New England Patriots (14-2). This is not even fair. It’s one thing to see the Pats return stacked on offense and improved on defense thanks to the drafting of LB Donta Hightower in the first round of this year’s draft and the play of LB Jerrod Mayo. It’s another for New England to have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this season. Besides playing in the weak AFC East, they play against the pathetic NFC West (outside of the 49ers), and get the Texans, 49ers and Broncos at home. Life is so unfair…
Buffalo Bills (9-7). Things are looking up for the Bills and their fans. They started off hot last year before injuries slowed them down the second half of the season. I think Chan Gailey is the right man to coach the Bills. I like that they got DE Mario Williams in free agency. In short, I like the Bills. I just don’t like them quite enough for them making some noise in the playoffs.
New York Jets (8-8). What a freaking mess. ESPN and Skip Brainless would have you think that the Jets are America’s darlings mainly because of Tim Tebow. What ESPN and Skippy fail to realize that the Jets offense is, well, OFFENSIVE. It failed to score a touchdown in preseason. While it’s only preseason, the Jets do not have any playmakers on offense. Shon Greene? Really? Santonio Holmes is a #2 receiver at best. The only thing that will prevent the Jets from having a losing season is their awesome defense. I’d be shocked if the Jets win more than 8 games. That’s too bad because I really like Rex Ryan and would hate to see him get fired.
Miami Dolphins (3-13). HBO should be arrested for featuring the Dolphins on “Hard Knocks”. Look, I understand that the new coach – whatever his name is – is trying to instill a new culture that is conducive to winning. Too bad that winning feeling won’t be there for a while. I wasn’t impressed with rookie QB Ryan Tannenhill when he was at Texas A&M. Miami’s offense is so bad, the Jets think the Dolphins suck offensively. The defense is decent but just ok. It’s gonna be a long season in South Beach.
New York Giants (11-5). The Giants are solid. Period. They are not flashy as the rival Cowboys. They do not yearn for some attention as the Jets do. I like the fact that the Giants are focused on the task at hand. QB Eli Manning is a bonafide superstar with his second Super Bowl win in four years. The defense is loaded once again with the best front four in the league. This division is New York’s to lose.
Dallas Cowboys (10-6). I know I have been a sucker for Dallas in the past, but I think they will get back to the playoffs this year. Expectations are low in Dallas, which should help the team (unfortunately). I think QB Tony Romo will have a big year. Look for DE DeMarcus Ware to make a push for Defensive Player of the Year. I just don’t trust Jerry Jones behind the scenes – of that’s right, he likes being out in front!
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7). The reason why I do not have Philly ahead of Dallas is because of the health of QB Michael Vick. Will someone please tell this brother to slide? His desire to wanting to make the big play is a blessing AND a curse in this case. The defense will be better, but I still think they will have trouble stopping the run. And in a division like this, you HAVE to be able to stop the run. As many points the Eagles will put up, it may not be enough most weeks because of a suspect front seven on defense.
Washington Redskins (6-10). The Redskins will be better on paper, but it will translate as much in the record column. Rookie QB Robert Griffin III, aka RG3 is the real deal and will succeed as long as coach Mike Shanahan’s ego does not get in the way. The defense has always been the team’s strong point. Too bad the offense is not on par with the defense. Outside of Santana Moss, the Skins have a bunch of #3 receivers trying to be #2s. As a result, the Redskins will be on the losing end on a lot of 17-13 games.