Monday, September 7, 2009

Who are the NFL's most vulnerable teams?

As I mentioned in my last post, the actuarial statistics teach us that 5 or 6 football teams that were in the playoff tournament last year, will not be in the tournament this year. One of the nice preseason predictions we like to make consists of just who these teams are.

I realize that this is a bit out of order, since I have not done my AFC predictions just yet, but I thought I would list mine now.

  1. The New England Patriots: As I mentioned in my last blog, the 3-time undefeated defending NFL Super Bowl champs... errr... sorry... that team that didn't make the playoffs last season won't make the playoffs this year either. The team that has not won a Super Bowl in 5 years lost way too many crucial pieces of the Super Bowl Puzzle this spring in retirements and trades. This is going to be a breakdown year. The Patriots are officially rebuilding now.
  2. The Panthers: In a strange fluke, the Panthers were extremely strong last year. I guess it was because of their fairly overwhelming running attack. I doubt they will be so strong this year. They are also facing much more powerful opposition inside their own division. Look for New Orleans and Atlanta to sink their ship. This is the most obvious call on the board.
  3. The Eagles: One theory says the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl and they are going to win. Bullshit. The team that went to the NFC championship last year had the #3 ranked defense in the NFL. If they had not had a single shoot-out game with Dallas on Monday night, they would have been #1. With Jim Johnson dead and Dawkins in Denver, forget about that defense in 2009. They will be ranked no higher than #15 defensively at best. Expect lots and lots of soap opera and melodrama between the Menage a Trios of McNab, Vick, and Reid.
  4. The Vikings: The team that won the Central, barely won the central last season. This was due primarily to the tremendous weakness of their division. They got whacked immediately by Philly. No division is more upgraded than the NFC Central. No team has more Melodrama going on that the Viks. Believe me, they are in for an ass whacking and they will be home for the playoffs. I'm not talking about home field advantage either.
  5. The Steelers: The Steelers did in fact have the worst offensive line of any team ever to win a Super Bowl. I absolutely concur with Jamie Dukes about that. I got bad news for you about that subject. They lost a couple of those guys in free-agency moves. Marvel Smith in SF, for instance. This is not good for Ben's health. You have my condolences, but I favor the Ravens this season. I think the Steelers can still make the playoffs as a wildcard.
  6. The Titans: Albert Haynesworth's departure is a terrible thing. I believe Kerry Colins experienced a fluke year of sorts last season. I do expect a reduced level of competitiveness from these guys this season. Worse, I think the Colts got better through the draft. The coaching changes are interesting, but not as much so as we originally thought. I expect the Colts to win the division. I would be surprised if the Titans don't make it in, but they will have to take the Wildcard route.