2008 NFL Preview
Dallas Cowboys 12-4
Last year the Cowboys entered the playoffs with high expectations after a 13-3 season, that landed them home field advantage. However, the Giants on their run of destiny came to town and the Cowboys season ended in heartbreak. In the final season of Texas Stadium, expect the Cowboys to be just as good, if not better, as the addition of Adam don’t call me Pac-Man Jones gives them a stronger defense, as Tony Romo gets more experience, that should be valuable when the playoffs roll around again, as the Cowboys could end up with home field again.
New York Giants 11-5*
In years past when the Giants made trips to the Super Bowl they followed it up with a disappointing season without even getting a winning record. However, this time things will be different as the Giants that made that miracle run in January learned how to win and learned just how goodf they could be. While the loss of Usi Umenyiora will hurt, the Giants defense has other solid players that can fill the void, icluding rising stars like Justin Tuck, who was just as much a MVP of Super Bowl XLII as was Eli Manning. Look for the Giants to battle the Cowboys again, in the regular season, and quite possibilly again in the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles 8-8
They are fired up in Philly, as the Eagles coming off a disappointing season, have high asperations, after a string off-season. However, they may be deuding themselves, as Donovan McNabb has not quite shown he can recover from a series of injuries, let alone stay healthy for an entire season. Look for the Eagles to show some signs of being a contender, but not quite have the consistency needed to win, or make the playoffs as they duplicate their 8-8 effort from last season.
Washington Redskins 4-12
For Owner Dan Snyder the fact that they had to settle for Jim Zorn after an extensive search to replace Coach Joe Gibbs explains the futility that is the Redskins up coming season. Look for plenty of DC follies, as the Redskins in a tough division play the role of whipping boy. Expect this to be only a one year situation, however, as Jim Zorn who may just be the least prepared coach in the NFL, has the shortest tenure at the helm of the Redskins, as plenty of changes will be coming following the season as Dan Snyder tries to erase the frustrations of last years coaching search by making a hard charge for Bill Chowher.
Minnesota Vikings 10-6
Just imagine if the Vikings had a capable Quarterback; just imagine how dangerous this team could be, as they are loaded with more talent elsewhere then just about anybody. Fortunately, with Adrian Peterson at Running Back, the Vikings just need QB Tavaris Jackson to avoid making the big mistake, and most weeks during the regular season at least that should be good enough for the Vikings who should be able to take the Northern Division with the departure of Brett Favre from Green Bay, but come playoff time Jackson will have to be better then adequate.
Detroit Lions 6-10
And so begins year 51 of the rebuilding phase of the Detroit Lions. This year the clawless kitties are celebrating their 75th Anniversary, as Matt Millen’s job security remains puzzling. Does he know some dirty secrets about the Ford Family? How else can someone who has demonstrated such incompetence as a General Manager keep his job? Look for another Thanksgiving of unhappy fans in Detroit as the Lions continue to play the role of spoiler in December, as meaningful December football in Ford Field only happens if there is a bowl game or an area high school championship.
Green Bay Packers 5-11
Marty Domres, Cliff Stoudt, Brian Griese and Jay Fiedler all had the impossible job of replacing all time great Quarterbacks and all failed as the fans in their cities never forgave them for not being Unitas, Bradshaw, Elway or Marino. Now Aaron Rodgers with the Packers coming off a NFC Championship Game enters with half the fans already hating him for not being Brett Favre, as the Packers despite fans wanting them to bring back the all-time leading passer, resisted. Now every loss, every fumble, every interception and every incomplete pass will bring the wrath of the fans at Lambeau Field, no QB can overcome these odds, and Rodgers and the Packers struggles will only make things worse.
Chicago Bears 4-12
What weighs more a dime or a man hole? The answer is obvious unless, you are the Chicago Bears, who have not quite gotten the concept down that players like to be paid in the NFL. Since going to the Super Bowl the Bears have seen an exodus of key players, as others have stayed behind and expressed unhappiness with the Bears spending. This is how come they have never found a good starting QB, and why they chose to keep Cedric Benson over Thomas Jones. While Jones is still running strong with the Jets, Benson’s off field troubles led the Bears to send him packing, leaving behind a void at RB. With no QB and no RB the Bears offense will be a barren desert, as wins will be hard to come by.
New Orleans Saints 11-5
Last year the Saints entered the season with some what unrealistic expectations as they were seriously talking Super Bowl on the Bayou. However, this team is still capable if they get hot of the right time of reaching the promise land, as Drew Brees is one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL, with the addition of Jeremy Shockey look at him to be even better this year. Also look for a break out year from Reggie Bush, who should take over the bulk of the Saints running game, finally achieving the numbers that were expected of him when he was chosen second in the draft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6*
While the Buccaneers came up short in their quest to acquire Brett Favre, they still have a solid team as Jeff Garcia just seems to kown how to win, while the return of Warrick Dunn should help the belingured running game. Meanwhile thanks to Monte Kiffin the best defensive coordinator in the NFL the Buccaneers defense has retooled and is once again one of the best in the NFL. Look for them to challenge for the Southern Division and the playoffs again, provided they stay healthy all season.
Carolina Panthers 8-8
Health is also a key factor in Carolina, as they have a good QB in Jake Delhomme, but hes coming off elbow eurgery, while their All-Pro WR Steve Smith always seems to get beat up during the long NFL season. Their defense is also good too when it wants to be, as the consistency seems to be a major issue with Julius Peppers who should be even better then he has already played. If this does not spell .500, I don’t know what else does and that could spell pink slip for Coach John Fox.
Atlanta Falcons 2-14
Poor Matt Ryan, he has no clue what he is in store for down in Atlanta, as to say the Falcons are bad is an understatement. This team is capable of going 0-16. There is not much talent any where on this roster, as one year after Vick the Falcons are left with the ashes of last season, as Bobby Petrino played the role of coward of the county. The good news for Ryan is that Troy Aikman went 1-15 his first season and Peyton Manning went 3-13, so there is only one place to go after taking his lumps this year as the Falcons begin to try to rebuild out of the ashes.
Arizona Cardinals 10-6
Raising Arizona, yes indeed you are not seeing things, the Arizona Cardinals are going to win the Western Division. The Cardinals have a solid run game, a solid line an improving defense and a good coaching staff. While Matt Leinart had not yet lived up to expectations Kurt Warner has been some what rejuvinated in the desert. Look for this to be the year playoff football arrives in Arizona as the Cardinals play the role of the Tampa Bay Rays in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks 9-7
The sudden decline of RB Shaun Alexander from NFL MVP in 2005 to unemployed in 2008 is one of the most shocking developments in recent years as the Seahawks move on with Julius Jones. Jones is not as good as Alexander was when he was at his best, and the hole left by Alexander will bring the Seahawks back to the pack in the NFC West. Look for them to be a tough fight all season for the top spot in the West, but in the end it will be the Cardinals going on to the playoffs as the Seahawks four year lock on the division comes to an end.
St. Louis Rams 6-10
Mike Martz was not a popular coach in St. Louis after the Rams lost Super Bowl XXXVI. However, they still had the best show on turf going for them, but even that has gone as Scott Linehan’s stripped down offense as turned the Rams into the Lambd. Don’t expect things to get much better this year the team still has pleanty of holes to fill, while Marc Bulger seems lost in the Rams new system. However, Stephen Jackson should be able to provide some highlights in an otherwise dreary season.
San Francisco 49ers 3-13
How do you spell bust? A-L-E-X S-M-I-T-H. Chosen first in the 2005 NFL draft, Smith was supposed to be the next generation’s Joe Montana and Steve Young; instead he is holding the clipboard behind J.T. O’Sullivan, whose name sounds like an Irish bar. This may be a good thing for fans of the 49ers; as they will need plenty of heavy drinking this year with another lost season by the bay. Hey maybe if the drink enough they can have visions of the Eddie DeBatrolo days and five Super Bowl Championships.
New England Patriots 12-4
After going undefeated all season, only to blow it in the Super Bowl, the Patriots enter this season more focused on winning the trophy the making history, as they grind to play at the level they did all year last season, could of had allot to do with the Super Failure. The Pats still have the offensive fire power they had last year, but there is no way they can come close to matching what they did last year, as the first regular season loss will be almost a relief. They should win the AFC East again, and in the playoffs they could go the distance, but that depends on health and how their aging defense plays more then anything else.
New York Jets 11-5*
With the acquisition of Brett Favre there is renewed excitement for New York’s other team. However, it is other additions that could make the Jets a team to reckon with in the AFC East, as Alan Faneca gives the Jets a strong line which should boost RB Thomas Jones’ stats, while the defense has made some significant improvements too as players like Calvin Pace, and Kris Jenkins more fit into Eric Mangini’s system. Look for them to battle the Pats all season for the best record in the East, as the Jets should slip into the playoffs.
Buffalo Bills 8-8
The Bills have some talent to compete and ruin elite team’s day when they face the Bills, but in a division with Tom Brady and now Brett Favre, some how Trent Edwards does not measure up. The Bills do have a solid RB too in Marshawn Lynch, but he is a good and not great, and not the type of back that can carry a team into the playoffs. In the end the Bills are not bad they are not good they are in a tough division and they are no pushovers themselves, if that don’t spell out .500, I don’t known what does.
Miami Dolphins 6-10
After winning just one game last year there is only one place for the Dolphins to go. In a division with the Jets and Patriots that likely means another season of also ran status, but the Dolphins should be considerably better as Chad Pennington gives them a Quarterback that at least has NFL level talent, unlike Cleon Lemon, who some day may be remembered as the worst QB in the history of the NFL. However, the most important addition is Bill Parcells running the team, because every team he has gone too, he has risen them from the ash heap within two or three years.
Cleveland Browns 10-6
Perhaps no team in the NFL has a better group of young talent receivers as Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr. give the Browns a deep threat and the bruising short yardage player that can keep the chains moving. Look for Derek Anderson to prove 2007 was not a fluke, as Jamal Lewis continues his resurgence at running back. While, their defense does have several holes, it should not prevent them from taking a step forward and winning the AFC North..
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
The Steelers have always found a way to win their division in recent years, despite key losses in personnel, as they have one of the best scouting and player development staffs in the NFL. However, the loss of All-Pro Alan Faneca could be one the Steelers have trouble overcoming, as he was one of the league’s premiere linemen. Look for the Steelers to have trouble all year replacing him as they fall short of the playoffs..
Cincinnati Bengals 6-10
The Cincinnati Circus continues to be the main attraction at Paul Brown Stadium, as the Bengals with emerging All-Pro QB Carson Palmer have one of the best trio of receivers. However, with the antics of Chad Johnson, make that Chad Ocho Cinco, and the off field troubles of Chris Henry they give Coach Marvin Lewis just as many headaches. The biggest headache for the Bengals however is their defense whose role is played by the Invisible Man, as opposing teams often look like they are running up and down the field without be guarded, which in the Bengals case sometimes would not be any worse then what they already have.
Baltimore Ravens 5-11
A wise man once said that if you have more then one quarterback you don’t have any quarterbacks, and for the Ravens that could not be more true. Kyle Boller just flat out sucks, Troy Smith is a Heisman winner, if he did not win the Heisman he would be playing football in the CFL, and Joe Flaco is a rookie. Flaco may get a bulk of the time and in the may be the only one with any NFL type talent. However, the offense is no longer the only problem as Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense is aging and they not aging well, look for Lewis and the Ravens defense to struggle as the Ravens finish in last place again.
Jacksonville Jaguars 12-4
One of these days somebody is going to rise up rest supremacy of the AFC South away from the Colts, and this is the year, as the Jaguars with one of the best defenses in the NFL finally have the talent on offense. Look for continued improvement from RB Maurice Jones-Drew, as David Garrard gives them the strong steady quarterback they need. Look for the Jaguars to not only win the AFC South, but to be a dangerous team come playoff time.
Indianapolis Colts 11-5*
The Colts are still one of the best teams in the AFC, event though there grip on the AFC South may not be as tight as it used to be. However, with Peyton Manning at Quarterback the Colts should have no problem reaching the playoffs again. However, a tougher schedule and Manning coming off knee surgery could make the vulnerable in the early season. Nonetheless they are still Super Bowl contender weather they win their division or not.
Houston Texans 9-7
Last year the Texans finished the year strong, taking three of their last four games, as their young defense is developing into one of the up and coming units in the NFL. Look for continued improvement in Houston as they should be able to contend for a playoff spot and should be able to finish with a regular offense. However, in the loaded AFC reaching the playoffs still might be a year or two away from the Texans, who have to share a division with the Jaguars and Colts.
Tennessee Titans 6-10
Despite reaching the playoffs last year the Titans were a team full of holes last year as Vince Young failed to match his rookie of the year performance. With a tougher schedule this year look for the playoffs to be out of question in Tennessee as the Titans struggle all season and finish in last place, especially if Vince Young continues to have trouble finding his game.
San Diego Chargers 14-2
There is a reason that Shawne Merriman is playing through pain this year, and that the Chargers have that special mix that only comes along once and a lifetime, and for San Diego that means just one thing; Super Bowl, as San Diego Super Chargers takes on a whole new meaning. The Chargers offense is good enough to rank up there with the Colts and Patriots and their defense is the best in all the NFL, look for that to be the proper mixture this year as the Chargers try to bring San Diego its first championship.
Oakland Raiders 7-9
The Oakland Raiders may the most improved teams in the NFL, as RB Darren McFadden gives them the franchise back they can build around. The only thing that can stop McFadden from success in the NFL is McFadden himself, as his talent is unquestionable, but his character could be troubling. If he is able to avoid letting his background swallow him up like other NFL stars there is no question he will be a star for years to come, while QB JaMarcus Russell also begins to show why he was chosen number one overall in 2007 as the Raiders hang near .500 all season.
Denver Broncos 6-10
Just how many free years does winning a Super Bowl or two get a coach? Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan may found out the hard way this year as the Broncos are not nearly as good as they have been in the past, while frustrations are beginning to mount in Denver. Look for the Broncos to take another step backward this year as they lose double digits with QB Jay Cutler continuing to disappoint, as the Shanahan era comes to an end. .
Kansas City Chiefs 3-13
You play to win the game, Coach Herm Edwards once said. Too bad for him and the Chiefs there may not be many games for them to win as Kansas City is clearly in a rebuild mode. Look for Larry Johnson to continue to be one of the leagues most battered back as Brody Croyle continues to struggle as the Chiefs QB. The only question at the end of the season will be what Quarterback will the Chiefs be going for, in the draft? as they are one of the worst teams in the NFL.
- Coach of the Year
- Comeback Player of the Year
- Defensive Rookie of the Year
- Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Offensive Player of the Year
- NFL MVP
- Ken Whisenhunt
- Adam Jones
- Chris Long
- Darren McFadden
- Antonio Cromartie
- Adrian Peterson
- Drew Brees
- Arizona Cardinals
- Dallas Cowboys
- St. Louis Rams
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- Minnesota Vikings
- New Orleans Saints
- Coach of the YearKen Whisenhunt
- Comeback Player of the YearAdam Jones
- Defensive Rookie of the YearChris Long
- Offensive Rookie of the YearDarren McFadden
- Defensive Player of the YearAntonio Cromartie
- Offensive Player of the YearAdrian Peterson
- NFL MVPDrew Brees
- Arizona CardinalsKen Whisenhunt
- Dallas CowboysAdam Jones
- St. Louis RamsChris Long
- Oakland RaidersDarren McFadden
- San Diego ChargersAntonio Cromartie
- Minnesota VikingsAdrian Peterson
- New Orleans SaintsDrew Brees
FIRING SQAUDCoaches who will be looking for work after the season
- John Fox-Carolina Panthers
- Marvin Lewis-Cincinnati Bengals
- Scott Linehan-St. Louis Rams
- Mike Nolan-San Francisco 49ers
- Mike Shanahan-Denver Broncos
- Jim Zorn-Washington Redskins