2007 NFL Preview - Part II
Rather than bombard everyone with my standard NFL breakdown of the impending season (you know the type… eight divisions, postseason predictions, takes me two weeks to write and takes you three days to read – though most of you probably realize how stupid I sound after about twenty minutes), I’ve decided to break this year’s preview up into a few separate posts.
So… uh… here we go!
Today, the NFC South & East, and AFC West (I’m a writin’ fool!). Click here for Part I of the Preview – NFC West & North.
Let’s be honest here guys – the Falcons and Michael Vick (and to a lesser extent, Joey Harrington) are the story of this division this season, if not the NFL itself. Everything they do will be chronicled – every loss will be met with “Wonder how it would have turned out with Vick on the field”, every win will bring about talk of a lost season. The thing is, if the team uses the whole Vick situation as motivation, they could really come together and maybe even make a run at the division.
For as great a story as the Saints were last season, they got a lot of bounces in their favor, not to mention at least two or three wins on emotion alone. Their defense played ridiculously far above their heads last season (in ’04 & ’05 they ranked 14th of 16 in the NFC in points allowed – in ’06: 3rd), but the offense is legit. I think they give back a game, maybe two, but still play well enough within the division to make the postseason.
People seem to forget that the Eagles managed to go 10-6 and win a playoff game without their franchise QB under center after Week 10. They also managed to go 5-2 to wrap up the season. With Donovan McNabb back (and by all accounts, healthy) there’s no reason to think they can’t at least duplicate those 10 wins in 2007. The defense is still playing at a high level, even with the front office’s decision to cut Jeremiah Trotter last week. And Brian Westbrook continues to produce just about every time he touches the ball. If they can avoid major injuries, they should be a serious threat to the Bears’ NFC supremacy.
The Redskins could be the “surprise” team of ’08 (they’re 20/1 to win the NFC at Bodog.com right now, and 40/1 to win it all). They lost Clinton Portis for most of last season, and Jason Campbell didn’t get a start until Week 11 (they went 5-2 with him under center in the final seven games). Their defense can still give people problems – Sean Taylor is one of the most underrated safeties in the NFL – and in a weak conference, a jump to 9-7 might be enough to get them into the postseason.
I’m not a big fan of the Cowboys’ chances this season. Wade Phillips’ “Let ‘em play” style just seems like it’s going to backfire by about Week 9 or so. I just foresee Terrell Owens finally snapping with the lack of discipline, and I have no idea just how far he’s going to go. There’s probably a 5% chance that he commits homicide on the sidelines this year after Romo misses him on a Go route. If they can hold it together though,
And finally, the Giants. I’m trying my hardest not to laugh while writing this part of the preview. I have absolutely zero hope for the Giants to be contenders this season – their offense wasn’t that good last season, and they lost their #1 running back. Their defense wasn’t that good last season, and it got worse this year losing Michael Strahan, Lavar Arrington, and roughly 2/3 of their starting defensive backfield in one preseason game already. Needless to say, they’re staring a top-10 draft pick straight in the face.
The Chargers were the class of the NFL during the ’06 regular season, but completely imploded in their first round playoff game. I remember that game well, mostly because my fingers nearly imploded while live blogging the game from a hotel in
The Chiefs aren’t nearly the team they were last season, and last season they barely limped into the playoffs anyway before getting smoked by the Colts in the first round. While all the talk is about Larry Johnson’s workload, the focus should be on a depleted offensive line guarding Damon Huard, the newly minted starting quarterback. Not to mention the Chiefs haven’t fielded anything better than a middle of the road defense in a few years (literally – they were 9th of 16 AFC teams in three major defensive categories last season; yards per game, rushing yards per game and points allowed, and 11th in passing yards allowed). They’re a middle of the pack team that caught a good run and a good schedule in ’06 – not this year.
And then, there are the Raiders. A team so inept that their #1 pick – the #1 overall draft pick last year – would rather sit a season by making outrageous contract demands than play for them. A team that looks to be relying on a “mobile” QB coming off of two major knee surgeries in the same season, on the same knee. A team whose “Just Win, Baby!” mantra gets more and more laughable every year. But hey – at least the statistics said they had an above average defense last season. Of course, that’s probably because their offense averaged a ridiculous 10.5 points per game in ’06 – once teams scored twice, they eased off the accelerator knowing they probably didn’t need to do much more for the W. I give them a couple more wins this season, though it’s more out of pity than anything else.