Sunday, September 30, 2007


Philly -2.5 ( 1 unit)

I would have added more than 1 unit if I were down, but it looks to be a good week as long as NE wins.

Week 4 Add

Seattle "pick em" ( Bet Ed) 2 units

I will also be playing Philly tonight, the units will depend on how the 1PM and 4PM games go.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week 4 Card

Week 4
6 units on Indy -3/ NE -.5 teaser
2 units on NY Jets -3 ( bought the hook)
2 units on Green Bay -3 ( +110)

I will probably go out of town tommorow, so I am trying to keep it light. I will fade the young and ineffective QBs like Trent Edwards, Reggie Ball/HoldCum, Cutler, with Carson mixed in there. I also found a good week to go with 2 horses ( NE and Indy). I might add some action on the Giants/Eagles sunday nighter too. I am technically having a "losing" season thus far, and I was hit hard by 2 big losses with the Eagles. If Philly didn't start out so bad, I would be up pretty good instead of down pretty good. My record doesn't look good, because of losses on a lot of smaller plays.

1st leg of Teaser - Indy -3 I will take the most efficient offense I have ever seen against the young quarterback in Jay Cutler. Now some people might like the matchup, with denver and their corners against the colts, but I can see Manning just lighting up Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark underneath all day. He will take what the defense gives him.

On the other side of the ball, Cutler is still young and inexperienced, and as shitty as the colts defense is... they are better at home.

2nd leg of Teaser - Patriots -.5 Tom Brady and the Patriots should shred into the Bungles defense like a hot knife through butter. I was curious as to how the Patriots passing game would gel early in the year with all those new parts, and it has gelled in a big way. Now only should the Pats be able to throw all day, but they should be able to run all day as well. I'd be shocked if they scored less than 30 points, and that is even with the possibility of them trying to build a lead and then control the clock.

On the other side of the ball...
Carson meet Bill,
Bill meet Carson.

I think the Colts are an underrated home team ( they haven't lost at home in over 2 years and are considerably better at home), and the Patriots are an underrated road team ( weren't they 7-1 on the road last year plus the win in SD and they don't lose much focus by being on the road?) I also like the numbers... Winning by 3 shouldn't be a problem, and the Patriots are just to win. I like those guys to stay undefeated.

Jets -3 The Bills only have 2 offensive touchdowns on the year. JP Losman stinks, and he is injured. Trent Edwards is a later round pick in his first NFL start. The last 2 times these guys played, the Bills tried to just pound the Jets to the tune of 25-30 carries with Willis + A-Train. If they were going to keep it so simple with JP, they will certainly do that with Trent.

Not only that, but the Bills defense didn't figure to be good this year, and they have injury problems of their own.

This game is a fade of Buffalo as much as anything else. Pennington isn't my favorite NFL starting quarterback, but he is a veteran who has led his team to the playoffs, and he is popping Trent Edwards NFL cherry. I actually like Thomas Jones more than anything the Jets had last year. I think TJ is an underrated back that can get the job done.

Packers -3 I think Green Bays defense is underrated and the more I think about it, the more I see the Packers being that " sleeper team" and that I was wrong about. Their defense shut down Mcnabb and Eli ( who I still think is underrated), and they held LT and San Diego in check too.

Brett Favre might not be vintage Brett Favre, but he is still better than many of the starters in the league, including Tavaras " reggie ball" Jackson and Kelly HoldCum.

The Vikings defense is looking alright, but they are more vulnerable against the pass than the run. Green Bay is better at passing than running.

If you were to even say that both teams had equal defenses, Green Bay has the better offense. I like Adrian Peterson and all, but if Minny is going to average 160 passing yards per game, they are going to have problems.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Week 3 KISS

Philly ML 7 units ( -225) to win a little over 3 units
KC -3 ( 2 units)
ATL +4 is the sucker bet in good faith, but no play because of KISS.

I am looking to possibly have a 2nd half play on Pitt, if it is close at half time. I was intially going to do a "Pennsylvania teaser" with Philly just to win, and Pitt -2.5, but Philly -225 is just too easy to pass up.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Trying to make Week 2 profitable

6 units on Philly ML (-290) to win a little over 2 units.

I wouldn't call Philly a lock, but they do have a greater than 75% chance of winning this game. It is possible that they can lose ( which is why I didn't empty my pockets on this game), but I feel very confident that they at least win this one.

They outplayed Green Bay in Green Bay last week, and deserved the win ( I am still bitter about that one). They will give a strong effort tonight in front of the home crowd to get their first win.

Washington on the other hand barley beat Miami, and will lose this divisional matchup. Their best shot at winning would be to keep the ball out of Jason Campbells hands, and try and run the ball behind that banged up offensive line. You know your team is the underdog when you want to " keep the ball out of your quarterbacks hand".

Donovan on the other hand should have more time to throw ( the redskins pass rush stinks), unless they start bringing pressure ( which leaves other things open).

Donovan is a good quarterback, and not somebody you really have to worry about when you bet on. Now if you are betting on a Jake Plummer ( or Tavaras Jackson) type, that worries you.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Added for Sundy night

Added- San Diego +4 ( 1 unit bodog)

I want to end today plus money.

- SD will be a live dog getting 4 points
- New England has key injuries
- New england is trying to integrate a new group of receives, against a nasty defense.
- New England has this whole " cheaters" cloud over their heads, I don't care about the name calling, I care that it takes focus away from this team.

I think SD wins this game, and the Media tommorow will be saying " the Patriots are 0-1 when playing fair". Whether they win or lose, the whole cheating thing will be in play tommorow

all the idiot people in the media will be coming up with their own dumb theories.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Week 2 Card

Week 2
Jacksonville -10 ( 1 unit)
Tennessee + 8.5 ( 2 units)Beted * Sucker bet special
SF + 3 ( 2 units)
Carolina -7 ( 3 units)
Det -3 ( 2 units)
Arizona + 3 ( 2 units)
Chicago – 12.5 ( 1 unit)

SD + 3.5
Philly -7

Bobby Petrino installed his new offense in Atlanta and they scored 3 points last week, while they gave up 2 defensive touchdowns. Harrington was Harrington, Warrick Dunn was stuffed by the two big defensive tackles, and I don’t see why their offense would play much better on grass against this Jags defense.

The Jags aren’t going to start the season 0-2 at home, and they probably do win by double digits. The offense isn’t that great, but they should run the ball better, and hopefully they will have a lot of short fields to work with.

Tennessee sucker bet special
Everybody really wants to play Peyton Manning after his team won the super bowl and dominated on national tv last week. The fact of the matter is that the colts don’t travel nearly as well ( 4-4 on road last year), and Tennessee is very much a live dog.

- Last year Tennessee lost to the Colts 14-13 and then beat them in Tennessee last year 20-17.
- It is surprising, but the Titans had the best record in the division last year at 4-2 ( Colts 3-3). If this was college football / SEC rules, Manning would have lost the SEC championship in Tennessee last year.
- Titans have the best record ATS in their last 10, going 9-1 at the pay window.
- The Titans went into Jacksonville last week and beat a solid team, and they out rushed them as well. New Orleans game turned one dimensional in the dome for the Colts and made the defense look better than they are. If the Titans play physical, run the ball, and keep it close…
- The Titans have a coaching advantage. Fisher tricked Fungy into foolishly wasting his last timeout in the 2nd meeting last year, that allowed Bironas to attempt that last kick and win the game.
- The public is loving the Colts, but the only real advantage I see them having this game is through the air with their passing attack, 8.5 points is too much for a live home dog.

San Fran- The Rams offense wasn’t in sync last week, but neither was the 49ers offense. I thought the Cardinals defense played pretty good, and that Frank Gore has a chance get some stats this weekend against the Rams. Alex Smith didn’t play that well last week, but maybe he can run some decent high percentage plays like Carolina had last week, and have similar success. The 49ers didn’t have that great of a pass rush last week, but the secondary covered pretty well. I think the Rams offense was noticeably worse last week when Pace got hurt, and I didn’t see that same home field advantage in St. Louis that I was used to seeing. The game was within 2 possessions and many of the fans left early in St. Louis. I do think it is possible that San Fran jumps out to a 2-0 start. You have to like a live dog with high seasonal expectations against the Rams who just lost their left tackle.

I see Carolina starting out their season not just 1-0, but 2-0 after Houston, and then 3-0 after next weekend. If the Panthers win this game, I do think they cover. This is Matt Schaubs first career road start and even though he was ok last weekend, this is a better defense and on the road.

I was close to betting on Houston last weekend, and I am not surprised they won. I understand the trends with Carolina being a play as a dog, and a fade as a favorite, but I still like them winning this game.

Minnesota has a good rush D, but their pass D is suspect. That is a great match up for the Lions who pass and don’t care about running the ball. They put up points last week on a decent Oakland defense. They did get help on a defensive touchdown, but they were able to move the ball.

Shaun Rodgers is a beast in the middle, and I was critical of the big money Dwayne white got, but he looked pretty good last week. This play is also a fade on Tavaras Jackson. If you took away a 1 yard screen pass that turned into a 60 yard touchdown, then Jackson didn’t do anything except get undeserved hype.

I also think that if the Lions are losing, they have the offensive fire power to have a chance to come back. If Tavaras Jackson is losing, the Vikings are screwed. The guy had down right dangerous plays while not securing the ball while being tackled, and had throws that missed his receivers so bad it was hilarious. Give the Lions their win at home. I don’t buy the historical trend of the Vikings win streak against Detroit, Fumblepepper throwing bombs to Randy Moss has nothing to do with Tavaras Jackson throwing interceptions.

Leinart and the offense had their problems, but the defense looked better ( especially considering they were on the road). Adrian Wilson was often down in the box, and he helped shut down Frank Gore.

At this point in his career, Gore is better than Shaun Alexander. Alexander is getting older, has a ton of carries, and his banged up. M. Morris is hurt, and Seattles best receiver is wearing a 49ers uniform.

The Arizona defense could just be better because of strength and conditioning coach John Lott, and the fact that they weren’t on the field the entire game. I really feel like Arizona played decent enough that they probably should have won in San Fran last weekend ( even with the offense not playing that well).

Arizona also had the best record against the division last year at 4-2 and they beat Seattle last year. I think they will be a live home underdog that has a decent chance of winning. I was more impressed by Arizona going into San Fran than Seattle beating up on Luke Mccown. I didn’t see their whole game, but the offense looked shaky, and if Arizonas defense plays the same as last week, they win. This is also a good fade of the public.

If KC couldn’t do anything in Houston last week, what makes you think that Herm and the 1 dimensional, boring/conservative offense will get on track in Chicago? Chicago pretty much shut down LT, and the Chiefs offense isn’t as good as the Chargers. The Chiefs plan on running LJ and that isn’t going to happen. I expect a lot of punts to Hester and this game could get out of hand ( short fields = points). KC isn’t a good road team (3-5 LY despite making the playoffs), and I expect Huard to come back down to earth now that he’s the man.

Depending on how Sunday goes I am looking to play SD + 3.5 and Philly -7 in prime time.

Week 1 recap

Week 1 Recap
NO/Indy 2nd half over = Won 5 units
Philly -2.5 @ GB = Lost 5.75 units
Giants +6 @ Dallas = Lost 5 units
Pitt @ Browns +5 = Lost 2 units
Carolina +1.5 @ St. Louis = Won 2 units
Miami @ Washington = Push 2 units
Baltimore @ Cincy -3 = Won 1 unit
Total = 3-3-1 ATS ( Minus 4.75 units)

Philly played better than Green Bay but lost the game because of 2 failed catches on punt returns. Green Bays offense did nothing, and didn't even have one good long drive the entire game. It hurts to pick the better team, but lose a game like that.

It also hurts when the Giants starting Quarterback, Running back, and Pro bowl Defensive end all get hurt. The offense was better than people expected, while the defense was worse. I still feel that if Eli would have finished that game, the Giants would have covered. Another tough loss.

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland, see write up. I didn't get to watch this one live, but I took some notes...

- Cleveland had 4 penalties on their first punt ( that is both rare and horrible)
- Steelers had excellent field position, and scored on very short fields
- Steelers had some super exotic blitzes/stunts with DL, LBs, and DBs on defense. Their 3rd and 4th sacks doomed Cleveland from the start with overload blitzes.
- Charlie Frye was sacked 5 times in about 1.5 quarters and was pulled because he held onto the ball forever. He was on pace to get sacked over 10 times for the game.
-With a score of 17-0 the Steelers had no long drives, they were just working on short fields and had one long pass to S.Holmes. I wasn't impressed with the offense thus far.
- Derek Anderson came in and was getting rid of the ball a lot quicker than Frye was.
- The Browns brought TE Heinen in motion right being the RT to block that overload blitz the Steelers kept running, and it actually worked as he picked it up.
- Steelers Offense was not impressive the first half, they had one decent WR reverse and one long pass to Holmes, but not much else.
- Big Ben was only 6/16 passing in the first half, but the short fields allowed him to throw for 2 touchdowns ( with only 6 completions).
- Big Ben finished the game only 12/23 but had 4 touchdowns because of short fields, and the Steelers only passing when they had to in the second half.
- Rich Gannon calling the game said that the key to for the Browns was to work away from the zone blitz, not play towards it.
- Bruce A. the Steelers offensive coordinator calls the game from on the field ( not the booth), I find that very bizarre. There is no way he could see the game as good from the sidelines.
- Steelers ran the ball better in the 2nd half and their reverses worked " they called them at the right times?"
- The score was a blowout, but it wasn't a typical blowout game in an offensive sense, this game was a blowout because of the Steelers defense ( creating good field position) and not their offense.
- Davenport is underrated for the Steelers, and is a good big back that can help them close out games and gain tough rushing yards in between the tackles. So much emphasis is placed on stats and fantasy football, that people don't look at teams 2nd or 3rd running backs ( like the Patriots last year with Dillon, Mahroney and Faulk).

I was also thinking about the 3-4 and in general during this game, here were some thoughts...
- You get one extra LB instead of a DT ( more speed)
- You get the combination for more stunts/blitzes to confuse opposing quarterbacks
- Instead of getting sacks from a defender beating a guy 1 on 1 ( like a 4-3), you can get more sacks from miscommunication/confusion on offense, and unblocked defenders that can cause turnovers. So the 4-3 is more about talent, where as the 3-4 can allow you to force mental errors and you can out scheme people. That could be why Pittsburgh is called linebacker U, where they plug people in.
- It is cheaper to run a 3-4, because premier (4-3) defensive ends are more expensive than linebackers ( with exception of Richard Seymour).
- Supply and Demand works to the advantage of the 3-4, less teams run a 3-4, so there is less demand for players that are better suited for a 3-4.

Teams Games I have watched ( this is for complete games, not flipping through or anything) Thank you DVR!
Indy 1/1
NO 1/1
Philly 1/1
Green Bay 1/1
Wash 1/1
Mia 1/1
Chi 1/1
SD 1/1
Nyg 1/1
Dal 1/1
Cincy 1/1
Bal 1/1
Clev 1/1
Pitt 1/1
Car 1/1
Stl 1/1
SF 1/1
Ari 1/1
- I also saw decent portions of Det and Oak and a little of Sea/TB.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Week 1 Add

Cincy -3 ( +105) 1 unit

tough day yesterday.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Week 1 Card

Week 1 Card
NO/Indy 2nd half over 24.5 ( 5 units) ----->WON
Philly -2.5 ( 5.75 units)
Giants +6 ( 5 units)
Cleveland +5 ( 2 units) sucker bet special
Carolina +1.5 ( 2 units)
Washington -3 ( 2 units)

Pending Futures
Philly 36/1 to win Super Bowl
Patriots 12/1 and 10/1 to win Super Bowl

NO/Indy 2nd half over 24.5 (Beted)( 5 units) ( won)

Philly -2.5 ( 5.75 units at beted)

Philly has won the last 6 meetings since 2002
I wouldn’t usually put too much significance into that, but these games were Mcnabb vs Favre for what it is worth.

Last time they played in Green Bay was 02’ ( the other 5 games were in Philly)
Donovan completed less than 50% of his passes
- Fred ex Mitchell and Todd Stinkston were his leading targets with 3 catches a piece
- Favre was helped by Ahman Greens 192 yards rushing
- and the Eagles still won by 3 despite the poor performance

In the 5 games in Philly, Mcnabb had a 5 TD game vs GB, a 100+ yard rushing game, and a 400 + yard passing game mixed in there. The GB defense is being rebuilt, but Mcnabb is an MVP candidate this year and will be the best QB in the NFC.

Last year these teams played in Philly and the Eagles won 31-9. Favre had 2 picks and 0 touchdowns. We all remember the visuals of him just lobbing up a ball to Brian Dawkns in the playoffs.

- The Eagles run D hasn’t been spectacular, but the Green Bay team they are facing is not only starting a rookie running back, but a rookie running back coming off a concussion injury. I have Brandon Jackson on my fantasy team ( when you can get a starting running back in a west coast offense in the 15th round, you do it), but this is a tough start for him.

- I’d expect that defense to come after Favre. They basically have a 2 unit hockey rotation of a D-Line. They can blitz and substitute, to keep the pressure on Favre all day. Not only that, but Favre targets a huge percentage of his passes to Donald Driver. If the defense knows where the quarterback wants to throw it, they have a huge advantage when mixing up their coverages.

When trying to pick an upset proof team, you want to look at how the turnover battle is going to go. Donovan has been very efficient thus far in his career as far as throwing interceptions goes. It is much more likely that Favre will be throwing picks when facing the Philly blitz, then Donovan against Green Bay. It is also more likely that Brandon Jackson, a rookie coming off a concussion injury will be fumbling in his first NFL start over Pro Bowl Brian Westbrook.

This road game won’t be easy for Philly. More of the public is on Philly and I generally like fading the public, but the public doesn’t always lose. I think this line is at -3, because the packers were 8-8 last year and only a couple games back of Philly. However, the Packers were a 4-8 team until they picked up 4 cheap wins at the end of their season to look a respectable 8-8. I believe Philly turns the corner this year and marches on through the NFC and it all starts in week 1.

New York Giants +6 ( 5 units at Beted)

Eli Manning is 3-2 against Dallas
The Giants beat Dallas in Dallas last year while at full strength
The Giants lost to Dallas last year by 3 during their stretch of massive injuries.

Dallas lost their hall of fame coach, and the Giants replaced their pro bowl running back with the best backup in the league, yet the spread is at 6?

This is good value with the Giants on a team that has a pretty good shot to win the game. The line should really be more like Dallas -3, but the Giants are getting an additional 3 points added. I think the Giants will be a surprising team this year and exceed the low expectations the media has set for them.

- Eli has thrown 48 touchdown passes in his first 2 years as a starter
- He’s won the division
- He’s had his team as the 3rd playoff team in the division, despite the hardest schedule in the league last year

Despite the Giants having intrinsic value with their 6 point spread, more of the public is still on dallas. Not only do I like fading the public, but I really like fading the public on nationally televised games. The public uses a Sunday or Monday night game as “ the ultimate chaser” on the money they lost on Sunday at 1PM and 4PM.

I have a lot of situations I really like.
- Undervalued Giants value at +6
- Fading the public
- Fading the public on a nationally televised game
- Dallas losing their HOF coach, and they are breaking in a new coach
- Giants should at least be competitive ( they won in Dallas last year), they have a good shot at winning outright, never mind covering +6.

Also, the Dallas passing game has three main threats…
TO at WR
Glenn at WR
And Witten at TE

Terry Glenn is a very underrated receiver (due to his age), and he is out with injury. The biggest worry for the Giants is Jason Witten at tight end, because Antionio Pierce isn’t athletic enough to defend him. I’d hope the Giants use safety help, or bring somebody else in to defend him on 3rd and long situations. Dallas really went after this match up in the 2nd game in NY last year. They went after Witten early and in crunch time, when he had the back breaking play to lead to dramatic Martin Gramatica field goal.

I really think the Giants pull the upset here on Sunday night ( the dog on the nationally televised game), but even if they don’t win, all they have to do is cover 6, and they should certainly do that.

Sucker bet/ fools gold

Cleveland +5 ( Bodog)( 2 units)

The Steelers have owned the Browns for the last 7 straight games. Last year in Cleveland, the Steelers only won by 4 with the Browns using Jason White at Running back, and a young Charlie Frye at QB. In fact, the Steelers had to score 21 4th quarter points to win, and it was a sucker bet last year. I think that was the game where if Braylon Edwards caught a ball in the end zone, the Brownies would have won.

The public is all over the Steelers in this one at over 75%. Last year the Steelers were 3-5 on the road and they were a considerably better home team. The Browns have both their quarterback and head coach on the hot seat. Jamal Lewis is an upgrade at running back, and this sounds crazy, but I think Brady Quinn brings new life to this Browns franchise ( even if he is on the bench). The Browns O-Line should be better due to health and the same with their defense. I’d expect the Browns to go out there and fight hard against a division rival, in a new season with new expectations when everybody is still 0-0. The Browns may not win this game, but they will fight and keep it close.

Washington -3 ( 2 units)

I don’t have that much statistical backing, but I just think Washington is going to win this game. Both teams match up strength against strength and weakness against weakness. The Dolphins O-Line sucks, while the Redskins D-Line sucks. The Redskins O-Line is good, while the Fins have a very formidable front 7. The Dolphins were a terrible 2-6 on the road last year, while Washington was better at home.

The Fins must also deal with a new coach, and QB, and Trent Green will be coming back to Washington. Fed Ex field will be loud, and the Redskins front runner fans will be talking their trash at work on Monday after the win. Those same dorky Redskins fans will get a dose of Reality next weekend when they lose to Philly.

Carolina +1.5 ( 2 units)

St. Louis seems to be the public play here. Everybody wants Bulger, SJack, and Holt on their fantasy team, but the NFL is more than fantasy football. Carolina has beaten the Rams 3 times in a row, and the Rams offense will have to face the arguably the best D-Line in football. Grass surfaces have been known to throw the Rams “finesse” offense out of sync, but I think Carolina can do that with their horses up front. The Rams have started to pound the ball more with Jackson last year, but I think the Panther linebackers will be better this year with those boys from the U.

On the other side of the ball, the Panther offense ditched their bum coach (Dan Henning) calling the plays. Their duel running backs will be facing a weak Rams D, and Steve Smith will be covered ( or left open) by Tyrone Hill.

Do I like the Rams offense… of course, especially at home
Do I like the Rams defense, certainly not.

It’s not which offense is better and will therefore score more points, you have to understand it is the Rams offense versus the Carolina D, and the Panthers offense against the weak Rams D. I just see the Panthers as a more balanced team. The Panthers also have been known to thrive in the underdog role. Delhomme might not be a stud, but he can win on the road.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

1st play

Saints/Indy 2nd half over 24.5 ( 5 units)

Tried to write this down on the blog asap, but posted it on the message board. First play of the year, and a happy football new year to all.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

NFC final forecast

Philly *
NY Giants *


Chicago *
Green Bay

Carolina *
Naw Awlans *

Tampa Bay

Seattle *
San Fran
St. Louis

Best team: Philly
Better than expectations: NY Giants
Worse than expectations: San Fran
Worst teams: Hotlanta, Minnesota, Detroit
MVP: Donovan Mcnabb
Coaches on hot seat: Gruden, Marinelli, Childress
* Joe Gibbs will not be back next year
Coaches on hot seat that will stay: Coughlin, Fox
Rookie of year offense: Brandon Jackson
Rookie of year defense: Leron Laundry

Playoffs Round 1
#5 NY Giants
@ #4 Seattle

#6 New Orelans
@ #3 Carolina

Round 2
#3 Carolina
@ #2 Chicago

#5 NY Giants
@ #1 Philly

#2 Chicago
@ #1Philly

Philly going to the SB to meet New England... the teams of the decade.

NFC West preview

NFC West Preview

Seattle *
San Francisco
St. Louis

I liked the Seattle offense a lot two years ago. I picked them to go deep in the playoffs too. Their line was good, Alexander was good, and Hasselback had good command of that offense. Last year Hasselback was hurt, Alexander was hurt, the line wasn’t as good, and the team won the division by default.

San Fran is the trending pick to win the West this year, and there are always people picking Arizona or St. Louis to be the sleeper this year. The rest of this division is improving, but I’d still have to give that edge to Seattle.

Their offense has a chance to be pretty good again, and the defense should be good enough. It’s not so much that I like Seattle, I just think they are better than the other teams. They have the best head coach in the division, possibly the best QB in the division, and they have an outstanding home field advantage.

They have a good linebacking core. I think Lofa is one of the best MLB in the game, and Julian Peterson is one of the best OLB in the game.

You have to wonder about the secondary, but they have a former NFL head coach, coaching it so that should help. I think Jim Mora was one of the worst head coaches in the game, but he should help out as an assistant coaching the secondary. You have to like having a former boss, down in the nitty gritty coaching a single aspect of the game.

Patrick Kearny should be what Grant Wistrom, and will be a crowd favorite in that loud stadium. Losing Marcus Tubbs really hurts and Makes Lofas job a whole hell of a lot harder.

I am not as big a fan of the Seattle receivers. I think they are functional. I am not as high on Deion Branch as some other people are, and they let their best wideout move on to a divisional rival. People like DJ Hackett.

I pick Seattle to win this division because their early schedule is a little easier than San Frans, and they don’t have to break in a new offensive coordinator and receivers. I like Holmgren a lot more than Mike Nolan, and the 49ers secondary is still a question mark for me.

San Fran is picked by many as a sleeper. I see them more like the Dolphins of last year that everybody vastly over rated and I correctly faded. Sure they brought in a lot of whole new parts, but who is going to integrate them all? I don’t like Mike Nolan as a head coach. I think the 49ers have a great front office, but the wrong guy coaching the team. Now Nolan has his “ parts” on defense, and no more excuses for having a joke defense. In general, I don’t like coaches that are “genius” on one side of the ball, but their team stinks there. Brian Billeck is an offensive “genius”, but his offense stinks. Same for Tony Dungy in Indy, or Marvin Lewis in Cincy.

I think Alex Smith has a chance to be a real good quarterback. The best quarterbacks are Manning, Brady, Brees, Mcnabb, and Palmer. I think Eli, Leinart, and Smith all have a chance to one day enter that upper echelon. In reality, everyone does, but I’d have my money on those three.

What I don’t like about that 49ers offense, is losing one of the best offensive coordinators in the game. Now we all know that Norv isn’t the best head coach in the world, but he is outstanding as a coordinator. He is good with quarterbacks, and he is very fantasy football friendly with his running backs. The good news is that the new offensive coordinator doesn’t want to deviate too much from the offense that Norv built, but it will still be a challenge.

It will be tough to integrate 2 new receives into that offense, and Vernon Davis is new himself. I don’t like that. Lelie and Jackson are certainly talent upgrades, but it’s not just about talent. What if Ashley Lelie isn’t up to speed and runs the wrong route and it causes a turnover? I generally like QB/Receiver stability on an offense, and I like offensive line stability. Running backs are generally much easier to plug in and out.

San Frans defense gave up an NFL worst 25.8 PPG last year but somehow Mike Nolan is a defensive genius. To credit the front office, they did bring in Patrick Willis and Nate Clements, but will that be enough? Michael Lewis is good against the run, but a liability in the passing game. At least the 49ers got rid of Mike Rumph from a couple of years ago, the worst Corner in the entire NFL, which helped them out a little bit.

I actually think the 49ers could have a pretty good linebacking core with Lawson, Willis, Moore, Ulbrich, Smith. Willis is supposed to be the next Ray Lewis, Lawson was a hidden gem, and I have always liked Ulbirch. I remember when the 49ers had a goalline stand from the 1 yard line, and big sledge Hammer back Stephen Jackson got a full head of steam and kept charging ahead for 3 straight plays, and Ulbrich sent him moving backwards multiple times to stop the touchdown. I watch Ulbrich, and he’s been a good and underrated player.

Walt Harris had a nice year last year, but the guy had 4 of his 8 picks against Marcus Tuiosisopo of the Raiders and Senecca Wallace of Seattle. Now those 8 picks aren’t as impressive huh?

The 49ers are actually a lot better at home on Grass, than they are on the road. The defense is better too.

I think the 49ers first 10 weeks of their schedule is hard. Their first 8 games are against Ari, @ Stl, @ Pitt, Sea, Bal, Bye, @ NYG, NO, @ Atl and then a showdown with Seattle. Even after their Seattle game, they have 2 more divisional opponents in row. I think with breaking in the new offensive coordinator, and the new guys in the secondary, the 49ers would have been better served with their easier opponents early in the year, as opposed to in the beginning when they are trying to work everything out. I’ll still give them 2nd in this division though, as they are still possibly a year away.

Rams- Good offense, bad defense. Good @ Home, bad on the road. The coach tried to put more emphasis on the run game with SJax and less emphasis on throwing the ball all around the field. The Rams offense is one of the better ones in the league, if only they could sport an average defense, they would be good. Their defense stinks.

One of the reasons why I believe they are good at home and bad on the road is that their offense is predicated on timing. The turf to grass trade off screws up Bulgers timing, and Bulger is maybe the best QB in the league as far as throwing the ball while or before the receiver made his break. It means Bulger doesn’t have to hold onto the ball as long, he will get sacked less than a typical QB. Bulger is great at anticipation, but the move to Grass slows the game down and changes the timing.

The Rams schedule is difficult in the middle, weeks 6-12 with @ Bal, @ Sea, Clev, Bye, @ NO, @ SF, Sea. They could theoretically win 1 game in that 5 game stretch. I see the Rams as about a 7-9 or 6-10 team depending on injuries (they were pretty injury free last year).

Every year Detroit and Arizona are supposed to “ break out” but it never happens. Arizona has the piece in place on offense, they just need that O-Line to play even average. They bring in a new coaching staff that will help that O-Line, and they didn’t ignore the O-Line in the draft. They probably reached a little bit to bring in Levi Brown at the 5th pick, but playing RT, he will defend Matt Leinarts blindside.

Leinart gets rid of the ball much quicker than Warner did. The impact this has on the offense can be seen in his first start against Chicago. Getting rid of the ball quicker, moves the chains, keeps him from getting sacked and into bad down and distance situations, and actually allows the Cards to more successfully mix in running plays ( which helps out the offense, and even the defense).

I said it earlier, but my money is on Leinart, Alex Smith, or Eli to be the better quarterbacks of the future. It might not be this year, but in the next 3-4 seasons that transition could happen. I still think Leinart has some growing pains, and I picked this team to finish last in the division. One of the things I noticed, is that Leinart seems to like throwing to Bryant Johnson as well as Quan and Fitz.

The Cards have a stud on every level of their defense. Berry on the line, Dansby at LB, and Wilson in the secondary. Berry was hurt last year, which really hurt that D.

Arizona might be a better team next year, but their record might not show it. Their first 7 weeks before the Bye will be tough. @ SF, Sea, @ Bal, Pit, @ Stl, Car, @ Washington and then their Bye. The Cards could potentially be 2-6 at that point and the same old last place Cardinals. I do think they have some quality pieces in place, but they could also be a year away.

NFC South

NFC South

Carolina *
New Orleans *
Tampa Bay

Carolina- I usually don’t like coaching change, but Dan Henning was awful, replacing him is a good thing, despite the learning curve. Carolina was the only team that I put in the playoffs last year, that didn’t make it. A lot of people (including ESPN) had Carolina as a major super bowl contender going into last year.

I hear a lot of people that think that David Carr will end up replacing Jake Delhomme by the end of the year and I disagree. Delhomme might not be the best player in the world, but Carrs pocket presence is terrible. Delhomme would be a poor mans Brett Favre, while Carr would be a poor mans Jake Plumber. I wouldn’t mind David Carr as a backup (like when Jake Delhomme was injured last year), but I wouldn’t want him to be the starter and anything more than a fill in. Gary Kubiak knows what he is doing, and he ditched the David Carr project early on because it’s just not worth the sacks and the telegraphing his passes.

One of the reasons why I like Carolina is because I love their front 4. They have a huge natural advantage over pretty much any other team in the NFL. They can consistently rush 4, and drop 7 and still create pressure. Julius Peppers is probably the most valuable non quarterback in the entire NFL (up there with Champ Bailey and Jason Taylor). He isn’t just a good pass rusher that causes pressure, but he’s a true playmaker. The guy is a threat to score touchdowns. Mike Rucker is a defensive end that would get a lot more attention if he were “the guy” on another team. The Panthers have too bookends, but they also have a defensive tackle with amazing physical attributes. This comes back to Bill Parcells “planet theory”. There aren’t many people on the planet that are 300+ pounds, and can dunk a basketball. Kris Jenkins is one of those people and is a true monster in the middle.

I think Carolina has a chance to have a pretty good linebacking crew too. It was iffy in the past, but they have a chance to be pretty good. Dan Morgan is a good player that has been hurt, Jon Beason is a physical freak, and Thomas Davis was a high draft pick as well. Then you consider the horses they have in front of them, and it will give these athletic guys the ability to make plays.

Carolinas draft made a lot of sense. They bring in the offensive line stud they need with Khalil, Beason to play big play LB, and Dwayne Jarret to replace Keyshaun Johnson. It is interesting that Dwayne Jarret out of USC replaces the guy that everyone compares him to ( Keyshaun Johnson out of USC). Not only that, but Keyshaun said that he shouldn’t have come out this year, and he was even covering the draft when his team drafted Dwayne. Now Dwayne took his job.

The main problems I see are the offensive line, and having a second target to throw to. Even if Dwayne Jarret is a carbon copy of Meshaun, it will still probably take some time to turn learn the offense and the coverages. Last year Delhomme basically threw to either Steve Smith, or Meshaun, with the occasional deep ball to Drew Carter.

The other problem I see is the offensive line. The line wasn’t good at run blocking, it wasn’t good at pass blocking. A lot of people think that Delhomme is actually underrated for the job he did with that line. I think drafting Ryan Khalil is the right step.

Carolina has been a team in the past that thrived in the underdog role, and they lose as favorites. It drives gamblers insane.

Carolinas early schedule is @ Stl, Hou, @ Atl, TB before their week 5 showdown with the Saints. They could very well be 3-1 or 4-0 going into that showdown. After that, they get @ Ari, Bye, Indy, @ Ten, Atl, @ GB and then another showdown with the Saints. They could be 7-3 before they host the Saints for a big divisional game.

New Orleans- was the only team in the NFC that I did not correctly pick to go to the playoffs last year… then again, nobody really did outside of Saints homers. Drew Brees taking the saints out of the dumps had to remind you of the year he just clicked and took the Chargers out of the dumps. The chargers just kept winning, and everybody was waiting until it would stop and they would come back down to earth. Brees has more than proved himself, and by the end of last year, people believed in this team. Now the Saints are one of the favorites to go to the super bowl next year.

I don’t see the Saints going to the super bowl. Naw Awlans more reminds me of those non - super bowl high scoring rams teams. I think the defenses the Rams sported were underrated and better than what the saints have now. I really don’t like this saints defense. The linebackers don’t scare me. Mark Simenau wasn’t good enough in Philly, but he’s good enough here for what reason? The D-Line with Grant and Smith is pretty good though and Hollis Thomas (steroids and all) was a pretty good run stopper.

People love to dog on Fred “toast” Thomas. Thomas doesn’t get embarrassed for a lack of athleticism or speed, he gets burned because he stinks at the skills of the positon (turning his hips, reading the routes, falling for double moves etc.). A guy like Mike Rumph is a flat out lost cause to me, but Fred Thomas was burned over and over, but it seemed like a lot of that stuff was correctable (although he probably never will be able to correct all that). Thomas moves to a backup spot, but who knows.

Last year one of the things I questioned about this team was the coach. Sean Payton certainly proved me wrong last year, but can he do it again? I don’t like the defense. Also, who will Brees receivers be? Colston, and Henderson, but I don’t think Terrance Copper is any good. Meachum is a rookie and will have to learn the offense.

The Saints also don’t have the luxary of a last place schedule this year. Their first 10 are @ Indy, @ TB, Ten, Bye, Car, @ Seattle, ATL, @ SF, Jac, STL, and then @ Carolina for what could be the divisional showdown. The Saints could realistically be 5-5 at that point. Maybe better, maybe worse, but I see Carolina having an easier schedule and winning the division.

Tampa Bay- The first thing I always think of with the Bucs, is just how bad that offensive line was. The Bucs defense we all think of is aging and leaving with the departure of Simeon Rice. Brooks and Barber are the two main guys still holding down the fort.

I know Jon Gruden is on the hot seat, but I do think he is a good coach. I believe he knows and understands the west coast offense, and if that line can give Garcia time, they will improve a lot. That passing game could also open up the run game for Cadallac. Last year when I was watching the late round rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, I couldn’t help compare him to Jeff Garcia. He reminds me of Garcia, and now he will ironically be backing him up this year.

The Bucs start of the year is brutal with games @ Sea, NO, STL, @ Car, @ Indy. They could start the year off 0-5! Maybe you predict 1-4, I’d be happy if they started out 2-3, but anything more is really wishful thinking. The good thing is that the schedule does get easier, but geez. Their season could be a tale of two teams, starting off poorly, and then picking up wins against those easier teams in the middle and end of the year. Hopefully it won’t be too late.

Atlanta- It’s not so much that Harrington is a downgrade from Vick, there is just so much going on, I wonder how the team will focus. It’s almost like if this team completely tanked, nobody would really take the heat or get blamed. Vick would still the scapegoat for putting this team in a horrible position. How focused will the players be?

I think they have some good D-Lineman with a healthy Abraham, Rod Coleman and Grady. They could have had a fiery Patrick Kerney too for a very formidable line, but he was critical of Mike Vick before he packed his bags for Seattle. Those people that always want to play “what if” with Vick, can look no further than the Patrick Kerney comments. Vick was just a lazy child that wouldn’t work hard, but just show up, and was never the hard working leader this team needed. Then he would flick off fans, and throw all of his coaches and teammates under the bus.

Everybody wants to have the Falcons picking at the top of next years draft, so that Bobby Petrino could bring in his boy Brohm. I see the Falcons as having too much adversity to finish anything but last place in this division.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

NFC North Preview

NFC North Preview

Chicago *
Green Bay

I think that is a pretty standard call for this division. I guess some people think the Lions will break out like the 1999 Rams with all those receivers they drafted, but this division looks pretty laid out…

Chicago –
Rex Grossman starting the year off hot last year only made that crash down that much harder. He was a victim of his own success. I don’t think he has played long enough to have a definitive opinion of him, and he has done some things right, but I don’t believe he will ever be an elite player. I wasn’t a fan of his footwork, pocket presence, height, size, toughness. He took too many chances. It wasn’t “good rex/bad rex”, it was gambles paying off, gambles not paying off.

I thought Thomas Jones was underrated running the ball last year. Benson wasn’t bad statistically when he played, and hopefully he can keep it up. The Bears need that stable running game to help support their defense and quarterback.

The defense was outstanding last year, but not when Tommy Harris was hurt. He is probably the most skillful Defensive Tackle in the NFL and he is a game changer. There might be bigger guys who play the run better, but I can’t think of a better all around Tackle off the top of my head, when you consider quickness, strength, controlling the man in front of him etc. There was a play in the Arizona game last year where he blew back his man 5 yards instantly and almost pushed the guard right into his quarterback. That freakish strength and quickness is just something you don’t see every day.

Devon Hestor won’t score as many touchdowns this year, the defense will probably regress at least some, and who know what the injury bug has for the team this year. The defense and special teams carried them last year, they should still win the division as Lovie Smith is a good Head Coach and the defense was sick at creating turnovers last year. People will probably be out for Rex Grossmans head like an angry mob as they will want Lovie to put in Brian Gresie. I still think they win the NFC north and having 4 games against Minnesota and Detroit should help their record.

Green Bay –
I had a small bet at 100/1 on Tennessee and Green Bay last year because 100/1 is for real crap teams, and Green Bay had Brett Favre in a weak division. All they had to do was make the playoffs, and I could have started hedging. Green Bay finished 8-8, but that was only because they had 4 easy games at the end of the year. They were a 4-8 team, with a real easy schedule at the end of the year. I don’t think the Packers are a good team, but Minnesota and Detroit are really not good.

Detroit –
Every year, the fantasy football minded fans will pick the Lions to be a sleeper team. You hear it every year. All of those receivers Matt Millen has been drafting for the last half decade, will finally come together and the Lions will equal the 1999 rams.

I think they could be real good at fantasy football. They have a good offensive coordinator, Kitna is capable, they should be a good passing team, with a bad defense, a turf field, and they should be losing a lot of games which = garbage yards and more passing stats.

I don’t like the defense at all, and I don’t like their coach. They want to run the cover 2, but they don’t have the personnel. The cover 2 is a basic vanilla defense that works if you are stacked with talent (especially a solid front 4 pass rush). Having to bring in backup defensive ends from Tampa Bay as the big free agent fish isn’t going to solve their pass rush woes.

I don’t like their GM Matt Millen, I don’t like their coach, and I don’t like how he hired a family member as their defensive coordinator. What happens if the defense sucks ( as they should?) Will he fire the family member? Rod Marinelli was brought in to add toughness to this team… this team needs more than just toughness and the guy doesn’t strike me as being particularly bright. I don’t like the idea in general of bringing in a D-line coach as a head coach, and Marinelli doesn’t impress me. It sounds like Matt Millen was so hyped into bringing in “toughness”, that he brings in Marinelli and thinks the whole team will instantly be better. I would pick the Lions as last in the North, but then again there is Minnesota. I don’t like the head coaches in Detroit or Minnesota, the only reason I picked Detroit ahead of Minnesota is because Mike Martz offense will be better than the Vikings defense which lost Mike Tomlin.

Until further Analysis, I see the Vikings as potentially the worst team in the NFC.
- I don’t like their quarterback at all. Tavaras Jackson had a sub 55% completion percentage in D1AA football. He transferred to D1AA because he couldn’t beat out Matt Jones at quarterback while at Arkansas. Nothing against Matt Jones, but if he couldn’t cut it at QB in the NFL… and Jackson couldn’t beat him out…

I didn’t like Jacksons footwork, accuracy, and he is said to be mobile, but no more mobile than a David Garrard or a David Carr. He actually moves more like Garrard. The guy looked terrible in games last year. He got outscored by his defense in the Green Bay game, and threw a pick 6 in the Rams game and got blown out there.

The defense won’t be historically good against the run next year. They lost their defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin to the Steelers. Teams just passed against them because they had no pass rush, and they really do have 2 beast defensive tackles. The Williams boys in the middle would rival Stroud and Henderson in Jacksonville as the best pair of Defensive tackles. Their ends were weak though. How the hell do you start all 16 games and not record a sack? The home games were on turf and on a faster field and the team still couldn’t pressure quarterbacks. It doesn’t matter who you have on your back 7, if you give opposing quarterbacks time, you will lose.

I don’t really like Brad Childress and can’t see this team doing much next year. If they went to the playoffs, I would consider it a major surprise. I would have loved to play the under 7.5, but I believe the projected win total dropped.

Also, don’t forget this team started out 4-2 with Brad Johnson before fading last year. I don’t see a 4-2 start next year, and Tavaras Jackson should be one of the worst starters in the league next year.

NFC East Preview

Here is an NFC East’s guys picks

Philly (12-4)*
New York (10-6) *
Dallas ( 8-8)
Washington (7-9)

Philly was better than they were given credit for last year. They were 10-6 despite losing a game by a 62 yard field goal, an improbable loss from a 24-7 4th quarter lead, and they lost their MVP Quarterback for over a third of the season. The core of this team was still strong enough to nearly make it to yet another NFC Championship game.

Here are the Eagles records since 02’
02’ 12-4
03’ 12-4
04’ 13-3
05’ 6-10
06’ 10-6
07 they will be 12-4

This organization has been run remarkable. They demonstrate fiscal responsibility, they would rather get rid of aging players a year early as opposed to a year late, they draft well, they are light on free agency, they have coaching stability.

One of the main reasons why I predict the Eagles will be better is because they will be better at running the ball. Last year a lot was made of the fact that the once Jeff Garcia took over at Quarterback, the Eagles ran the ball a much higher percentage of the time. I believe running the ball more, kept the defense fresher, and took some pressure of Jeff Garcia.

I believe the Eagles will keep up the trend, and run the ball more. Donovan Mcnabb might not put up the silly passing numbers, but more runs will equal less pressure on Mcnabb and a fresher defense. Mcnabb might not have his best career numbers, but he will be very efficient. I have Mcnabb ranked as tied for the 3rd best quarterback in the league, and not because of his feet, but because he understands his west coast offense and makes good decisions.

Bryan Westbrook is an outstanding player, but the strength of this running back isn’t carrying the ball. I know that sounds counter productive, but he is such an outstanding pass threat that it makes him worthwhile. I guess what I am trying to say, is that he isn’t at his strength running between the tackles, but getting the ball in the open field.

The Eagles might pass for a higher percentage of their plays, but a lot of these “passes” are really runs. If Donovan drops backs and immediately throws to his back in the flats, these plays are really long handoffs. The reason for doing this is because you would rather have a shifty/agile Westbrook in the open field playing 1 on 1 on the outside, instead of 6 on 7 with blockers in the trenches.

Correll Buckhalter is not as good of a player, but I would like to see the Eagles continue to use him later in games as that North/South runner in the trenches. I do believe the Eagles have a good offensive line. Thomas and Runyan are big prototypical tackles and Shane Andrews is a real road grader at guard. The Eagles have the horses to run block, so I would like to see them as able to attack the edges and pass/ run screens with Westbrook, but also pound the ball with Buckhalter and wear down defenses and protect leads late in games.

Besides more efficiency/running on offense, I see the Eagles defense improving. Defense is about pressure, and a good way to create pressure is by the defensive line. Pressure causes sacks, fumbles, interceptions, and these turnovers give your offense the ball in very favorable field position. The Eagles should create pressure with their stacked defensive line. The starting defensive Ends are quality, and they have good depth. They have the ability to rotate in Trent Cole and Juqua Thomas as a second unit much like a Hockey team. Sometimes as early as the second quarter last year, they would just substitute in a whole new defensive line. Darren Howard is strong against the run, and the Freak is a natural pass rusher with a quick first step. He has long arms, and his athleticism is rarely matched by the right tackles that are asked to block him. The Eagles also have some young high round picks and some other guys mixed in there at tackle. The Ends haven’t been great thus far, but the young guys should improve, and by rotating everybody around, the depth should inflate the results a little bit as well. I expect the Eagles to get back to dialing up that blitz, and pressuring opponents. Takeo Spikes is that big play linebacker that they lacked, that can cause turnovers, and strike fear into opponents.

This team has the coaching stability, the great CEO Quarterback, the defense, the ability to win on the road, and the history. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team started off 4-1 before their week 7 trip to Chicago and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were 8-2 for their week 12 trip to Foxboro. It would be tough, but it is do-able. In any event this team will have a first round bye in the NFC playoffs.

New York Giants.
May people are extremely low on the New York Giants. You will hear how the players don’t like their coach, how Coughlin scolds his players for being 15 minutes late, how Tiki was the whole team, how Strahan is unhappy, and the guys on the radio picked them to be 6-10. The New York Giants are like the plague right now. Vegas has them down for about 8 wins, but I see the Giants going over that.

People tend to remember what happened last, the most. People will see the Colts win the super bowl, and talk about how “I know it is cheesy to pick a repeat, but I can’t see them losing”. Well when you’re picking games or forecasting a season, you need a good imagination because anything can happen. People see a team dominate one week, and can’t “see” how it won’t happen each and every week thereafter. Two years ago, the Giants were picked to finish last in the NFC East, because the Eagles owned the division, and the Giants were breaking in a new Quarterback. The team stunk the previous year, Eli stunk his first year, and the players “hated” the coach. The team went 11-5, won the division, and then got embarrassed in their playoff game. That was the game they started calling up guys off the street to come play linebacker for them because all three starting linebackers were injured. Then last years predictions came out, and people put too much emphasis on the embarrassing Carolina playoff loss.

Last year the Giants had the hardest schedule in the NFL going into the year, and they had half their games against playoff teams, they played 3 of the final 4, and both super bowl teams. The Giants were a tale of two teams last year… they were good the first half of the year, and bad the second half of the year. The correlation wasn’t due to the coach, or any individual player, but by the fact that they had massive injuries, and they lost some close, well fought battles (Dallas, Philly playoff game etc.) This year, people still remember the stink from that second half downturn.

The Giants might not necessarily be a better team next year, but their schedule will be easier so their record could be better. I don’t think the loss of Tiki Barber will be as bad as other people think it will be. With that being said, I don’t see Brandon Jacobs matching his 1665 rushing yards, but I could see him getting a solid 1250 yards. Not that the Giants need to match their offensive yardage, but I could easily see Eli bumping up 400 yards to his 06’ 3200 passing yards.

Last year when the sure and dependable Amani Toomer was hurt, Eli basically had 3 choices… throw to Plax, throw to shockey, or throw to Tiki. Tim Carter was ineffective, Sinorce Moss was hurt, David Tyree was more of a special teams guy.

I do expect Toomer to take leadership of the receiving corps., I’d rather have Plax as an option ( filling the deep ball niche) rather than being a go-to guy. Shockey will be shockey, but I do expect a little more from the 3rd and 4th guys on the depth chart. I expect something out of the speedy Sinorice Moss, or the rookie Steve Smith. Eli Manning isn’t a game manager, he can run the muddle huddle, 4 WR sets, he can make reads and attack the field. He hasn’t shown the most accuracy, but Donovan Mcnabb was throwing ground balls early in his career and he turned out ok.

Eli has had some bumps and bruises along his development, but I expect him to get better. People want to give up on this guy too early, but
- he made the playoffs both of his years as the starter.
- He has thrown 48 touchdown passes in 2 years as a starter.

People want to bash the Giants for losing Tiki, but they didn’t lose much at all last year when Jacobs was in the game. He isn’t as good as Barber in absolute terms, but he offers a different product. He is a cloud of dust back, that can pound yards when they aren’t there, while Tiki can take advantage of good opportunities when they are there better. I think Jacobs could turn some of those 1 yard Tiki Runs into 3 yards, and put Eli in more manage-able situations on 3rd downs.

Two years ago the Giants had the highest scoring offense for much of the year. This was because the defense created turnovers, and gave the offense the ball in good field position. The Giants also had a good return game.

Last year, Michael Strahan, Osi, and Fred Robbins were all hurt on the defensive line and both starting corners were hurt. The defensive coordinator Tim Lewis had a defense that was designed to create pressure from their all-pro defensive ends, while they dropped mainly 7 men into pass coverage. That plan may have worked and all, but when the ends were hurt it wasn’t a good idea. They also started the year off with an unbearable first 3 games. How would you like to be the DC when your first 3 games are Indy, @ Philly and @ Seattle against the best quarterbacks in the league?

I expect the Giants to bliz more on defense, and start creating more turnovers again. Your pass rush should have problems when both ends and both corners are hurt, and you don’t blitz. I think Mathias Kiwi was very underrated at the D-End spot last year. He was tall, long, fast, and had a motor. I see him as a little bit smaller end ( a good natural pass rusher), but when I do believe he could make it as a SAM linebacker as well. He sort of reminds me of a skinnier version of Demarcus Ware down in Dallas on a physical level. I believe more pressure on D will equal better field position and easier points for that offense.

The secondary is shaky at best, but if the pass rush does it’s job, I don’t think they are that bad that they can’t be masked. McQuarters impressed me as the 3rd corner, but I’d like to see Ross and Webster develop. Webster has all of the physical tools, and I’d like to see what he can do healthy. Remember, when he was a junior at LSU, he was the #1 touted corner in the nation, before getting hurt.

The Giants start the year out with a modest schedule of @ Dallas, GB, @ Wash, Phi. Now if they could start this first 4 game stretch out at least 2-2 (optimistically 3-1), they will be in very good position, because the middle of their schedule is soft until week 13. After the first 4 games they get Jets, @ Atl, @ Miami, Bye, DAL, @ Det, Min. They could go 5-1, but If they went 4-2 on that stretch they would be 6-4 with 2 tough games @ Chicago and @ Philly. I do see the Giants finishing over .500 and I do see them making the playoffs.

I very clearly see the Eagles winning the East, I see the Giants strong at #2, but 3 and 4 are closer in my opinion. I am going with Dallas at 3 and here is why…

In general I think coaching change is a bad thing. You have to get used to a new voice, new schemes, and a general shake up of the organization. Sometimes it works ( Naw Awlans last year), but usually it doesn’t ( Oakland Last year).

I really think Bill Parcells is/was one of the top 3 coaches on any list… current… all-time etc. The guy can win with a passing offense, a ball control offense, a defensive team, he can plan, motivate, be funny, be fair and be stern at the same time. He has taken crap teams and built them up, and he has maximized the value of his teams. Not every stint was perfect, but nobody is perfect.

I believe the Cowboys were two distinct teams last year, one led by Bledsoe and one led by Romo. The Bledsoe cowboys were not as good as the Romo Cowboys, but Parcells got the most he could out of Bledsoe. For instance, if Romo was the QB the whole season, they might have been a 6-10 team, but if Romo were the QB the entire season, they might have been an 11-5 team. I actually picked Dallas (as a sleeper) to represent the NFC in the super bowl last year, and if a botched XP type kick had been made, they would have at least come closer with a 2nd round playoff appearance.

I think the Loss of Parcells hurts, but remember that he is leaving the ROMO team and not the Bledsoe team. Don’t have the illusion that Wade Phillips is anywhere near as good as of a head coach as Parcells. When Parcells inherited this team, they were in shambles. Now, Wade Phillips inherits a playoff team to build upon.

- I know they signed Lenard Davis, but I don’t like the Pass blocking of this team ( Bledsoe illustrates that), Romo is surprisingly good in the pocket which helps mask that.
- I don’t like the Kicking game
- They get a coaching downgrade, AND they have a new coach

I do think they have something at linebacker though. Phillips will run the 3-4, and he has some players to work with. Demarcus Ware is a beast, Anthony Spencer is a highly touted DE/OLB hybrid, Bobby Carpenter looked good at the end of last year, and I like Bradie James in the middle. They have a talented LB corps for that 3-4 defense.

The interesting thing about the Cowboys schedule, is that they have some of their easier opponents on the road, with the harder guys at home. Instead of having clearly defined predicted Ws and Ls, they have sort of a feast or famine schedule.

Miami, Chicago, Buffalo, Detroit and Carolina are road games, but they are all win-able,
St. Louis, New England, Minnesota, Jets, GB looks harder, but they are at home.

Chicago is obviously the hardest road game, but the rest look win-able.
Minnesota is the easiest home game, but the other opponents should at or around .500

I think the Cowboys could, be a playoff team, but losing a Hall of Fame coach hurts more than you think. I think there is the possibility that they won’t be worse record wise, because Phillips will be playing with the Romo Cowboys, instead of wasting time with Bledsoe.

Washington was a joke last year. I loved laughing at the coaches fighting, the QB situation, and watching the lack of pass rush. The Redskins were high on the ESPN preseason power rankings, but I clearly had them as finishing last in their division ( check my link) In fact, I had all 3 NFC East playoff teams correct, and I had 5/6 of the NFC correct ( minus New Orleans).

Everybody in Washington wanted to see Mark Brunell and his horizontal offense benched, but Jason Campbell didn’t do any better. It seems to me, like Joe Gibbs is at the end of his coaching road, and he would rather have a consistent, but unspectacular Mark Brunell manage games, and try and win on defense, than bring up Jason Campbell and play that whole game.

My prediction about the Redskins, is that Joe Gibbs will NOT be coaching the team next year. He still has one foot in his Nascar life, the coaches are fighting ( more than usual), and his grandson has some health problems. He hasn’t had as much success in this second go-around, I expect the pain to end.

I think the Media made too much of the 700 page playbook, much in the same way they laughed at Tom Couglin and his 15 mintues late tirade. The Redskins playbook might be 700 pages, but what if I told you that the other teams average playbook was 550 pages? What if I told you that only 100 pages were important etc. Taking the number of pages in their playbook out of context is riddulous. I understand that their offense could be hard to learn, but this is pro football. Do you think Al Saunders offense is more difficult to learn than the West Coast offense that Philly runs? They said it takes “ 1 year” to learn his offense, well what about learning the offense that Matt Hassellback runs in Seattle?

I think the Redskins best chance of being a winner next year, would be to use those big boys on the offensive line, and run the ball with Portis/Betts, and play good defense. Be like the Steelers, have a power run game, play good D, and let your quarterback manage the game. If Jason Campbell is asked to be Drew Brees, they will lose. If you ask him to play Ben Hamburger and not make mistakes, they could be decent.

I actually like a bigger Laddell Betts running the ball over the speedier Clinton Portis. Betts is a big back that can follow the lineman on those pull outs and then click it into the next gear and gain yards. Ports is a threat for the long run, but won’t get as many yards on the consistent basis. Fans love speedy backs, but I like my 3 yard and a cloud of dust back.

I think the back 7 on defense are actually pretty good, the only problem is that defense starts up front. Griffin is good, and Samoa is underrated, but the Ends don’t cut it. I would honestly rather have the backup defensive ends from Philly than the starters in Washington. Cole over Carter, and Thomas over Daniels. I think Phillip Daniels is a joke and there is no way this guy should see the field. The pass defense as bad last year, because opposing quarterbacks had forever to throw. People had film study on Greg Williams blitzes, and the Ends weren’t good enough to create pass rush on their own. I believe the back 7 would LOOK better, if the pass rush were even average.

The Redskins Defense was historically bad at creating turnovers, and sacking opponents. That was a function of the poor pass rush, and I see no reason why it will improve. Maybe it will get a little better, but they will need to get creative to create a pass rush. Wasn’t Shawn Springs the leading sack artist on the team from the CB position 2 years ago? Carter led the team with 6 sacks? That doesn’t cut it. I actually think Andre Carter is ok, but he can’t do it by himself, and Phillip Daniels is an absolute joke.

With the Redskins schedule, I think they could be that run the ball, play defense kind of team, but I’d peg them at 7-9.

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