2006 NFL PREVIEW
In the undying words of Booker T., “CAN YOU DIG IT? SUCKAAAAAAAA!” The NFL season is officially less than one month away. ESPN is officially showing round the clock coverage of preseason, the NFL Network is showing practice scrimmages, and I can’t get enough of either. Before I dig into this preview let me make this clear, although I feel I know a decent amount about the NFL, I try to avoid putting too much thought into these picks. For the most part, when one uses too much thought about new draft picks and free agent pickups, that turns into mental hype. Mental hype inflates picks and makes people believe that the Oakland Raiders may make the playoffs because Randy Moss is “focused” this year. So, I added basic knowledge of every team, added in a bit of knowledge about how these things usually turn out, and came out with a prediction. Nothing scientific here, just some basic common sense. I want to touch on one other thing before I dig into this preview. I want to take a vote on what is more disturbing; New Referees uniforms, or the Kevin Bacon and Michael Jordan Hanes commercial? They both destroy basic principles of my life, and they need to be stopped. Let’s start a letter writing campaign to the NFL and let’s just murder Kevin Bacon. Anyone? Fine you’re right, the letter writing campaign would be too much work. Let’s just murder Bacon. Nope, I’ve never read Bill Simmons in my life.
New York Jets (6-10)
I have the Jets winning 6 games, which is more than most people think they will do. History tells us that rookie coaches do not fare well. History tells us that back to back shoulder surgery does not help quarterbacks. History also tells us that running backs stop running when they are 34 and there is bone on bone contact. Yikes. They have a cool defense led by Jonathan Vilma, though. And I don’t care how young your head coach is, he is better than Herman Edwards. So I gave them more victories.
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Honestly, I don’t really know too much about this team. I don’t really care to know much about them either. They have Takeo Spikes, Willis “I’m still overrated” McGahee, and if I’m not mistaken JP Losman is their quarterback. JP Losman does not win football games. They always have a good defense though, and if Willis plays up to his potential (he has to at some point right, or it stops being potential) than they could win 6 to 8 games.
Miami Dolphins (9-7)
Apparently it is really cool to say the Dolphins are going to be good this year. Everyone likes to say that they could compete with the New England Patriots. This team cannot compete with New England. Culpepper was showing signs of struggling without Randy Moss last year, before he went down with his knee injury. You know, the knee injury that ripped his knee up in three different places? Culpepper is overrated, and he doesn’t have any targets besides a slightly above average receiver in Chambers. Ronnie Brown has never in his career been the lone guy, this will be his first shot at that. Solid defense as usual, no real changes there. I think this team stays at 9-7.
New England Patriots (12-4)
The Patriots aren’t as dominant as they were 3 years ago, but they are still damn good. This is still the team to beat in the AFC. Sorry Steelers fans. I respect the Steelers, but until they can beat the Pats, New England is still the top dog in the AFC. They lost a few big names on defense this year, but Bill Belichick still gets the respect of absolute faith. Until his moves start backfiring, I don’t think this team is going down to anyone. One drawback to them? Losing Vinatieri will hurt more than a lot of people think.
Cleveland Browns (6-10)
This team does not have much to offer. From what I saw of their quarterback Charlie Frye, I like him a lot. He seems to have all the mechanics, and the ability to succeed at the position. He also has a great coach in Romeo Crennel who was able to drag a few wins and a lot of close games out of this team last year. If Kellen Winslow stays healthy this year and lives up to his lost potential, this team could make a little noise. Not playoff noise, but maybe enough noise to annoy some people.
Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
Steve McNair is old. Did everyone forget that he was considering retirement a few months ago? This is what I was talking about with mental hype. People threw rational, common sense out the window, and started getting excited about Steve McNair. Tennessee cut him! Hello! Tennessee is garbage! They had to decide between Billy Volek and another 4 win season, or rolling the dice with their homegrown legend, Steve McNair…they chose Volek. How does this add up to a playoff season for the Ravens? The Super Bowl year was over 5 years ago now, that team is just about dead. Let’s get over the Ravens thing please. Ray Lewis still scares me though, so I gave them 8 wins.
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
This pick is really pending on one thing. If Carson Palmer is healthy they could win 13 games, if he goes down week 2, they could win 3 games. So I put them at 9-7, I have no idea what’s going to happen with him. I know that I have him on my fantasy team, and I really want him to be healthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
I would love to put this team at 8 wins, I have no idea how they win games. Last year I pegged them to win 7 games and struggle all season. They did struggle through chunks of last season, but they clawed and fought their way into the Super Bowl in one of the greatest runs I have ever seen. Out of fear of disrespecting them again I am giving them 11 wins for no legitimate reason. If you are a Pittsburgh fan though, you have to be somewhat concerned about losing Kimo vonOlhoffen, and Bettis. Randle-El won’t hurt as much as some think because I think they did a good job drafting his place. It’ll be interesting to see how Cowher reacts to winning a Super Bowl, and how Roethlisberger reacts to having his face torn off.
Houston Texans (4-12)
Well, they are the Texans? Is that enough of a reason? Their new head coach is Gary Kubiak, he was important in Denver I guess. There is no redeeming quality about this team. At least they get to watch Reggie Bush, right? Oh…they didn’t draft him? Really? Well I’m sure that will work out fine for them.
Tennessee Titans (6-10)
I know that they don’t have a running game, again. I know that they’re defense is still extremely young. I know that they play in Tennessee. I think Vince Young will be a great pro though. I don’t care what scouting reports and athletic scouts say about this guy, he is a winner. If I was a Titans fan I’d be a little bummed about losing Air McNair as his mentor.
Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5)
Byron Leftwich is nothing but heart. That kid is fun to watch, he is going to become one of the NFL’s big deals this year. They also have an extremely athletic defense that seems to love hurting people. (Ask Jets fans about that…I hate Jets fans) Fred Taylor is their running back. I think he’s been in the league since I was four years old. We’re still waiting for him to play a full season.
Indianapolis Peytons (8-8)
Oh yeah. You read right folks. Some people are going to say I’m doing this just for shock value, or just to be able to say, “I told you so” in December. You know what? They are all 100% correct. There is some rational thought behind this. I have seen what a devastating playoff loss does to a team. (Niners vs Giants, January 2003. Has to be one of the worst feelings of my life. I would do anything to be able to go back to halftime of that game. I still think the Giants could have beaten that Bucs team and won the Super Bowl against a sub-par AFC team) That Giants team just never bounced back from that game over the next season. Blowing that lead when the game was locked up like that, teams just don’t bounce back that easy. I also think that Tony Dungy lost control of this team with that loss. The defense isn’t really that good, they are all smoke and mirrors in the secondary. The loss of Edgerrin James is going to kill this team. I don’t know why this hasn’t been made into a bigger deal. That guy was MONEY. I don’t care how good Peyton Manning is, but people just will not fear Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai. That frees up an extra defensive player to drop back to defend the pass. There is one more thing. Don’t you think that all this talk about choking has officially gotten to Peyton? At this point, not only is it true, but it is in his head too. I think he is going to get frustrated and struggle a little bit this year. Mark my words, the Colts are going to slip up this season. Then again, they won their first 13 games last year.
San Diego Chargers (10-6)
Nope. I don’t think Phillip Rivers is good. I think he will be trash. I am hoping he will be trash. But I put this team at 10-6, because they can play some football. They have a great defense. They are fun and exciting to watch, they all swarm the ball, and love hitting people. LaDanian Tomlinson is the best running back in football, I don’t care what anyone else has to say. This is indisputable. He does so much for this team out of the backfield. They can do the two things football teams HAVE to do in order to win games. Play defense and run the ball. They also have Marty Shottenheimer as head coach, so they should have a solid regular season. They should also lose in the first round of the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)
I originally had this team winning 12 games. Then I remembered something. Herman Edwards is their head coach. I think a lot of people forgot that. You know who will not forget that? Chiefs fans. That man cannot coach professional football. I have my doubts on whether he can coach high school football. Add to that, their offensive line (the bread and butter of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson) is falling apart in front of our eyes. Trent Green is a little older this year, and that defense is still suspect. Still, I will give them 8 wins for having a two-headed super monster at running back, and a reasonably potent offense.
Denver Broncos (11-5)
If you aren’t a Broncos fan, is there any reason you would want to watch this team? Are they exciting at all? What does this team offer to the casual fan, or even the hardcore fan who doesn’t have a game to watch. Every year they are basically the same story. Somewhere between 9 to 11 wins, and an early playoff exit. Last year they went to the Conference Championship, but nobody can tell me they actually thought this team was good. Ron Dayne is starting this year, I always said he’d be good on another team. The Broncos make every running back good though, and that is because their offensive line cheats.
Oakland Raiders (3-13)
This team STINKS. They are odorous. Aaron Brooks isn’t a starter. Randy Moss is going to kill someone by the end of this season. Art Shell hasn’t been around football for what, a decade? You know what is hilarious, the only team that is worse than them, plays less that 30 miles away.
NFC to come tommorow, and Playoffs the day after.