Originally Posted by gpngc
It's finally here. The 2007 NFL season is underway. I'm not going to waste any time, and I'm going right to my Super Bowl pick.
Everyone likes the Patriots or Chargers. Not me. The Colts are clearly the best team in the league. It's obvious. And last night's demolition of the Saints has nothing to do with it. That was expected. The Saints are a subpar defensive football team and were depending on an ex-Colt to cover the best no. 2 WR in the NFL (who will have a better season than Marvin Harrison this season). Manning pumps out 3-td 0-int performances like it's nothing- and there's no pressure on him this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see him break his own single-season touchdown record. As for the running-game, sure they are screwed if Joseph Addai gets hurt, but if he doesn't, he probably puts up MVP-like numbers and becomes a fantasy stud. Before I get to the defense, lets re-visit one of the head-scratchers of the 2007 NFL draft. Early in round two, a trade was announced. The Colts gave up their 2008 first round pick in order to move up to pick #42, where they surprised most of us and drafted LT Tony Ugoh of Arkansas. For a team clearly weaker on defense, the Colts had used their first two picks (and invested a 2008 first rounder) in two offensive players (Anthony Gonzalez and Ugoh). Curious. Then what happens? Underrated bookend protector Tarik Glenn retires (a little too early, IMO), and Bill Polian and the Colts look like geniuses once again. If you watched Ugoh on Thursday night you saw a young, athletic, mobile LT step in and not allow his team to miss a beat without Tarik Glenn. He held DE Will Smith sackless and flashed signs of great potential. There were a few bumps in the road (Smith beat him once and forced Ugoh to hold him- a smart penalty, actually), but all in all it was a great debut for Ugoh. Can a LT win rookie of the year? We are looking at this year's version of Marcus McNeill folks...
On to the defense. OK. So they lost their two starting CB's. First of all- playing CB in Tony Dungy's tampa 2 scheme is not the most difficult thing in the world to do. You saw Jason David in another uniform on Thursday night, and the guy was toast. Any Titans fans expecting big things from Nick Harper this year- my advice to you is to wait for Pacman. Plus, Marlin Jackson might actually be BETTER than both David and Harper. He's physical, not overly fast, has decent ball skills, and can tackle. Remember, the guy was a first round pick. As for Kelvin Hayden and Daymeion Hughes (when the hell did he change his first name to Dante? And why?), they are both solid NFL DB's who will make some plays and be exploited at times- like all CB's in the NFL. (I still maintain that playing CB is the single most difficult position to play in the NFL- aside from QB). When everyone said this offseason- "The Colts lost too much on defense", they are completely ignoring the fact that Bob Sanders was sidelined for a good portion of last season. If you factor in the losses (Booger McFarland, the two CB's, etc.), but ADD in a top five safety in the game, how did the Colts lose too much? They probably gained if anything. I'm not anointing this D as the '85 Bears and they may very well give up some 4 TD games to Maurice Jones-Drew. But the bottom line is- this defense is not as bad as everyone makes them out to be. The D-Line is solid, the LB's are solid, Bob Sanders is healthy, and Antoine Bethea is one of the more underrated defensive players in the entire league. They might not be a top ten defense statistically, but beyond the elite defenses in the NFL, the Colts rank right there with rest.
Oh and they have Peyton Manning- who is well on his way to being the greatest QB of all time. Colts win the Super Bowl again (unless Addai gets hurt- actually, screw it- in that case they'll just ride DeDe Dorsey all the way to the championship again).
Now on to the rest of this crazy league...
1) Patriots- OK so they gave Tom Brady some new toys at WR, drafted Brandon Meriweather and stayed the same along the offensive line and for the most part the defense. Rodney Harrison and Seymour are out for a while, but it won't matter. Jarvis Green is fine and James Sanders will do quite well at safety. I still think the Colts absolutely own the Patriots (they've won the last three contests), so I'm not as high on these Pats as most others are. Their coach and QB make them the front-runners to lose to the Colts in the AFC championship, but I just don't think they can beat Indy. What's kind of scary is their schedule, with 6 automatic wins in their incredibly weak division. At worst 11-5, at best 13-3.
2) Bills- Marshawn Lynch had absolutely NO WHERE to go in the preseason. If the O-line doesn't step it up, this team is going to be dreadful once again. My guess is that they'll put it together. They lost their best two defensive players in free agency and I'm not exactly a J.P. Losman fan, but Jason Peters (how did he go undrafted again?) and Lee Evans are two rising stars and the rest of the division pretty much sucks. Probably won't challenge for a wild card but could go 8-8 at absolute best. More like the 6-10, 7-9 range.
3) Jets- This team is SCREAMING 6-10. First of all, the left side of the offensive line is in shambles. Jacob Bender was HORRENDOUS in the preseason, and the D-Brick over Matt Leinart pick in the 06 draft is starting to look like a typical Jets draft-day gaffe. And all you have to do is look at the schedule. Last year the Jets were awarded a playoff spot with the easiest schedule in the league (they lost to Cleveland, too). How's this for pressure? Beat Cleo Lemon and you're in the playoffs. Real tough. And I haven't even gotten to the QB yet. Chad Pennington is horrible. Terrible. Not an NFL QB. Smart guy- maybe, doesn't have an NFL arm- never did. Peter King rated him like #105ish in his top 500 players in the NFL list. What? Chad Pennington is the 105th best football player in the world? There are only 104 players I would rather have than Chad Pennington? Did he watch the Jets at all last year? Thomas Jones will struggle behind that O-line, and the defense (like Revis and Rhodes- hate everybody else), will keep them in some games. 6-10. Done.
4) Dolphins- Not much to say about this team. When Jesse Chatman is getting headlines in the offseason, you know you're heading in the wrong direction. Top 5 in the 2008 NFL draft? They're a contender for that. 3-13 wouldn't surprise me. Neither would 6-10.
1) Ravens- Tough, tough division to predict. First of all, I think the Bengals and Ravens will split the season series and end up tied at the end. 9-7, 9-7 or 10-6, 10-6. So you could put the Bengals here at one. The division will be decided by a tiebreaker. It will be interesting to see if McNair can stay healthy again, and if Willis McGahee can actually do something on a solid team. The defense remains dominant- losing Thomas won't slow them down too much. 9-7 or 10-6.
2) Bengals- I can't wait to see what Chad Johnson does this year. The defense is still shaky, but Carson, Rudi, and the Beavers on the outside give them a shot at the playoffs. 9-7, or 10-6.
3) Steelers- A very tough team to read. What Big Ben will we see? Santonio Holmes could have a breakout year (look at his stats at the end of last season). Everything else pretty much stays the same besides the head coach, so it's really all on Big Ben. I don't trust him to make the playoffs, but they'll be competitive. 8-8 seems about right, but a game or two under.500 wouldn't surprise me at all.
4) Browns- JUST PLAY BRADY QUINN. The funny thing about Joe Thomas is this. If Brady Quinn ends up being a bust, Joe Thomas automatically is a bust too. Why? Because if the Browns spend the next 4-5 years finding out that Brady Quinn was not worth it, what a waste of a pick is it to pass on Adrian Peterson- who could make an impact right away- to land Thomas, who could become a great o-lineman on a team no one cares about. I'm still just annoyed that they screwed the Cardinals by taking Thomas at 3. I like the safeties and Wimbley, but this team still has a lot of holes. Calais Campbell? 4-12ish.
1) Colts- Best team. Best player. Good coach. They could go 16-0. Or 11-5. Either way, they'll win the Super Bowl again.
2) Titans- Why Michael Griffin? Why not help Vince Young with a WR? Why Titans? WHY?!? Well, that question seems to have been answered. Michael Griffin was arguably the best football player on the board when the Titans picked him. Versatile, aggressive, great special teams potential, Griffin was great value at 19 overall. And if you look at the WR's who went later on (Bowe, Meachem, Davis, Gonzalez), only Gonzalez figures to make an impact this season (And that's because he's the #3 with Peyton Manning). The other three (coincidentally all from the SEC), are rumored to be red-shirting. How would a shaky, young, inexperienced, rookie WR fare with a QB not known for his accuracy? Titans made the right pick, despite what many said. Now, what really stops me from making this team my mega-sleeper is Pacman. Pacman, Pacman, Pacman. Stay out of the strip clubs, and get on the field. You have the potential to be a game-changer on special teams and on defense and you could develop into one of the games best CB's. Call me crazy, but as for troubled, talented, NFL goofballs- I'd rather have Pacman as my #1 CB than Vick as my #1 QB. Jeff Fisher is a good coach, and LenDale White can't possibly be this bad, can he? Vince Young is special and Keith Bullock gets overlooked each year. They'll challenge for a playoff spot. 9-7, 10-6ish.
3) Jaguars- It's sad. MJD, Fragile Fred, a very good, physical, defense. Rashean Mathis. And this team will be held down, once again by it's QB situation. And they're destined for mediocrity because the solid defense will always keep them around .500. Del Rio will get the ax soon enough, and away we go. And the sadder thing is, beyond Brian Brohm, there just aren't too many QB's to get excited about in the upcoming two drafts. Can Matt Jones move back? 7-9ish.
4) Texans- Sleeper alert. Jacoby Jones looks like a stud in the making. Matt Schaub could be good. Some of the D-lineman have to turn into good players, right? Michael Boulware was a good acquisition for a team needing help at S. DeMeco Ryans is a beast. Andre Johnson could easily catch 100 balls. They O-line situation is still sketchy, but everything else seems to be moving in the right direction. They are a Darren McFadden away from being a contender. But the only way they are going to get McFadden is if they land a top 3 pick... hmmm. OK forget the sleeper alert- 3-13 and McFadden is in Houston. The Bush mistake is overlooked when D-Mac is stiff-arming his way to rookie of the year honors in 08 and Mario Williams is introducing himself to Vince Young twice a year. A little ahead of myself? So what.
1) Chargers- They are good, yes, but I just don't trust them to beat the Patriots or Colts. Craig Davis in round one? That was a joke right? I love these teams that just refuse to improve their subpar WR corps year after year. The Chargers are one of them. However, they do have one of the league's best O-line's, the best TE, and the best HB. Philip Rivers is the key to the season. If he plays as well as he did last year, or improves, they'll be a top 3 team in the AFC. If he struggles, they could go 9-7 and still win this division. I'll guess he'll be fine. The defense is strong and Merriman could win DPOY again. Not 14-2, but 11-5 seems about right. 10-6 wouldn't surprise me though, either.
2) Raiders- WHAT? Raiders before Denver? I don't know, I just like this defense. I know McCown is the starter right now, but once Culpepper comes in, can't you just see Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry going off for a few games? Plus LaMont Jordan is pissed off, and Art Shell is no longer there. Great young secondary, and no one will be taking them seriously. Could sneak up on a lot of teams. 7-9 seems about right.
3) Broncos- Some think this is a Super Bowl team. I disagree. I see Cutler taking a step back this year, and deficiencies along the defensive line won't help their run defense. I love their CB's yes, but Lynch has lost a step and D.J. Williams seems like this years version of Jonathan Vilma- not in the right situation for him to succeed. Shanny is a great coach, but I'm just not buying the Broncos this season. 6-10, 7-9ish.
4) Chiefs- Worst coach in the NFL. Shaky o-line. Aging defense. No passing game. With the first pick in the 2008 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville.
1) Giants- Eli Manning grew up this offseason. When Tiki Barber questioned his leadership skills, Eli fired back at the selfish HB, and finally showed the kind of confidence we've been waiting for from the young guy. Look, for all the heat this kid takes, lets take a look at one important statistic. Not yards, not touchdowns, not picks, not rating. With the shaky team around him (lameduck coach, bad secondary, sketchy o-line), Eli Manning, who is STILL A YOUNG QB (I don't know why everyone treats him like he's been in the league for 10 years), has led his team to the playoffs in TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS. This is not a typo. Yes, the victim of a million jokes about his somewhat awkward demeanor, Eli Manning, in his ONLY two full years as a starting QB in the NFL- HAS NEVER MISSED THE PLAYOFFS. Give the kid a break. On to the rest of the team- Aaron Ross was a horrible pick. He will be nothing more than a nickel back in the NFL. The Giants secondary is terrible. With the kind of pass rush they can generate (Kiwi, Tuck, Osi, Strahan), any other secondary in the league would be solid if not spectacular. They need DB's badly, as R.W. McQuarters and Sam Madison are just not cutting it. The defense is a little inconsistent, but has potential. IF Eli and the offense can have a big year and keep the D off the field, this team will be good. And I predict Eli breaks out this year. Something like 23 td's and 11 interceptions. As for the running-game, has there ever been a more overrated offseason loss than Tiki Barber? OK. Tiki was good, but come on. People act like the Chargers are losing LT. Tiki was more of a distraction than a team player, and obviously he and Eli weren't on the same page. The game of football is more than just 11 individuals carrying out their duty on each play. It's 11 men working TOGETHER to achieve success through communication, execution, and teamwork. Call me superstitious or whatever but how can you expect success from a team with a HB whose not on the same page as his QB or his head coach? You can't! It's amazing that they made the playoffs last year. I'd rather have Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns than Tiki Barber. There it is- I said it. And I hope Tiki doesn't make it to the hall of fame. As you can tell, I'm not a huge Tiki fan. Good talent, not someone I'd want on my team. At least T.O. cares about winning- you get the feeling Tiki just played because it was his job. NO ONE is picking the Giants. 10-6. You heard it here first.
2) Cowboys- I want to put them at 1, I really do. I think they have one of the most talented teams in the league. I like Wade Phillips and really think DeMarcus Ware can win DPOY this season. The secondary is solid with the addition of Ken Hamlin and the offensive line played well last season. Tony Romo is still a question mark in my book, and now opposing coordinators have film on him. Terry Glenn is rumored to be out for maybe the whole season, which will hurt the offense, and make teams focus on T.O. even more. They should've drafted another WR. 8-8 to 10-6. Contend for a wild card spot.
3) Eagles- IF McNabb stays healthy, they'll be in contention to win the division. But he never does, so why would this year be any different? The receivers don't excite me and the defense is getting up there in age. The window of opportunity is closing fast on this team. Kevin Kolb looks like a stud, though. 9-7 seems about right.
4) Redskins- Sleeper alert. Portis behind a good o-line? Pete Kendall was a great addition. Jason Campbell could pull a Tony Romo and lead this overlooked team to the playoffs. I wouldn't bet on it, though. As for the defense, it's talented, but they seem to annually underachieve. 6-10ish. This is such a tough division to predict, as I could see #4 being #1, and #1 being #4.
1) Bears- THIS IS THE WORST DIVISION IN FOOTBALL. The Bears win it by default. Rex Grossman is erratic, but will have his moments in the regular season. I just don't trust him in the playoffs, especially if they have to go on the road. This is still a dominant defense and Devin Hester is just scary. They won't win as many as last year, but they'll have the division wrapped up early. 10-6 or 11-5 seems right.
2) Packers- Solid CB duo. Rising defense. Favre is still holding them back, and the running-game hinges on an unproven and unspectacular rookie from Nebraska. They'll win some games, but that's only because this division is just brutal. 7-9ish.
3) Lions- I want to pick them to win the division, I really do. But I just can't. Calvin's not ready, Jon Kitna is Jon Kitna, and they have no secondary. Other than that, this is a sleeper candidate. They'll win some games, but like the rest of this division, it won't be pretty this season. 6-10ish.
4) Vikings- Travaris Jackson. Bobby Wade. Troy Williamson. We have a great running-game, including the steal of the draft with AD, and a solid defense, but we are going to rely on the worst WR corps in the history of the world and Travaris Jackson at QB. Byron Leftwich, are you there? On the bright side, Sidney Rice is the next Chris Henry (Bengals WR). But not with Jackson, sorry. 5-11ish.
1) Saints- 0-1 so what. This team has a lot going for them. Are they the NFC juggernauts everyone else is making them out to be? Probably not. Are they a good bet to go to the Super Bowl? Probably not. The defense is still sketchy and they won't sneak up on anyone this year. Plus a harder schedule, and away we go. 10-6ish.
2) Falcons- Joey Harrington? I'm joking, right? Wrong. I'm a Bobby Petrino guy and this team will be a lot better than people think. Maybe not playoffs, but they'll be in the mix. 7-9 to 9-7.
3) Panthers- Everyone's favorite preseason pick is back at it again. As long as Jake Delhomme is still under center, I'll stay away from picking the Panthers to go to the playoffs. The defense is great, sure, but the offense can't get it done. 7-9ish.
4) Buccaneers- Jake Long alert! Jake Long alert!
1) Seahawks- Marcus Tubbs out for the season. UGH. Let's re-visit the 2004 NFL draft. After the Cowboys inexplicably passed on Steven Jackson only to take Julius Jones in round two, Seattle was sitting there with a gaping need at DT. Vince Wilfork had been scooped up by the Patriots a few picks earlier (HOW DID HE FALL SO FAR I'LL NEVER KNOW), so the Seahawks had a decision to make. Marcus Tubbs or Steven Jackson? I wanted Jackson. I did. Hometown kid, hard runner, easily the best HB in the 04 class. Shaun Alexander was in his prime, but come on- it's Shaun Alexander. Sure he's OK but did the Hawks really want to give him that contract two years ago? NO! He runs soft, offers nothing in the passing game, and reminds me of a west coast version of Tiki Barber. Plus, the shelflife of an average NFL HB is short, and its STEVEN FREAKIN' JACKSON. The Seahawks pulled this same stunt with Ricky Watters a few years earlier when they drafted Shaun Alexander to be the HB of the future. It worked out. So of course, they'll do it again with Steven Jackson. Right? Nope. Marcus Tubbs. Eh, whatever, let's see how Tubbs can do. Well he's been great when he's been on the field. The problem is- HE CAN'T STAY ON THE FIELD! Two straight years on IR and now he's probably seen his last days as a Seattle Seahawk. There goes the run defense, there goes the Super Bowl chances, there goes the 2007 season. Unless BRANDON MEBANE- remember that name- can make a difference. We know this team got better, we know they're healthy on offense now. If the run defense holds up- IF- this team will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. 11-5ish.
2) Cardinals- Every year the Cardinals are super sleeper. Every year, they are talented, especially on offense. But what makes this year different? BECAUSE THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!!!! Denny Green is gone and in comes Ken Whisenhunt, who won a Super Bowl when his best passer was Antwaan Randle El. Rus Grimm, Al Johnson, Gandy, and Levi Brown help the line, and Edge is set up for a big year. Matt Leinart has USC-like WR's and the defense will do just enough in a division without much defense. Everyone hypes up the Niners when the Cardinals are clearly better- I don't get it. 9-7ish. Contend for a wild card.
3) Rams- I wanted to pick them to win the entire NFC. Then I took a look at their defense. Sorry, Rams fans, Adam Carriker is not the type of guy to take your team to the next level. He could be a good player, but that's no reason to think you've made the leap. Bulger's alright, and Steven Jackson is a beast, but the defense will hold them back again. 8-8ish.
4) 49ers- Everyone's favorite preseason pick. Ahhh, I love it. This team is so overrated it makes me sick. Just watch. Alex Smith will struggle all year, and once Frank Gore and Darrell Jackson go down, it's over. Patrick Willis was a great pick, but they overpayed for Nate Clements and won't be able to sneak up on anyone this year. 6-10ish.
MVP- Peyton Manning
DPOY- DeMarcus Ware
OROY- Adrian Peterson
DROY- Patrick Willis
AFC Championship: Colts over Patriots
NFC Championship: Seahawks over Saints
Super Bowl XLII: Colts 34, Seahawks 20