Well, as I've done the last two years, and reminded by Ahab, it's time to present my NFL season preview.
This year, I'm mostly in agreement with what Ahab had to say. Other than giving the Cardinals a wildcard, and his blatant fan worship of the 49ers obscuring his judgment, I'm mostly there with him.
So, let's get to it.
I base my analysis on the teams past performance, their current capabilities, and their schedule for the season.
New England Patriots - While I'm not exactly an objective observer here; I still think the pats are the best team in football. I'm honestly not optimistic about Moss's performance; but even when he's bad, he's still better than 90% out there. Pats are a clear division winner, and I'm calling it 12-4, maybe 13-3
Buffalo Bills - No offense... where's the offense? NOt only that, but they've got a pretty tough schedule. 6-10, maybe 5-11.
Miami Dolphins - See above, only worse. 4-12
New York Jets - No running game, iffy QB followthrough... I just don't think they've got it this year. 8-8
Baltimore Ravens - Moderately good offense with some holes, and I question their defense. Not bad, probably a 9-7 team.
Cincinnati Bengals - They can score, but they cant stop the run. Lots of high scoring losses. I'd give them 8-8.
Cleveland Browns - Despite their excellent pre-season, I think they're the worst team in the division, and would be the worst in the AFC except the Raiders and the Texans are sooooo bad. Thing is, they've got a pretty easy schedule. Call it 6-10 or 7-9.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Honestly, after a mediocre performance last year, Pittsburgh looks really good this year and I'm expecting a solid season. Give me 11-5.
Indianapolis Colts - Division winner, no question. 12-4 seems a strong possiblity. Second best team in the AFC, and more consistent than the Pats the last three seasons. 12-4 or 13-3.
Houston Texans - Ahh, the sacrificial lamb of the AFC. 4-12 maybe 5-11.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Solid performers, but inconsistent. QB performance is critical here. I'd put them in as a 9-7 or 10-6 team.
Tennessee Titans - A quarterback without a team to support him.... 7-9 or 8-8 maybe?
Kansas City Chiefs - Last year was a bit of a fluke; I'd give them 8-8, or 7-9, especially after their miserable pre-season.
Denver Broncos - Strong contention with San Diego for top slot in the division. I figure both are going to the playoffs one way or the other. Call it 10-6, maybe 11-5 with their schedule
Oakland Raiders - Possibly the worst team in football this year; I give them 4-12 at best.
San Diego Chargers - I'm expecting a solid performance this year; I'm just not sure who will be better between them and Denver. San Diego has the harder schedule, so I'm giving them 9-7, maybe 10-6
Dallas Cowboys - They just plain suck. No team, no coach, no management, and they gave T.O. another pathetic miserable year. Hello 7-9.
New York Giants - Well, if Manning can get his act together, and their schedule is as easy as it looks; I think they can pull maybe 10-6, which should be good for a wildcard slot; but they may also only do 8-8.
Philly Eagles - If they don't choke, and they don't get hit with too many injuries, I can see 11-5 or even 12-4. At worst I think they'll go 10-6 and they're almost certainly the division winners here.
Washington Redskins - Is there really anything to say? 4-12 maybe? 6-10 at best.
Chicago Bears - Still the best team in the NFC, in the worst division; though last year was a total fluke. That said, looks liek a relatively easy schedule. Let's call it 12-4.
Detroit Lions - Poor Detroit. When you have no offense, and no defense, what can you do? 5-11 maybe?
Green Bay Packers - Why is Favre still playing? Why is he still on this team? 6-10, 7-9 at best.
Minnesota Vikings - They're stronger than their performance last year indicated, but their performance last year was 6-10. I'd give them 7-9, or maybe 8-8 this year.
Atlanta Falcons - Well... When you build your team around a criminal... I dunno, I figure 8-8.
Carolina Panthers - A stronger team than their performance last year would indicate. They had a strong pre-season showing, I'm thinking 10-6.
New Orleans Saints - I think they can make another playoff run this year; I just don't know if it will be in a wildcard, or as division winner. I don't think they'll do better than 10-6 or worse than 9-7, but we'll see.
Tampa Bay Bucs - Injuries, defections, lack of recruitment... some decent trades... 6-10 on the low, 8-8 on the high.
Arizona Cardinals - Not the worst team in football anymore, but still pretty bad. I put them right at 8-8 for the year.
Seattle Seahawks - Too old, too hurt, two years too late, 8-8
St. Louis Rams - After last years performance in last half of the season and the playoffs, I think the rams are going to take the division this year with 10-6
San Francisco 49ers - Two years of seemingly solid rebuilding, and not much to show for it so far; but given their competition (they have about the easiest schedule in football this season), they COULD pull out a wildcard for the year. I think they can pull 9-7
Division winners: Patriots, Steelers, Colts, San Diego
Wildcards: Jacksonville and Denver
The wildcards on the AFC are pretty hard to pick again this year. Honestly, I can see either Jacksonville or Denver winning their divisions... but I think the group of five here is a pretty solid pick
Championship game: I gotta think its Pats Colts again; though San Diego is a solid contender. I won't even try to call the game if it comes down to pats and Colts, but I think New England can beat San Diego.
Division winners: Philly, Chicago, Carolina, St. Louis
Wildcards: New Orleans, San Francisco
Honestly, I'm not so sure about my pick on the NFC side. Theres too many close calls, and unpredictable factors to come out in high percentages for the NFC. Also, SF really has to pull it together. I think they can do it, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Giants in that spot.
Championship game: Philly Chicago looks like a decent bet