NFL Preview: Part 2 (NFC)

Here’s part 2 of my NFL preview. To see part one click here.

NFC East

Gotta be the best division in football, right? We’re going to see at least one wild card come from here and it really wouldn’t surprise me if they got two. As for the order in which they finish, I’m sort of stumped. Lets start with the Redskins, because I’m relatively confident they’re going to finish last. Mike Shanahan is a good coach. But even he isn’t going to be able to get anything out of this offense. And I really feel bad for McNabb. For years he got the shaft in Philly, throwing to nobodies like Greg Lewis and Todd Pinkston. Wow, Todd Pinkston…haven’t heard that name in a while. So what happens when he finally gets a legit receiving core? They ship him off to Washington, where he gets to throw to…Santana Moss? And Clinton Portis is going to carry a full rushing load? This offense is going to be terrible. And of course, the blame will be placed on McNabb. The guy seriously can’t catch a break. As for the defense, they were surprisingly good last year. I’m always skeptical to trust a team that is switching schemes though as it usually takes at least a year to get the right personnel and learn the system. And with everything that’s going on with that nut job Haynesworth, I have a feeling that they’re going to regress a bit. Playing the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants makes me think that they’ll be lucky to finish with 6 wins.

As for my pick to win the division, I’m going a little outside the box. For some reason, I really think the Giants will end up on top. And I know what you’re thinking… “Look at this New York homer, have some respect for yourself, kid.” I may well be a homer, but I HATE the Giants. I hate their fans, I hate their coach and I bask in every game that they lose. But why doesn’t this team improve from last year? They have slow, less than talented linebackers. But I think they can make up for that with an above average pass rush. Getting Kenny Phillips back is huge and adding Antrel Rolle makes this a pretty legit secondary. Their offensive line isn’t the offensive line of two years ago, but as long as they remain intact, their running game will get a boost from a healthy Jacobs/Bradshaw 1-2 punch. Throw in a little excitement from a new stadium and I think we have ourselves a division winner.

The Cowboys and Eagles are good, but they both have question marks that will keep them from taking the East. I still think that one, if not two can make the playoffs because of how weak the NFC is, but I think the Division is the Giants for the taking. Cowboys are still led by a guy named Tony Romo, who has a pretty decent history of stinking up the joint when the games matter. People love to jump on this bandwagon. And when people start talking, they overlook a lot of negatives thinking that the team can make up for it in other ways. So they see something exciting like Dez Bryant (who I think is going to be great) and neglect to mention that their defense really isn’t good. Go back and watch some of the touchdowns that Miles Austin scored last year. It wasn’t because he was making amazing catches and completely blowing guys out of the water. A bunch of them were due to TERRIBLE tackling and some bad coaches not recognizing that Roy Williams is a dead fish. A questionable o-line doesn’t help a team that is really going to rely on their offense to beat people. I expect 9-11 wins, but an early exit from the playoffs…like usual.

The Eagles are another team that people are really high on, but I just don’t see it. Does the team get better with Kevin Kolb? I’m reluctant to trust a first time starter and there are certainly going to be costly mental mistakes as the year goes on. Is LeSean McCoy actually good? I hope so, because he’s on my fantasy team, but he’s certainly no Brian Westbrook. Their offensive line is below average and Andy Reid still refuses to run the ball. How long is it before a team realizes that all you need to stop DeSean Jackson is to play a safety over the top? The defense is okay, but nothing special. Although as a Michigan man I’ll tell you that Brandon Graham is the real deal. A definite sleeper for defensive rookie of the year on a team that will need all the sacks they can get. Again, I think there is potential for 9-11 wins like the Cowboys, but I imagine it will be on the lower end of that range. With that, my final order is:

Giants (Ugh)

Cowboys

Eagles

Redskins

NFC North

Its funny how quick people are to write of the Vikings after a couple injuries. But the sad truth is that it comes down to the performance of one player. FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE FAVRE. This is a very well put together team. A defensive line that creates serious pressure and stops the run allows for turnovers and short possessions. A great offensive line and arguably the best running back in the league means that there is going to be space to throw the ball deep. But the word on the street is that Favre’s ankle is in pretty bad shape. And with Brett Favre you get a lot of things, and one of those things is his consecutive games record. And Brett Favre IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER. So unless his ankle is literally falling off, he’s is going to be out there on the field. So you must be thinking to yourself, “well isn’t that a good thing? Don’t I want Brett Favre out there all the time.” IF he’s healthy, then yes, but when his ankle is really bad and he’s having trouble stepping into his throws and moving around the pocket, he’s no longer Brett Favre. And as a Jets fan, something like this is a sensitive subject. Because we were 8-3 and leading the AFC East two years ago before Brett Favre tore his bicep. But Mangidiot, in his Bill Belichick copying ways kept that hush hush. And Favre played through it, even though he had no business doing so. So we finished the season 1-5 and missed the playoffs. Would we have won with a backup, maybe, maybe not. Did Mangini’s firing allow us to get Rex Ryan, the greatest coach ever? Yes (and thank god for that). But what I’m trying to say is that the Vikings, barring an extremely, extremely serious injury, (which remember, hasn’t happened to Favre in 20 years of playing) are stuck with Favre in whatever physical state he is in at the time. And this is going to cost them their division this year as I think they will finish in second and out of the wild card.

The team that takes the North is the Packers. With Aaron Rodgers behind center this offense is arguably the best in the league, on par with the Colts and the Saints. And although the defense got a few more turnovers and defensive touchdowns then they are likely to get this year, they are further along in their switch to the 3-4 which means there will be more consistency. Considering they finished 11-5 and lost 2 games to the Vikings I think there’s a definite shot of at least 12 wins.

Of course, right when I leave the state of Michigan, the Lions start to get good. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice when the local team was blacked out every week because it meant a chance at seeing a better game, but I always sort of felt bad for the Michiganders. The state was already in such disarray, couldn’t they at least have a capable football team. Well this isn’t quite that team yet, but it will definitely be fun to watch them try. They are going to be in a lot of shoot outs. Their defense, more specifically their secondary is AWFUL. But with Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Jahvid Best, they are going to put up points. Surprisingly enough, I even think that they can finish ahead of the Bears. How does Mike Martz keep getting hired? Let’s say that I told you to bet your mortgage on the Giants beating the Patriots in whatever Super Bowl that was. You win a truck load of money and in turn trust me to fulfill your betting fix. But then, for the next two years I let you down. I’m talking about rocking a 30% winning percentage for 3 straight years. At this point, you’ve lost everything you won in that Super Bowl, plus a little more. Listening to my advice in predicting the next Super Bowl winner is equivalent to people thinking that Mike Martz is going to help this Bears team. Here’s a great strategy…let’s have Jay Culter throw 50 times a game and take as many 7 step drops as possible. What’s that? His wide receivers are Johnny Knox, Devin Aromashdu, and Devin Hester? Perfect! Throw in some brutal weather at the end of the year and a defense that was at it’s peak 4 years ago and we have the makings of a 5 win team.

So here’s the order for those of you who would prefer not to read all of my nonsense above:

Packers

Vikings

Lions (WOO!)

Bears

NFC South & NFC West

I’m giving you a small reward for reading 1500 words of my NFC preview. These two divisions are terrible and there are a max 3 good teams so I figured I’d keep it succinct. The Saints are the Saints. Meaning they will throw a ton, score a bunch of points and probably force some turnovers when you try and play catch up (although not as many as last year). The Falcons get back a healthy Michael Turner and with that kind of running game, a little improvement from Matt Ryan and a easier schedule the Falcons will have a chance of making the playoffs, although will probably come up just short. The Carolina Panthers will run all over you, but they wont do much else. They’re not particularly good or bad and will probably end up a shade below .500. The Bucs suck. Sorry, Tampa fans.

The West is terrible. People like San Francisco, because there really isn’t anything else to like. But their QB is Alex Smith and we all know that guy’s ceiling. The defense was solid led by Patrick Willis, but getting to play the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams six times will have a bigger impact on why their record looks respectable. The Cardinals lost Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart. Which leaves…Derek Anderson. Unless they decide they want to run the ball 40 times a game, there’s no way they’re winning more than 7 games with Derek Anderson slinging the ball around. Slinging is probably the wrong word. Let’s going with “inaccurately lofting.” Finally, the Rams suck and the Seahawks suck. I’m really hoping for the winner of the division to be 7-9, that would be so cool (and so frustrating for the team that just misses the wild card).

Final orders are as follows:

South:

Saints

Falcons

Panthers

Bucs

West:

49ers

Seahawks

Cardinals

Rams

18 thoughts on “NFL Preview: Part 2 (NFC)

  1. Here are the odds for each NFC team to win their division…

    TO WIN 2010-2011 NFC NORTH
    CHICAGO BEARS +675
    DETROIT LIONS +2000
    GREEN BAY PACKERS -125
    MINNESOTA VIKINGS +110

    TO WIN 2010-2011 NFC SOUTH
    ATLANTA FALCONS +190
    CAROLINA PANTHERS +1100
    NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -285
    TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS +2500

    TO WIN 2010-2011 NFC EAST
    DALLAS COWBOYS -175
    NEW YORK GIANTS +250
    PHILADELPHIA EAGLES +475
    WASHINGTON REDSKINS +800

    TO WIN 2010-2011 NFC WEST
    ARIZONA CARDINALS +225
    SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -300
    SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +1000
    ST. LOUIS RAMS +1600

  2. And odds to win the conference…

    TO WIN 2010-2011 NFC CONFERENCE
    13049 ARIZONA CARDINALS +2800
    ATLANTA FALCONS +1000
    CAROLINA PANTHERS +4000
    CHICAGO BEARS +2000
    DALLAS COWBOYS +400
    DETROIT LIONS +5000
    GREEN BAY PACKERS +390
    MINNESOTA VIKINGS +455
    NEW ORLEANS SAINTS +375
    NEW YORK GIANTS +1500
    PHILADELPHIA EAGLES +1500
    SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS +775
    SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +4500
    ST. LOUIS RAMS +5000
    TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS +5000
    WASHINGTON REDSKINS +2000

  3. What you hate the GMEN and root for them to lose??
    Sorry it will then be a long year for you and anyone else who hates The GMEN!!!!!! BIG BLUE NOT ONLY WINS THE DIVISION….BUT DON’T BE SURPRISED IF THEY GO MUCH FURTHER!!!!! DON’T FORGET THEY WERE TOTALLY HURT LAST YEAR AND ELI STILL THREW THE MOST TD’S OF ANY YEAR IN HIS CAREER……..P.S…….WHAT HAS TONY ROMO EVER DONE???? HE HAS 1 PLAYOFF WIN!!!!!

  4. Rex Ryan the greatest coach ever? Have you been drinking kool-aid with JaMarcus Russel?
    The Bucs suck? Well let me tell you something… ok you’re right about that one.
    Good post, well worth the time.

  5. Aer…

    ACo’s been solid for the site so far.

    Stand up and take a bow, sir. Just please don’t tell everyone the REAL reason you had to leave Michigan.

    We’ll allow you to continue thinking Rex Ryan is the best football coach ever (when he wasn’t even better than his father) because we appreciate the pure homerism.

  6. Haha I should have clarified the “greatest coach ever” phrase with a link.

    It’s a series that KSK (Kissing Suzy Kolber) runs that is absolutely hilarious but very vulgar–so I wasn’t sure the deal posting things like that. b

    One of the tags that Drew Magary (Big Daddy Drew) who writes the recurring feature uses is “Rex Ryan: Greatest Coach Ever.”

    Rex clearly isn’t the greatest coach from a strategic or success standpoint, but come one…if you were a player, is there anyone else that you’d want to play for?

    So here’s the NSFW (probably?) link to the tag that has all the articles. But the phony dialogues are the ones that are really gut wrenching. I highly recommend them to anyone…

    http://kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com/tag/rex-ryan-greatest-coach-ever

  7. For that link…scroll down past the hard knocks stuff (although I’d check that out also). The most recent “phony dialogue” is titled:

    Tony Dungy’s Visit To Camp Ryan

  8. Al… I’m behind on my reading but I’ll be over to check out your latest.

    But you do have admit that Favre’s final drive in that first half was pretty darned impressive considering he’s only been with the team a week.

    Almost made me want to buy a pair of Wrangler jeans. I hear they fit comfortably.

  9. ACo…

    You never have to apologize to us for your Rex Ryan man-crush. It’s okay that you like a bigger man. We like what we like.

    As I’ve said before, if what happened is actually true, where Ryan went down there and intervened in the agent meeting that finally got Revis signed, then that will let his players know he has their back.

    Personally, I can’t wait for the movie.

  10. I too think the Lions will be a lot better this year. They are heading in the right direction at least. Hell, if your a fan of them you’re happy with any direction, because it makes them sound like they have a plan.

    Not sure if I agree with you about the Giants, but I hate that whole division so I guess I’d rather see them win than the Cowboys.

    I think Matt Moore might be decent this year. He ended the last four games with 8 TD’s and 0 INT’s. It’s their defense that they should be worried about though…

  11. Exactly, Chap. I mean how could they be any worse? I would imagine most Detroit fans are happy about the team’s direction… and the fact that Matt Millen is finally gone.

    We’ll see if they’ll be able to hold onto these guys they’ve drafted and eventually make a championship caliber team out of them.

  12. That Seahawks line at +1000 is lookin’ pretty good right now. Maybe Pete Carroll learned a thing or two when he was at USC.

    SF at -225…I wonder if Vegas knows who is starting at quarterback for the 49ers.

  13. True, Drew. Remember those betting lines are based more on public perception than actual fact and most thought the 9ers would run away with that division.

    Personally, I thought that if there was value to be had, it would be in that division but picking the winner would essentially be pulling a random team out of a hat.

    Seattle would have been the way to go though since they have by far the best quarterback in the league.

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