Thursday, August 23, 2012

NFC North Preview

This division has a very interesting battle between the two middle teams. It's almost given that the Packers will finish first and the Vikings last, but the Bears and the Lions will be battling to finish second, in what ultimately could be a playoff berth.

1. The Green Bay Packers. Expect the Packers to ride that discount double check all the way to January, they look just about the same as they did last year. There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said. They are a bit week at running back, but number 12 under center(or in the shot gun most of the time) makes up for it. Nick Perry from USC and Jerel Worthy from Michigan State will help the D. At linebacker they are very strong with Mathews, Hawk, and D.J. Smith, adding Perry can only help. Look at the Packers to go (13-3) (14-2).

2. The Chicago Bears. Here is my surprise pick, I love these Bears. This year Jay Cutler will be able to drop back 7 steps, which will be refreshing considering the awful state of the offensive line in the last few years. I am very high on Jay Cutler, but when you are staring at stadium lights every other play, it's not easy to throw much less find some consistency. Hey look who go their contract Matt Forte! Brandon Marshall is joining the squad, Devin Hester is returning kicks, and Alshon Jeffery from South Carolina is any quarterbacks dream. At 6'3 he is a cornerback's nightmare. If this line can hold up, which I think it will, Chicago will be able to find offensive balance. A healthy dose of Matt Forte and some play action will have defenses on their toes. It is a veteran defense that is very stingy against the run, and can be exploited against the pass, but a veteran defense nonetheless. I like the Bears to go (10-6) if they stay healthy.

3. The Detroit Lions. Matt Stafford continues to improve. Megatron is going to do his thing. Ryan Broyles from Oklahoma was a great pick in the second round as he is another option in the passing attack. I look for Stafford's numbers to improve if that's even possible, but this team cannot run the football at all. I said the same thing about the Packers, but Stafford isn't Rodgers yet, and the Packers defense is better. Kevin Smith is pedestrian at best when it comes to RB's and that is this team'a downfall. On defense this front 4 needs to begin producing like we all thought it would. Suh, Fairley and Vanden Bosch, and Avril. They are not doing enough against the run. They gave up 130 yards a game last year. If you are going to step on people and act like badass defensive lineman, you can't finish 23rd against the run.... unless the D preforms up to snuff, this team will not make it to the playoffs. 22nd against the pass isn't much better (9-7)

4. The Minnesota Vikings. This Vikings team does have a lot of potential with a pretty solid looking offense. Christian Ponder is the only big question mark in terms of production, Adrian Peterson's health could also be an issue, but when he is on the field and healthy he is one of the best in the league. Jerome Simpson is a nice addition to the receiving core, giving the young Ponder another good target. The offensive line looks good. Besides Jared Allen on defense they lack standout players and this defense really struggles against the pass. There are too many holes on this defense, and with Christian Ponder at quarterback, nothing is guaranteed (5-11)-Josh Neighbors

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NFC South Preview

In terms of quarterbacks, this is the most interesting division in the NFC. Can Drew Brees produce after all the offseason controversy with the Saints? Can Cam Newton put up numbers in his sophomore season the same way he did in his rookie season? Will Josh Freeman show improvement and not regression? Can Matt Ryan stay consistent and finally get the Falcons winning in the playoffs? NFC south is the perennial video game style division, it's going to be a fun year.

1. The Atlanta Falcons. Balance is the name of the game when you talk about the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddie White, and Tony Gonzalez. These Falcons will keep you guessing with the a bus in the backfield, Two freakishly athletic receivers, one of the best tight ends of all time, and a very efficient quarterback. The run defense is very solid, they ranked 6th last season in yards per game allowed. The pass D ranked 20th, but that is expected in the pass happy NFC south, they also added Asante Samuel to the secondary. That rank will improve as the schedule does feature a few teams that do struggle with the pass. Look for the Falcons to go (13-3) and win the NFC South.

2. The New Orleans Saints. We all known it has been a rough offseason for the New Orleans Saints. But if anybody expects this team to have a bad year, you are terribly mistaken. The offense won't suffer, Drew Brees much like Peyton Manning, is the offensive coordinator once the team hits the field. When Drew was holding out, I actually felt like this was one of the few times I was siding with the player, he deserves every penny he earns, that is how much he means to the Saints. Their schedule doesn't look to bad, they start of with Washington, @ Carolina, and Kansas City. This team could easily start (3-0). Expect to see some shootouts, I like them to finish (10-6), (9-7) maybe, It is all in Drew Brees hands.

3. The Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton exceeded expectations last year, but now it is time to see what he is made of. 21 touchdowns to 17 interceptions last year, that will not cut it. On the bright side, those 14 rushing touchdowns are a huge bonus, if his passing game develops, Cam Newton can be unstoppable. He's got a long way to go. Luckily he isn't the only player on the offense that has a big impact. They have a solid RB combo in Johnathon Stewart and Deangello Williams, they combined for 1,597 yards last season and 11 touchdowns. Steve Smith looks to have another monster year. The defense is weak, they are another shootout team. If all goes well this team can .500, maybe (9-7).

4. The Tampa Bay Buccanears. Last year was supposed to be a breakout year, and it just did not happen, it felt like more of a bump in the road in terms of Josh Freemans maturity. 16 TD's to 22 INT'S. He threw for close to 4K yards. LeGarrete Blount's injury slowed things down to and the run game suffered. They have 2 aging receivers in Mike Wallace and Kellen Winslow. The defense was worst in the league last year against the run, and in the bottom half of the league against the pass. They picked up Mark Barron in the draft with will help the secondary. The Bucs have to many questions and do not play the easiest schedule, (6-10).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

NFC East Preview

Football season is back and let's just get straight to it. I am going to start with my favorite/ least favorite division in the NFL. The NFC East, the woodshed in which my Washington Redskins get their asses handed to them every year. Not only is this a tough division, but it's also impossible to pick, last year the Eagles were my favorite and I had the Giants 2 and Cowboys 3, that worked out well.....not. Okay here goes round 2, I got this.
1: The New York Giants, their schedule is absolutely brutal and I am honestly not sure if this is the right spot for them. They have two games that I would say are definite wins on their schedule. They might be super bowl champions, but they did lose to the Redskins twice last season so you never know what you will get from these guys Week 2 against Tampa and week 5 against Cleveland. In their first 5 games, they could be (2-3) or (5-0). Roster is the somewhat the same, minus Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham, but I think they will compensate. The key for the Giants will be regular season consistency, because I like them once they get to the playoffs. But the regular season they tend to be suspect in replicating solid performances. Defensively the secondary looks very good and thats where they struggled last year. I think the giants will go around 10-6, It will be enough in this division.

2. The Philadelphia Eagles. Everyone says the Eagles have looked great in training camp. On a team that is absolutely loaded, they are fixing their only flaw from a great tragedy. The passing of Andy Reid's son will unify this team, a team under fire with a coach who has always been under fire, this is the year. I think the Eagles respond and make the playoffs.

3. The Dallas Cowboys. Jason Witten is gone, putting more pressure on on Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to make big time plays. DeMarco Murray will be very solid in the backfield, even though he is coming off injury. Romo will be Romo, but this defense will have to answer some serious questions. With a questionable D and what looks to be a killer schedule, I like the Cowboys to finish around (8-8) (7-9).

4. The Washington Redskins. As exciting as the addition of RGIII is, it's not enough to get the Redskins over the hump in one of the toughest divisions in football. The offensive line has some problems, Evan Royster has potential and Roy Helu is a solid receiving running back, as well as a decent runner. Pier Garcon will help out as well in terms of receiving weapons. This team has always been solid on defense, they just don't have the offensive consistency, a lot of new faces and a patchwork offensive line spells trouble for my Skins. (6-10) at best.- Josh Neighbors