*Much like the East, the North is a top heavy division, with Baltimore and Cincy holding court on high. I think a healthy McGahee and a great D is what gives the edge to the Ravens, but I wouldn't be surprised if Cincy can finally put it all together. Pittsburgh looks headed for a down year with their new young coach, new offensive coordinator and key departures on defense, and Cleveland looks like the worst team in the league, with possibly the worst front office to boot. Start Brady Quinn or don't start him, I don't care, but to say 2 weeks ago that he has no chance to start the season opener? Not necessary, and just a microcosm of what an awful franchise that's turned into.
*I think the added pressure of defending their Super Bowl title is going to wane on the Colts a bit, but they'll still be one of the teams to beat. In Jacksonville, I think the move to David Gerrard at QB was the right one, albeit a little late, and will prove to the be the difference for a team that's seemed to have all the pieces for years. As for Vince Young, I don't see the Madden Jinx as much as I see a plain ole sophomore slump. He's still not great at throwing the ball, and you gotta think that'll catch up with him, and the Titans here in year 2. Rounding up the division is the Texans. I don't see them making huge waves this year, but behind Matt Schaub and a young defense, look for them to be a sleeper pick goin' into '08.
*No real mystery here. The two best teams, meeting in the conference's biggest game. I give the nod to the Pats in this one on almost all fronts. They have better coaching, are more experienced, and have better skill players at virtually every position on the field except for running back. Let's just hope that this year, it doesn't take a last minute offensive fumble recovery to keep the dream alive.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
(Yeah, I have no idea why the standings above look the way the do, but I have an email in to Al Gore, and I've been told he's working on the problem as we speak)
*I know it's a big "if", but if Dallas and Philadelphia will find themselves at the top of the NFC East, and towards the top of the NFL. Dallas does it with it's relentless blitzing defense and big play offensive ability, while Philly does it with....well exactly the same thing. Both of those teams should remain strong, all season long, and each could feasibly get a shot at the NFC title. As for the bottom dwellers, it's really a case of opposites. I look for the Skins to be an "improving" 7-9 team, behind a maturing Jason Campbell, while I look for the G-Men to virtually implode, causing the ouster of Tom Coughlin before the year is out. Can you say Bill Cowher to the Giants? I know I can...
Rd 1 of Playoffs vs Backside Hitters (250-214-64)
*The good news is, I managed to avoid Frosco in the first round. The bad news is, not only did I get smacked in the mouth by the #1 team last week (who I will have to play again in rd 2 if I win....sweet), but in the first round, I face a team that beat me twice in the regular season. Add to that, Roger Clemens gave me a disastrous pitching performance to start the week, and my ace, Roy Halladay, faces off against none other than the BoSox in his sole start of the week. Come on boys! We came all this way, we can scrap it out! You want that tiny trophy, you need that tiny trophy, and there's nothing that you can let stand in your way! Be the trophy, become one with it's tinyness, and bring it on home!
*Let the real fantasy season begin! Woooooooo! I made a trade in the last week to help stabilize my QB situation, trading Rex Grossman for Jason Campbell, but otherwise all has been fairly quiet. It's time to see how my boys do on the field, and pray that they can bring home the much desired title, and cash, that I crave. Let the games begin!