Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
By Joe Collins
It is said that by the third NFL preseason, you should know a little bit about what you should expect from your favorite NFL team the rest of the season. The fourth game matters a lot less than the others-- look no further than tonight's Bears final preseason game. Jay Cutler won't even take a snap against the Browns. Granted, preseason games aren't completely meaningless, as they serve as slight fodder for wild NFL predictions. NFL predictions have to come from somewhere, right? Here's the bottom line on where each team stands in 2010:
Denotes Playoff Team
Dallas (12-4): It's time for Romo to lead this team deep into the playoffs. Make the EIU fans proud!
N.Y. Giants (9-7): Perry Fewell-led defense the key to turnaround after a monumental letdown in 2009.
Philadelphia (8-8): Solid defense, but questionable offense and a gritty division scream .500 team.
Washington (7-9): Mike Shanahan looks to get the best out of a very average group, all things considered.
Green Bay (12-4): Tecmo Bowl-like offense looks to offset a questionable, sometimes-healthy defense.
Minnesota (10-6): Team AP and AARP, Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre. Can 4 bring it again?
Chicago (6-10): Too many question marks on offense. A tough schedule doesn't help, either.
Detroit (6-10): DT Ndamukong Suh forces other teams not to catnap. A Detroit renaissance: lurking?
Atlanta (11-5): As Hawk would say, "Stretch!" Seriously, Falcons over Saints thanks to their offense and schedule.
New Orleans (11-5): They're the targets now. Look for more 38-35 kind of games. Can pass defense hold?
Carolina (7-9): Great RB tandem in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart try to keep these cats above water.
Tampa Bay (5-11): Swiss cheese run defense looks to improve under Raheem Morris, who turns 34 Friday.
San Francisco (10-6): Time for perpetual trendy pick to shine; ditto Alex Smith. Samurai Mike gets 'em there.
Seattle (8-8): All eyes on Pete Carroll in the Pacific Northwest. Might even challenge 49ers for West title.
Arizona (8-8): No Warner and it's back to mediocrity for the Cards. WR Larry Fitzgerald keeps them going.
St. Louis (3-13): Always been a baseball town. That will not change this year. Check back in Fall 2011.
N.Y. Jets (11-5): RB Shonn Greene and a still-tough defense look to put a hard knock on a tough division.
Miami (10-6): New WR Brandon Marshall adds to the attack. And if the defense makes a splash...look out.
New England (9-7): Less than 20 players remain from magical 18-1 team. Glory days over in New England?
Buffalo (4-12): New defensive scheme under Chan Gailey will need to work quickly. Play Bears in Toronto 117.
Baltimore (12-4): RB Ray Rice and another stout Ravens 'D has spirits high. 4 of first 6 on the road, though.
Cincinnati (10-6): Queen City could spontaneously combust with TO and Ochocinco looking for same spotlight.
Pittsburgh (8-8): If Big Ben can come back with his team still around the .500 mark, that'll be huge.
Cleveland (5-11): Browns, Indians and Cavs could all finish last this year. Cleveland rocks? Lite-rock, maybe.
Indianapolis (13-3): Peyton & Co. still truckin' along in Indy. Until Houston shows up, the South is theirs.
Houston (10-6): '09 passing leader Matt Schaub faces Colts and Cowboys in September. Time to step up.
Tennessee (8-8): RB Chris Johnson is a beast, but QB Vince Young and the defense still have a lot to prove.
Jacksonville (6-10): An average team, a hot-seat coach and a tough division leads to more weak gate numbers.
San Diego (10-6): Chargers still the class of the division. But in the playoffs? We'll see.
Denver (8-8): Every team in this division could finish 8-8. Totally applies to the schizophrenic Broncos.
Oakland (6-10): Al Davis starring in Weekend At Bernies 3. Coming to a half-empty coliseum near you.
Kansas City (5-11): Still too many question marks for a young offense and a shaky defense.
Atlanta 27 Minnesota 24 (Wild-Card Game)
New Orleans 33 San Francisco 19 (Wild-Card Game)
Dallas 24 New Orleans 23 (Divisional Playoff)
Green Bay 24 Atlanta 21 (Divisional Playoff)
Dallas 20 Green Bay 16 (NFC Championship)
Cincinnati 31, New York Jets 27 (Wild-Card Game)
Miami 22, San Diego 20 (Wild-Card Game)
Indianapolis 38, Miami 17 (Divisional Playoff)
Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 14 (Divisional Playoff)
Baltimore 27, Indianapolis 24 (AFC Championship)
SUPER BOWL XLV
Dallas 31, Baltimore 20
That's right-- the first "home" team to win a Super Bowl in their own stadium! As you know, Cowboys Stadium will be the venue for Super Bowl XLV-- February 6, 2011. You're telling me Jerry Jones won't motivate his own organization into that Caesars Palace-like stadium with every eyeball in America watching? Go on now.
It's time for kickoff!
Or something like that.