Monday, August 22, 2005

What I see in the NFC this year

In the NFC East, Andy Reid will have Philadelphia ready this year, regardless of whether or not TO plays. He's very focused as a coach and has nearly the entire team on his side. Minus any more major injuries, expect them to win at least 10 games this year.

In the South, Carolina will have a better record than they had last year. They know what to expect at running back, they still have quality recievers, and their defense is loaded. Julius Peppers might be the best player in the NFL. I expect them to win this division.

Minnesota should win the NFC Central. They finally have some talent in their defensive backfield, and their defensive line is strong. Losing Moss will hurt a little, but Culpepper will be able to spread the ball around more. His production will fall, but expect their rushing statistics to be much better than they were last year, his included.

The NFC west is up for grabs. The trendy pick right now is that the Cardinals will win, however I'm still not convinced. Kurt Warner has taken a beating in his career and will fumble once someone breathes on him. I expect Seattle to win this division with 9 wins, and the Rams to win 8 games at the most. Each team does get the 49ers twice, but SF will win a few games and I expect them to steal a few at home.

For the wild cards, I think Atlanta and Green Bay will round out the playoffs. Vick is still unstoppable, and while their schedule is tough, most of their difficult games are at home (New England, Philly, Minnesota, and Green Bay all play at Atlanta, and they'll be 2-2 at the worst in those 4 games) and they have winnable games on the road at Detroit, Chicago, and Miami. If they can go 5-3 in their division, that gives them 8 wins, with the potential to sneak a win or two to get to 10. Green Bay could be 4-1 at their bye week (at Detroit, Cleveland, TB, and NO at home, and at Carolina), but then hit a tough stretch with road games at Minnesota, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Philly and home games with Pitt and Minnesota. They then get the Bears twice, and Detroit and Seattle at home, and at Baltimore. Even if they go 2-4 in their tough strecth, they can easily go 3-2 to close at 9-7 (by the way, the early lines GB's over/under win total at 8). I think with parity, 9 wins will get GB into the playoffs. Granted, their defense is horrible, but they still have one of the best offenses in the NFL, assuming (correctly) that Favre will be healthy. If he goes, it'll be a train wreck. There's my 6 playoff teams for the NFC.

Teams that could surprise-Detroit, although Harrington so far in his career is as good at QB as Jordan was as an outfielder. If Seattle slips, Arizona will win the division, however I like Seattle's schedule and don't expect them to be worse than 8-8. I don't really see any other teams that have playoff potential. In the east, Dallas has too many holes to fill, New York is still a year or two away (especially if Manning's injury is serious) and Washington is horrendous. In the south, I think Tampa Bay is a year away with their young talent and New Orleans will be New Orleans and win their last 3 games to finish 7-9 and allow Haslett to be coach for one more year. You've seen my central picks except for the bears, and they will compete with SF for the worst record. In the west, I think St. Louis's train has finally gotten to the station and is done. If you saw Tomlinson run through them yesterday, you saw that their secondary is slow. Their offense will be pretty good, but their coaching isn't good enough to make up for their diminishing talent, SF might have BCS potential in they were a college team, however they are probably thinking Holiday Bowl.