|08-16-2007, 05:24 PM||#1|
Standing by my principles
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Way out there
For dreamers and homers (like me?) . . .
I knew it, I knew it . . . THE BRONCOS ARE GOING TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL!!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Seven Bold NFL Predictions For '07
By Eric Anderson
Here we are almost eight months removed from my beloved Bears handing the Super Bowl to the Colts on a silver platter ... and the wound still stings as if it were yesterday.
Yeah, that Peyton guy is good (if you like 6'5". 230-pound quarterbacks with a laser rocket arm, of course), but remember Da Bears were up 14-6 on Da Ponies before blundering the title away with one miscue after another.
Just thinking about it makes my stomach twist and turn like a Lindsay Lohan-driven car on the way home from the clubs.
But regardless of how deep the cut remains, here we are ready to buckle up the chin-straps, just three weeks away from yet another fine season of NFL football. Indeed, it's time to take your eyes of whatever lingers in the rearview mirror and focus your sights forward onto that god-awful stadium in Glendale, Arizona — site of Super Bowl XLII.
So as we sit here with all 32 teams sitting at 0-0, tied for first place (except the Raiders, who have somehow managed to already lose a game before the season even started), I offer these seven bold predictions for '07.
Read. Enjoy. Write 'em down and take 'em to Vegas.
And if by chance you feel otherwise, let the ridicule begin. You know where to find me.
7) If We Only Had a Schaub
That will be the cry emanating from Atlanta this year as Falcon fans mourn the ill-timed departure of perennial backup-turned-real-solid-starter-in-the-making Matt Schaub.
Pouring a little dash of Morton's in the wound will be the fact that the lowly Texans will have a better record than the Falcons this year. Mark it down.
Houston has very winnable games against Oakland, Cleveland, Tennessee (twice) and, none other than the Falcons.
And for all you math majors out there, you've undoubtedly calculated that even if they win all of those contests, it wouldn't be more than five wins.
So how can that possibly be more than Atlanta? I'm glad you asked...
6) The Falcons Are on the Clock
Look on the bright side, Atlanta fans, you only have to endure one season with Joey Harrington at the helm. That's because come next April, you will have your choice of whichever college QB you want with the first pick in the draft.
Of course, this is assuming Michael Vick never suits up for you again, which he shouldn't because if management has half a brain, they will take the first bag of peanuts offered to them and cut ties with arguably the NFL's most disappointing player in the last decade.
But I digress.
Indeed, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Falcons fans, you will be the proud owners of the league's worst record this coming season.
No exaggeration, heading into your bye week (Week 8), the Dirty Birds will be lucky to have one win under their belts. And that is assuming you can beat either Tennessee on the road (I wouldn't count on that) or a revamped Houston team at home, led by former backup and the aforementioned oh-don't-you-wish-you-still-had-him-at-QB Matt Schaub (who will certainly have plenty of motivation in his return to the ATL).
I'll give you credit and say you win one of those two ... but not both.
And the second half of the season doesn't get any easier with games against San Francisco, Carolina, Indianapolis, St. Louis Arizona, and Seattle on the schedule. The only thing keeping the Falcons from a 1-15 season is the inevitable split with two games against the Buccaneers.
You have no QB. Warrick Dunn is coming off of back surgery. Your defense is atrocious.
For the record, I think the Browns are the worst team in the NFL. However, their schedule is a bit more favorable.
It's no stretch of the imagination to think the Falcons are headed for a 2-14 record. However, I'll give them 3-13 with a fluke win somewhere in the mix.
5) Very, Very Vince-able
Is that even a word? If not, it should be. Anyway, Titans QB and last year's Offensive Rookie of the Year Vince Young will prove to be anything but invincible this season and forget the Pacman Jones unending distraction, V.Y. has one person to blame for his impending slide — John Madden.
Yes, you're hearing this one just about everywhere. And yes, I'm about as superstitious as they come. But unlike many of the ritualistic behaviors that fans would like to believe have direct impact on the world of sports, the Madden curse unfortunately has a proven track record.
A look at some of the star's Madden has personally doomed:
Madden 2000 — Barry Sanders on the cover. The Lions RB abruptly retires before the season.
Madden 2002 — Vikes QB Daunte Culpepper misses five games and watches his TD total plummet from 40 in 2001 to just 19 in '02.
Madden 2003 — The beginning of the end of a legend as Marshall Faulk injures his ankle and makes only 10 trips to the end zone, compared to 21 the year before.
Madden 2004 — PETA's future public enemy No. 1, Michael Vick, breaks his leg and misses 11 games. Good thing for him the Falcons don't put their injured competitors to sleep like Mike does his dogs. Woof, woof.
Madden 2006 — A doctor asks Donovan McNabb to turn his head and cough. McNabb fails the test with a sports hernia, only plays nine games and sees his TDs cut in half from the previous year.
Madden 2007 — Coming off a record-breaking 28-TD campaign, Shaun Alexander misses six games with a broken foot and even when he returns, is a shell of the player he was a year before. He scores only 7 times.
Need I say more?
Titans fans, feel free to send your hate mail to the good folks at EA Sports for letting Madden put your boy on the cover.
You can also blame Titans brass for letting 1,200-yard rusher Travis Henry walk.
On that note...
4) Travis Joins the Mile High Club
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the next great Denver RB.
In Tennessee, Henry was part of an offense that was usually behind, usually throwing and usually facing at least eight in the box. And he still managed to put up over 1,200 yards and 7 TDs.
Travis, welcome to running back paradise.
Over the years, in any season where he has started 13 games or more, the diminutive Volunteers alumnus has posted 1,400, 1,300, and 1,200-plus seasons, respectively. Now he moves into a system that has turned guys like Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, and Reuben Droughns into 1,000-yard rushers.
Of all the offseason moves in the NFL, Henry joining the Broncos will prove to be the most significant. A 1,600-yard, 15 TD season is anything but improbable.
3) Rex is Headed to Hawaii
Forget extreme sports. If you want an adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding experience, just watch Bears football.
In his first full season as a starter, Rex Grossman ran the gamut of emotions for Chicagoans, from early season legend-in-the-making, to late season where-is-Brian-Griese-when-you-need-him ... and everything in between.
But for all the criticism Rex received last year (most of it well-deserved), Bears fans saw flashes of something we haven't witnessed in over two decades — a QB able to lead this team back to the promised land.
He started all 16 games last year, posting over 3,200 yards through the air. And while he completed 20 passes to the wrong team, he also threw 23 TDs — more than all but six other QBs in the NFL.
The stat book might indicate it was his fourth year in the league, but for all intents and purposes, it was Rex's rookie year, after playing in a total of just eight games in the previous three years combined.
Whatever you want to call it, Sexy Rexy led his team to a 14-3 record (best in the NFC), and in fact, the Bears lost only one game to an NFC opponent all year — a meaningless Week 17 meeting with the Packers, in which Rex and most of the team phoned it in from the start with home-field already clinched. Not that I condone that approach, but that game was all that stood between the Bears and an undefeated mark against the entire NFC (they ended up 11-1).
Now with a full season under center behind him, there's no reason to think Rex can't improve upon last year's numbers.
I'm not 100 percent convinced Cedric Benson is ready to carry the load at RB, but if the reports from camp are any indication, it might not matter. Rex has completely settled into the offense and is running it with confidence and ease. Add first-round draft pick TE Greg Olsen out of The U into the mix, and Rex is ready to make last year look like a warm-up.
The TDs will rise. The INTs will drop and the Bears just might make a return trip to the Big Game riding on Rex's right arm.
Either way, after this season, you can call him Rex Grossman: Pro Bowl QB.
Speaking of QBs poised for big years...
2) Heeeeerrrrrrrrrrre's Carson
Fantasy owners, thank me now ... or later. It doesn't really matter. But I'm offering you this little nugget — Carson Palmer will be this year's MVP.
Consider this is a QB who passed for a club record 4,035 yards last season with 28 TDs — and that is without any offseason and not much of a preseason, thanks to a devastating knee injury suffered at the conclusion of the 2005 season.
Palmer says his knee is close to 100 percent, and although he plans to return to wearing a knee brace this season, it certainly didn't seem to hamper him in his first preseason game this year, as he completed 7-of-10 passes for 93 yards. And not that I put any stock in the Pro Bowl, but this was also your Pro Bowl MVP. For whatever that's worth.
And don't think for a second Chad Johnson isn't well aware he failed to catch over 90 passes last year for the first time in a season since 2002. Ocho Cinco is primed for a ginormous year. Combined with arguably football's best No. 2 receiver in T.J. ("Put it on the board. Championship!") Houshmandzadeh, the man feeding these two the ball will eclipse his career numbers and etch his name on the MVP trophy.
1) And the Winner is...
Come on, what would a predictions column be without revealing my Super Bowl champion? But I'll do you one better. How about this year's final four (hey, I'm nothing if not a giver)...
AFC title game: Denver 27, New England 21
NFC title game: Philadelphia 24, Chicago 17
Most teams dream of a shutdown corner. Than there's the Denver Broncos who have two after plucking Dre Bly from his NFL purgatory in Detroit.
I really like the makeup of this Denver team. I mean, really like. We're talking the kind of like as in if I was in seventh grade and the Broncos passed me a note that said "Will you go out with me?" I'd mark that "YES" checkbox faster than you can say Clearasil.
Behind the rifle arm and the absolute fearlessness of household-name-to-be Jay Cutler, the legs of the aforementioned Mr. Henry and a disgustingly nasty defense, Mike Shanahan leads the Broncs back to the big game for the first time since 1999 ... and to their first title since that car salesman John Elway was at the helm.
SUPER BOWL XLII: Denver 23, Philadelphia 21
So there you have it. Seven strong prognostications for the upcoming season. Thanks for sticking with me through it.
If you agree with me, consider yourself blessed with other-worldly intelligence. If you disagree, you're either new to this game ... or a Chargers fan.
|08-16-2007, 05:36 PM||#3|
Billy=Semi Tough Big Guy
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: between 5,000 and 10,000 feet elevation
Guess he wrote that before Philly lost two starters for the season.
|08-16-2007, 05:52 PM||#4|
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Topeka, KS
I won't comment on the prediction, but this made me chuckle...
|08-16-2007, 05:57 PM||#5|
Join Date: Mar 2004
|08-16-2007, 06:31 PM||#8|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2001
|08-16-2007, 06:35 PM||#9|
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Highlands Ranch
This was actually a fun article to read. I like this guy's writing style, its entertaining.
Not only does he make his prodictions, but he does it in a funny way and gives reasons to back up what he predicts.
I even liked the parts when he was talking about other teams, not just the Broncos parts. However, I did really like the Broncos parts.