Wednesday, August 09, 2006

2005 NFL predictions





1) Patriots: They are not going to win the Super Bowl again. Losing two coordinators and two of your best defensive players (don’t forget Law) is too much. Plus I wonder how much more Dillon has. They’ll contend, and win the division because no one else can take it from them

1) Eagles: Owens or no Owens this is their division – the other WRs are bad (although losing Pinkston actually makes them better), but who will take the crown from them? If he is there, and right, they contend for the Super Bowl. In other words they are probably not contending for a championship. Andy’s got to learn not to lift the franchise tag off good players.

2) Jets: With Pennington back, and upgrade at WR and CB they will be a wildcard. Herm is pretty good. However now that Lamont Jordon is gone I am sure Martin will get hurt, and the DL looks weak against the run.

2) Cowboys: I’m giving them #2 out of respect for Parcells. Roy Williams is overrated, the WRs are a joke: old and slow (Meshawn – who never was that good), enigmatic injury prone deep threat (Glenn – who had one good year), a guy who washed out when asked to be the man (Price) and a good TE. At least they figured out to cut Quincy Morgan. I’m not sure Julius Jones can last for 16 games (although A-Train is not bad for a backup). Bledsoe is above average (barely), but can’t carry a team. At least they improved their defensive talent (Ferguson, Glenn, Henry, Spears, Ware)

3) Bills: If Losman is much better than I expect (and McGahee stays healthy) they may slip into the playoffs. I am a fan of Mularkey and the D and WRs are good. OL might be a little light (on talent, they certainly weigh enough)

3) Giants: if not for Parcells they are my #2. If Manning can figure it out (not be great, just competent) he has Barber (and Jacobs for short yardage), Burress and Toomer (not great, but an above average pair), Shockey (health?) and an improved OL. Coughlin will push this team and the D is not awful, could be a playoff team.

4) Dolphins: For every Jimmy Johnson there is Butch Davis, Dennis Erickson, and Steve Spurrier. Saban was good in college, but I would not bank on it translating up a level. Either way Chambers is one dimensional, they are misusing their talent (Jason Taylor at LB!?), and are being QBed by a guy most famous for hitting his head against a wall. The defense takes a step back, especially the secondary (see Kansas City).

4) Washington: After pissing on Ramsey’s head all last year Gibbs is giving him the job. Of course he also drafted Jason Campbell in the first round (who will be a bust) just to make sure everyone knows he doesn’t really like him. The only other QB on the roster is Brunell who last year proved beyond all shadow of a doubt he is ready for ESPN (Gibbs failure to grasp this really makes me question him). Portis showed he is not the same without the Denver OL and the only WR worth anything on the roster is Moss. The D will be good, although not as good as last year. Basically this franchised will always be mismanaged until Snyder changes. Insert your favorite Sean Taylor/U of M joke here. Ramsey will emerge into a quality NFL starter after he leaves the zoo in 2006.



1) Steelers: Big Ben will take a step back, but this team is simply too talented at all spots (including coach) not to make #1

1) Vikings: After years of insisting they could scheme their way to a better defense they finally figured out you need talent. Imagine that. The offense will be weaker without Moss, but not awful. However with Smoot, Sharper, Williams, Cowart, and possibly James they will be a better team. No, I did not forget Harris when I wrote that list.

2) Ravens: This should be the year they finally give up on Boller. He has the talent around him now, but still not in him. Look for Anthony Wright (who?) to be starting by December. The D will put them in playoff contention, even though Ray Lewis is not what he once was.

2) Lions: If Garcia was healthy and Mooch made him the starter from Week One I might have them as a playoff team. Although truth be told I’m not ready to throw in the towel on Harrington’s career – Jeff is just better for this season. Might sneak into playoffs even with Joey – this might be his year.

3) Bungles: For all they hype about Marvin Lewis they still haven’t had a winning season. The DL is weak to the run (up the middle) and the secondary is recycled parts – although they did well last year. Jury is still out on Palmer – I’m expecting a guilty verdict.

3) Packers: This is not a knock on the always overrated Favre. The defense will be terrible (they are doing what Minnesota used to do – but because of cap trouble, I don’t think they really believe Jim Bates can cover for a roster of career backups), the coach is subpar, and Walker better not pout. I think Favre will play for several years yet, but if he doesn’t it will not be hard to figure out why.

4) Browns: If anyone can take the first overall pick away from my Niners it is this sorry bunch. There is nothing redeemable about this team (although don’t sleep on new TE Billy Miller – he could be a 50+ catch guy, which is more tan Braylon Edwards will pull in). The only positive is I will never have to hear anyone talk about Dilfer as a quality QB again.

4) Bears: Watch for them in 2006. Although you’ve never seen it, because they are never on TV outside of a mile from Soldiers’ Field, the secondary is young and very good (although cutting McQuarters was stupid if they did not need cap space). They lead a strong defense. Too bad about Grossman. I’ve actually seen about half of his six career games, he might be good, but you can’t go into a season without more at backup. Jeff Blake might have had a good career in the right city, but not here and not now.



1) Colts: I really debated taking the division away from them. Despite all the stats they are a team treading water. I believe the popular phrase is “the window may be closing.” Seriously if they couldn’t figure out to attack new England’s secondary in the playoffs last year, then they may never make the leap. Plus despite Tony Dungy, the D is still suspect, especially off the turf. While adding Corey Simon was huge (how’d they get him under the cap.), he’s more of a quick tackle than a clogger: get some fat bodies at DT people! (Please read that in an Oprah voice girlfriend!)

1) Panthers: First of all this the best division is football, other than the Saints anyone can take the division. I’m going with the Panthers because the D is great (secondary is much better and Jenkins is back), the coach is a lot smarter then people give him credit for, and Jake Delhomme, yes Jake Delhomme, is one of the better QBs in the league. They have depth at WR and RB (someone will have to stay healthy).

2) Jaguars: Just have the look of a team that could take a step. Now that they’ve added a little pass rush that D will be nasty. Unfortunately unless everyone stays healthy (Fred Taylor most of all) so will the offense, but not in the good way.

2) Falcons: They make the playoffs. Even if the WRs are still a suspect corps (and they never use their best guy – Finneran) unless Michael Jenkins wakes up, they never grasp that they should throw to Dunn (or that he is good inside for short yardage), the defense will take a step back, and Vick can’t complete more than 55% of his throws, they are still a good team. Having the fastest player in the league at QB does that.

3) Titans: A mini upset. Despite a horrendous cap purge they still have McNair (who was the best QB in the league for a while even if no one realized it), although I am worried about him playing 15 pounds lighter - boy does he look small. The good news is the backup, Billy Volek, has the quickest release of anyone currently in the league in my mind – very nice throwing motion. Two good RBs (Henry will take over eventually), Bennett is not bad, Calico and Kinney might help – and Troy Edwards is a good #3. Still have the bulk of their OL. And while the D (especially the secondary) is weak, reading the roster still reveals the names Haysworth, Bullock, Tank, and possibly Pacman. I’m giving them 3rd out of respect for Jeff Fisher, who will be smart enough let it all hang out and not pretend they are contenders.

3) Saints: I know, I know, very ironic to put them third given what I said above, and that Katrina will mean they play 16 games on the road – a killer no matter who you are. However they do have talent. I do think Brooks is always a worry (he threw the ball BACKWARDS to nobody – have you seen this highlight?), and Horn may relax now that he has been paid. While the DL is great the linebackers are awful. Finally while I once liked Haslett at some point we have to recognize they’ve had a lot of talent over the past few years and never gone anywhere. I do give him props for admitting to roiding and calling out the Steelers of the 70s.

4) Texans: Conversely I am indeed pounding Dom Capers (or at least the GM Casserly). How about a left tackle? Or a receiver to take pressure off budding great Andre Johnson? And why bring in an injury prone hotdog (Buchanon) when Aaron Glenn was still playing at a high level? And I think Carr may have reached his plateau.

4) Bucs: Gruden won with Tony’s team. Lets see what he can do with his own. I’ll admit if anyone can recapture the magic Griese showed when he first came into the league it is John. They have the skill position talent. Too bad you need an OL too. And while the defense is good, it is not what it was (thin and old).



1) Chiefs: I’d like to quote myself (which I usually frown on) talking about Minnesota: “After years of insisting they could scheme there way to a better defense they finally figured out you need talent. Imagine that.” Patrick Surtain and Shawn Knight will finally stop the bleeding and either Kendrell Bell or Derrick Johnson will upgrade the linebackers (I somehow doubt both), Carlos Hall will work into the rotation. And remember the name Jared Allen (DE). Priest Holmes has enough left (and Larry Johnson to spell him). Just hope Trent Green stays healthy because even Chris Leak is better than those other two stiffs.

1) Rams: Just as in the South there are three teams that can win the division. But that is a reflection on their collective weaknesses, not strengths. After careful consideration I’ll go with St. Louis because they beat Seattle three times last season. They are above average, but not much more, across the board. Holt is overrated. Steven Jackson will be good, but get hurt. Little should be in prison. The secondary will be what kills them if they fall short. And I can manage a game better than Mike Martz. Normally when someone says this they are being a blowhard, but I am not: there is no doubt in my mind that I could manage a game better than Mike Martz.

2) Chargers: I like Marty, and LT is easily the best RB in the league (I started this bandwagon – I took him first overall in my fantasy draft two years ago). The D is good (but thin at DT). Why are they behind KC? That was Brees’s career year, he’ll never be that good again. Also I see the kicker costing them two games this year.

2) Seahawks: Can we get Brett Favre? No playoffs for you!! Holmgren’s last year (Ray Rhodes looses respect as defense coordinator this year too); I really think he has only held on as long as he has because the national media ignores the Northwest. Look for a huge year from Shaun Alexander as he brilliantly landed a contract that doesn’t allow the team to franchise him after the season. Cha-ching!

3) Broncos: Please. Exhibit A: Jake Plummer (remember the left-handed pick? Wasn’t that a fun memory). Exhibit B: The Browns DL (Warren is okay for a rotation, as is a health C. Brown). And while it pains me to say it…Exhibit C: 42 year old Jerry Rice might have made the roster. Bell is injury prone. At least Champ Bailey is good. Of course they made the playoffs last year with more or less the same roster. Clarett will be completely forgotten outside of Columbus in a few of years (and stupidly followed the Ricky Williams school of rookie contracts: all incentives, no big guaranteed signing bonus – opps).

3) Cardinals: Boy do I want to put them higher, because they could slip into the playoffs. Depth at RB and WR, okay OL, improving defense, and a borderline great coach. But it too much for me to look past the second most washed-up QB in the league (see Brunell, Mark). They’d be better off with Steve DeBerg.

4) Raiders: What!?! Have I been stealing from Randy’s stash!? They have the best WR in the league along with Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry!! And Lamont Jordon is going to blow up! Granted. However let’s take this from the top: You have a meddlesome owner who the game has passed by (look closely at their drafts) – I still can’t believe they mad the Super Bowl three years ago (I’ll credit Jerry still having a little Mojo left then), a milquetoast coach, and the streakiest QB in NFL history. Sorry, thanks for playing. And do we want to talk about this defense? Old (thanks Al) and under talented. Charles Woodson doesn’t care anymore. Quick – name a linebacker on this team! There is a reason no one is buying tickets.

4) 49ers: Ugh. Similar to Oakland and Washington the trouble starts at the top; they will never be a force again until ownership changes. I am thrilled they are starting Rattay. No, seriously. While he is atrocious, I don’t want Smith to get destroyed. Barlow will rebound because no matter how bad an offense is, there is always one good player and it sure won’t be the receivers. Eric Johnson is injury prone, Brandon Lloyd has great hands (made the best catch I have ever seen – in 2003), but is slow and inconstant, and I’m not looking for Arnaz Battle in Honolulu after the season. Honestly could you have named any of those guys? And I don’t buy Frank Gore will be the man. Having a death on a team would hurt even mentality of even the best squad. This is my team, but I am hunkering down for a while. I already don’t trust Nolan as GM. Two years for Johnnie Morton? Cutting two reliable offensive linemen (one who was still young and learning) to draft the slowest lineman in the draft (in the third round!? Along with Gore)? Why are we trading away a good 4-3 DE (Engleberger) for a first round bust (Middlebrooks – who didn’t make the team!)? I’m not sure of him as a coach either – he looks as though he is forcing his personal into his system rather than adjusting to the talent. Who is going to be the nose tackle in this 3-4? Why are we moving a pass rushing DE with back problems to linebacker? I’m look forward to having the #1 pick overall again – it will be the only suspense I get.



Wildcard Teams

Wildcard Teams



Jets (could have been the Ravens)

Cowboys (could not put the Lions over them)

Wildcard Winners

Wildcard Winners





Divisional Winners

Divisional Winners




Vikings (over Philly because this is where the trouble with Owens starts to matter.

AFC Champ

NFC Champ

Chiefs (picked them over the Steelers because while they have more weaknesses, they also have more strengths. And Cowher’s playoff record is hardly exemplary – and because I needed a few upsets in the playoffs)


Super Bowl winner: Panthers. Shocking given how conservative I was picking division winners isn’t it? Remember that Carolina has Super Bowl experience and despite an awful start and a bunch of injuries they were the hottest team in the league in the second half of the season last year. Jake Delhomme showed he could carry a team. The defense showed that in 2003. Chiefs defense isn’t quite enough and their WRs still stink. (Note: I picked Carolina before Dr. Z did – problem was I sat on these predictions until after my fantasy drafts)


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