Monday, September 03, 2007

Final Preseason NFL Picks

NFC

NFC East

*Philadelphia 11-5

**Dallas 10-6

Washington 8-8

NY Giants 4-12

Philly is, just barely, atop of the NFC East again. Of course, this is dependent upon the health of McNabb and Westbrook. Even though Dallas has Wimpy Wade as head coach, their defense is quite solid, and Romo’s confident and talented enough to make them a solid contender in the NFC. Washington did NOTHING to fix its D-Line in the off-season, and there are too many questions on offense to be able to give them a better record. The Giants might as well experiment with Strahan as their new RB. The Coughlin experiment needs to end in New York.

NFC North

*Chicago 13-3

Green Bay 9-7

Detroit 5-11

Minnesota 2-14

Like I’ve said all along, this is a weak division. Chicago is the team to beat in the NFC, though they won’t be as dominant without Thomas Jones running the ball. Green Bay has an outside shot at making the playoffs, but it depends entirely on the running game getting to average and their defense may actually be okay. Detroit’s passing game has lots of weapons, but there’s no guarantee of a running game to keep opposing defenses guessing. Minnesota just seems too weak with Tarvaris Jackson leading the way and nobody to throw to.

NFC South

*New Orleans 11-5

Carolina 9-7

Tampa Bay 5-11

Atlanta 4-12

The teams (and fans) in this division will experience some agonizing defeats this year. The Saints, while they won’t surprise anyone this year, still have enough talent to win this division, and could realistically finish 13-3; the lack of defense keeps them from dominance. Carolina could very easily end up 11-5, but without an assurance of health at RB, it’s too questionable. Tampa has too many questions on offense and their defense could suffer the loss of team-leader Simeon Rice. Atlanta won’t be as horrible as the record implies, but by the time Harrington earns the confidence of his teammates, it’ll be too late to salvage the season.

NFC West

*Seattle 10-6

**San Francisco 10-6

St. Louis 8-8

Arizona 7-9

With these stronger than advertised divisions, the NFC could be a season away from evening things up with the AFC. In the West, it’ll be a nail-biter between Seattle and San Fran, with the Seahawks edging out the 49ers. While Hasselbeck and Alexander aren’t what they were 2-3 seasons ago, they’re still solid enough to deliver wins for Seattle. San Francisco will surprise with a stronger than expected defense, and with Alex Smith leading the way on offense. St. Louis will be 5 points away from being 10-6, but they’ve locked Bulger down for a while…so keep an eye out on them. Also watch for the Cards, with Grimm and Whisenhunt, they’ll be contenders soon.

Tie breaker note: SEA wins the West because it has a better record in common games than SF. NO gets the 2 seed by virtue of beating PHI head-to-head. SF gets the 5 seed because it has a better conference record than DAL.

AFC

AFC East

*New England 12-4

NY Jets 8-8

Buffalo 5-11

Miami 3-13

New England misses the #1 seed in the AFC because Rodney Harrison wanted to heal faster and because Randy Moss doesn’t think working with his QB is important. Otherwise, the Pats are solid. Initially I thought the Jets would have a much better year, but Pennington’s inconsistencies in the pre-season and Thomas Jones’ lack of work make me nervous. Buffalo has too many young kids starting to be effective this year, but watch out for them next year after Lynch and Posluszny get a year under their belts. The Dolphins will be horrid, Trent Green has a fork stuck in him, and Ronnie Brown is an inch away from being a bust.

AFC North

*Baltimore 13-3

**Cincinnati 11-5

Pittsburgh 10-6

Cleveland 4-12

Baltimore needs to give its entire defense a massive raise. For the umpteenth year in a row, the D saves them from a mediocre offense. Cincy will rock it in the 2nd half of the season after Chris “Prison Break” Henry returns from suspension. Until then Carson Palmer and Rudi Johnson will keep things honest. Mike Tomlin will have an okay first year in Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger will fair okay with regard to having more control of his offense, but will make “rookie” mistakes in his fourth season. Finally, Cleveland will start to improve once Brady Quinn is installed as QB just around the midway point of the season.

AFC South

*Indianapolis 12-4

Tennessee 9-7

Jacksonville 6-10

Houston 5-11

Nobody in this division can legitimately contend with Indianapolis. The Colts won’t romp through the season, but they still have enough talent to scare any team that faces them. Tennessee will be kept in the playoff hunt by QB/RB Vince Young, but until they have a legitimate rushing attack they won’t overtake Indy. Jacksonville will rely too much on their running back tandem and will regret dropping Leftwich so late in the pre-season, not giving David Garrard enough reps before the start of the regular season. Finally, the Texans are looking up, and Ahman Green will be a solid contributor for them, but they’re still a handful of players away.

AFC West

*San Diego 13-3

**Denver 12-4

Kansas City 4-12

Oakland 3-13

San Diego is the second playoff caliber team in the league that will underachieve because of its head coach. LT, Gates and Rivers will still lead the team to take the West, but they should’ve been able to do it more convincingly. Denver will make the playoffs behind a strong rushing attack and the arm Jay Cutler. Their defensive line will need improvement, but the secondary should help them win a few close calls. KC has no offensive line, so Larry Johnson will need to bring his own dynamite to open up holes to run through. The Raiders are in desperate need for a real QB, so maybe they can draft AND sign one in April. Until then, the defense will get them 3 wins.

Note: BAL gets the 1 seed by virtue of a head-to-head win over SD. NE gets the 3 seed due to a head-to-head win over IND.

Wildcard Playoffs

San Francisco over SeattleSan Francisco wins the rubber match here, overcoming Seattle’s 12th man.

Dallas over Philadelphia – For the second year in a row, the Eagles face a division foe in the wildcard round, but this time they lose.

New England over Cincinnati – Tom Brady is now clicking on all cylinders with his new WRs, and the Bengals just aren’t strong enough on defense to take it.

Indianapolis over Denver – Jay Cutler just can’t unseat the Super Bowl champs. Peyton’s football intelligence wins this game for the Colts.

Divisional Playoffs

Dallas over Chicago – A defensive brawl for the ages is settled with Romo’s 1 interception versus Grossman’s 3.

San Francisco over New Orleans – 8 years later, Gore finally beats Bush, though it’s the underwhelming 49er WRs who have career days.

New England over Baltimore – Brady methodically picks apart the Ravens’ defense to the chagrin of 80% of NFL fans and the broadcasting team of Nantz and Simms. The Ravens offense can’t do anything in response.

San Diego over Indianapolis – Norv Turner does what Marty couldn’t as the Bolts follow LT and unseat the Colts.

Conference Finals

San Francisco over Dallas – Memories of Dwight Clark and “the catch.” But who will recreate it? D-Jax or Vernon Davis?

New England over San Diego – The Chargers just can’t believe it, but this year it won’t be as close.

Super Bowl

New England over San Francisco – Sticking with the same game and same pick as I had in the previous version of this prediction article. The Patriots have been here too often to lose to the upstart yet inexperienced 49ers.

8 comments:

SamZeb said...

Geez dude - could've been a bit more generous to my Vikes....2-14??

Paymon said...

I foresee eight men in the box against the Vikings offense all season.

If the 49ers go onto the Super Bowl, your predictions will receive endless praise from the four people who frequent this site. Until then, I shall bash.

Chris Clement said...

I hate all the preseason love Cincy has received the last two seasons.

I just don't trust this team. Carson fumbles twice as much as you'd guess, Rudi (despite strong numbers) has worn down in late stretches, and the defense has lacked the ability to make key stops.

Not to mention the loose moral character of about half of its squad.

While they have more than enough talent; I want to see this team do it again (yes, I know Carson was hurt on the first play of their first playoff game) before I consider them an double-digit win team most years.

summy said...

Hey, I could've gone plain vanilla and picked either the Saints or the Bears, like everyone else, to represent the NFC. But the 49'ers might just do it...or I could be a year too early.

As for the Bengals, no argument on the lack of moral character...but that jail yard football must be somethin' b/c Chris Henry knows how to catch TDs. Plus, I trust Roethlisberger and the Steelers less. It pained me not to have your J-E-T-S in the playoffs, but Pennington's been shaky at best this preseason, and Thomas Jones has been absent.

And yes, the Vikings suck. Maybe when they get a real coach and a real qb I'll change my mind :-)

Chris Clement said...

I love the call out of the Vikes coach (Childress) and that a team is being predicted as 2-14. I like.

I agree with the Jets sentiment.

Especially with the Pats coming to town in Week 1 (even with Seymour & Harrison out and Moss iffy at best) AND heading to Baltimore in Week 2.

Honestly, we play BMore as well as anyone. However, we are the personal female-dogs of Willis McGahee. Check the stats in Buffalo, he wouldn't have touched 1,000 any season without 2 prime matchups against us.

It will be interesting; especially if we drop an early game to Cincy or Philly (which are toss-ups at best for us, home or away) if Clemens earns a few snaps. That's assuming Chad doesn't go Chad.

Perhaps he can avoid being the QB version of Fred Taylor.

Although one interesting point was brought up today, by a Jet apologist Mike Greenberg (Rich Eisen is one twoo) on the Mike and Mike Show: in the three seasons that Chad Pennington has been the full-time (and healthy) starter for the Jets...they've made the playoffs.

Even one of those seasons, Quincy "Douby" Carter started three games because of injury. (Okay, so they were against teams like Cleveland who we beat 13-10). Nevertheless, I like those odds.

I think.

Great work on the predictions. Although if the 49ers make the Super Bowl, I'll buy you dinner.

-Clement

Angel said...

summy... any chance of seeing your predictions from last year?

summy said...

Hi Angel,

I would have no problem sharing, but this is my first year making season-long projections for the entire NFL. So, don't go making bets based on my predictions!!

Hopefully PHSports will let me do this each year...

Paymon said...

Here are my wrong picks ...

AFC: New England, San Diego, Indy, Pittsburgh, Denver, Baltimore

- Pittsburgh over Denver and Indy over Baltimore
- New England over Pittsburgh and San Diego over Indy.
- New England over San Diego

NFC: Chicago, Carolina, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New Orleans, Seattle

- Philadelphia over Seattle and New Orleans over St. Louis.
- Carolina over Philadelphia and New Orleans over Chicago.
- Carolina over New Orleans

SB: New England over Carolina

MVP: LT
O-ROY: Calvin Johnson
D-ROY: Paul Posluzny