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2008-09 NFL Preview and Predictions

20 July 2008 232 views

As NFL training camps get ready to open up (some already have), prognosticators are plentiful, but no one will really know with absolute certainty who this year’s Super Bowl champion will be.  There are many possibilities, including 3-4 “pencil them in” candidates, as well as 3-4 other teams who could pull off a stunning playoff run (e.g. 2000′s St. Louis Rams).  Last year provided some intense moments, record breaking performances and an unlikely NFL champion in the New York Giants.  With several teams fielding almost identical rosters from last year, it will be interesting to see how this year’s NFL season develops.

NFC Contenders

New York Giants
You can’t write a list of contenders without including last year’s Super Bowl champs.  They lost Michael Strahan to retirement, but Eli Manning‘s confidence should be through the roof and the offense is virtually the same as last year.  If the running backs can stay healthy and the defense can survive (mentally) without Strahan, the Giants will be in the mix late in the season. [New York Giants jersey]

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have beefed up their payroll (and problem child’s) this year, but there’s hope in Big D.  Tony Romo has another year of experience and is primed for a better season.  Terrell Owens is a monster receiver, but could be  the cause of more headaches that he’s worth.  The recent signing of Adam “Pacman” Jones is risky as well, considering he’s not been reinstated to play this season, but if he is allowed to play, the defense should be outstanding.  There are only 2 threats for the Cowboys: the Giants and themselves. [Dallas Cowboys jersey]

Philadelphia Eagles
Another NFC East team – another contender.  The Eagles have a strong offense and defense; much like the Giants.  When healthy, they can compete with anyone.  If Donovan McNabb can stay on the field all season, Philadelphia will make the playoffs and be in good position for the playoffs. [Philadelphia Eagles jersey]

Nobody
Yes, these above are the only 3 serious contenders in the NFC from my perspective.  Carolina, New Orleans, Washington, Minnesota and Green Bay round out the “maybe’s”, but they all have issues that could keep them from winning a title.

AFC Contenders

New England Patriots
After finishing the regular season undefeated and reaching the Super Bowl, only to lose to New York, the Patriots will be out for blood in 08-09.  Randy Moss is on board, Tom Brady is still there and they still have their asshole coach, so you know they will perform well all season.  Less focus will be paid this year on finishing with a “perfect record”, but they may still have one when all things are said and done. [New England Patriots jersey]

Indianapolis Colts
Another extremely strong & well-coached team, the Colts are serious contenders for the NFL championship as well.  With Peyton Manning at the helm and Tony Dungy on the sidelines, this team can beat anybody and could also challenge the Patriots for a perfect regular season record.  They will have to figure out how to beat the Patriots (again), and face extremely competitive challenges from the Jaguars, Chargers and/or Steelers if they want to try for their 2nd championship in the last 3 years. [Indianapolis Colts jersey]

San Diego Chargers
LaDainian Tomlinson
… One player who could almost single-handedly put his team in the playoffs.  Add Phillip Rivers, w/ another year of experience, a decent wide receiving core and a solid defense, and you have a contender.  I’m not sure this crew has enough to get past the Colts or Patriots, but they’ll certainly give it their best shot. [San Diego Chargers jersey]

Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben and Co. will be seeking their 2nd championship this decade, featuring a lineup of Willie Parker, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu.  This team is explosive on offense, controls the clock well and punishes the opposition on defense.  To be a serious contender, the Steelers will need to average at least 20-22 points per game – their defense will handle the rest. [Pittsburgh Steelers jersey]

Others
The Jagaurs have a good shot, as do the Broncos, Browns and Bengals of making the playoffs.  They will struggle against the elite teams, but will put together strong games and be competitive until they are eliminated.

Super Bowl Preview
I see the Patriots vs. the Cowboys in the championship game, w/ the Cowboys taking it. 

I’d love to get some other predictions… leave your comments.