Wednesday, September 7

It Still Goes Through our House: NFC Preview

There’s nothing quite like clinching your division before winter comes and posting an 6-0 division record to tell everyone who wears the pants here. Dallas will surprise some people not from Texas this year by playing much better in the trenches and giving less time for QB’s to pick apart their highly questionable secondary. Parcells will give Julius Jones a serious dose of ‘whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’ to the tune of about 25 carries per game. Eli will continue to struggle but will woo non-avid fans with some deep ball antics. Why hasn’t there been a Manning Showdown yet?!? I’ve watched them on NFL Network playing golf, riding jetskis, and not getting over a 12 foot wall, and we still can’t get a Colt-Giants game together? It could be the most watched and most lopsided Sunday Night game of the year. Just picture a completely flabbergasted Joe Theismann trying to correct Paul Maguire for the twenty-fifth time after Eli throws into triple coverage? The Redskins may not win four games, but at least Clinton Portis didn’t make the news for “doing something I shouldn’t be doing,” as he predicted at the start of the offseason.
Pick: Eagles by a mile (Although it’s tough to go against Merril Hoge’s Cowboys pick here)

The worst division in pro sports may actually be one of the toughest in the NFL just because the four teams are so equally terrible. It is a real shame that the Bills or Jacksonville couldn’t have their playoff spot. Zona is picking up steam as a division hopeful; the bandwagon should make its first unloading after Strahan posts 4 sacks and Kurt Warner’s wife jumps out of the luxury box to play left tackle. I do expect big things from the Rams offensively; they are the Raiders of the NFC. Too bad they don’t play this season, the over under could be about 85. The Seahawks have all the same problems they had last year, and they lost the best receiver in the history of the game to Canton and their best substance-abuser to Minnesota. A gambling defense is passable when you have an offense that will post big numbers, but you just don’t know when the next pick is coming with Hasselbeck back there. Alex Smith, good luck. You’re gonna be on the field soon, and a lot. Just be happy you’re in California. Someone should give him David Carr’s phone number.
Pick: Rams, and at least two teams with a better record don’t make the playoffs.

It’s hard to put a number on how much Mike Tice takes away from the Vikings. I’ll say 4, as in the number of games he personally ends up costing them, one of which will come in the postseason, again. I take it personally because I keep a pencil behind my ear, and he’s just going out there and making guys like me look terrible. But still, it doesn’t get any better down the line. The Lions have Joey, who apparently can grow a beard now, which won’t help him any in the red zone. The Packers have Brett Favre, Javon Walker, Ahman Green and absolutely nothing else. I read yesterday that the Raiders will be in twelve 38-31 games and lose 8 of them. Well, the Packers will play ten 42-27 games and lose nine of them. Outside of Chicago I might be one of ten people who enjoys watching the Bears this year, if only because I like teams that run the ball in the cold and play some D while they’re it. They are strong up the middle, with Tommie Harris, Urlacher, and Mike Brown, and on the outside, with Tillman and Ogunleye. On offense, think Miami monday night against Florida State.
Pick: Vikings, not because they are any good, but because no one else can beat them.


The Saints could go one of two ways. Either they crawl into a shell, play 16 games on the road, win six, and go home to take care of some real problems or…After reading about Joe Horn and Deuce McAllister taking trips down to New Orleans and talking to the trapped citizens, and hearing how badly they want them to win, just to give them something to smile about, you have to wonder if they can become America’s team, put everything on their shoulders, cruise through the AFC East, post 11 wins, and stay around just long enough to get ruined by Jim Haslett, Aaron Brooks, and whatever wildcard team they have to play on the road. Now that Dave Wannstedt is out of the league, we’re down to about 3 coaches who can single-handedly snatch victory away from their team in the closing minutes (Mike Martz, Mike Tice are the others). My hope is that they can play at LSU, bring a little joy into some people’s lives that are in a bad place right now, and try not to break anyone’s heart in the process. In other words, they better run the damn ball, and Deuce better stay healthy. The Bucs could replace Gruden with the actual Chucky doll and the drop-off wouldn’t be that bad here. This team is old and slow and playing in a tough, run-first division. I don’t have the faith in Cadillac that everyone else has. Regardless, this team just can’t hang anymore. I didn’t like the Falcons last year, and I don’t like them anymore now. Vick cannot read defenses yet, and I don’t think their defense can keep it together for another season. I also don’t expect to see Crumpler coming across the middle as much after getting devastated by Dawkins last year. Here come the Panthers, fresh off of an injury-killed season, minus the league leader in receiving yards. Peppers may break Strahan’s single season sack record, without the help of a Brett Favre naked bootleg. Stephen Davis will run run run until his knee turns to jello (week 12 at Buffalo). And…
Pick: Panthers are still going to win the division because they play a little thing called defense.

Wild Card Teams: Dallas (if and only if Julius holds up) and Atlanta (there’s just no one better at this level; not in the NFC at least).

NFC Champs- Eagles, and it won’t be close

Next- The AFC- Where 9-7 just doesn’t cut it.

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