Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Phil's NFL Preview
For the fourth year in a row, here is how I see the NFL coming together in the upcoming season with each team and their predicted record.

Wildcard teams have a * by them.

1. Patriots (11-5)
Completely going against tradition, New England broke the bank on free agents for 2007. Tom Brady should look like a brand new QB with the new receivers he has to work with.

2. Jets (10-6) *
New York's success largely hinges on which Chad Pennington shows up. Was is the often injured QB prior to 2006 or the rehabbed leader we saw last season? Where will backup Kellen Clemens fit this year?

3. Bills (8-8)
JP Losman showed signs of taking the next step last year. If he can show better consistency game to game, Buffalo might be a sleeper team.

4. Dolphins (7-9)
Defense is getting older and slower. Miami better hope Ted Ginn Jr. quickly becomes the second coming of Jerry Rice or it's going to get ugly fast.

FINAL THOUGHT: It's New England first, then a bunch of what if questions with the other teams.

Zach's final thought: I see a down year for the Jets this season. I don't see them as a playoff team.

1. Ravens (10-6)
Baltimore may have seriously look into the QB position next year. For now, they'll ride Steve McNair one more season and see how far he can take them.

2. Bengals (8-8)
No longer a surprise team. They had three games to make the playoffs last year and lost all three. Will that motivate Cincinnati or was it a sign of things to come for 2007?

3. Steelers (7-9)
Last time Pittsburgh opened an NFL season with a new head coach, John Gotti was being found guilty, the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series, and the 1992 Summer Olympics were being held in Spain. Expect a few growing pains here.

4. Browns (6-10)
Hope Cleveland fans enjoyed the NFL Draft this year because that might be the only real success the Browns have in 2007. Will Romeo Crennel survive the season?

FINAL THOUGHT: Once a dominate division, the AFC North may have a bit of a down year in 07.

Zach's thought: I'd like to predict a better Browns season, but I can't.

1. Colts (13-3)
Have to feel good about their chances to repeat as the Super Bowl Champions. Should have little trouble filling the holes left by the few players that left Indy after last season.

2. Jaguars (9-7)
Jacksonville's offense, particularly Bryon Leftwich, should benefit with new offense coordinator Dirk Koetter. His passing offense should re-energize an offense that was rather stagnant last year.

3. Texans (6-10)
Houston's hopes for the 2007 season rests on QB Matt Schaub, who has started all of two NFL games in his career.

4. Titans (5-11)
My wager for the player who has a sophomore slump is Vince Young. Also, Pacman Jones year long suspension is a huge blow for this defense.

FINAL THOUGHT: Indianapolis should wrap this division up by game 13.

Zach's thought: I think the Titans could be a sleeper team.

1. Chargers (12-4)
A 14-2 record last season ultimately got their head coach fired. No pressure eh Norv Turner? May have one of the better offenses in the AFC this year, but its the defense that really shines.

2. Broncos (10-6) *
Jay Cutler enters his second NFL season as Denver's starter. The Broncos offseason was filled with tragedy and how it affects their overall play has yet to be seen.

3. Chiefs (7-9)
It's Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzales, and not a whole much more after that. The team has gotten older with not much influx of new talent coming in

4. Raiders (4-12)
As of this writing, Oakland is the only team not to have their first round draft pick (JaMarcus Russell) signed to a contract. This team puts "fun" in dysfunctional.

FINAL THOUGHT: Anything less than at least the AFC Championship game will be a disappointment for San Diego.

Zach's thought: The Chargers lost a lot in their coaching staff from last season, and I expect them to be affected by that. Luckily, they play in a dreadful division.

1. Cowboys (11-5)
Have the speed on defense to take this team deep into the playoffs. QB Tony Romo needs to play more like the early part of 2006 and let someone else be the holder for field goal attempts.

2. Eagles (10-6) *
Will go as far as QB Donovan McNabb can take them. His durability is a concern and the team is not the powerhouse it once was.

3. Giants (8-8)
The spotlight is cast on Eli Manning as far as whether or not he can have a breakout year and win a playoff game or two. Might be kind of hard with this below average squad he has to work with.

4. Redskins (7-9)
Joe Gibbs may be a legend in Washington, but will team owner Daniel Synder sit on his hands if the team endures another non playoff season?

FINAL THOUGHT: Can realistically see any of these teams making the postseason.

Zach's thought: The Cowboys? I just do not see it.

1. Bears (10-6)
Memo to Rex Grossman: you are not a rookie anymore. Constantly fumbling the snap from your center is a good way to get demoted, even if you are coming off a Super Bowl appearance.

2. Lions (8-8)
I liked that they went with the best player in the NFL Draft with the second overall pick (WR Calvin Johnson), but can't help but wonder how the offensive line will block so he gets open.

3. Vikings (8-8)
Minnesota starting Tarvaris Jackson at QB is like playing the lotto. I don't like his odds of success, but the potential payout is huge.

4. Packers (5-11)
Missing: Aaron Rogers, quarterback for Green Bay. Last seen on a bench while over the hill Brett Favre plays. If found, please return to the Packers organization.

FINAL THOUGHT: Chicago is darn lucky to be in this division - they could be a third place team elsewhere.

Zach's final thought: Bret Favre might actually retire this season. Ah, who are we kidding?

1. Saints (12-4)
Was last year the start of something big or simply a one year wonder? Methinks there is too much talent overall for this team to have a sophomore slump.

2. Panthers (8-8)
Can we finally assume that Jake Delhomme was a one year wonder at QB? His play has dropped considerably since his Super Bowl run.

3. Buccaneers (6-10)
They are stockpiling QB's as if they were going out of style, but can any of them play? Jon Gruden may be in the hot seat if his team doesn't perform

4. Falcons (5-11)
It's official: Michael Vick is suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his despicable involvement with dog fighting. That leaves Atlanta's hopes resting with Joey Harrington, who may be on his last chance to prove he belongs in the NFL.

FINAL THOUGHT: Last year, New Orleans made the NFC Championship game. Will anything less in 2007 be a disappointment?

Zach's Thought: The Panthers are always expected to be a Super Bowl contender. Has the torch been passed?

1. Seahawks (10-6)
If they can get back in their groove offensively, they'll be the team to beat in this division. If not, everything becomes up for grabs.

2. 49ers (9-7) *
Solid drafting and smart decisions on personal have began a solid core in the bay area. Can challenge Seattle for the top spot in the NFC West and could be the team to be by 2008.

3. Rams (8-8)
I've seen some experts say the Rams could be a top 10 overall team this year. Not seeing it, especially on offense where Marc Bulger has limited options and weapons.

4. Cardinals (6-10)
Another year, another head coach, another year of rebuilding, and another year of starting over with a new start. Some things never change.

FINAL THOUGHT: Seattle's days of dominating this division may be coming to an end.

Zach's Thought: Umm, are there any good teams in this conference?




Tom Brady adds to his Hall of Fall resume.



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