16. St. Louis Rams: 0-16? This team is no better than the 2008-2009 Detroit Lions. Potential to become be the most pathetic pass offense ever. The Most Miserable Show On Turf? Would’ve never drafted Sam Bradford #1 overall, he’s a complete waste of money and an injury waiting to happen. Who’s their back-up, A.J. Feely? Simply put, it’ll be an all-out circus come September. On the other side of things, I can’t think of a more awful defense. As a whole, can’t name anyone outside of Steven Jackson you would desire to watch. Better days to spend your fall in St. Louis: Busch Stadium, Cardinals baseball.
15. Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll? Can’t believe in Matt Hasselbeck. How many games will he last? The run game does not excite me whatsoever. Pass rush is non-existent. Every expert said Draft was one of the best, it was an OK draft on paper, too many safe picks, no playmakers. Only thing going for ’em: Qwest Field, 12th Man.
14. Arizona Cardinals: So are they going to be a more run-oriented offense? Run first? Is Matt Leinart ready to take over for Kurt Warner? Larry Fitzgerald is going to have to be Jerry Rice, and then some. On defense, secondary always seems to be hurt and shaky. Darnell Dockett is too up and down, roll of the dice. More questions than answers for yet another mediocre NFC West squad.
13. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is just an “average” NFL QB. Michael Turner is “burned” out from 2008. Best years behind him. You have to wonder will he ever be the same? Next Jamal Anderson, post-1999 Super Bowl year? 1-2 combo of Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez bring hope and points. Defense gets no penetration when John Abraham is quiet. He’s just about done. LB corps need to play out of their minds. 5-6 wins sounds right.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman has chance to become franchise QB. Given the hand, cards he was dealt, encouraging rookie year. OL has the potential of a formidable group. Benn, Williams, Winslow will form a better trio of pass-catchers than people think. Defense has some pieces and go-getters at each position. Will Cadillac get you over 1,000 yards? They have to be able to run the rock to keep pressure off Freeman.
11. Chicago Bears: Reliant upon Jay Cutler. Depending too heavily on the rocket arm of an erratic QB who has a makeshift offensive line, decent running attack, and rag-tag group of unknown receivers. They must think he’s the next Brett Favre in the Windy City. Defense hings upon Urlacher, Harris, and Tillman. Not a good sign. Mike Martz expected to do wonders. Don’t see more than 6 wins.
10. Carolina Panthers: Best bet: Start Jimmy Clausen. By far the best signal caller in last April’s Draft. Hands down, best option to reach .500. Jonathan Stewart is prime to burst for 1,300+ yards and double-digit touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams will rescind starting role, becoming best #2 back in the game, giving the Cats a change-up; a formidable tandem that’s arguably the best in the biz. Defense will miss Julius Peppers, but not as much as you think. Loss of Thomas Davis stings. Just can’t say enough about Jon Beason, he is the best ‘backer outside of Patrick Willis, and I am convinced the secondary will continue to defend the air consistently like they do every year. This unit feeds off Beason’s fierce intensity, following every step of their rock solid commander-in-chief.
9. Philadelphia Eagles: Stewart Bradley, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Kevin Kolb, Andy Reid. 5 on the hot seat. Defense will get to the QB, secondary is solid, but will Bradley recover and return to 2008 form? He’s the key to how good the defense plays. McCoy and Maclin have the talent and skill to wow you and make you stand in awe, but to what extent can you count on second-year players? Kolb has shown us the ability to throw, but how long will he survive in Andy Reid’s pass-happy system? Can he flourish without a steady running game to support him? Will he always be compared to Donovan? Reid has to change his over-aggressive ways to a degree for this squad to succeed.
8. Detroit Lions: Really liking Jahvid Best. Stafford-Best-Johnson has the Motor City doing cartwheels and backflips! Offense is a definite strength. Fun team to watch in 2010. Points will come easy. Defense? Suh, Vanden Bosch, Levy, Peterson, Spievey, and Delmas is a good start. Promising unit but still not good enough to compete for NFC North division crown. To me, Schwartz is a fine head coach and will have his defense improved. 7-8 victories is surely within range.
7. Washington Redskins: Donovan still has game. Pro-Bowl level year is not far-fetched. McNabb has just enough weapons, just enough of a line, and an offensive genius in a head coach. Just like in Philly, same scenario. Imagine if Portis stays healthy, while Larry and Willie keep him fresh, ideal circumstances? Utilizing this three-back rotation, offense would be tough to stop. Will Shanahan put this in play? With this being said, the defense could be the icing on the cake. There’s more than enough reason to think the defense will do its job and considering all things you could see the Nation’s Capital rewarded with a winner. Can they earn a Wild card berth? Produce a 9-7, or 10-6 team? The NFC is deep, and the NFC East is loaded.
6. Green Bay Packers: One of the most talented teams in the NFL. Just not confident enough in their ability to win the ugly game or the close game consistently. Run game leaves much to be desired. Lacks the punch and power to get the tough yards on third and short. Defense has the play makers but doesn’t hold the fort down like it should. Overall, as a whole, too finesse and up and down? Lacking a true leader on the field? I don’t see them getting that much better. Quite frankly, the better teams are more balanced and I feel this team is missing a Dorsey Levens, an Ahman Green, a Reggie White, or a LeRoy Butler to take ’em to the next level. One week they look like world beater, the next week they lose to a winless team.
5. New York Giants: Under the radar. All the talk is about Big D, Donovan leaving Philly for Washington, and #4. Coughlin likes this. They still possess the run game to control the clock. Aerial fireworks should be in full effect mode. And, why not? Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham will display one of the top trios. Defense looking for leader with Pierce gone. Tuck? Line can be a vaunted unit once again. Secondary is the best its been in awhile. That helps against pass-happy NFC East. Don’t know if Eli is a top 10 QB. Has to prove it and outpeform Romo and Donovan. Best chance to make Playoffs: Balance. Eli needs to settle down from time to time and let run game and defense do work. More is less. If they find and achieve level of balance, they will contend with Dallas for NFC East.
4. San Francisco 49ers: Pieces are in place on offense. Defense is stifling. Alex Smith can be above-average, and if he is this team can win beyond the Regular Season. Frank Gore is the 2nd best back in the NFC behind Adrian Peterson. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree will make Alex Smith’s life easier. Willis and friends will create havoc and make things difficult for opposing offenses. Mike Singletary is the perfect coach for this team. This is the year. 49ers football is back!
3. New Orleans Saints: Offensive line concerns, average run game, and problems stopping the run will be too hard to overcome again in 2010. I’ll side with history and say they will not make it back to the Super Bowl. Can we really expect Drew Brees to carry the team on a magic carpet ride again? The party’s over New Orleans. Defense better be prepared to do more heavy lifting. Two players who have to have Pro-Bowl years: Pierre Thomas and Darren Sharper. Does Sharper have another healthy high level year? Can Reggie Bush pick up the slack and complement Pierre Thomas if he comes back down to earth? Don’t count out Sean Payton. Yet, how many tricks does he have up his sleeve? Any more rabbits to pull out of his hat?
2. Dallas Cowboys: Stacked from top to bottom. Any reason not to be at home come February? This year its the only goal. Destination: Super Bowl XLV. Dallas or Bust. Romo has all the weapons in the world at his disposal. 3-4 defense led by DeMarcus Ware can get to any QB. The secondary looks good on paper. Jenkins/Newman are good in man coverage. I believe Felix Jones and Dez Bryant could be the players to get them over the top. Two dynamic threats with the breakaway speed to burn and change a game.
1. Minnesota Vikings: Funny how Adrian Peterson is rarely ever mentioned other than for his well-documented and overly discussed fumbling habits. Do we forget he possibly could be the NFL’s most electrifying player? The player who could get the Vikings to the Super Bowl? Look for Adrian and Percy Harvin to make the Vikings even better than they were in ’09. It’s hard to find a team that holds two explosive game breakers like “All Day” and Percy. Is there a better duo you can offer in the open field? Can’t forget to include Sidney Rice to the mix. He’s near unstoppable in jump-ball scenarios. Defensively, you have a unit that is well-rounded and pressures the QB at will. When was the last time they were outside the Top 5 stopping the run? This team reminds me of the 1999 Denver Broncos. I think they have the opportunity to be that dominant.