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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AFC South Preview and Predictions: Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Tennessee

The AFC South is going to be one of the toughest divisions to predict.  Tennessee played down at the beginning of last year and caught fire near the end.  Houston continues to improve on a yearly basis, Jacksonville continues to give teams trouble, and Indianapolis is still one of the powerhouses of the NFL.

Houston Texans - Each and every the year the Houston Texans have been getting better and better.  Last year they were picked by many to make the playoffs and this year is no different.  The answer will lie within the division.  The trouble for Houston is "what will Tennessee be like this year?".  Houston finished 9-7 last year and will come close to the same record this year.  They have a tougher schedule and I believe Tennessee will be a lot better this year and knock off Houston twice.  Houston will finish 7-9.

Indianapolis Colts - Indianapolis will be the divisional powerhouse and also a powerhouse in the AFC.  They have some tough games in the division and I see them getting knocked off by atleast one of their opponents (most likely Tennessee).  They have a pretty easy schedule which will help them in their quest for homefield advantage.  Peyton Manning will have one of his best seasons this year.  The Colts will finish 13-3.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Jacksonville is a middle of the road team and their record this season will reflect it.  They are facing an average schedule and will pull out some wins this year.  Jacksonville has some high quality receivers, but do not have the quarterback to help those receivers.  They have a great running attack, but when that is keyed on, it can be slowed down.  The Jaguars will finish 7-9.

Tennessee Titans -  Tennessee will have a better year than they did last year.  They will have a great start and that will guide them through the season.  They do have tough matchups throughout the year, but they should pull out some victories over the tough teams.  Vince Young will be a good quarterback, but not overwhelming.  Chris Johnson will run like he did last year, maybe not quite as many yards.  The Titans defense will be stronger and they will not give up as many points.  Tennessee will finish the season at 11-5.

AFC South Standings 2010

Colts:  13-3
Titans: 11-5
Texans:  7-9
Jaguars:  7-9

AFC North Up Next

AFC West Preview and Predictions:

AFC West Preview and Predictions: Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego

The AFC West will as usual not be to big of a test for the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers not only have the stongest team in the AFC West, but they also are one of the strongest teams in the AFC conference.  The question is, will any team besides San Diego in the AFC West make a push for a playoff birth?

Denver Broncos - With the loss of Brandon Marshall and the uncertainty of the starting quarterback, Denver will face a tough season.  Looking at the schedule of the Broncos, it will be very difficult for this team to win a wildcard birth.  Luckily, the Broncos get to play Oakland and Kansas City twice a year, this will help their record.  Denver finishes the regular season at 6-10.  The only sign of hope for Denver is if they signing of Brian Westbrook.

Kansas City - Their is not much to say about the Kansas City Chiefs.  They are coming of a 4-10 season and I do not see them improving on that record.  Matt Cassel was not the quarterback that he shown in New England.  Offseason moves have not bolstered their roster and I do not see an easy schedule for the Chiefs.  The Chiefs would need to rely on their defense in hopes to win games this year.  As far as making the playoffs, not this year.  The Chiefs finish 3-13.

Oakland Raiders - The Oakland Raiders have made some key moves this year by signing Jason Campbell and Richard Seymore.  These moves should help the Oakland Raiders improve on last seasons terrible season.  Jason Campbell is a lot more reliable than JaMarcus Russell and Richard Seymoure will help to better the 29th rushing defense.  Will these moves help the Oakland Raiders to earn a playoff birth?  I do not think the improvements will help that to happen, but they will improve on their record.  The Raiders finish the season 7-9.

San Diego Chargers - The San Diego Chargers are the best in the AFC West.  They will cruise through their division with a 6-0 record.  Philip Rivers is an elite regular season quarterback and he knows how to win.  They have a very easy schedule this season, and I only see three tough opponents for the Chargers.  Like last year they will finish with one of the best records in the NFL.  The Chargers finish 13-3.

Like last year, the AFC West will be represented only by the San Diego Chargers.

AFC West Standings

San Diego - 13-3
Oakland - 7-9
Denver - 6-10
Kansas City - 3-13

Tomorrow will be the AFC South

What Will The Pittsburgh Steelers Do With Their 12 Game Schedule?

Looking at the Steelers schedule, they are already 0-4. Missing Ben Roethlisberger for the first 4 games of the season is going to hinder the playoff chances for the Steelers. Byron Leftwich is not the answer for this team and it will show throughout the first few weeks of the season. The question is "Can the Steelers overcome the bad start that they will have?"

When Ben Roethlisberger returns from his suspension, the Steelers will be facing a very difficult schedule. The Steelers will need to go AT LEAST 8-4 with the return of Roethlisberger. That is going to be a tough task.

Luckily, the Steelers will face the Cleveland Browns twice, which will be 2 out of the 8 wins needed. They beat Oakland, Carolina, Buffalo and Cincinnati twice, but who is the other team that they are able to beat? They will not beat New England, New Orleans, New York Jets, or Baltimore.

That leaves the Miami Dolphins in week 7. This will end up being the biggest game on the schedule for the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Steelers lose in week 7 to the Dolphins, then playoff hopes are ruined, if they win they stay alive.

Being that this is a week 7 game and only the second game of the season for Roethlisberger, compared to a Miami Dolphin team that will have 6 games as team under their belt, I see this being a very close competition. The Steelers are the better team, but I do not believe they will be able to beat the Dolphins, that early in the season under those circumstances.

When all is said and done, the Steelers will be a 7-9 team and miss the playoffs. Will this be the end of the road for Big Ben in Pittsburgh if that happens? Who will be taking the blame? This will be an interesting story line to follow throughout the 2010 season.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why The Giants Will Win The NFC East? - NFL SUNDAY HITS STORE

It all but seems forgotten that the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl.

It is now 2010 and the NFC has seen some shuffling around. Donovan McNabb will now be wearing the Redskins burgundy and gold, along with both Mike and Kevin Shanahan. While Kevin Kolb will be leading the Phildelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys are thinking about changing their green pants to silver pants (HDTV reasons). The New York Giants have a new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and they will be returning to the field healthy.

The Giants finished 4-2 against their NFC East opponents. The losses came at the hands of the Donovan McNabb led Eagles, where 40 and 45 points were dropped on Bill Sheridan's Giants defense. In 2010, Sheridan does not lead the Giants defense and they will not need to worry about the McNabb/Jackson connection any longer.

Two teams in the NFC East have improved, while one has declined, and another has remained the same.

The Redskins now have the Shanahans and have bettered themselves by trading for Donovan McNabb, but who will he throw to? is the Redskins offensive line better than the Eagles? With Shanahan at the helm, expect the Redskins to try to get the ball deep and often. The Redskins receivers are short and McNabb will need time to get the ball down field, that may be a problem, giving the Redskins gave up 46 sacks last year. The Redskins also ranked 16th passing and 27th rushing, this does not bode well for McNabb having time to pass.

The Eagles on the other hand ranked 22nd in the run and 10th in passing. They now have a young receiving core, with an untested quarterback. Most times when we see this happen it takes at least a year to come together. The rushing was not strong last year, and not enough changes have been made with the Eagles to change that ranking. Kolb is not as mobile as McNabb and McNabb's craftiness on his feet was a Giant killer. Kolb will need time to settle into his new role and this change that will cost the Eagles this year.

The Cowboys are the same. They have not made many changes that will effect how they look. The Cowboys will be the strongest contender in the East and will be most experts preseason picks to win the division. They have strong receivers, a good quarterback, and a quick, strong defense. The main threat to the Cowboy season is Jerry Jones and Wade Philips. With the 2010 season's Super Bowl being held in the new Cowboy Stadium, Jones will have extremely high expectations for Philips and the rest of the Cowboy squad.

The Dallas Cowboys WILL make the playoffs, but they will have to settle for the wild-card.

That brings us to the New York Giants.

2007 was mentioned and was mentioned for a reason. The Giants have not changed much since that time. They are the team with the credentials and experience, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Eli Manning has become a better quarterback each year since 2007. A lot has been put on his plate and he has excepted the challenge. They still have Brandon Jacobs running the ball, who will once again be healthy and a threat. Jacobs is offset by Ahmad Bradshaw, who last year played with a fractured ankle. Bradshaw's speed will be a large part of the Giants success on offense this season. The Giants offensive line is still made up of veterans who led them on their Super Bowl run. Lastly, the Giants receivers now have experience and this will be a breakout year for them and Eli.

The Giants defense may have weakened in the middle, but they strengthened last years weak spot, the secondary. The Giants have Deon Grant, Antrel Rolle, and future star Kenny Phillips. This secondary will not be last years. It is an improvement and it is exactly what the rest of the Giant defense needed. Fewell will be able to let his defensive line go after the quarterback and the coverage will help them reach him. The defensive line is still strong and the added padding in the secondary will help them become even more threatening.

The 2007 Giants were good, in 2008 they were better, but the 2010 Giants are quietly complete.

With all of the changes that occurred in the NFC East, the Giants have great match-ups with the division. McNabb is a Giant killer more with his feet than his arm. When it seemed like the defense had McNabb, he was able to get away, outside the pocket. He will not have that kind of time this season with the Redskins. The coverage will be tighter down the field and the Giants line will be quicker through a weak Redskins offensive line. The Redskins are a better team, but the Giants are still able to take both games from them. 2 wins for the Giants.

The Eagles have taken a step backwards this season. Kevin Kolb will be going through the learning process. It does not matter how long he watched McNabb play, it will still take time. He is not as quick as McNabb and will not be able to escape long for his receivers to break free. The Eagles are not a threat on the ground, especially now that defenses will see Kevin Kolb behind center and not Donovan McNabb. With the McNabb trade and the Giants strengthening the secondary, the Giants win both from the Philadelphia Eagles. 2 win for the Giants.

The Cowboys and Giants matched up very nicely against each other last year. They played great games that could have gone either way, but you always have the Giants vs. Tony Romo factor. It always comes down to "Can Romo beat the Giants?" If we go by last year, then the answer is no. The Giants were able to take 2 games from the Cowboys last year, and the Giants are better this year. The Cowboys receivers are the only threat to the Giants secondary in the division. I think the Cowboys will be able to expose them and Eli Manning will have to play catch up at some point. Both defenses are strong, both passing games are a threat, but the Cowboys are better in that area. The Giants will have to run the ball and control the tempo of the game. They will be able to do this in the New Meadowlands in November, but I cannot say the same for the Monday night game at Cowboy Stadium. Giants and Cowboys split. 1 win and 1 loss.

The Giants match-up well against all teams in their division and that division record will be the deciding factor. The Giants will go 5-1 against their own. Which will leave 10 game remaining. They beat the Panthers, Titans, Bears, Texans, Lions, Seahawks, and Jaguars. The lose to the Colts, Cowboys, Vikings (w/Favre), and Packers. The Giants finish the season 12-4 and clinch the NFC East.