2008 NFL Predictions
1. New England Patriots (12-4)
Tom Brady leads a spectacular cast of characters to another division title. They won’t go 16-0, but the may win the Super Bowl, and I think that’s the scenario they’d rather have. They lost a few key guys from the secondary, but ultimately they have enough firepower and depth to win.
2. New York Jets (10-6)*
Much of the focus is on Brett Favre, and he will without a doubt improve this team, but the improvements made on defense (Kris Jenkins, Calvin Pace) and on the O-Line (Damien Woody, Alan Faneca) will dictate the success of the Jets this year. If Thomas Jones can re-emerge as a serious threat on the ground, that makes Brett Favre’s transition all the more easier.
T3. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
The Big Tuna wins, it’s as easy as that. Miami managed one solitary win last year, but with a steady hand under center (enter, Chad Pennington) and a return from Ronnie Brown, they’ll be much more consistent on offense and have enough defense to keep them around .500 in 2008.
T3. Buffalo Bills (8-8)
They start off with a soft schedule, but it gets considerably harder over the course of the season. They’re still a couple of pieces and a couple of years away from making any serious noise. They’ll find out if they’ve got a QB for the future in Edwards, or if they’ll need to start looking through the draft for a new one.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
The Steelers probably won’t be as good as their 11-5 will say they are, but when you play in the AFC North, you can pad your record if you’re just a pretty good football team. I’m thinking Pittsburgh will sweep their divisional games (6-0) and split their remaining ten games. Not great, but they may win a playoff game at home.
2. Cleveland Browns (8-8)
For the second year in a row, they’ll fall short of a playoff berth. I doubt Derek Anderson is as good as he showed last season, and the Browns may wet their feet with a little bit of Brady Quinn sometime this season. Ultimately, they’re a mediocre club in a mediocre division.
3. Baltimore Ravens (7-9)
Joe Flacco or Troy Smith? The Ravens look to struggle breaking in a new quarterback in an offense that is overshadowed by a dominant defense. Quoth the Raven, Growing pains.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)
If you’re from Ohio, stick to college football this year. Who knows? Maybe someone will change their last name to a pair of Spanish numbers.
1. Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
Even coming off knee surgery, I still don’t bet against Peyton Manning. He’s a great passer with a ton of targets to throw to. Bob Sanders anchors a defense that should do enough to keep the Colts in ballgames.
2. Tennessee Titans (11-5)*
I think Vince Young finally puts it together this year. He had some success his rookie season but struggled a little last year. He doesn’t have great weapons to work with, but with running backs LenDale White and rookie Chris Johnson (suuurious speed) they’ll be okay.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
They had a pretty magical run last year, and those typically don’t happen multiple years in a row. They’ll fall off a little playing in a tough division.
4. Houston Texans (6-10)
They’d win the NFC West!
1. San Diego Chargers (10-6)
Again, some of the best talent in the NFL, but a lack of discipline and focus, as well as the vulnerability to the big play hurts this team. They’ll win a soft division, but not much else.
2. Denver Broncos (9-7)
Jay Cutler will keep improving, but the defense just isn’t there to match.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)
Only the presence of the Raiders prevent KC from finishing in the basement of this division.
4. Oakland Raiders (2-14)
Al Davis needs to go.
1. New York Giants (13-3)
Fresh off the biggest Super Bowl upset in history, too many people are writing this team off. Their O-Line is very good and often overlooked. Brandon Jacobs is a beast of a back and Eli Manning seems to come into his own, whatever that means. They just might be the most underrated reigning champs.
2. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)*
Tony Romo gunslings the Cowboys back to the playoffs again, and might even win a playoff game this time around. They’re stacked with talent on both sides of the ball.
3. Washington Redskins (9-7)*
I generally don’t like guys from the U (University of Miami), but Clinton Portis rubs me the right way.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)
This makes me happy because I hate Donovan McNabb more than any other NFL player.
1. Chicago Bears (8-8)
De facto champion, and they’ll win it on a tie-breaker of some sort. At least they didn’t go with Rex Gross, man.
2. Green Bay Packers (8-8)
Sure, they’re worse off without Brett Favre, but most teams would be. Aaron Rodgers will probably have a tough go at Lambeau.
3. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
All-Day Peterson can’t carry the ball all day. I still think they need some sort of better option than Tavaris Jackson or Gus Frerotte.
4. Detroit Lions (1-15)
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)
Jeff Garcia scrambles his way out of trouble on a weekly basis and Ronde Barber will cause enough havoc in the secondary to get this Bucs team to the playoffs.
2. Carolina Panthers (9-7)
They’ll probably lose at least once while Steve Smith is sitting, and that’ll end up costing them the playoffs.
3. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Matt Ryan will be a good NFL quarterback. But probably not this year. The addition of Mike Turner from SD should turn out to be a pleasant surprise if he gets his carries.
4. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
No defense, no playoffs. Drew Brees will continue to make his (birth)mark on the league’s passing leaderboards, and Reggie Bush will take a punt back for a score every once and a while, but not much else going on down there.
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
Because someone has to win this division.
2. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
The weird green color got old real quick.
3. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)
Maybe they’ll hit gold with Mike Martz and JT O’Sullivan, but I thought Shaun Hill played pretty well at the end of last year to keep his job. I guess not.
4. St. Louis Rams (2-14)
The Greatest Show on Turf will probably still be around this year, except it’ll be wearing the uniform of whatever team the Rams are playing that week.