2007 NFL Season Preview

It is a crazy time in the NFL these days, most of the teams in the league are good. I’m not saying parody has sprung upon us like DVD’s, reality TV, and gum, but there are so many good teams in the nfl, every week has become a battle so intense, anything can happen. This season preview, prior to the draft, is exactly how I see things leveling out during the 2007-2008 season. I’ve taken into account schedules, last seasons outcome, and free agency up until the most recent happenings around the league. What a year it will be!

NFC Predictions

NFC North

1. Chicago Bears: (11-5) While I don’t think the Chicago Bears will make it back to the NFC Finals, I do think they are the toast of the NFC North. The Packers are getting better, especially defensively, but I really don’t see the Pack threatening the Bears for the North Crown.

2. Green Bay Packers: (8-8) I love the young Packer defense. Truly, they’re only getting better, and when draft day comes around, I’m sure they’ll start getting more athletic too. The truth is, while the Packers didn’t improve greatly through free agency, their primarily rookie offensive line of a year ago is now a year older, that will help Brett Favre, and whomever gets the starting RB job in Green Bay.

3. Detroit Lions: (6-10) I don’t like the Lions, but I like the Vikings less. At least the Lions have made a few moves that could caulk some leaks. Offensively, the Lions have plenty of talent, but I have yet to see much from the team defensively, especially now that Dre Bly finds himself locked and loaded to a new contract in Denver.

4. Minnesota Vikings: (2-14) It seems as the Minnesota and their Brass have no idea what they’re going to do offensively next season. Either that, or they know something I don’t. See, right now, all they have is a rushing attack, an inexperienced quarterback, and 3 wide receivers, none of which have proven worthy of being starters.

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles: (12-4) If and when Donovan McNabb returns to full health, the Eagles certainly have the best, most consistent, and least problematic team in the NFC East, and quite possibly all of the NFC. With Westbrook turning into a sure-thing back, and Kearse returning, as well as adding a playmaker like Takeo Spikes, the Eagles are primed for a run at the NFC title.

2. Dallas Cowboys: (10-6) While the Cowboys have gone through quite the offseason coaching change, I have a feeling Wade Phillips’ style will help a Cowboys team that wasn’t really down with Parcells’ old school mid games. The bottom line is, Phillips sticks with his guns, and the Cowboys have plenty of ammo. Expect them to push the Eagles in the East.

3. Washington Redskins: (7-9) The Redskins may have purchased themselves a few more wins this off season, but I don’t see their team improving to the point of a playoff run. Sooner or later, the Skins will realize that trading away all their draft picks and picking up older “proven” players doesn’t always translate to team unity and playoff victories.

4. New York Giants: (6-10) The Giants are being led by a lame-duck coach, they lost their biggest offensive weapon, and their defense and offensive line is aging. Did I mention their secondary has more question marks than a Dr. Seuss book? You betcha. Expect this talented team to have mucho turmoil at ever turn.

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks: (10-6) The Seahawks struggled a year ago, and while I think they’ll be better in 2007, the fact is, their once easy-does-it conference has transformed into a bunch of teams ready to give the Hawks a run. For at least one more year, Alexander and the Hawks will make just enough moves to finish atop the West, and quite possibly squirt toward a meeting with the Eagles in the NFC Championship.

2. St. Louis Rams: (9-7) The Rams offense is filthy. In their second season under coach Linehan, Marc Bulger, Torry Holt, Steven Jackson and company will be ready to challenge for a playoff spot. If the Rams can add two to three starters to a young defense, by years end, they could be looking a playoff spot right in the eye.

3. San Francisco 49ers: (8-8) I don’t think the 49ers will morph into a playoff team this season, but .500 is there for the taking. Without Norv Turner around, its not like Alex Smith will melt. But, with or without Norv, I expect Smith to be yet another year away from having the game control to make the Niners a playoff team.

4. Arizona Cardinals: (6-10) I love the additions of the former Pittsburgh coaching staff, but will that immediately make the Cards a playoff hopeful? Hopeful, maybe, but contender? I’m not completely sold. Leinart looked good at times last year, and with Boldin and Fitz on the edges, how long will it be before Matt is tossing 300 yard games? Whisenhunt knows he needs some more defense before the playoffs are possible, but they’re closer than many think.

NFC South

1. Carolina Panthers: (11-5) While the South is surely a very tough conference, and the Panthers have done nothing but disappoint me over the past years, I still see a team that has it all. With Delhomme coming back, Steve Smith and who cares at receiver, Foster and D’Angelo in the backfield; these Panthers can be deadly. And that’s just on offense. No other team in this division has as many playmakers on defense as the Panthers. Health is key. If they stay healthy, 13 wins isn’t out of the question. Adding some depth has given me hope, even if a guy or two goes down.

2. New Orleans Saints: (10-6) The Saints are coming off quite the season yester year, nearly finding themselves in the Super Bowl. Offensively, the Saints have it all, but defensively, this is a team with plenty of holes. I think the Saints will take a small step backwards this year, to everyone’s surprise, but hey, that’s what happens from time to time, and people often get surprised.

3. Atlanta Falcons: (7-9) I don’t really like the Falcons. I love Jerious Norwood, but the Falcons seem reluctant to give this back, a kid who averaged 6+ yards a carry, the ball. Nice move. Their new coach wants a big back, and right now, Dunn (160lbs) and Norwood are their best offensive weapons this side of Mike Vick. Hmm. Seems like a recipe for close but not good enough.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (6-10) And now I get to the Bucs. Its interesting because, if this and that happens, I can see any of the teams in this division walking into the playoffs. Even the Bucs, who are aging defensively, and are offensively stagnant, have done some things to make me ooh and ah. Caddy will bounce back this year, as more emphasis has been placed on the line. Defensively, the Bucs are always solid. It all comes down to quarterback, and while I’m predicting a seasons worth of close calls and 10 losses, that could just as easily go the other way in Tampa. Stay tuned to this division, its intriguing.

AFC Predictions

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals: (11-5) The Bengals are my most exciting team in the AFC. The Patriots have done more to make themselves great, the Colts just won a Super Bowl, and the Broncos have built an elite secondary, but I think the Bengals could very well walk away with the 1 seed heading into the playoffs next season. However, I put them at 11-5 because they could also very well implode, all go steal some stuff, and go to jail. I’m betting on the former, but that’s just a hunch.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers: (10-6) Mike Tomlin is a solid coach, and will end up doing great things with the Steelers. He’ll start by taking a 3-4 defense, transforming it to a 4-3, change the offense around, complete the entire switcheroo that has gone down in Pittsburgh, and still put the Steelers in the playoffs. Whew.

3. Baltimore Ravens: (9-7) The Ravens are an interesting story going into 2007. They lost Adalius Thomas, whom was more than just an outside linebacker, but have a good unknown backup waiting in the wings. Steve McNair is getting older, but McGahee has come in to lessen the load, plus Boller might be ready to step in if Air McNair goes down. Defensively, the Ravens are too talented to get handled in any game, meaning they could go 9-7 or get lucky 4 times and go 13-3. What a great division.

4. Cleveland Browns: (5-11) The Browns will attempt to give this division a flat tire, as surely, they aren’t on the same level as the top 3 teams, all of which have a shot at the playoffs. The Browns are set up to struggle next season, regardless of where they got with their 1st draft pick. Te AFC is too tough, and this division especially makes line no-fair for the Brownies. Giving up on Charlie Frye reeks of what the Chargers were planning on doing with Drew Brees.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots: (12-4) The Patriots did all the right things in the offseason, and while they very well might have overpaid a couple times, they seemed to know what they wanted, and they got it. The players New England got, they either paid what the players’ talent insisted, or paid a few extra coin to add strong personality guys, Belichick guys. Brady has new weapons, and Maroney will be the man carrying the rock in NE.

2. New York Jets: (10-6) After the Jets made a stunning reversal, going from 4-12 to playoff team in Eric Mangini’s first season, (btw how didn’t he win coach of the year?) the Jets look to keep on rockin’ on way to another playoff bout. I can only imagine, with a year under D’Brick and Mangold’s uni, the Jets rushing attack will explode with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington sharing 4 to 1 backfield duties. With a running attack that will get some attention, maybe Coles and Cotchery will get more chances to succeed for big plays?

3. Miami Dolphins: (7-9) While I think Cam Cameron was a very good hire in Miami, I don’t think that it will make the Dolphins a playoff contributor. Miami put some good money into free agency, coming away with Joey Porter to pair with Jason Taylor as edge rushers, but I’m not sure Miami’s aging group can hold up. And they still need help bad in the secondary.

4. Buffalo Bills: (5-11) The Bills went into free agency as a team ready to do work, but I’m not so sure any more. Who will run for Buffalo? That question might not be answered until draft day. Is there someone to pair with Lee Evans that will strike a little fear into defenses? No, not Peerless Price. And how about replacing Nate Clements and Takeo Spikes? Leaders, best defensive players? Hey, at least they have Darnell Dockery. I like Losman’s growth, and Evans is this close to becoming Steve Smith, but the Bills are sledding on concrete with a tough off season.

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos: (11-5) The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs last season, and that just won’t happen again. The Chargers are the most talented bunch in this division, but overall the Broncos have more symmetry, through the air (Walker, Smith, Williams, and Cutler), via the ground (Bronco offense, Travis Henry, Mike Bell) and on defense (Champ Bailey and Dre Bly) all they need is defensive line, something they’ll add on draft day. I hate the Broncos, but must admit, this could be a good year for the Shredder and his merry men.

2. San Diego Chargers: (10-6) The Chargers have so much talent, its hard to believe that they’ll take a step back this season, but that’s my prediction. Losing your entire coaching staff, regardless of how solid your players are, often takes a toll on your team. And while Marty didn’t win the big one, surely, his players believed in him 100%. That’s tough to lose.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: (8-8) Larry Johnson is one of my favorite runners, but the kid can’t do it all for the Chiefs. They’re making the right move getting rid of Green, they should have done that half way through last season, but oh well. What I know is the Chiefs need help on defense and at receiver, two things that will continue to be the bane of their existence this season.

4. Oakland Raiders: (2-14) The Raiders are the worst team in football. You know how bad they are? They could take of the best offensive weapons in the draft and still be the worst offensive team in the league. Unless Lane Kiffin has some serious Prestige type Kenny Rogers hybrid Barry Bonds horse pills up his sleeve, I don’t see the Raiders, even with a good defense, winning more than a couple ball games.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts: (10-6) First of all, I don’t see the Colts flying back to the Super Bowl, they’ve lost enough guys to struggle just enough to putter out near the end, plus they’ve already won one, and going back to back takes down right brilliance. However, they’re still good enough to take the South, even with the jags and Titans pushing their way to the top. Peyton gets enough done in a down year to push the Colts into the 2nd round.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: (10-6) The Jaguars have some questions at quarterback, but they could help answer some of those with the addition of someone like Ted Ginn Jr. or Steve Smith. Ted would stretch the field, and Smith is just good enough in space to separate and give Lefty a place to throw the rock comfortably. I like that Jags, their offense has too many weapons, and their defense is only a player or two away from becoming dominant.

3. Tennessee Titans: (7-9) The Titans are everyone’s sexy pick to slip into the playoffs next season, and while their opening schedule seems easy enough, I just don’t see it happening. Too many last minute amazings had to happen to get them the 8 wins they got last season, I just don’t see the magic happening again. Vince Young is the real deal, but until their receivers grow up a little, passing will be tough for the Titans, and without a true #1 RB, like Travis Henry was last season, the Titans defense will struggle staying on the field.

4. Houston Texans: (6-10) The Texans aren’t as far away from success as many want to think. Sure, they gave up on the chance to draft Vince Young and Reggie Bush, but stud defensive ends are tough to come by, and go for tons of money in free agency these days. However, the Texans need help offensively. This year, they should get Levi Brown, or more help defensive with their 1st pick. After that, a receiver to help Andre Johnson could be waiting in Round 2. I think the running game and passing attack will be better in year 2 under Kubiak, and Matt Schaub will prove to be a nice addition, but these Texans need another year, and another solid year of draft picks to begin to contend.

2006 NFL Season Preview – keep in mind these predictions were done well in advance of the 2006 NFL season.

2006 NFL Season Preview

NFC Predictions


The NFC will be strong in 2006. In fact, despite my predictions, any one of these teams could finish the season on top of the East.

I like the Eagles most because they are basically the same team that went to the Super Bowl two years ago. They don’t have TO now; they didn’t need TO to win the NFC in ‘04. Donovan and Brian Westbrook have looked good early.

The Cowboys should get into the playoffs, and if they do, the addition of Owens was the answer to Parcells’ playoff questions. Dallas’ defense isn’t as stout as it needs to be. But offensive talent will keep them in every game.

The Washington Redskins went out and attempted to buy themselves a championship squad. It hasn’t worked for them yet; I don’t know why this season will be any different. I like the Redskins’ defensive unit, but washington isn’t as well rounded as the rest of the East.

Many people will say that there is no way the Giants will finish last in this division, after winning it last season. It happened to the Eagles last year, and it won’t surprise me one bit if it happens again this season. I don’t think the Giants got much better defensively, and Eli Manning is too inconsistent to own the East two years in a row. Tiki Barber is one of the leagues’ best offensive players, but I don’t see the Giants outplaying the Eastern powers.

Overall, this is the strongest division in the NFC, and quite possibly all of football. The Eagles will surprise while the rest of the East will fight for a wild card spot.


While the NFC South will give the East a run for the NFC’s strongest division, I can’t see the Saints winning more than 6 games, which weakens the South’s resume.

The Panthers are the best team in the NFC. I’m not as high on the addition of Keyshawn “The Mouth” as the rest of the football world seems to be, but I’m sure he’ll help the Panthers cause. The biggest off-season move the Panthers made was when they named De’shaun Foster their #1 back. Foster gives the Panthers an explosive runner they didn’t have when Stephen Davis was the starter last year. Health will be key for the Panthers, but if they hold together defensively, and keep Steve Smith on the field, they get 12 victories easy.

The Buccaneers could be scary. If Chris Simms can take the next step, Tampa will walk into the playoffs. Cadillac Williams runs with speed and a power you don’t often see in runners his size. His growth since his rookie season should help him carry the load in Tampa. The Bucs defense is solid, but with age becoming an issue, injuries could uproot Gruden’s chance at a title.

The word on the teleprompter is that Mike Vick has improved his accuracy and touch. If this fib is finally true, expect the Falcons to battle the Panthers for the top spot. If his passing problems continue, the Falcons will be less than mediocre. An improved defense could take the Falcons to the playoffs, but only if Atlanta can score touchdowns.

New Orleans won’t be the pushover they were much of last season, but I don’t see a winning record either. This division is too tough, and there are too many good teams to expect much winning out of NO this season. Drew Brees will help, and Reggie Bush will be a handful of highlights each week, but defensive struggles will hurt the team all season long. Next year should be better for the Saints.

Atlanta and Tampa will take a run at the toast of the South, but Carolina should find more consistency this season, which will push them into a first round bye, and a possible Super Bowl bid.


This Division isn’t as bad as it was last year, but the Lions and Packers haven’t gotten better. Don’t be fooled, the Bears are the class of the North.

Chicago has the defensive power to halt each of their division foes. Offensively, Chicago should be much better this season behind either Rex Grossman or Brian Griese. Expect Brian to grab the top spot. He’s too talented, and Rex is too inexperienced. The Bears defense will carry them, but they’ll have more competition this time around.

Minnesota got better in nearly every faucet of the game. But I don’t think Brad Johnson and two inexperienced backups can win week after week. A better offensive line and one of the league’s most underrated defenses could make for a playoff push.

Detroit hasn’t gotten better. Their coaching staff has changed, but the same lazy players remain on the roster. One bad egg can spoil my breakfast. That’s what I always say. When some roster cleansing takes place, get back to me.

The Packers? Green Bay? Come on. This isn’t the year for the Pack. If Brett Favre needed anything, he needed an improved offensive line. He didn’t need more starters to hit free agency. A lack of additions won’t aid Favre’s return, as he’ll struggle to find enough time to launch his missiles. Last in the North for the Pack.

Chicago is the only team in the North with a chance to make noise in the postseason. But, if Minnesota can get creative offensively, they could push the Bears now.


The Hawks remain at the top of the West, but the margin will be much smaller this time around. The Cards and Rams will pose a fight, while the 49ers will be tougher in ’06.

The Hawks will make another push for the Super Bowl. Many will highlight the loss of OG Steve Hutchinson, but the Hawks got better this off-season. Nate Burleson is perfect for Seattle’s West Coast passing game, and Julian Peterson (when healthy) is as dynamic as any young linebacker in the game. Better competition will push Seattle.

The Cardinals finally got the runner, Edge, they’ve been trying to get since…. Forever. On paper, Dennis Green’s squad looks like playoff material, but football is played on the field. Warner is often injured, and rookie QB, Matt Leinart, remains unsigned. Injuries could limit Arizona’s ceiling.

The Rams should be more disciplined with Mike Martz out of the picture. Steven Jackson will get the chance to carry the load, while Mark Bulger should get better protection in a more balanced offensive attack. If St. Louis can stay injury free, and take advantage of a talented receiver corps, a playoff spot isn’t out of the question.

The 49ers won’t make the playoffs. They won’t finish at or above .500. There will be no playoff push from San Francisco. However, the 49ers are improving. Every game will be a battle. Every game their youngsters will improve, and by seasons’ end the Niners will be a 4-quarter battle for every team in this division. Look for Frank Gore to rush for over 1,000 yards, while Alex Smith morphs into an NFL quarterback.

I can’t see the Hawks stumbling a season after losing the Super Bowl. This group is too good to fail. The West will be stronger this year.

AFC Predictions


In the AFC’s weakest division, a new team will claim the top spot. The Patriot Dynasty that has been the class of the NFL over the last 6 years has dissolved into a watered down version a championship team.

By losing key players to free agency, the Patriots have made room for the Dolphins to swim to the top. Miami’s off-season acquisition of Daunte Culpepper will pay immediate dividends. Pep’s ability to fire the ball around while making plays with his feet will be exactly what Nick Saban ordered. Coach of the year?

The Patriots won’t be the powerhouse of years’ past, but they won’t disappear either. They still have studs on both sides of the ball. And if Corey Dillon can run like he did in 2004, the Dolphins could get a fight from New England. Oh, and they still have a guy named Tom Brady. He’s all right.

The Buffalo Bills won’t get better until they commit to a quarterback. Seeing as though they’d really have to play above their talent level to make the playoffs, the smart decision would be J.P. Losman. Younger is better. One of the leagues’ most underrated defenses will keep Buffalo close, but touchdowns are too important to expect much from the offensively challenged Bills.

The New York Jets should end the season with the #1 pick in next year’s draft. That is of course, unless Chad Pennington can find his own form, Curtis Martin can return to be effective, and Laveraneus Coles plays like the talented wideout he was 3 years ago. Those three ifs, matched with inspired play from rookie 1st round picks D’Brick Ferguson and Nick Mangold, could get the Jets 7 wins. That’s the ceiling in New York, a ceiling in which even small people will bump their heads. How low can they go? That’s a better question.

The Dolphins and Patriots will battle for the free playoff spot from the East. A wild card probably won’t come from this division.


The AFC North reminds me of the NFC South. There are three teams that could take North title, but my favorite to do the deed is Cincinnati.

The Bengals’ playoff hopes lie in the health of their signal caller, Carson Palmer. If Palmer can start from day one, I have to take the Bad Boy Bengals to take the North Division. If Palmer doesn’t play until Week 4, the hole may be too deep for Cincinnati to climb out of. This team is too talented, when healthy, for me to pick anyone else. If Marvin Lewis can keep his players out of jail, they should head back to the playoffs.

The Baltimore Ravens have a whole new identity with Steve McNair leading their offense. A playoff identity? I think so. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are a coin flip for the games’ most explosive defender title. Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason are solid WR threats. Jamal Lewis was once a 2,000-yard rusher, and he’s still just 26. Todd Heap is vastly underrated. Look out for the hop in Baltimore’s step.

The Steelers may be the World Champs, but I don’t see a repeat performance in their future. Too many teams improved, while the Steelers lost key players from their playoff run. Big Ben is ready to prove naysayers wrong, but without a power back, can Pittsburgh fight off the new and improved Ravens?

Cleveland has youth all around, but right now, that’s the problem. Charlie Frye is not ready to lead a playoff contender, and key addition LeCharles Bentley is out for the year, not leading a powerful offensive line. When Braylon Edwards returns from injury, Frye’s youth is a thing of the past, and Kellen Winslow has a full season under his belt, the Browns will be solid. Right now, they’re last in the AFC North.


This is my craziest prediction thus far. But wouldn’t it be fitting that the Colts lose Edge, and their strangle hold on the AFC South? And the Jags finally take the top spot the year Jimmy Smith retires. Crazy.

Jacksonville did what they needed to do most and got better in the secondary; Brian Williams will help the Jaguars blossom. For the first time in a long time, the Jaguars have depth offensively. Young WR’s Wilford, Williams, and Jones can make big plays, while the depth of Fred Taylor, Greg Jones, and Maurice Drew can fight through injuries. Defensively, Jacksonville will be stout… Enough to take the top spot from Indy? Yeah, I think so.

Like I said, the Colts won’t dominate this division like they have the last few years. The Colt workhorse, Edge, has moved to sandy pastures, and now Indy will rely on Manning more than ever before. I don’t think the regular season will go as smoothly for Indy, but look out for a tested Colts team come playoff time.

The Texans will crawl out of the cellar this season. They won’t be a contender in the AFC, but there is no doubt in my mind that Houston will triple their win total from a year ago. Help on the offensive and defensive line, where games are won and lost, should get the Texans back on the right track. Eric Moulds is a brilliant addition for a young group of receivers. If Dom Davis can stay healthy year ‘round, 8-8 isn’t beyond belief.

The Titans will struggle to win ball games all year long. Losing Steve McNair almost assured another season picking early in the draft. Defensively, the Titans are young and athletic, but they’ll give up too many big plays for an offense that is too young. I like the direction the Titans are moving, but 2006 isn’t the year for Tennessee.


If the Raiders can play up to the level of their talent, this could be the toughest division in the AFC. KC, Denver, and San Diego all have the push to make a run at the post season.

Kansas City is my early favorite, just based on the immediate difference Herman Edwards will bring to the team’s personality. The loss of Roaf will be tough to overcome, but if Kyle Turley can get back to his old form after two years off, the Chiefs will be okay. Plus, there’s a chance Roaf comes back for one more season. Most importantly for KC, the addition of Ty Law should really improve KC’s defense.

The Broncos were the best team in this division last season, losing in the AFC Championship to end the season. The Broncos made a few key moves that could return them to the playoffs, the biggest acquisition being Javon Walker. If Walker can give Plummer another sure handed weapon, expect big things from Denver.

It’s hard to place a team with big time playmakers on both sides of the ball 3rd in their own division, but I don’t know what else to do. Phillip Rivers is starting for the first time in his career, and even if he’s destined to be the next Carson Palmer, even Carson didn’t make the playoffs in his first season. With LT, Antonio Gates, and Shawne Merriman guaranteed to be on highlight reels every weekend, anything is possible for the young Chargers.

Oakland needs to show me more before I go out on a cracked limb and pick them to finish with more than 3 wins. As talented as they are, I haven’t seen much that promises otherwise. It’s all about a “want” to succeed, and I just don’t think they have it. I sure hope Randy Moss has a big fantasy year though.

This is a three-team race with Larry Johnson doing his thing to lead the way.