Thursday, September 08, 2016
Well, since the AFC predictions didn't cause the blog to be shut down and a couple of people actually read my picks, I suppose I should finish with predictions of the NFC.
NFC OVERVIEW: The NFC East is full of a bunch of flawed teams. The NFC West and North looks like 2 team races and the South has a possibility of 3 teams with losing records. The outlook looks like basically the same as last year for playoff teams.
1. New York Giants - This pick isn't because I believe that the Giants are a great team, it is because I believe that the Giants will suck less than the rest of the Division. I believe that Eli Manning can succeed with OBJ and Sterling Shepard on the outside. I do believe that the defense can put pressure on the QB and that the secondary will improve. The Linebacking corps concerns me a little bit, but I think that this team will squeak-by. PREDICTION: 9-7.
2. Washington - This team believes that it can win back-to-back division titles. The RG III distraction is gone, replaced by the Josh Norman circus that is starting to develop. Washington isn't convinced that Kirk Cousins is a franchise QB, I agree with that. The team is going with Matt Jones as their RB of the future. I hope they are correct on that. Another weakness that I believe on this team is the middle part of the defense. I am not sure that the defense can stand up at the point of attack. PREDICTION: 7-9.
3. Dallas Cowboys - If Tony Romo hadn't hurt his back again, they would be my pick for the East. But with a rookie QB and RB is just asking too much. The reason? I am trying to figure out where the defense will be able to stop teams. If you are going to be a running team, you want the defense off the field which the Cowboys will do. However, the defense needs to stop the opponent. Not going to happen with this team. PREDICTION: 6-10.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are starting over. New Head Coach, a disposed GM back in charge, a new QB, and not much talent sprinkled throughout the team. The best thing that I can say is that trading Sam Bradford will help the development of Carson Wentz and to see if he can handle being an NFL QB. Doug Pederson already has unhappy players. The 2017 draft will be in Philly. That is something to look forward to. PREDICTION: 5-11.
1. Green Bay Packers - The Packers offense will be better than last year. The return of Jordy Nelson and the slimming of Eddie Lacy will pay dividends for the team. Returning Clay Matthews to the outside linebacker position is the key to this defense. It allows him to attack. I have no concerns about how this team is constructed besides injuries. Coach McCarthy has figured out what makes this team successful. PREDICTION: 13-3.
2. Minnesota Vikings - The Teddy Bridgewater injury will hurt the Vikings when they come up against the upper echelon of teams in the league. Sam Bradford isn't a Super Bowl QB. The receiving corps will compliment the best running back in the league, Adrian Peterson. The defense could be the best that Vikings fans have seen in a while and that is saying something. Purple People Eaters Part Deux? PREDICTION: 11-5.
3. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford looks like his best years are behind him already. Over the past couple of years, the decision making hasn't improved. With Calvin Johnson retiring, the Lions need to find a new identity. Maybe Ameer Abdullah can become more of a bell weather running back for the team. I do like the receiving corps. I believe that the defense needs improvement on all three levels. And until that happens, the Lions will continue to struggle. PREDICTION: 6-10.
4. Chicago Bears - If the offense goes, then it will be the Offensive Line that powers the team. I am not sold on any of the skilled positions. Kyle Orton, I mean Jay Cutler does not impress me at all. The running backs seem pedestrian and there is no depth at the Receiver position. The defense might be better than it looks on paper, but it will not be enough to carry this team to a winning season. PREDICTION: 4-12.
1. Carolina Panthers - The Panthers have a Super Bowl or Bust mentality. They understand that the window usually doesn't stay open for very long. Cam Newton is starting to become criticized for his demeanor and Josh Norman is no longer on the team. The Panthers improved with Kalvin Benjamin returning from injury and the defense is still a unit that can control the game. After being on the verge of being fired, Ron Rivera has proven to be a very good coach. There is no way that the Panthers do not win this division. PREDICTION: 13-3.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Let's go with the young team that is starting to rise. The offense showed that they could move the ball, now they need to show that they can score points. I believe that they will be able to prove that this year. Doug Martin needs to prove that he can have back to back productive seasons. The defense needs to prove that they can defend against the pass. The defensive front has improved and the team believes that there new starting corners can withstand the heat. PREDICTION: 8-8.
3. Atlanta Falcons - The team that I believe is the most under performing in the league. The parts of the team are better that the sum of the parts. Matt Ryan should be an upper echelon QB and is not. Julio Jones is a receiver that is in the Top 3. In fact, the offense of the Falcons should be considered Top 10. The defense, not so much. They do keep the Falcons in games, but usually do not come up with the key turnover. A trend that I can see continuing. PREDICTION: 7-9.
4. New Orleans Saints - The Saints have been known for their high scoring offense. The talent has dropped off the past couple of years. Drew Brees is still an elite quarterback, but the receivers don't look up to that level, at least on paper. Mark Ingram can handle the running game. The problem for the Saints over the past couple of years has been the defense. It will continue to be a problem this year as well. Add to that the defensive personnel, some at least, believe that Sean Peyton sabotaged Rob Ryan for the past couple of years. You have the makings of a Ballers episode. PREDICTION: 6-10.
1. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals have become the ultimate regular season team. The problem is that the playoffs come around and the big redbirds turn into pumpkins and get squashed. Bruce Arians is a terrific coach but cannot figure out how to get his team to show up in the playoffs, especially against Carolina. I thought that Carson Palmer would rise up when he got into the playoffs, instead he reverts to Matt Leinart. PREDICTION: 12-4.
2. Seattle Seahawks - Pete Carroll has this team of misfits on the top of their game. The Legion of Boom isn't the main focus of the team anymore. Besides talk of unwritten rules and codes of conduct, the Seahawks need to replace Marshawn Lynch and keep the locker room from being divided by the likes of Richard Shermanand Michael Bennett. I believe that the Seahawks might take a step back just because the offense might not be as dominant. PREDICTION: 11-5.
3. Los Angeles Rams - I wish that I could get a job, be mediocre, get paid lots of money per year, and then fake anger when people question how you are still the Head Coach of an NFL team. Jared Goff is sitting as the 3rd string QB? After you traded up to get him? The Rams are going to ride the Todd Gurley train as far as it will go. That does not appear to be that far. Jeff Fisher needs to be fired after another losing season with this team. PREDICTION: 5-11.
4. San Francisco 49ers - Oh how the mighty have fallen. I believe that Chip Kelly can become a prolific NFL Head Coach, but this roster is nothing short of a disaster. You have Colin Kaepernick becoming a huge distraction. You have a good young running back in Carlos Hyde. But otherwise, the talent exodus will continue out of San Francisco. Losing productive players doesn't help Trent Baalke keep his job. Let's put it this way, at this time, I would put the Cleveland Browns as a favorite vs. the 49ers on a neutral field. PREDICTION: 2-14.
Seattle over New York Giants
Arizona over Minnesota
Arizona over Carolina
Green Bay over Seattle
Green Bay over Arizona
SUPER BOWL LI:
Green Bay over Kansas City