. If he stinks it up him and Mike Nolan are gone. Frank Gore is a great RB, but he is getting some wear-and-tear due to lack of any other offense. they hired Mike Martz and he promises to open things up, but with what? Vernon Davis improved his numbers from year one to year two. So maybe he can be a factor. Isaac Bruce is the token past-his-prime free agent WR for the niners this year. It's always tough to root for your team to lose but Niner fans have need everywhere and a great QB or WR in the early first round next year could do wonders for this team.
Playoff Seed Predictions
The Cowboys will win the NFC. The Saints will be close on their heals. The Vikings schedule is to tough for them to compete for the bye. The Rams win the West with a 9-7 record. I went with Giants and Redskins but it could easily be the Eagles substituted for one of them. The Packers have a hard schedule and Aaron Rogers is starting for the first time. They won't make it. The Seahawks have a chance to make the wildcard or win the division. They need Hasselbeck to do it for them though.
Vikings vs. Skins
The vikings a re a team built to win in the playoffs. They will run the Redskins into the ground and stop Portis
Rams vs. Giants.
The Giants do it again, pressuring Bulger all day into making some mistakes and capitalizing on them. Close game, but a late turnover will allow the Giants to win by a field goal
The Cowboys probably won't lose their first playoff game again this year. They get it done in a sloppy game.
As much as I like the Vikings, you need a QB and WR's to beat teams like the Cowboys, Colts, Patriots and Saints. The Saints will score too much for the Vikings to be able to match.
The Cowboys choke again and the Saints are going to the Super Bowl on the arm of Drew Brees. Romo throws picks and they don't give the ball to Marion Barber enough early in the game. The Saints pass up and down the field on the Boys and Romo officially gets the "can't get it done in the playoffs" label.
Posted on: June 14, 2008 5:06 pm
While getting ready for football season, I took a good look at the Jacksonville Jaguars 2008 shcedule. The home schedule is amazing. Here are some highlights of what is probably the best home schedule ever for the Jaguars.
Week 2. First home game of the season. The Buffalo Bills come to town. A good young team with some exciting players including Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans. Last years game was won by the Jaguars pretty handily but was probably the final nail in J.P. Lossmans coffin as a Bill.
Week 4. A division game against a team that always gives us trouble, the Houston Texans. The Jaguars split with the Texans last year with the Jaguars beating the Texans at home early in the season and the Texans thrash the Jaguars in a late season game where the Jaguars didn't play all their straters (including David Garrard, Fred Taylor, Paul Spicer). I am alway nervous playing against the Texans. They have in my opoinion the 2nd best WR in the NFL in Andre Johnson. They also have a very good young defense. It should be a good smash mouth game.
Speking of Smash Mouth.
Week 5. Sunday night football, primetime, nationally televised. All day to tailgate. Steelres fans coming in from around the country. This is a big one. Jaguars vs. Steelers is always one fo the best games of the year. No two teams hit harder and play more physical then these two teams. The Jaguars were built based on a model that the Steelres perfected. Run the ball, stop the run, hit hard and run fast. The Jaguars won twice last year at heinz field (The first team to ever win twice in one season at Pittsburg) and haven't lost to them in the last 4 meetings including beating the Steelers 3 times at home in a row. Last years playoff game was exciting all the way to the end when David Garrard busted out with a 32 yard scramble on 4th and 2 with little time and left that set up a game winning FG that stopped a 18 point comeback by the Steelers. In the lst 6 games these teams have played only one has been decided by more than a touchdown (9-0 in 2006). This will be another classic Jaguars Steelres game.
Week 8. Another good young team comes to town, the Cleveland Browns. The Jaguars and Titans beat out the Browns for the wildcard spot last year. Many Jaguar fans are still think David Garrard deserved to go to the Pro Bowl over Derrick Anderson. These teams haven't played since 2005. The Browns could pose a difficult matchup for the Jaguars. They have talent they have at WR and TE with Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards. Edwards had 2 TS's last time he played against Rasheen Mathis. Dennis Northcutt is a former Brown and did not enjoy his stay there. This may be the opposite of the Steelers game and we could see lots of points put up. It is also our only 4 o'clock kickoff this year and probably a nationl game which means lots of tailgating time.
Week 11. The Jaguars biggest rival (in my opinion) comes to town. The Tennessee Titans and the Jaguars do not like each other. They have a long history. The Titans shredded the Jaguars to peices at home last year. The Jaguars forced 6 turnovers and beat the Titans with little trouble at Tennessee. Jeff Fisher has made enough smart a$$ comments about the Jaguars and Jacksonville over the years to make him the second most hated man (behind Bill the Whiner Pollian). Vince Young never should have won Rookie of the year over Murice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars all know that and they love to make him look like the scrub he is. These games always seem to be a blowout for one team or another. The road team actually wins more then the home team. It should be a wild one.
Week 12 brings the Minnesota Vikings to town and one of the most dynamic players in NFL history in Adrian Peterson. How many chances will we get to see this guy in Jacksonville? Probably not very many. In addition, the Vikings are like the Jaguars 3 years ago. A suffocating D-line, an awesome defense, a good offensive line and running game and who knows what a QB. The Jaguars bottled up two of the best RB's in the NFL last year holding Ladainian Tomlinson to 62 yards and Larry Johnson only rushed for 12 yards. This should be a playoff type atmosphere with both teams playing for division titles and playoff spots.
Week 15. Another playoff team comes to town, the Green Bay Packers. While this game would be even more exciting with Brett Favre still playing, it shoudl still be a good game. Again, both teams should be deep in the playoff race and fighting for positioning. This is another team that will probably not be in Jacksonville for a long time. They have a good offensive line and a potent offense (depending on Aaron rogers) and should be another test for the Jaguars ddefense.
Week 16. Probably the biggest game of the year. Jaguars vs. Colts on Thursday night football. Another primetime game. This game will hopefully determine who wins the AFC south and will probably be for a a first round bye. The Jaguars have spent years trying to knock Peyton Manning and the Colts off the top of the AFC south. I think this is the year. This game always ends up with the most fights and arrests. No doubt Bill Poliian will complain about something that happened in the first game they played. Last year he whined to the NFL the the Jaguars mascot was interfering with the game. Come on Bill, the mascot? At Jacksonville the Jaguars the game looked competitive until David Garrard went down. The Colts defense shut down the Jaguars after that. At Indy, it was a close game. The Jaguars were not allowed to challenge a blown TD call and ended up with a field goal. They lost by one. There was a lot of controversy because of controvesial comments made by Jaguars players and coaches abnout Indy's D-line getting away with calling out false "hike" calls leading to several false start penealties. In the end the Jaguars could't come up with the points to beat the Colts. This will be the final home game of the season, it is in primetime, it will determine playoff seeding, and it is against the one team the Jaguars have struggled with the last couple of seasons. What an end to what will be an incredible season.
What more could you want on your schedule? The Jaguars get 4 playoff teams from last year, some of the best players in the league such as Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Braylon Edwards, Andre Johnson, and Ben Roethlisberger, and just about all these teams should be competing late in the season for playoff spots.