NFC Divisional Breakdown - By Nick Signorelli
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|According to most of the e-mails I received, I am insane for saying that the AFC North was going to be the best division in the NFL. The consensus of readers seem to be picking the NFC East in this category, so we'll start there.
Washington Redskins - The most improved unit of the team is the coaching staff. Football games are won and lost in the trenches. Between offensive coordinator Al Saunders and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, these are going to be areas where the Redskins will shine. The lines of the Redskins are considerably better than anyone else in the division. With the addition of Andre Carter, the defensive line has improved. Any unit that is led by Williams is going to be a contender. The only real question mark is can QB Mark Brunell stay healthy. If not, Jason Campbell is going to have to play like Ben Roethlisberger did in his rookie year for the 'Skins to make the playoffs.
New York Giants - Most people have already crowned the G-Men as the division champs. I don't think so. Yes, they did sign LaVar Arrington. That makes the defense the strong unit on the team, but I still need a lot of proof that Eli Manning is going to be able to win the big game. I don't think he can, and he will prove that again this year. I see the Giants making the playoffs, as a wild card team, but making it no farther than the first round.
Dallas Cowboys - I will give TO until week 5 before the INTERNAL problems start, beginning with him not getting enough balls thrown his way from the human statue named Drew Bledsoe. Then, it'll be another two weeks before those stories start leaking out into the public. TO is a cancer that will harm this team more than he helps it. I will say Dallas' defense is much improved, but the fact is, this is Bill Parcells' last year in Dallas, and he is going to go out with a thump.
Philadelphia Eagles - Can anyone tell me how this team improved in anyway, shape or form this off season? I don't question Donovan McNabb's ability, but without a true No.1 WR, and a running back that has shown he is as fragile as fine china? Anyone that thinks Philly has a chance of even going 8-8 has no clue about football.
Chicago Bears - Chicago claims the division on the strength of the team's defense. I think it's a sad state of affairs when a team can not only make the playoffs, but win the division at 8-8.
Minnesota Vikings - In 2004, Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss were the kings of the division. In the two years since then, the Vikings got rid of BOTH of them. Had they both still been in Minny, they would win the division this year hands down. Brad Childress was brought in to try to steer the Love Boat in the right direction, but he will turn out to be nothing more than Captain Kangaroo. Owner Zygi Wilf would have been better off cutting the whole team and starting from scratch.
Detroit Lions - When you have one of the worst teams in football, that has spent four of their last five drafts on offensive skill positions (first round), what should you do? Well, if you're the Detroit Lions, you bring in offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Problem is, Martz does not believe in running the ball, making the Lions a team with two back up QBs looking to throw 45 times a game. Another problem. With the underachieving receivers on their roster, the QB combination of Jon Kitna and Josh McCown should complete about 15 of those 45. New head coach Rod Marinelli will give Martz control of the offense, but his defense better be ready to be on the field about 40 minutes a game.
Green Bay Packers - With all the nonsense that engulfed the off season with QB Brett Favre, how can this team possibly be ready for the season? The offensive line is getting weaker and weaker, they traded away their best WR, they signed Charles Woodson to a HUGE contract when no other team even had him in for an interview. This team is done already. They will be picking in the top 5 again next year.
Carolina Panthers - Steve Smith finally has some help that will keep teams like Seattle from putting six guys covering him. Jake Delhomme is going to have a great year, and I can see Carolina pushing to make it back to the Super Bowl this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This could be Jon 'Chucky' Gruden's last year as coach of the Bucs. They really haven't upgraded the team anyway, and Chris Simms just isn't the kind of QB that is going to lead his team to the promised land.
Atlanta Falcons - Even with the addition of DE John Abraham, the Falcons still have Mike Vick under center. I have said it before, and I will say it again, Vick is NOT A QUARTERBACK. He is a glorified Slash. He is Kordell Stewart with a little more speed. The only chance the Falcons have of making the playoffs is if Vick holds out and Matt Schaub is given the starting nod.
New Orleans Saints - Reggie Bush or no Reggie Bush, this team is not ready to make the steps this year. Give QB Drew Brees a year to recover from the injury that he suffered in a game that he shouldn't have even been playing in anyway, and some help on the other side of the ball, and the Saints could make a push in 2007.
Arizona Cardinals - I know everyone thinks I am crazy for picking the Cardinals, and even I think I may be a little premature on the rise of the Birds. There are multiple reasons for my decision, first being the Super Bowl jinx, that the loser doesn't make the playoffs the following year (more on that later). Kurt Warner may play about four games this year before injury. They have a very good QB In Matt Leinart that is good at the short passes and give him Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, and that is their strength.
Seattle Seahawks - Other than the Super Bowl losing jinx, it also looks like Shaun Alexander may also be due the Madden Cover Jinx as well. The insanity they had with the Vikings and the offer sheets, and with the 12th man, and the crying about the Super Bowl calls, I just think they are going to be forgotten about by week 12.
St. Louis Rams - You lose a genius offensive mind in Mike Martz, and you replace him with Scott Linehan. Who is he? He was the offensive coordinator of the Dolphins the last two years. Not exactly an offensive power. This team is lucky they don't finish last in the division. They probably would if it weren't for the...
San Francisco 49ers - Though I like the addition of Maryland TE Vernon Davis, this team is a LONG way to go before being competitive. QB Alex Smith was a joke of a first pick, and as long as the 49ers have him under center, they won't be winning many games. They do, of course, have Trent Dilfer as a back up, so I guess Alex Smith isn't THAT bad of an option.