Friday, September 3, 2010

Predictions For The 2010 NFL Season

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys

Pros : Continuity and depth. This is the year it all has to come together for Wade and the 'Boys. A good running game can take them deep into the playoffs.

Cons : As usual, the trenches and defensive safety are areas of concern. The Dallas cornerbacks need to be extra special in 2011 for the team to go far.

Players To Watch : Felix Jones, Anthony Spencer, Miles Austin, Cornerbacks corp

Key Games : Week 3 @ Houston, Week 6 @ Minnesota, Week 9 @ Green Bay, Week 12 New Orleans, Week 13 @ Indianapolis, Week 17 @ Philadelphia

Predicted Finish : 11 - 5

2. Philadelphia Eagles

Pros : Explosive and consistent play with wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and tight end Brent Celek. An above average defensive line who can get at the opposing quarterback. Can go far if the offensive line plays up to potential.

Cons : Besides Asante Samuel, probably in his last year with the team, the secondary is a question. The pass rush needs to be as good as it was under the late great defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Rookie Brandon Graham could hold the key here. The running game is questionable, especially behind blockers not at full health. Kolb must show why Reid went with him to throw to their Big 3.

Players To Watch : Kevin Kolb, LeSean McCoy, Defensive Secondary, Offensive Line

Key Games : Week 1 Green Bay, Week 9 @ Indianapolis, Week 11 New York Giants, Week 13 Houston, Week 16 Minnesota, Week 17 Dallas

Predicted Finish : 10 - 6

3. New York Giants

Pros : The wide receivers are a deep and young group with loads of potential. The offensive line, though aging, is still one of the better units in the game. The secondary is solid.

Cons : The running game needs to hold up all year, or they will lean on quarterback Eli Manning too much.The defensive line is more of an uncertainty than it has been in years. Can the addition of aging linebacker Keith Bulluck bolster a mediocre group?

Players To Watch : Brandon Jacobs, Eli Manning, Keith Bulluck, Terrell Thomas, All wide receivers

Key Games : Week 2 @ Indianapolis Colts, Week 5 @ Houston, Week 7 @ Dallas, Week 14 @ Minnesota, Week 15 Philadelphia, Week 16 @ Green Bay

Predicted Finish : 9 - 7

4. Washington Redskins

Pros : When healthy, quarterback Donovan McNabb can lead a team to wins. The Redskins have two good tight ends in Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. A new era free of Vinny Cerrato.

Cons : The running game is a huge question, the wide receivers, besides Santana Moss, are huge questions. The linebackers must show they are up to task in the newly installed 3-4 defense. Albert Haynesworth must play to his abilities. Depth most everywhere is an issue.

Players To Watch : Donovan McNabb, Chris Cooley, Running Backs Committee, Offensive Line, Albert Haynesworth, Mike Shanahan, Anthony Armstrong

Key Games : Week 1 Dallas, Week 5 @ Green Bay, Week 6 Indianapolis Colts, Week 12 Minnesota, Week 15 @ Dallas, Week 17 New York Giants

Predicted Finish : 7 - 9

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers

Pros : Aaron Rodgers coming of age, Defensive Unit, Youthful Upside

Cons : Offensive Line, Running Back Depth, Lack of Postseason Experience

Players To Watch : Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews Jr., B.J. Raji, Ryan Grant, Charles Woodson, Jemichael Finley

Key Games : Week 1 @ Philadelphia, Week 7 Minnesota, Week 8 @ New York Jets, Week 9 Dallas, Week 11 @ Minnesota, Week 15 @ New England Patriots

Predicted Finish : 13 - 3

2. Minnesota Vikings

Pros : Big Playmaking Abilities Of Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, The Return of Pat Williams, Offensive Line

Cons : A backup behind Peterson is unknown, Wide receiver quality and depth, Safeties are average, Depth most everywhere is an issue.

Players To Watch : Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, The Williams' Duo at defensive tackle, Jared Allen, Brett Favre

Key Games : Week 1 @ New Orleans, Week 5 @ New York Jets, Week 6 Dallas, Week 7 @ Green Bay, Week 8 @ New England, Week 11 Green Bay, Week 16 @ Philadelphia

Predicted Finish : 11 - 5

3. Detroit Lions

Pros : Improved Running Game, Young Stars On The Rise, Improved Defense

Cons : Offensive Line/ Depth, Strong Safety, Linebacker Depth

Players To Watch : Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Louis Delmas, Brandon Pettigrew

Key Games : Week 2 Philadelphia, Week 3 @ Minnesota, Week 4 @ Green Bay, Week 6 Indianapolis Colts, Week 12 Minnesota, Week 15 @ Dallas, Week 17 New England Patriots

Predicted Finish : 5 - 11

4. Chicago Bears

Pros : Running Game, Return of Brian Urlacher, Veteran Leadership

Cons : Aging trenches, Aging Defense, Wide Receiver Quality/ Depth, Secondary Questions

Players To Watch : Mike Martz/ Jay Cutler Relationship, Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor

Key Games : Week 2 @ Dallas, Week 3 Green Bay, Week 4 @ New York Giants, Week 10 Minnesota, Week 14 @ New England Patriots, Week 15 @ Minnesota, Week 16 New York Jets, Week 17 @ Green Bay

Predicted Finish : 5 - 11

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

Pros : A dynamic offense with multiple weapons, Possibly the best aerial attack in all of football, An opportunistic defense

Cons : The trenches are inconsistent and can be run over, repeating as champion is extremely difficult

Players To Watch : Drew Brees, All of the weapons Brees disperses the ball to, Jonathan Vilma, Defensive secondary

Key Games : Week 1 Minnesota, Week 8 Pittsburgh,, Week 12 @ Dallas, Week 13 @ Cincinnati, Week 15 @ Baltimore

Predicted Finish : 13 - 3

2. Atlanta Falcons

Pros : Quarterback Matt Ryan's improvement, Offensive line, Improved defensive secondary, Good running game if Michael Turner stays healthy

Cons : The defensive line must get better, especially Jamaal Anderson, Linebackers good at run defense, average versus the pass, Another receiver needed to step up and bookend Roddy White

Players To Watch : Roddy White, Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Curtis Lofton, Thomas DeCloud, Tony Gonzales, Dunta Robinson

Key Games : Week 1 @ Pittsburgh, Week 3 @New Orleans, Week 6 @ Philadelphia, Week 7 Cincinnati, Week 10 Baltimore, Week 12 Green Bay, Week 16 New Orleans

Predicted Finish : 8 - 8

3. Carolina Panthers

Pros : A great rushing attack, above average linebackers, the dynamic skills of Steve Smith

Cons : The trenches are iffy, especially on defense, The secondary could have issues, A new QB controversy might soon be brewing, Another receiver is needed to compliment Smith

Players To Watch : Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams, Johnathan Stewart, Jon Beeson, Richard Marshall, Matt Moore

Key Games : Week 1 @ New York Giants, Week 3 Cincinnati, Week 6 New Orleans, Week 11 Baltimore, Week 16 @ Pittsburgh

Predicted Finish : 7 - 9

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pros : Young defensive line with potential, Young receivers with big upsides, developing quarterbacks, Underrated offensive line

Cons : Inexperienced almost everywhere,including the coaching staff. Rebuilding seems to be a few seasons away

Players To Watch : Josh Freeman, Mike Williams, The young defensive tackle trio of Roy Miller, Brian Price, and Gerald McCoy, Kellen Winslow Jr.

Key Games : Week 3 Pittsburgh, Week 5 @ Cincinnati, Week 6 New Orleans, Week 12 @ Baltimore, Week 17 @ New Orleans

Predicted Finish : 3 - 13

NFC West

1. San Francisco 49ers

Pros : Their Big 3 of Vern Davis, Mike Crabtree, and Frank Gore offer a diversive offensive punch, An underrated defense that seemingly gets better each game

Cons : The offensive line is young and unknown, another year of gambling on Gore's surgically repaired knees with only a fragile Brian Westbrook as a proven reserve, Quarterback Alex Smith's consistency still an issue of unknown entity.

Players To Watch : Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore, Will Ted Ginn Jr. bookend Crabtee?

Key Games : Week 2 New Orleans, Week 6 Oakland, Week 12 @ Arizona, Week 13 @ Green Bay, Week 15 @ San Diego, Week 17 Arizona

Predicted Finish : 9 - 7

2. Arizona Cardinals

Pros : Excellent wide receiver corps, even after losing Anquan Boldin. Influx of veteran linebackers. Effective running back by committee,

Cons : Neither quarterback has softened the cries for Kurt Warner to return. Defensive secondary has questions on deep coverage, especially at cornerback. Pass rush may be effective, but run defense is a possible issue. Still no really effective tight end.

Players To Watch : Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett, Beanie Wells/ Tim Hightower, Joey Porter, Adrian Wilson, Early Doucet, Steve Breaston, Quarterback situation/ productivity

Key Games : Week 4 @ San Diego, Week 5 New Orleans, Week 9 @ Minnesota, Week 12 San Francisco, Week 16 Dallas, Week 17 @ San Francisco

Predicted Finish : 8 - 8

3. Seattle Seahawks

Pros : New coach, new attitude. Experience at the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions. Very underrated back seven on defense. Special teams could get a few nice returns.

Cons : Trenches on both sides of the ball could be a big problem. Besides reserves Golden Tate and Deon Butler, no real deep threats on offense.

Players To Watch : Aaron Curry, Russell Okung, John Carlson, Lofa Tatupu, Earl Thomas, Mike Williams

Key Games : Week 2 @ Denver, Week 3 San Diego, Week 9 New York Giants, Week 11 @ New Orleans, Week 14 @ San Francisco

Predicted Finish : 5 - 11

4. Saint Louis Rams

Pros : New franchise quarterback. Good run game. Decent defensive front seven. Improved offensive line

Cons : Defensive secondary might have issues. Noi wide receivers that strike fear in opponents. Tight end spot not highly productive. Young offensive tackles.

Players To Watch : Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford, James Laurinaitis, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Rodger Saffold, Mardy Gilyard

Key Games : Week 6 San Diego, Week 10 @ San Francisco, Week 12 @ Denver, Week 13 @ Arizona, Week 14 @ New Orleans, Week 16 San Francisco

Predicted Finish : 2 - 12

AFC East

1. New England Patriots

Pros : Tom Brady at full health and in a contract year. Multiple weapons at Brady's disposal. An above average offensive line. Good depth at most positions.

Cons : A linebacker corp good against the run, questionable versus the pass. A young defensive secondary still learning. Unknown depth at wide receiver, in case Wes Welker isn't close to a hundred percent. Defensive line full of role players. A grueling schedule.

Players To Watch : Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Running backs committee, Inside linebacker duo of Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes

Key Games : Week 1 Cincinnati, Week 2 @ New York Jets, Week 6 Baltimore, Week 7 @ San Diego Chargers, Week 8 Minnesota, Week 10 @ Pittsburgh, Week 12 Indianapolis, Week 13 NY Jets, Week 15 Green Bay

Predicted Finish : 12 - 4

2. New York Jets

Pros : Improvement at wide receiver. An effective offensive line. Multiple blitz packages that confound opponents. Cocky grit that starts at the coaching staff. Excellent cornerbacks. Good linebackers versus the run.

Cons : Questionable safety play. Running game an unknown commodity. Loss of Calvin Pace forces an old Jason Taylor to play more than expected. Defensive line depth questionable. Need to sign star cornerback Derrelle Revis. Quarterback Mark Sanchez's propensity for the turnover.

Players To Watch : Running Backs Duo of Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, Offensive Line, Dustin Keller, David Harris, Jason Taylor, Mark Sanchez, The return of wide receiver Santonio Holmes after suspension

Key Games : Week 1 Baltimore, Week 2 New England, Week 5 Minnesota, Week 8 Green Bay, Week 11 Houston, Week 12 Cincinnati, Week 13 @ New England, Week 15 @ Pittsburgh

Predicted Finish : 9 - 7

3. Miami Dolphins

Pros : Up and coming defense. Steady and experienced running backs. Strong kicking game. Acquisition of Brandon Marshall to bolster receivers corp.

Cons : Offensive line is questionable between the tackles. Safeties are average versus the deep ball. Outside linebackers are average. Return game has digressed from last year with loss of Ted Ginn Jr.

Players To Watch : Chad Henne, Running back duo of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, Brandon Marshall, Anthony Fasano, Vontae Davis, Defensive line

Key Games : Week 2 @ Minnesota, Week 3 New York Jets, Week 4 New England Patriots, Week 6 @ Green Bay, Week 7 Pittsburgh, Week 8 @ Cincinnati, Week 9 @ Baltimore, Week 14 @ New York Jets, Week 17 @ New England

Predicted Finish : 7 - 9

4. Buffalo Bills

Pros : Deep, versatile, talented running backs corp. Young, improving offensive line. Strong defensive secondary.

Cons : Erratic quarterback play. Questionable wide receiver play, beyond Lee Evans. Mediocre outside linebackers. Iffy defensive line depth.

Players To Watch : C.J. Spiller, Lee Evans, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, Donte Whitner, Jarius Byrd, Paul Posluszny

Key Games : Week 2 @ Green Bay, Week 3 @ New England, Week 4 New York Jets, Week 7 @ Baltimore, Week 11 @ Cincinnati, Week 12 Pittsburgh, Week 13 @ Minnesota, Week 16 New England, Week 17 New York Jets

Predicted Finish : 3 - 13

AFC North

1. Baltimore Ravens

Pros : Big, strong, effective offensive line. Very good running backs. Experienced and productive receivers. Quickly developing star at quarterback. Very experienced defense led by future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.

Cons : Secondary issues in depth and quality. Wide receiver depth until Donte Stallworth returns midseason.

Players To Watch : Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Ed Reed, Todd Heap, Defensive front seven, Monstrous offensive tackle duo of Michael Oher and Jared Gaither, Joe Flacco

Key Games : Week 1 @ New York Jets, Week 2 @ Cincinnati, Week 4 @ Pittsburgh, Week 6 @ New England, Week 3 Pittsburgh, Week 14 @ Houston, Week 15 New Orleans, Week 17 Cincinnati

Predicted Finish : 11 - 5

2. Cincinnati Bengals

Pros : Good wide receiver depth and rising star tight end. Excellent starting cornerbacks. Above average offensive line. Underrated defensive line.

Cons : Mediocre safeties. Defensive depth in back seven. Few players experienced in winning.

Players To Watch : Jermaine Gresham, Cedric Benson, Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph, Carson Palmer, Wide receiver corp, Bernard Scott

Key Games : Week 1 @ New England, Week 2 Baltimore, Week 9 Pittsburgh, Week 10 @ Indianapolis, Week 12 @ New York Jets, Week 13 New Orleans, Week 14 @ Pittsburgh, Week 16 San Diego Chargers, Week 17 @ Baltimore

Predicted Finish : 11 - 5

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pros : Experienced defense led by Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau.Good experienced depth at wide receiver. Improved offensive line. Solid special teams. Excellent depth at quarterback.

Cons : The loss of star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger 4 weeks. Defensive line depth. Running back questions.

Players To Watch : Quarterback situation, Mike Wallace, Bryant McFadden, Lawrence Timmons, Flozell Adams, Rashard Mendenhall

Key Games : Week 2 @ Tennessee, Week 4 Baltimore, Week 8 @ New Orleans, Week 9 @ Cincinnati, Week 10 New England, Week 13 @ Baltimore, Week 14 Cincinnati, Week 15 New York Jets

Predicted Finish : 10 - 6

4. Cleveland Browns

Pros : Rebuilding on fly with proven vets mixed in. Improved offensive line, linebackers, quarterbacks, and tight end. Versatility in rushing attack.Good cornerback depth. Excellent special teams.

Cons : Questions at wide receiver persist. Safeties have mediocre depth behind unknown starters. Overall offensive line depth

Players To Watch : Jake Delhomme, Ben Watson, Joshua Cribbs, Jerome Harrison/ James Davis, T.J. Ward

Key Games : Week 3 @ Baltimore, Week 4 Cincinnati, Week 6 @ Pittsburgh, Week 7 @ New Orleans, Week 9 New England, Week 10 New York Jets, Week 16 Baltimore, Week 17 Pittsburgh

Predicted Finish : 4- 12

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts

Pros : Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, Multiple weapons at Manning's disposal, A roster full of veterans who know how to win

Cons : Questionable depth virtually everwhere. Mediocre, at best, defensive tackles. Below average special teams return game.

Players To Watch : Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai / Donald Brown, Pierre Garcon / Austin Collie / Anthony Gonzales, Dwight Freeney

Key Games : Week 1 @ Houston, Week 2 New York Giants, Week 9 @ Philadelphia, Week 10 Cincinnati, Week 11 @ New England, Week 12 San Diego, Week 13 Dallas

Predicted Finish : 12 - 4

2. Houston Texans

Pros : Effective offense, especially in the passing game. Nice defensive line. Decent depth at wide receiver. Nice return game.

Cons : The four game suspension of 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing hurts the defense and linebackers corp. Questions in the secondary, especially at cornerback. Offensive line worries, especially inside.

Players To Watch : Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Matt Schaub

Key Games : Week 1 Indianapolis, Week 3 Dallas, Week 8 @ Indianapolis, Week 9 San Diego, Week 11 @ New York Jets, Week 17 New York Giants

Predicted Finish : 9 - 7

3. Tennessee Titans

Pros : Strong running game. Developing quarterback with good legs. Strong offensive line on right side. Solid placekicker. Iconic head coach

Cons : Mediocre defense. Average wide receivers. Lack of big play types on both sides of the ball. Mediocre return game on special teams.

Players To Watch : Chris Johnson, Vince Young, Cortland Finnegan, Rod Baronas, Kenny Britt, Jake Scott

Key Games : Week 2 Pittsburgh, Week 5 @ Dallas, Week 7 Philadelphia, Week 8 @ San Diego, Week 12 @ Houston, Week 14 Indianapolis, Week 17 @ Indianapolis

Predicted Finish : 6 - 10

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pros : Up and coming young offensive tackles. Strong play at halfback. Improvement at linebacker. Underrated cornerbacks.

Cons : Questions at interior on both sides of the trenches. Mediocre safeties. Lack of a deep / home run threat.

Players To Watch : Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Thomas, Aaron Kampman, Kirk Morrison

Key Games : Week 2 @ San Diego, Week 3 Philadelphia, Week 4 Indianapolis, Week 8 @ Dallas, Week 15 @ Indianapolis

Predicted Finish : 3 - 13

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers

Pros : Good depth at wide receiver, outside linebacker, cornerback, and tight end. Roster full of experienced veterans. High scoring offense.

Cons : The defensive line is underwhelming. Inside linebackers are mediocre. Strong safety below average. Huge need to re-sign Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson to bolster offense.

Players To Watch : Philip Rivers, Ryan Matthews, Antonio Gates, Shawne Merriman, Darrell Stuckey, Hold out situation of McNeil and Jackson

Key Games : Week 4 Arizona, Week 7 New England, Week 9 @ Houston, Week 12 @ Indianapolis, Week 16 @ Cincinnati, Week 17 @ Denver

Predicted Finish : 10 - 6

2. Oakland Raiders

Pros : New quarterback with good leadership skills. Above average rushing game. Improved and above average back seven on defense. Good special teams. Deep and experienced depth at defensive tackle.

Cons : Questionable trench play on both sides of ball. Young wide receivers still developing. Inconsistent blocking must solidify, especially on pass plays.

Players To Watch : Jason Campbell, Michael Bush / Darren McFadden, Rolondo McClain, Tyvon Branch, Zach Miller, Nnamdi Asomugha

Key Games : Week 4 Houston, Week 5 San Diego, Week 6 @ San Francisco, Week 7 @ Denver, Week 11 @ Pittsburgh, Week 13 @ San Diego, Week 16 Indianapolis

Predicted Finish : 9 - 7

3. Denver Broncos

Pros : Experienced defense bolstered by veteran additions. Solid secondary. Good kicking game. Underrated offensive line.

Cons : The running game is a huge question. The wide receiver corp is mediocre. Lacking targets and big play types on offense. Mirrors that worked last year may be shattered this season.

Players To Watch : Kyle Orton, Champ Bailey, Robert Ayers, Ryan Clady, Demaryius Thomas, Brian Dawkins

Key Games : Week 3 Indianapolis, Week 5 @ Baltimore, Week 6 New York Jets, Week 11 @ San Diego, Week 15 @ Oakland, Week 16 Houston, Week 17 San Diego

Predicted Finish : 6 - 10

4. Kansas City Chiefs

Pros : Good running back depth. Improved wide receivers corp. Young squad developing nicely. Above average special teams.

Cons : Offensive line still needs work. Defensive line needs to play to their abilities consistently. Linebacker unit not strong pass defending. Very inexperienced team.

Players To Watch : Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Thomas Jones / Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Glen Dorsey / Tyson Jackson / Tamba Hali

Key Games : Week 1 San Diego, Week 5 @ Indianapolis Colts, Week 6 @ Houston, Week 9 @ Oakland, Week 10 @ Denver, Week 14 @ San Diego

Predicted Finish : 5 - 11


Philadelphia @ New Orleans
Minnesota @ San Francisco

Pittsburgh @ San Diego
Cincinnati @ Baltimore

Division Playoffs

New Orleans @ Green Bay
Minnesota @ Dallas

Pittsburgh @ New England
Baltimore @ Indianapolis

Conference Championships

Dallas @ Green Bay
Baltimore @ New England

Super Bowl XLV
Baltimore @ Green Bay

Most Valuable Player : Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Offensive Player of the Year : Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
Defensive Player of the Year : Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Offensive Rookie of the Year : Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
Defensive Rookie of the Year : Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
Coach of the Year : Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

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