Thursday, September 6, 2007

2007 NFL Season Preview

(Photo courtesy of Profootballtalk.com)

Now that you’ve seen our sleeper picks, you need to see some predictions, right? So as the regular season begins tonight (Saints-Colts, NBC, 8:30 PM), here are some predictions for the upcoming 2007 NFL season. Check back during the year to see if I look like an idiot or not. (number in parenthesis indicates playoff seeding).

AFC East:

Patriots 13-3 (1)
Jets 7-9
Bills 7-9
Dolphins 5-11

I still have questions about the Patriots, such as can Brady and his wide receivers gel early on, and can their aging linebacking core hold up. Still, they should cruise through this division. The Jets defense is okay, but I don’t really like Pennington. In Buffalo, there are some weapons on offense. But the defense lost Nate Clements, London Fletcher, and Takeo Spikes, and they’ll be hard to replace. The Dolphins could be in big trouble. Trent Green is a marginal starting QB, the offensive line is a mess, and their defense is aging quickly.

AFC North:

Ravens 11-5 (2)
Steelers 10-6 (5)
Bengals 9-7
Browns 5-11

The homer in me wants to pick the Steelers, but I call them like I see it. I still think we sneak into the playoffs via a wildcard, but that Ravens defense is loaded (Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Bart Scott, Ed Reed, Chris McAlister), and they finally seem to have some playmakers at wide receiver with the maturation of Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams. Derrick Mason adds a steady presence to the group. Of course, this is contigent on Steve McNair staying healthy, because if Kyle Boller gets significant playing time, all bets are off. The Ravens should really consider signing Byron Leftwich as a backup quarterback option. The Bengals defense is still terrible, and they did nothing to help it out, except for adding CB Leon Hall through the draft. The Browns are the Browns, but they do have a few rising playmakers on defense so they will be marginally better.

AFC South:

Colts 11-5 (3)
Jaguars 9-7
Texans 6-10
Titans 5-11

Similar to the Bengals, the Colts will struggle on defense. The loss of Booger McFarland hurts, as they now don’t have that run-stuffing presence in the middle. The offense should more than make up for it, though. If the Jaguars had an above average quarterback, they would undoubtedly make the playoffs. They’re defense is that good. I think the Texans could surprise a bit, maybe get close to 7 wins. Schaub is a much better option than Carr and they got huge contributions in the preseason at the 2nd WR spot from rookie Jacoby Jones. The defense boasts reigning defensive rookie of the year DeMeco Ryans. The Titans, I feel, will struggle. They lost their starting running back (Travis Henry), #1 receiver (Drew Bennett), and #1 CB and returner (Pacman Jones) this offseason. And I believe Vince Young will go through a sophomore slump as teams gather more tape to gameplan against him.

AFC West:

Broncos 11-5 (4)
Chargers 10-6 (6)
Raiders 5-11
Chiefs 4-12

While the Chargers have more talent, I like the Broncos to take this division. I love their offseason additions of Travis Henry, Dre Bly, and Daniel Graham. Cutler will be good enough for them. The defense still has Champ Bailey, and they just bolstered their pass rush with the addition of Simeon Rice. The Chargers are loaded as well, but I just don’t like Norv Turner. How many chances is this guy going to get? He’s a mediocre coach, period. The Raiders will be a little better this year. The stout defense remains, and they actually have a competent NFL coaching staff this season. Give em a 3 win improvement. The Chiefs will be bad. The offensive line stinks, the quarterbacks stink, the defense stinks. I have no idea how they made the playoffs last year.

NFC East:

Cowboys 10-6 (2)
Eagles 9-7
Redskins 7-9
Giants 6-10

This is going to be a tight race between the Cowboys and Eagles. You could argue that the Cowboys have the most talent in the NFC, with guys like Romo, Owens, Jones, Barber, Ware, Newman, and Roy Williams. Can Wade Phillips put it all together, though? As long as McNabb and Westbrook stay healthy, the Eagles should stay close to the Cowboys. I’m not the biggest Jason Campbell fan, and with no significant pass rush that spells another mediocre season for the Redskins. The Giants could implode at any moment. Coughlin, Manning, Strahan, Shockey, and Burress? Lot of egos, there.

NFC North:

Lions 9-7 (4)
Bears 9-7 (6)
Packers 7-9
Vikings 5-11

My sleeper pick, the Lions, will take this division via tiebreakers. I’m already talked about them enough. The Bears will regress, but I still think they find a way to make the playoffs. If the Packers get any semblance of a running game, they could be a dangerous team. I don’t think they will, however. The Vikings have quarterback issues with Tarvaris (or as PiSoNC likes to call him, “Tavarious”) Jackson starting for them. Oh, and they lost their defensive coordinator… you might have heard about him. His name is Mike Tomlin, I think?

NFC South:

Saints 12-4 (1)
Panthers 8-8
Buccaneers 6-10
Falcons 5-11

The Saints should steamroll through this division. The offense should be great again, but that defense doesn’t look too promising. The Panthers are wildly inconsistent. They’re a team you look at and think they could go to the Super Bowl, and then you remember that they will have Jake Delhomme or David Carr behind center for most of the season. The Buccaneers have gone out and signed a ton of free agents, apparently an effort by Jon Gruden to make a run this season and save his job. I don’t see it. Seems like a scotch tape job to me. The Falcons have had a ton of distractions to deal with, and the move to Bobby Petrino’s new offense could cause some growing pains.

NFC West:

Rams 10-6 (3)
Seahawks 10-6 (5)
49ers 8-8
Cardinals 7-9

This could be the most competitive division in the league. Honestly, I can see any of these teams winning the division. It’s pretty wide open. I like what the Rams added on offense with the additions of Drew Bennett and Randy McMichael. 1st round pick Adam Carriker should add a run-stopping presence. The Seahawks should still be solid. They’re one of the best teams at home. I think the 49ers are a year away. Frank Gore is outstanding, but Alex Smith needs one more year to mature as a quarterback. They also need to add to a lackluster WR core, where Darrell Jackson is the only player of note. Nate Clements was a pricey addition, but should stabilize the cornerback position. The Cardinals have the firepower on offense. Can the offensive line hold up and can the defense stop anyone, though?

PLAYOFFS:

Wild Card Round:

AFC: Colts over Chargers, Steelers over Broncos
NFC: Bears over Rams, Seahawks over Lions

Divisional Round:

AFC: Patriots over Steelers, Ravens over Colts
NFC: Saints over Bears, Cowboys over Seahawks

Championship Round:

AFC: Ravens over Patriots
NFC: Saints over Cowboys

Super Bowl XLI:

Ravens over Saints

End of Post

11 comments:

Sam said...

I know you had to contain your homerism, but picking the Ravens to win the Super Bowl is goes too far.

Pat said...

Colts and Chargers on wild card weekend...wow. That's a meast of a game. I dont think I'd miss that one for anything.

Jay said...

Partiots over Steelers? I know, its probably true this year, but I still don't want to read it in print.

Dave Wannstache said...

I just look at that Ravens defense and I go wow.

And I forgot to include Haloti Ngata, the fatass in the middle of their defense who can also wreak havoc.

This may not be what people want to hear, but how many Steelers starters on defense would start on the Ravens D? Definitely Polamalu and Hampton, and maybe Ike Taylor over Samari Rolle. After that, there isn't one starting player on the Steelers D that would start on the Ravens defense.

Pirate In Search Of Nuttings Chest said...

Colts and Chargers has me on the floor laughing.

Anonymous said...

Too many teams ended up 5-11.

FAIL.

Dave Wannstache said...

Yeah, okay.

You know that 8 teams went 8-8 last season, right?

So what's your point again?

Wieters said...

I'm more or less on board with your predictions, though I think the Eagles will make the playoffs instead of the Lions.

Are you thinking about changing your prediction for the Saints after tonight? The sad thing is, as bad as they looked, they're still probably good enough to win the NFC. Can the Steelers possibly switch conferences?

Anonymous said...

My point is, there are going to be a few teams with less than 5 wins.

You're giving too many shitty teams too much credit, almost as if you're afraid to go out on a limb and say a team will suck.

"Gee if I make every team have a similar record I'm bound to be right sometimes."

Dave Wannstache said...

Maybe... or you can look at the fact that I think this league is at the height of parity, and the truth is there isn't much difference in talent between the best and worst teams.

I don't think there's going to be another team that goes 2-14 like the Raiders or even 3-13. I don't think anyone's that bad. I see a 4-12 Chiefs team and a bunch of 5-11 teams.

Dave Wannstache said...

Wieters, yeah I'm still going to keep my prediction for the Saints. It's still early.

But damn, did Jason David look like utter dogshit. I know it's Indy, but if anything he should have known a little about what Manning, Harrison, and Wayne like to run, considering he played for them the previous 3 seasons.