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Rjspartan
05-03-2008, 07:38 PM
Every year there are surprises and i want to know which team you think will be a surprise either better than expected or worse than expected.

I think Buffalo could be better than expected

Turtlepower
05-03-2008, 07:43 PM
Just by going with teams in the top-5, I have to say St. Louis. They were destroyed by injuries all over and if Jackson and Bulger can be healthy and play in their 06 forms, they will win the NFC West.

StripedWalrus
05-03-2008, 07:44 PM
I agree with you on Buffalo...I think they may slip into the playoffs this year. In the NFC I have some expectations out of the Cardinals...I think this is the year that they make the Playoffs too.

Of course I also believe the Bengals will be better than everyone expects them to be. I think they can make the playoffs as well. It all depends on the health of the Defense.

Im_a_Romosexual
05-03-2008, 07:45 PM
Carolina will win their division and make a run deep into the playoffs

Zbikowski_9
05-03-2008, 07:49 PM
I think the Bills are that team too. Maybe next year they will have a even better chance to make some noise. They have done a great job of 'rebuilding' after clearing out some of their bigger names a couple years back and they now have a good basis of young players.

Other teams who could turn some heads:

The Texans. Andre Johnson is a beast and was out a lot of last year, so having him around more and have their QB back from injury the offense could be a lot better. On Defense they are young and have a lot of talent, they could realy push the Jags and Colts for the division - i wouldnt be overly suprised if the Texans and Jags made the playoffs and the Colts missed out - the Titans are no slouches either - Good division.

The Cardinals. Every year i think they will break out but they don't. This year i am less confident, however, they could suprise me and take a regressing Seahawk team of their perch.

I know these two teams are not sleepers, but I think the Eagles and the Skins will make more noise this year then the Superbowl champs.

jetsfan0099
05-03-2008, 08:28 PM
The J_E_T_S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!! Watch it happen baby!! Were going to the playoffs!! 11-5 record for us in the regular season, maybe 12-4, we have a easy schedule! And I think Kellen Clemens has a good year, but the run game and defense is what gets us there.
How cool would that be, we were 4-12 last season, then go 12-4 this season. HA! But definitely the Jets are going to be good, baring injuries of coarse, good coaching staff, and filled the holes up with good players. I think this team is going to be good, and challenge the Pats for the division. I think we beat the Pats at least once this year though, at their home if anywhere, we always play good there somereason.

neko4
05-03-2008, 08:52 PM
The J_E_T_S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!! Watch it happen baby!! Were going to the playoffs!! 11-5 record for us in the regular season, maybe 12-4, we have a easy schedule! And I think Kellen Clemens has a good year, but the run game and defense is what gets us there.
How cool would that be, we were 4-12 last season, then go 12-4 this season. HA! But definitely the Jets are going to be good, baring injuries of coarse, good coaching staff, and filled the holes up with good players. I think this team is going to be good, and challenge the Pats for the division. I think we beat the Pats at least once this year though, at their home if anywhere, we always play good there somereason.


I dont know man, if Edwards or Losman develops they could have a good team. Offense should have a great year IMO, with Evans, Hardy, Parrish and maybe even Steve Johnson at WR. Oline is good, and Lynch is a good RB. Defense is a question though, that secondary is shaky

BroadwayJoe10
05-03-2008, 08:52 PM
The J_E_T_S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!! Watch it happen baby!! Were going to the playoffs!! 11-5 record for us in the regular season, maybe 12-4, we have a easy schedule! And I think Kellen Clemens has a good year, but the run game and defense is what gets us there.
How cool would that be, we were 4-12 last season, then go 12-4 this season. HA! But definitely the Jets are going to be good, baring injuries of coarse, good coaching staff, and filled the holes up with good players. I think this team is going to be good, and challenge the Pats for the division. I think we beat the Pats at least once this year though, at their home if anywhere, we always play good there somereason.

You been drinking tonight buddy??? Just kiddinggg. I do admit that we have a good chance of doing big things this year; we improved the oline at LG and RT, we got a great blocking FB in tony richardson, we have a potential NT in jenkins, two OLBs in Pace and gholston as well as rhodes, revis and harris locked up.

BUT there are still plenty of things that could go wrong, most importantly our QB play..if chad is the QB, you'll see a 10 win season at most, but go absolutely nowhere in the playoffs, if clemens wins out the battle he may turn out to be a scrub, but we'll have to see. Also injuries could kill us, just like any team..you never know if woody and jenkins will keep their weight down, gholston could turn out to be only a situational pass rusher (i sure hope not), pace could be a one year wonder etc...Not to be such a pessimist, because i have faith in the jets, but for a team to have a complete turnaround i like to see good qb play, which is why i like the bills for my sleeper team.

I like what both the bills and fins did in this draft as well as the jets and pats, which leads me to beleive that the AFC east might become the tough division that it used to be.

abaddon41_80
05-03-2008, 09:08 PM
Watch out for the 49ers. Mike Martz should make the offense a lot better, he is really high on Alex Smith, and the defense is loaded with talent

foozball
05-03-2008, 09:09 PM
Texans

Healthy Schaub and Andre Johnson.

Added a big play RB in Slaton. Also added Chris Brown who is very good when healthy.

Added Alex Gibbs which will definitely improve the running game.

Okoye in his second year.

Xavier Adibi is an instant upgrade over Morlon Greenwood if he's given a chance to start.

Added 2 CB's who are better than Demarcus Fajjins (j subbed for g cuz itd get ***)

So really we've vastly improved our running game and already had a pretty good passing game. Schaub and Sage together had 3900+ passing yards with 4 receivers with 500+ yards. We've got a dangerous kick returner in Andre Davis and a developing punt returner/WR in Jacoby Jones. Defense is getting better with experience with Mario, Okoye, Demeco, and Fred Bennett.

Another 8-8 season is probably the most realistic, but barring injuries, we should be 9-7

jetsfan0099
05-03-2008, 09:11 PM
Thats why I think the Jets are a sleeper team, I really believe in Kellen Clemens. I watched some games over, and just skipped around to see more of him, he looks good, it was the team around him that was horrible. I still think Clemens has a chance to be a quality QB in the NFL. He was real good in the 4th quarter which is important. If he makes as much of a jump as he did from when he was a rookie to his 2nd year, then make a jump from his 2nd year to his 3rd year, he could have a real good season. Since he made real big improvements from a rookie to last season.

toonsterwu
05-03-2008, 09:19 PM
I could go through the usual positive potential "surprises" - Buffalo, perhaps Houston, perhaps Denver, Minnesota, New Orleans, perhaps Carolina. That said, in an age of parity, how many of those teams would really be surprises. Denver and Carolina, but Carolina's had a good offseason. So, here's a darkhorse surprise. Not saying they'll do good, but I like some possibilities.

San Francisco 49ers - Why? I really don't like any of the teams, right now, at this really early juncture, in the NFC West. Seattle is probably the on paper favorite, but you wonder

a) When the age on the OL catches up
b) The lack of a top passing weapon when they are trying to move away from the spread offense a bit
c) How good is that run game?
d) Can Kerney replicate his success?
e) Will the Holmgren factor be a negative if they struggle a bit.

This does bring the big question of, what worries me about Arizona.

a) I'm concerned about that QB dynamic.
b) I wonder if there is enough juice in the run game.
c) Will there be a distraction?
d) Can that OL, which isn't the league's most talented, get better?
e) What does the loss of Calvin Pace mean?
f) Can DRC really fill a big role (nickel or starter) now?

So, why not the Rams surprising?

a) It usually takes 2 years to learn the Saunders offense.
b) How quick does that OL gel? And how good is that OL anyways?
c) Do they have the passing weapons NOW?
d) How is their deep coverage?
e) Can they generate enough pressure?
f) Age of a couple DL guys as a factor (being old ... and being young)

So, why exactly do I half wonder if the Niners can surprise

a) Alex Smith will be healthy.
b) Mike Martz will create a better offense. How much better? I don't know. But it will be better. It's weird how Martz's offense is a bit more adaptable than Saunders despite both coming from the same tree.
c) Gore time.
d) I think the OL should be better. There will be some rough spots, but it should get better as the season progresses. In the near future, Staley/Baas/?Wallace?/Rachal/Snyder could be a nasty unit (and Snyder/Wallace both could be upgraded in future drafts)
e) Issac Bruce at least gives the QB a more stable option than last year. And I've got some hope on Jason Hill developing.
f) The DL should be better. Yes, better, despite losing Bryant Young. Justin Smith isn't anything special, but he should replace Marques Douglas just fine. Kentwan Balmer should add solid depth at the very least.

If anything, I've got concerns on that defense generating a pass rush, although having Manny Lawson's athleticism back should help. All said, it's early. Just to be clear, I'm not predicting greatness for the Niners. Just to watch for them, as I think they'd be a legitimate surprise.

Okay, I'll be a bit controversial and offer up teams that I wonder if they could slide. Granted, the Pats come at the top, because obviously, repeating 18-1 will be unlikely, but I'm talking about slide relative to expectations here.

a) Cleveland Browns - A lot of expectations for this team. They could very well meet them. What worries me is that, if Jamal Lewis has age catch up, or he goes down, I think they are in trouble. Still could have a solid offense, but it'll be much harder.

b) Pittsburgh Steelers - I like them as well. But what worries me is their pass blocking on the edges. It's stating the obvious, but the obvious could really hurt. The DL depth also doesn't have me doing cartwheels either.

c) Tennessee Titans - Stating the obvious, really. Of all the solid teams last year, they seem to be the chic pick to struggle. Justifiable reasons? Maybe. My worries have less to do with offense than it has to do with defense, though. That offense is what it is. The DL turnover is what worries me.

d) Washington Redskins - I like them too, but the new coaching staff, age on the defense, and age on the OL certainly are causes for concern.

e) Carolina Panthers - So they turned back the clock to the days when there was a power run game. The chic comment for them has been "bringing back their identity". What about that defensive identity? I look at the interior of the DL, and for a big guy, Ma'ake isn't nearly as immovable as he should be, and then there's Damione Lewis and Darwin Walker. certainly doesn't inspire confidence.

f) Seattle Seahawks - I worry that age on the OL will catch up at some point. Maybe they can push it off for a year. I also worry that there isn't a top passing weapon when they are trying to move away from the spread. Furthermore, how good is a Julius/TJ combo? Can Kerney repeat his performance? Will they be distracted?

Not saying these teams will fall, but some teams that worry me, relative to current expectations, as of now.

TheBuffaloBills
05-03-2008, 09:46 PM
I dont know man, if Edwards or Losman develops they could have a good team. Offense should have a great year IMO, with Evans, Hardy, Parrish and maybe even Steve Johnson at WR. Oline is good, and Lynch is a good RB. Defense is a question though, that secondary is shaky


Are secondary isnt shaky...... We have Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson coming back from a season ending injury. Jabari Greer is the most underrated Corner in the league.... We have McGee, and we just got Leodis....

49ersfan_87
05-03-2008, 09:58 PM
I could go through the usual positive potential "surprises" - Buffalo, perhaps Houston, perhaps Denver, Minnesota, New Orleans, perhaps Carolina. That said, in an age of parity, how many of those teams would really be surprises. Denver and Carolina, but Carolina's had a good offseason. So, here's a darkhorse surprise. Not saying they'll do good, but I like some possibilities.

San Francisco 49ers - Why? I really don't like any of the teams, right now, at this really early juncture, in the NFC West. Seattle is probably the on paper favorite, but you wonder

a) When the age on the OL catches up
b) The lack of a top passing weapon when they are trying to move away from the spread offense a bit
c) How good is that run game?
d) Can Kerney replicate his success?
e) Will the Holmgren factor be a negative if they struggle a bit.

This does bring the big question of, what worries me about Arizona.

a) I'm concerned about that QB dynamic.
b) I wonder if there is enough juice in the run game.
c) Will there be a distraction?
d) Can that OL, which isn't the league's most talented, get better?
e) What does the loss of Calvin Pace mean?
f) Can DRC really fill a big role (nickel or starter) now?

So, why not the Rams surprising?

a) It usually takes 2 years to learn the Saunders offense.
b) How quick does that OL gel? And how good is that OL anyways?
c) Do they have the passing weapons NOW?
d) How is their deep coverage?
e) Can they generate enough pressure?
f) Age of a couple DL guys as a factor (being old ... and being young)

So, why exactly do I half wonder if the Niners can surprise

a) Alex Smith will be healthy.
b) Mike Martz will create a better offense. How much better? I don't know. But it will be better. It's weird how Martz's offense is a bit more adaptable than Saunders despite both coming from the same tree.
c) Gore time.
d) I think the OL should be better. There will be some rough spots, but it should get better as the season progresses. In the near future, Staley/Baas/?Wallace?/Rachal/Snyder could be a nasty unit (and Snyder/Wallace both could be upgraded in future drafts)
e) Issac Bruce at least gives the QB a more stable option than last year. And I've got some hope on Jason Hill developing.
f) The DL should be better. Yes, better, despite losing Bryant Young. Justin Smith isn't anything special, but he should replace Marques Douglas just fine. Kentwan Balmer should add solid depth at the very least.

If anything, I've got concerns on that defense generating a pass rush, although having Manny Lawson's athleticism back should help. All said, it's early. Just to be clear, I'm not predicting greatness for the Niners. Just to watch for them, as I think they'd be a legitimate surprise.



Toon, showing us his wisdom :D. Even though the 49ers didnt draft a egde rusher, im hoping the Balmer pick helps out in that department. The 49ers tried to address the DL by re-signing Sopoaga, signing Smith in FA, and drafting Balmer. Hopefully they can tie up blockers and collapse the pocket and it will make our mediocre OLB's look better. Im also excited to see Lawson pass rush, he looked improved before he went out for the season.

Even though theyre not a "sleeper", i think the Bills can compete for a wildcard in the AFC. This is a team that plain fights for it on the football field. They had about 10 players on IR and were still fighting for a playoff spot. Edwards will improve and i think Mckelvin (sp?) can have an immediate impact in the return game. Nobody talks about the Bills because the Dolphins hired Parcells, the Jets went on a spending spree and got a highly touted OSU prospect in Gholston, and the Pats are the Pats. But the Bills will sneak up on you. I see all 16 Bills games unless theyre blacked out and this will be a team to watch out for next year.

toonsterwu
05-03-2008, 10:29 PM
I'm not sure Balmer's going to be that much pass rush help because he'll either be playing the nose or the 5, and I don't think he'll be given the leeway to attack consistently. If they do move Justin Smith around, as they had suggested, then he might be able to get some mismatches off the edge, but I'm not sure how much burst he has at this age to consistently exploit and attack. It'll be an interesting one to follow. Personally, I'd get creative, and perhaps try Brandon Moore outside a bit (I thought he had decent pass rush ability. And I could see them freeing up Patrick Willis a bit more.

neko4
05-03-2008, 10:35 PM
Are secondary isnt shaky...... We have Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson coming back from a season ending injury. Jabari Greer is the most underrated Corner in the league.... We have McGee, and we just got Leodis....
Yeah thats always safe
And i guess Al Harris isnt underated anymore so i guess Jabari is underated. Clearly he cant be that good if the team invested a 1st Round Pick in a CB and he's only like 26.

BlindSite
05-03-2008, 10:35 PM
Everyone Rags on Ma'ake Kemoeatu, but he's never been a bad player. He was brought in to eat space in the middle and free up other players which he does pretty well.

He's above average at what he's asked to do. Just because he doesn't put up 10 sacks and the Panthers have been out of the playoffs no one notices that he does play well.

Thunder&Lightning
05-03-2008, 11:17 PM
Sleeper Team: Buffalo

Comeback Team: New Orleans

UncleHulka
05-03-2008, 11:27 PM
Texans

Not just Andre Johnson coming off injury, but the offensive line was hurt as well. They may not be the deepest team around, but when reasonably healthy will surprise. I plan to bet on them quite a bit early in the season before Vegas catches on.

proshoota25
05-03-2008, 11:37 PM
New Orleans i think will be rediculous this year, with all of the moves they made, im not sure if they are much of a sleeper team, but watch out. they are loaded in almost every position, except for the secondary.

art vandelay
05-04-2008, 01:06 AM
Yeah thats always safe
And i guess Al Harris isnt underated anymore so i guess Jabari is underated. Clearly he cant be that good if the team invested a 1st Round Pick in a CB and he's only like 26.

Jabari's contract is up at the end of this year. McGee's contract is up next year. We needed depth and McKelvin was likely the highest rated player on our board at the time. It made alot of sense. Greer played outstanding last year if you watched any Bills games at all. I'm pretty sure he was top 5 in (least) yards per catch allowed.

art vandelay
05-04-2008, 01:07 AM
The J_E_T_S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!! Watch it happen baby!! Were going to the playoffs!! 11-5 record for us in the regular season, maybe 12-4, we have a easy schedule! And I think Kellen Clemens has a good year, but the run game and defense is what gets us there.
How cool would that be, we were 4-12 last season, then go 12-4 this season. HA! But definitely the Jets are going to be good, baring injuries of coarse, good coaching staff, and filled the holes up with good players. I think this team is going to be good, and challenge the Pats for the division. I think we beat the Pats at least once this year though, at their home if anywhere, we always play good there somereason.

Wow. Just wow.

WMD
05-04-2008, 02:32 AM
The past few seasons, people picked Detroit as a sleeper team.. It looks like everyone has given up hope..

BlindSite
05-04-2008, 04:49 AM
Depends on how well Stanton plays. I hope the lions find some stability at OC, they'll hurt the development of their WRs and QBs if they don't and it'll keep the franchise back in the pack.

Iamcanadian
05-04-2008, 05:22 AM
I don't think the Bills are a serious candidate this year to do a whole lot. Edwards, their QB is only in his 2nd season and I doubt he is ready for big things necessary to make the playoffs.
Houston could take the next step but I'm not sold on their running game.
Cincy should be a contending team but Brown, their owner is just too cheap and won't replace Lewis as their HC until his contract runs out. No way he'll pay 2 HC's at the same time.
Cleveland Browns Could make the playoffs but a lot depends on Lewis having another great year and staying healthy. No guarantees at his age.
Denver should be a prime candidate. Now that they know Cutler is a diabetic, they can take precautions against it and in his 4th year, he could have a breakout season.
Oakland Raiders have a real shot if Russell is committed to football and staying in shape. His ability is Elway like but is his head screwed on right. If Russell comes through, then this franchise could be scary if not this year then next.
Tennessee Titans have a shot. VY is heading into his 3rd season and Chris Johnson will add a dimension to their passing attack used very similar to the way Bush is used in New Orleans.
Arizona has an excellent chance to have a breakout season. All the pieces are in place and if Lienart in his 3rd year puts it all together, watch out.
Minny is in the running if Peterson can stay healthy and Jackson takes the next progression in his development.
New Orleans Saints top my board. Ellis will give an image to their defense and they can score. I fully expect them to make the playoffs and dominate the NFL South.
St. Louis Rams aren't my pick for much of anything. It is a wait and see project to me.
San Fran 49ers could be a real shocker. If Martz gets the talent to gel in Smith, their offense might finally be able to score but I'm just not sure if they have enough WR's to get the job done. Gore will be under utilized in Martz's offense.
I just don't see any other teams capable of breaking out.

jetsfan0099
05-04-2008, 07:32 AM
Wow. Just wow.

Why?? The Jets easily have a better defense then the Bills. And arguably the best front 7 in the division now. We have the best LB corps in the division by far. The Pats have the best DL though, but our DL got stronger with Jenkins. Our secondary is also the best in the division, we got Kerry Rhodes who is the Best DB in the division by far, Darrelle Revis who is the best CB in the division by far. Then I think our offense will be better, our OL is very good now, and I think Brick has a break out season with Faneca next to him.
The Jets are going to be good, it depends on the QB, and I think Kellen Clemens shown promise last year, he was knocked around and had nothing to work with, this year he has a healthy Coles, and a new weapon in Dustin Keller, along with a revamped OL. Our 2 RBs are good, Leon Washington is underrated, he is a flat out monster, he had a 5.0 average with our ****** line last year, whats he going to have this year with Faneca?? A 7.0??

Rjspartan
05-04-2008, 07:49 AM
Carolina will win their division and make a run deep into the playoffs
it is great to see that someone supports carolina.

lordquas
05-04-2008, 08:49 AM
i think minnesota will have a great year.
oakland will be better than most people think too.

BroadwayJoe10
05-04-2008, 09:20 AM
Why?? The Jets easily have a better defense then the Bills. And arguably the best front 7 in the division now. We have the best LB corps in the division by far. The Pats have the best DL though, but our DL got stronger with Jenkins. Our secondary is also the best in the division, we got Kerry Rhodes who is the Best DB in the division by far, Darrelle Revis who is the best CB in the division by far. Then I think our offense will be better, our OL is very good now, and I think Brick has a break out season with Faneca next to him.
The Jets are going to be good, it depends on the QB, and I think Kellen Clemens shown promise last year, he was knocked around and had nothing to work with, this year he has a healthy Coles, and a new weapon in Dustin Keller, along with a revamped OL. Our 2 RBs are good, Leon Washington is underrated, he is a flat out monster, he had a 5.0 average with our ****** line last year, whats he going to have this year with Faneca?? A 7.0??


I think he was probably referring to the blinding optomism you portrayed and the overusage of exclamation points. You did bring up a lot of valid points, but it gets lost on the whole when you don't mention any possible drawbacks of our team.

I think rhodes is the best DB in the AFC east and i think he is one of the best in the league, that i'll agree with you. I think revis showed some development last year and could turn into one of the better CBs in the league; he could very well turn out to be the best CB in the division. However, that's nice, but when the team can just pick on our weak #2 CBs the entire game there is a problem. I like miller's potential and i really like the dwight lowery pick, but miller is coming off a season ending injury and lowery hasn't ever played a snap in the NFL.


Our Oline has been drastically improved what with faneca and woody; i think faneca will have a good impact on dbrick and mangold, but we never know about woodys play or weight. I think richardson is going to be a very good signing as well.

Also, best front 7 in the division??? you've gotta be kidding me. yes there is potential, but until we see a few games, the pats have the best front 7. Warren, Wilfork and Seymour are easily the best dline in our division and one of the best in the entire league...They still have vrabel and thomas as vets, which to me, outplays our players from last year....we have potential with jenkins, gholston and pace and harris getting a full season, but a lot of the claims you're making are purely speculative.

jetsfan0099
05-04-2008, 09:29 AM
I said arguably, and I said that the Pats had the best DL in our division, you are just repeating what I said. But our LB core is better IMO, its faster, younger, and just better. The Pats LBs weren't good last year, they were average to below average, TEs owned them, because of how slow and unathletic they were. Basically Adalius Thomas was the only one that could actually move and have speed.
And Revis is the best CB in the division, who else in our division is any good?? Asante Samuel left so there really isn't any other CB right now, and McKelvin is unproven in the NFL right now. Revis proved to be a quality #1 CB last season, and he will only get better.

And our #2 CB shouldn't be that bad, worst comes to worst, we have Hank Poteat playing there for another year, he is underrated and played good when he started getting the starts. And we had no pass rush last year, this year we have a real NT, and 2 new OLBs that should improve the pass rush a lot.
But hopefully Justin Miller proves to be a good CB, it is a contract year for him, so will see.
We still have the strongest secondary in the division with our 2 studs alone. And by the seasons end we might have the strongest pass rush once again, we did in 2004. Lets see how it pans out, but its hard not getting excited and pumped up for the season being a Jets fan right now, they made some good moves this offseason.

GaMeTiMe
05-04-2008, 09:32 AM
The Panthers and Eagles will face off in the NFC championship game.

Carolina is good. Delhomme has a beefed up offensive line in front of him, a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield (or just Jonathan Stewart, however you want to look at it) and a new set of weapons in Steve Smith, Muhammed and Hackett. If he's 100% by the start of the season, and he should be, the offense will be the best they've had in a while.

I don't question the defense. The linebackers are always good there, the D-line doesn't look absolutely horrible on paper (the DTs aren't promising and Tyler Brayton isn't a stud, but Peppers will return to form and free up opportunities for others. That should be the story on this team this year) and the defensive backfield is full of young talent. I don't trust the Bucs, and the Saints should bounce back but I don't love them either.


The Eagles are back, we got better as the season progressed because of McNabb's health and he's obviously 100% now with the whole off-season to fully recover. We got the missing weapon on offense in DeSean Jackson, and Kevin Curtis was the most underrated receiver in the league last year. Westbrook will be Westbrook, and the offensive line is something else that's never in question. The defense looks good and has a nice infusion of youth, speed, and playmakers that fit Jim Johnson's defense. We might have to slip in as a wild card, but we'll be there in the playoffs. It's now or never for this team.

Byrd430
05-04-2008, 10:16 AM
Usually, I like to look at a team who missed the playoffs but really tore through its last few games. Baltimore did it the year before they won the Super Bowl. But this past year, nobody did it. Washington, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and San Diego all went 4-1 in their last five games, but all four made the playoffs. Of course, New England was 5-0 in their last five....

So, without really having a chance to look at any teams yet, I'm gonna go by what I've seen on this thread.

I really like Houston, I think they are a really strong team. Unfortunately, they play in a division with Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville in it. Houston has steadily improved over time, but I still don't think they have enough to unseat the front runners of the division.

Philadelphia is ALWAYS a threat in the NFC East, so I don't really consider them a sleeper. The NFC East is always loaded with talent. If the NFC had three wild cards, all four teams could make the playoffs. Barring any McNabb injury, the Eagles will be competitive again.

Washington, I think, will be the one to drop out of the playoffs this year. They picked up some good pieces in the offseason, but first-year head coaches rarely have great seasons (although there are exceptions.)

Buffalo has a nice team, but they have to prove that they can win down the stretch when things get tight. I think they have an improved offense now with Evans, Hardy, and Lynch. They have to find a way to implement the tight end, Robert Royal, Teyo Johnson, Derek Fine, into the offense. I think Trent Edwards completely removes JP Losman from the equation. Finally, their defense has to show that it can consistently give a good performance every week. They had moments last year where they had a pass rush that dominated the o-line, and others where they just disappeared.

The Jets are solid, but I think they still need another year to fully progress. This is the year that Kellen Clemens has to show that he can lead this Jets team to a few wins. He has potential, but I never really saw that he could take a bad situation and lead his team through it with a good outcome. They were competitive at times, but didn't have enough to pull it out in the end.

I don't like the 49ers as a sleeper team. I just think they are too one-dimensional in the fact that they have a good run game (or at least running back) and not a good pass game. They bring in Mike Martz at offense, but he failed in Detroit and didn't run much. For SF to be successful, they will have to run the ball as well as find a playmaker in the receiving corps. I'm also ready to see what Vernon Davis can do, I was really high on him coming into the league.

St. Louis is a good sleeper pick. They continually challenge for the playoffs, but just got slowed down by some unfortunate injuries last year. If the defense has indeed improved as I expect, St. Louis will be back to their normal standing in the league.

Finally, I do like Carolina. They have dipped down in recent seasons, mainly due to injuries. If they stay healthy, Stewart should provide relief of Delhomme and not force him into so many pressure situations. The receivers are just as good as past years' receiver, Muhammad already knows Delhomme and the Carolina offense. The defense is getting a little bit younger and Carolina is moving past the injury-prone vets that shined in former years. If the defense gels, Carolina is a threat in a questionable NFC South.

Gay Ork Wang
05-04-2008, 10:23 AM
why is everyone on the Jets team underrated for jetsfan0099?
Thats right he is a homer...

Seriously how can u say that ur LBing Corps is better than the Pats LB Corps? Harris is great. Gholston didnt play a single game in the NFL yet, Id take Vrable over Pace anyday. I just dont get what he is talking about. I could see the jets going .500 maybe a winning season like 9-7. Thats it

CC.SD
05-04-2008, 11:57 AM
The Texans. Andre Johnson is a beast and was out a lot of last year, so having him around more and have their QB back from injury the offense could be a lot better. On Defense they are young and have a lot of talent, they could realy push the Jags and Colts for the division - i wouldnt be overly suprised if the Texans and Jags made the playoffs and the Colts missed out - the Titans are no slouches either - Good division.


I would definitely be surprised if Peyton and co. got shut out of the big dance. Very surprised.

Bengalsrocket
05-04-2008, 12:36 PM
I would definitely be surprised if Peyton and co. got shut out of the big dance. Very surprised.

They play in arguably the hardest division in the league. Now, of course they're a big part of why its so tough, but that doesn't change the fact that its a tough division.

I would be suprised if the colts didn't make the play offs. But I wouldn't be surprised if they lost their division, though I still thinks thats extremely unlikely to happen.

gdamac
05-04-2008, 01:04 PM
If my Raiders have a bounce back season it would be the most shocking, however I am not ready to bet the family farm just yet. I have homer optimism, but if I had to put money on it...

Buffalo is a good choice, and so is St. Louis.

HTown NFL fan
05-04-2008, 08:39 PM
Texans will surprise. But from reading previous posts, this crowd has already figured out that they are a potential team on the rise. The one thing I'll say that I haven't seen previously posted is that I think this is the year that the Colts take a fall.

I am picking Texans to go 10-6 and Colts to go 7-9. I think Colts O-Line will be worse, WR's will be worse (Harrison may be done as a great WR), and Addai is always an injury risk. On Defense, I did not see the Colts get better this off-season and they were good but not great last year.

I thiink Manning alone will not let them go worse than 7-9 but I see Titans, Jags, and Texans all getting better and Colts not.

For Texans, they got better in the off-season and all of their key players are young guys who are only getting better. And they didn't lose anybody of consequence in free agency.

AFC playoff teams
Pats, Browns, Texans, Chargers plus two of the following: Titans, Jags, Bills, Jets, Steelers. (whoever can avoid injuries the most)

NFC playoff teams
Cowboys, Giants, Packers, Saints plus two of the following: Vikings, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Bears (again whoever can avoid injuries)

Teams who will take a fall and why
1. Colts - already stated
2. Redskins - lost ALOT in coaching ranks, Portis getting old in a hurry, and rookie WR's usually do not contribute much right away.
3. Seahawks - Hasselbeck does not have alot of weapons on offense currently and defense is good but not great.
4. Bucs - I could be wrong on them. I just don't see alot of talent on that team. But I didn't last year and they went to the playoffs. How I don't know.

Super Bowl: Pats or Chargers vs. Cowboys. Teams that might shock the world and make it to Super Bowl are:

1. Panthers - I think John Fox is a terrific playoff coach and if they avoid injuries, they could make a playoff run. They have guys who can take over a game on both sides of the ball in Peppers and SS.
2. Giants - if they did it once then they can do it again
3. Browns, Texans, and Saints - the potential is there but can they avoid injuries and confidently take down other veteran playoff teams on the road in the playoffs?? Giants did last year. But not sure this kind of thing happens two years in a row. I think Browns would need to find a team leader to rally around for the playoff games and Texans would need for Andre, Mario, and Demeco to play out of their minds. For Saints, they would need for Sedrick Ellis to be all of that and an extra bag of chips. Plus have Deuce healthy and Reggie Bush become the Reggie that we all thought he would be in the NFL. All of those things could happen but will they?

Bluedevil$
05-04-2008, 09:33 PM
I can't understand why everybody's in love with Buffalo but are skeptics of New York.

Edwards proved he could avoid huge mistakes to keep his team in the game... that's it. He was able to do so because he had a good offensive line in front of him. I don't think he's any better than Kellen Clemens. Clemens played behind a horrible offensive line, and Tannenbaum used free agency to fix that problem. Hopefully with the development of D'Brick at left tackle and the help of having Faneca inside, Clemens won't be hit as often and can actually prove himself.

Both the Jets and Bills have nice young defenses, but I prefer the Jets', partly because of personnel but also because of the scheme. I think we'll see alot of both the 4-3 and 3-4 from the Jets'... lots of versatility. With an improved pass-rush and a runstuffer like Jenkins I could see the defense being in the top 10.

bronxbomber21
05-04-2008, 10:19 PM
Sleeper - Buffalo Bills

They added to the Defense big time with DT Marcus Stroud DT Spencer Johnson LB Kawika Mitchell CB Will Peterson/James. They also get back Ko Simpson and Paul Posluszny from IR and they added throw the draft with CB Leodis McKelvin and DE Chris Ellis.

The Bills biggest problem on O last season was WR and they upgraded it in a big way with James Hardy and Steve Johnson.

All that plus another year under everyones belt this team can be a sleeping giant.

Hines
05-05-2008, 12:33 AM
I could go through the usual positive potential "surprises" - Buffalo, perhaps Houston, perhaps Denver, Minnesota, New Orleans, perhaps Carolina. That said, in an age of parity, how many of those teams would really be surprises. Denver and Carolina, but Carolina's had a good offseason. So, here's a darkhorse surprise. Not saying they'll do good, but I like some possibilities.

San Francisco 49ers - Why? I really don't like any of the teams, right now, at this really early juncture, in the NFC West. Seattle is probably the on paper favorite, but you wonder

a) When the age on the OL catches up
b) The lack of a top passing weapon when they are trying to move away from the spread offense a bit
c) How good is that run game?
d) Can Kerney replicate his success?
e) Will the Holmgren factor be a negative if they struggle a bit.

This does bring the big question of, what worries me about Arizona.

a) I'm concerned about that QB dynamic.
b) I wonder if there is enough juice in the run game.
c) Will there be a distraction?
d) Can that OL, which isn't the league's most talented, get better?
e) What does the loss of Calvin Pace mean?
f) Can DRC really fill a big role (nickel or starter) now?

So, why not the Rams surprising?

a) It usually takes 2 years to learn the Saunders offense.
b) How quick does that OL gel? And how good is that OL anyways?
c) Do they have the passing weapons NOW?
d) How is their deep coverage?
e) Can they generate enough pressure?
f) Age of a couple DL guys as a factor (being old ... and being young)

So, why exactly do I half wonder if the Niners can surprise

a) Alex Smith will be healthy.
b) Mike Martz will create a better offense. How much better? I don't know. But it will be better. It's weird how Martz's offense is a bit more adaptable than Saunders despite both coming from the same tree.
c) Gore time.
d) I think the OL should be better. There will be some rough spots, but it should get better as the season progresses. In the near future, Staley/Baas/?Wallace?/Rachal/Snyder could be a nasty unit (and Snyder/Wallace both could be upgraded in future drafts)
e) Issac Bruce at least gives the QB a more stable option than last year. And I've got some hope on Jason Hill developing.
f) The DL should be better. Yes, better, despite losing Bryant Young. Justin Smith isn't anything special, but he should replace Marques Douglas just fine. Kentwan Balmer should add solid depth at the very least.

If anything, I've got concerns on that defense generating a pass rush, although having Manny Lawson's athleticism back should help. All said, it's early. Just to be clear, I'm not predicting greatness for the Niners. Just to watch for them, as I think they'd be a legitimate surprise.

Okay, I'll be a bit controversial and offer up teams that I wonder if they could slide. Granted, the Pats come at the top, because obviously, repeating 18-1 will be unlikely, but I'm talking about slide relative to expectations here.

a) Cleveland Browns - A lot of expectations for this team. They could very well meet them. What worries me is that, if Jamal Lewis has age catch up, or he goes down, I think they are in trouble. Still could have a solid offense, but it'll be much harder.

b) Pittsburgh Steelers - I like them as well. But what worries me is their pass blocking on the edges. It's stating the obvious, but the obvious could really hurt. The DL depth also doesn't have me doing cartwheels either.

c) Tennessee Titans - Stating the obvious, really. Of all the solid teams last year, they seem to be the chic pick to struggle. Justifiable reasons? Maybe. My worries have less to do with offense than it has to do with defense, though. That offense is what it is. The DL turnover is what worries me.

d) Washington Redskins - I like them too, but the new coaching staff, age on the defense, and age on the OL certainly are causes for concern.

e) Carolina Panthers - So they turned back the clock to the days when there was a power run game. The chic comment for them has been "bringing back their identity". What about that defensive identity? I look at the interior of the DL, and for a big guy, Ma'ake isn't nearly as immovable as he should be, and then there's Damione Lewis and Darwin Walker. certainly doesn't inspire confidence.

f) Seattle Seahawks - I worry that age on the OL will catch up at some point. Maybe they can push it off for a year. I also worry that there isn't a top passing weapon when they are trying to move away from the spread. Furthermore, how good is a Julius/TJ combo? Can Kerney repeat his performance? Will they be distracted?

Not saying these teams will fall, but some teams that worry me, relative to current expectations, as of now.

While you do have a valid point on the Steelers offensive line, I dont think they will be as bad as people say. I have read that Marvel Smith is feeling the best that he has ever been. While all athletes say that after surgery, I think I will believe him. Fully healthy, he is a very underrated, great LT for the Steelers. Very dependable, I should say. If he proves he can stay healthy, I think he has a good year.

I am very high on Chris Kemoeatu. As a running team that we are, Kemo fits our personel just right with his mauling, physical, hit you in the mouth style. I think with him we dont miss a beat with Faneca being gone.

Hartwig lost his job in Carolina because they really like Kalil, which is understandable. But Hartwig is a really good center and way better then Mahan. I think he will be able to handle the line calls, and bring us a good center that we have lacked since Hartings retired, even though it was just a year ago.

Simmons is kind of a bum, but he is dependable. He is not worth the money that we gave him, but I think he does a great job. I would like Willie Colon to take his job, but that hasnt happend yet.

At RT, I think Willie Colon is a good starter even though it was his first year starting at RT. He is playing out of position IMO and I think he should kick it inside to play RG. I think he played well with his first year at RT. Starks is expensive, but he has shown flashes of being good, but also flashes of being bad. I am kind of torn on him.


Yes I was being positive and I left out the negatives but I think this line could be pretty good. Not great, but good. We do need a young, stud LT because I dont think Marvel gets signed and I think Hills is better off at RT and would only provide depth. I expect us to grab one in the first two rounds next year.


The dline is good, but we need young depth. I wanted Dre Moore badly, but that didnt happen. I guess the coaches are high on Mcbean and Paxon. I am intrigued by Kyle Clement, UDFA from D2 Norwood College, as he could be put on the PS for a year and develop into a good player down the road. If Smith or Keisel go down again, I expect us to move Chris Hoke to DE, which I would really like. I hope Booger passes a physical so we could sign him to play if needed.

Just my two cents as I know I was being positive, but our lines could be good, but they do need youth and improvement.

We have the toughest schedule in the league, but I still expect us to win the division and make the playoffs.

Hines
05-05-2008, 12:38 AM
As suprise teams, I say:

Kansas City
Buffalo
Houston


Arizona
Minnesota
Chicago(if quarterback play is consistant)

Iamcanadian
05-05-2008, 12:00 PM
I don't think the Jets are anywhere near breaking out. Heck, Clemens hasn't even proved he can be a starting QB and Pennington may well start for them. Comparing teams starts and ends with the QB position and the Jets just don't match up. They still have a long way to go to be competitive in their Division nevermind making the playoffs.

OzTitan
05-05-2008, 12:21 PM
I am picking Texans to go 10-6 and Colts to go 7-9. I think Colts O-Line will be worse, WR's will be worse (Harrison may be done as a great WR), and Addai is always an injury risk. On Defense, I did not see the Colts get better this off-season and they were good but not great last year.

I thiink Manning alone will not let them go worse than 7-9 but I see Titans, Jags, and Texans all getting better and Colts not.


I agree in principle, i.e. the gap closing, but I think as long as Manning is playing at his elite level, 10-6 is in the bag. This isn't the first offseason that mostly sees the Colts lose key aspects and still remain a top team. The counters to those problems are Manning makes his OL better, his WR's better, and even his defense better as opposing offenses feel the pressure to keep up. Good D's may make it tough on Peyton but there aren't that many in the NFL, really. The Colts D also seems to have their scheme down pat and remain effective without some superstars and despite some injury.

Will the personal losses finally catch up to the Colts? perhaps. If it does, I think it will be because of injury, which isn't totally unfair on the Colts because their cap situation has somewhat asked for it with depth across most positions now questionable. If they stay healthy though I don't see them dropping off much if at all.

CC.SD
05-05-2008, 12:22 PM
I legitimately think the Dolphins will have a shot at doing some damage this season. I'm not guaranteeing a playoff berth or anything but I don't see it as completely impossible.

1. They have a legitimate offensive line: Long, Smiley, Satele, and Vernon Carey can all get some serious push and pass protect. This is the foundation of any offense.

2. Strong running game: Ronnie Brown was beasting it up before he got hurt, and Ricky will be back with a full year of rehab. They also drafted a couple big backs.

3. They DO have playmakers on D. Jason Taylor is a difference maker, and the rest of their LB corps is solid at least with guys like Crowder. Joey Porter can't play a whole lot worse in his 2nd year and might in fact play a whole lot better under the new regime. Their secondary could obviously use some work since it's looking like Jason Allen is a bust, but there's still some talent there. The AFC East is a running division right now anyway, with the exception of the Pats who won't get beat anyway.

4. Chad Henne. If this guy gets some time in the pocket, he's got poise, a big arm, and experience. I like him to make a big difference as a rookie. He's basically a prototype QB with height, arm, and leadership.

5. 4th place schedule.

6. They'll be rebounding from what might have been the worst season ever. Expect an emotion wave. NFL teams have pride, man.

7. Great special teams: Parcells brought in all these blockers, and oh yeah they spent the 9th overall pick on an amazing return man last year. It's time for that to pay dividends. They'll have great field position a lot.

8. Nobody wants to piss off Parcells.




Laugh now, but there are the makings of a good team down in Miami. I think they had a great, great offseason.

BlindSite
05-05-2008, 05:38 PM
I still don't think they're good enough to beat buffalo, new england or new york jets, so there's 6 losses right off the bat.

eaglesfan_45
05-05-2008, 06:13 PM
I am really suprised at the fact that no one has mentioned the Eagles they are a good team that lost some close games. The Eagles are being slept on and that is a fact.


Eagles got Samuel who now gives us the Top CB crew in the league
Eagles got Chris Clemons who is a good pass rusher.
Eagles got DeSean Jackson who is going to greatly improve our return game.


Also you are forgetting that the Eagles are really young at D-Line and LB and the guys are mostly coming off their first year with alot of experience.


Gaither is going to be good. He is coming off his first year starting.
Bradley has serious potential. He got alot of playing time in those last couple weeks.
Gocong is also coming off his first year of starting experience and he is looking to improve as well.
Cole is becoming a force on the line and is fast becoming one of the best.
Patterson is really good and so is Bunkley and adding in Laws only makes the interior of the line better.
Abiamiri (sp?) is a young guy with alot of potential and if he plays well, then we have a beastly Defensive line.


Our offense is improving.


The Eagles brought in Jackson to be the slot reciever and playmaker
Westbrook is going to be his normal self
McNabb showed that he is recovered and is ready to go in those last few weeks
Andrews is becoming one of the best offensive lineman in the league.
Kris Wilson was brought in and I really like that move, he can play FB and TE and he gives us a recieving threat
Lorenzo Booker has really impressed the Eagles and look out for him. He only made 1 mistake this mini-camp according to the OC (don't know how to spell his name) and he looked really good.


The Eagles probobly won't make a super bowl run, but they aren't even close to as bad as some are making them out to be.

SenorGato
05-05-2008, 06:30 PM
I'm not a homer kind of guy, but people can and will be scared to play the Jets.

Under Mangini we haven't been easy to play while the D was...nothing...and now we've got a really high upside one.

Plus, the offense should look alot better.

I also like the Texans, Browns, Bills, Cardinals, Vikings, Rams, and maybe the Broncos to improve.

The Broncos have the potential because Jay Cutler = shenz, but I really want to see something from that D.

StripedWalrus
05-05-2008, 06:32 PM
Ive already said who I think are sleeper teams...how about sleeper players...

I vote Fred Davis...LOL

edgrenade
05-06-2008, 02:47 AM
The niners.








(Homer pick)

CJSchneider
05-06-2008, 08:42 AM
Teams moving up -
St. Louis Rams (Injuries killed them last year and adding Chris Long will really help that D)
K.C. (With the picks they made, they are bound to improve)
New Orleans (Last year was an off year for an up and coming team, look for big things if they can use Bush correctly)

Teams moving down
N.Y. Giants (I just don't see them repeating)
N.E. Patriots (I just don't see the winning 16 games, it's sort of a gimme, but I don't see them in the Super Bowl either)
Seattle Seahawks (Hasselbeck isn't getting younger, and I don't have any confidence in the run game)

SMoore
05-06-2008, 08:48 AM
I really think the Texans are on the way up. I see at least 9 to 11 win season for them.

Caddy
05-06-2008, 09:08 AM
I'm going to resist the blind homerism going on in this thread and say that I think the Saints are the biggest sleeper this year.

The defense has been drastically improved in my opinion, especially the front 7. The secondary still looks a little weak to me, but I think it improves upon last year.

Couple that with a solid offense and I think they have a chance to post a 10 win season. If the O-Line improves and they figure out who is their RB, I think it is a legitimate possibility.

Unbiased
05-06-2008, 11:33 PM
The J_E_T_S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!! Watch it happen baby!! Were going to the playoffs!! 11-5 record for us in the regular season, maybe 12-4, we have a easy schedule! And I think Kellen Clemens has a good year, but the run game and defense is what gets us there.
How cool would that be, we were 4-12 last season, then go 12-4 this season. HA! But definitely the Jets are going to be good, baring injuries of coarse, good coaching staff, and filled the holes up with good players. I think this team is going to be good, and challenge the Pats for the division. I think we beat the Pats at least once this year though, at their home if anywhere, we always play good there somereason.

It's a wonder how you got all that negative reputation.

doingthisinsteadofwork
05-06-2008, 11:59 PM
IF Terdell Sands plays well this year then Oakland could perhaps stumble into the playoffs or at least be around 8-8.

Scotty D
05-07-2008, 12:08 AM
IF Terdell Sands plays well this year then Oakland could perhaps stumble into the playoffs or at least be around 8-8.

Terdell Sands = make or break player. lol. I think the development of Russell will have a lot more to say about it.

doingthisinsteadofwork
05-07-2008, 12:18 AM
The guy Im worried most about on offense is Kwame Harris.

eaglesfan_45
05-10-2008, 05:15 PM
The New Orleans Saints have a shot to be really good.

What really impresses me is their defense.

DE- Will Smith, Josh Savage
DT- Sedrick Ellis, Hollis Thomas, Kendrick Clancy
DT- Brian Young, DeMario Pressley
DE- Charles Grant, Bobby McCray

LB- Dan Morgan, Scott Shanle
LB- Jonathan Vilma, Mark Simoneau
LB- Scott Fujita, Troy Evans

CB- Mike McKenzie, Usama Young
CB- Randall ***, Aaron Glenn
CB- Tracy Porter, Jason David

S- Josh Bullocks, Kevin Kaesviharn
S- Roman Harper, David Roach

Wow, that has a chance to be great.

Paranoidmoonduck
05-10-2008, 05:21 PM
Terdell Sands = make or break player. lol. I think the development of Russell will have a lot more to say about it.

I wouldn't want to undermine the importance of Russell improving and playing consistently from week to week, but Oakland was a running team last year and with McFadden that doesn't figure to change one bit. In the rare moments where Sands elevated his play, Oakland's run defense went from porous to stout. The guy has Jon Henderson like potential, so him putting it all together would be as huge as anything else for Oakland.

DeathbyStat
05-10-2008, 05:39 PM
Just by going with teams in the top-5, I have to say St. Louis. They were destroyed by injuries all over and if Jackson and Bulger can be healthy and play in their 06 forms, they will win the NFC West.

I agree with the Rams as long as they can stay healthy

Also I think the Saints, Vikings Raiders and Bills will be much improved.

However I still don't think the bills or the Raiders will make the playoffs

keylime_5
05-10-2008, 05:45 PM
I think New Orleans will win 11 or 12 games, but is that a surprise considering they did it two years ago? I think the Jets will have another big turnaround too, but again they did that 2 years ago and will probably be 9-10 wins this year IMO as long as their QB situation doesn't totally bomb.

abaddon41_80
05-10-2008, 06:55 PM
Terdell Sands = make or break player. lol. I think the development of Russell will have a lot more to say about it.

Don't worry, you know exactly what you are getting. A great run blocking tackle that can't pass block to save his life