July 2008


Football picksJuly 26, 2008

NFL Previews 2008: NFC Central

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
 
1. MINNESOTA
2. GREEN BAY
3. CHICAGO
4. DETROIT

MINNESOTA
COACH: BRAD CHILDRESS 3rd yr (14-18)
LAST YEAR:  8-8
GAMES DECIDED BY 3 OR LESS:  1-3
BIGGEST ADDITION: JARED ALLEN   DE
BIGGEST LOSS: TONY RICHARDSON  FB
 
DIRECTION: GOING UP
OUTLOOK: The Vikings could a surprise this season if Jackson continues to develop at QB and Adrian Peterson can stay healthy. Jackson made 12 starts last season and the Vikings went 8-4 in those games, and 0-4 in the rest. So, despite his lack of consistency, there is hope in Minnesota. The strength of this team is the defensive line. No team was able to run on this team at all in 2007. The secondary should be better with Antoine Winfield healthy, as he missed six games last season. So the two keys for improvement lie in the secondary and at QB. If the Vikings can improve meaningfully in at least one of the two areas, they could be playoff bound.
 
PROJECTED FINISH:  9-7

NFL Previews 2008: NFC Central

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Football picksJuly 25, 2008

NFL Previews 2008: NFC West

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
 
1. SEATTLE
2. ARIZONA
3. ST. LOUIS
4. SAN FRANCISCO

SEATTLE
COACH: MIKE HOLMGREN 10th yr (86-67)
LAST YEAR:  10-6
GAMES DECIDED BY 3 OR LESS:  1-4
BIGGEST ADDITION: JULIUS JONES  RB
BIGGEST LOSS: JOSH BROWN  K
 
DIRECTION: GOING NOWHERE
OUTLOOK: Matt Hasselback is a quality QB but the biggest question is, who is going to be catching the balls he throws? Deion Branch went down in the playoffs last season with a torn ACL and will miss a good portion of the season, and who knows what he’ll have to give in his return. DJ Hackett left for free agency and although Bobby Engram had a career year last season, he is now 35. An historic strength for this team has become a big question mark. Shaun Alexander never made it back after injuries so Julius Jones now gets the load in the backfield. We don’t see him as an every down type back and he gained 1.2 yds less than Barber last year for Dallas at 3.6. The Seahawks will still mange to win games because their defense is amongst the best in the NFL and they have one of the best coaches. The Seahawks lost four games by 3 points or less last year, and if the offense struggles, they may face a lot more of these types of games this season. This team may slip a bit, but given their weak division, they are still a playoff team.
 
PROJECTED FINISH:  10-6

NFL Previews 2008: NFC West

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Football picksJuly 18, 2008

NFL Previews 2008: NFC South

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
 
1. NEW ORLEANS
2. CAROLINA
3. TAMPA BAY
4. ATLANTA

NEW ORLEANS 
COACH: SEAN PAYTON 3rd yr (18-16)
LAST YEAR: 7-9
GAMES DECIDED BY 3 OR LESS:  0-1
BIGGEST ADDITION: JONATHON VILMA  LB
BIGGEST LOSS: JEFF FAINE   C

DIRECTION: GOING UP
OUTLOOK: The Saints were a huge positive surprise in ’06, but an equally disappointing surprise in ’07. Last season many felt they would challenge for the NFC Championship and a trip to the Superbowl. It never materialized as they got out of the gate 0-4, made a late run, but fell short. Deuce McCallister will be back, but can he be productive off yet another ACL surgery? If he is, Reggie Bush should immediately be more effective, as he was a marked man in McCallister’s absence. Jonathon Vilma in the middle of the Saints defense should provide a lot of help. They will be helped greatly with a very soft schedule (#28 out of 32). The Saints have the weapons to rise again after a disappointing ’07 season, and we see this team looking more like ’06 than ’07.
 
PROJECTED FINISH:  10-6
 
NFL Previews 2008: NFC South

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Football picksJuly 18, 2008

NFL Previews 2008: NFC East

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
 
1. DALLAS
2. PHILADELPHIA
3. NY GIANTS
4. WASHINGTON

DALLAS 
COACH: WADE PHILLIPS 2nd yr (13-4)
LAST YEAR:  13-3
GAMES DECIDED BY 3 OR LESS:  2-0
BIGGEST ADDITION: ZACH THOMAS LB
BIGGEST LOSS: JULIUS JONES RB

DIRECTION: GOING DOWN
OUTLOOK: After a great regular season, the curtain came down fast on the Cowboys in the post-season losing to the Giants at home. The Cowboys didn’t need drastic improvement anywhere, as they are solid across the board. The biggest problems this season will come from the competition in their own division. Those six games are all going to be battles as the NFC East appears to be the strongest conference for the upcoming ’08 season. In addition, road games at Cleveland and at Pittsburgh will surely be no picnic. The Cowboys aren’t really any better or worse than they were last year, but the teams they face six times this season within the division are all better, and it could take a few wins away.
 
PROJECTED FINISH: 10-6

NFL Previews 2008: NFC East

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Football picksJuly 17, 2008

NFL Previews 2008: AFC West

PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH:
 
1. SAN DIEGO
3. KANSAS CITY
3. DENVER
4. OAKLAND

SAN DIEGO
COACH: NORV TURNER 2nd yr. (13-6)
LAST YEAR:  11-5
GAMES DECIDED BY 3 OR LESS: 1-0
BIGGEST ADDITION: DEREK SMITH LB
BIGGEST LOSS: MICHAEL TURNER RB
 
DIRECTION: GOING DOWN
OUTLOOK: The Chargers window of opportunity may be running out. LaDanian Tomlinson had a more human season last year, and after carrying the load for eight years the wear and tear may finally be relegating him to just good, instead of Superman. Philip Rivers has made strides, but he will be testing a reconstructed knee after off-season ACL surgery, and that could present some problems for the Chargers if his knee causes some problems. The biggest obstacle for the Chargers is the fact that they must contend with Indianapolis and New England to get to the Superbowl and it would be crucial for them to finish with one of the top two records in the AFC to avoid having to beat them both to get there. Micheal Turner looked better than Tomlinson at times last season, and he is now carrying the ball in Atlanta. So if Tomlinson misses time again this season the safety net is gone, and with Rivers on a reconstructed knee, this team doesn’t look like one that will improve but may in fact take a small step back in the win column. Thanks to a weak division and a very soft schedule however, they should have little problem coming out on top of their division.
 
PROJECTED FINISH:  10-6

NFL Previews 2008: AFC West

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Football picksJuly 17, 2008

NFL Previews 2008: AFC South

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
 
1. INDIANAPOLIS
2. JACKSONVILLE
3. HOUSTON
4. TENNESSEE

INDIANAPOLIS
COACH: TONY DUNGY 7th yr (80-28)
LAST YEAR:  13-3
GAMES DECIDED BY 3 OR LESS:  3-1
BIGGEST ADDITION: DOMINIC RHODES RB
BIGGEST LOSS: ROB MORRIS  LB

DIRECTION: GOING DOWN
OUTLOOK: The Colts have dealt with a lot of roster changes year to year, but this season they have for the most part stayed intact. This is a team that has dominated on the offensive side of the ball for years, with an improved defense the past couple of seasons making them one of the league’s elite teams. The biggest asset remains at QB where Peyton Manning provides the leadership and talent to keep this team in every game and on the list of Super Bowl contenders year in and year out. Manning has yet to miss time with an injury of any sort, and that remains a key to this team’s success. If Manning lines up behind center, the Colts will win a lot of games just from his ability to run the offense with great efficiency. If he goes down, the Colts could be in trouble. But since that has yet to happen, another good season is likely in store for Indianapolis. They must however contend with the second toughest schedule behind Pittsburgh. So, don’t look for 13 wins again in 2008.
 
PROJECTED FINISH:  11-5

NFL Previews 2008: AFC South

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