Commentary: Aqua's off-season rankings

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Nov 29th

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Aqua4Ever04

Banned
I write weekley articles for www.thephinsider.com and here is my most recent installment concerning my off-season rankings.

2007 Off-season Rankings

The bulk of the off-season is over and it’s time to begin grading each team. This is all chalk considering we’re only taking into account what happened on paper, but you can evaluate a team on the roster, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. The Dolphins had a see-saw type off-season that I’m not in love with, but I don’t hate either. The strong defense is ever stronger and the offense is a lot faster. There are some question marks that need to be solved but this team could make some noise. As for the rest of the NFL, each team has been given their own paragraph. Without further a due, here are the 2007 off-season rankings. (Keep in mind it’s grading how the teams did in the off-season, not how I think the team’s will do this year.)

32. Tennessee Titans- The Tennessee Titans came roaring down the stretch of 2006 winning 6 games straight before falling just one win shy of the post season in the final week vs. New England. Despite the hot start, and discovering effectiveness from Vince Young, the Titans unloaded some key talent, and have dealt with the Adam “Pacman” Jones saga. Losing Drew Bennett and Travis Henry will hurt an offense that struggled to make plays outside of those two players. It gets even worse considering the Titans lost their other starting receiver in Bobby Wade and to put the icing on the cake, David Givens will miss the majority or all of the 2007 season with an injury. If Jeff Fisher pulls off 6-10 this upcoming season, he will have done one hell of a job.
Best add: Nick Harper S
Worst loss: Travis Henry RB
Outlook: 4-12 struggling to support, in my mind, an over hyped Vince Young.

31. New York Giants- As Eli Manning continues to struggle through his progression at the pro level, Tiki Barber carried the New York offense. Tiki shocked the football world when he announced mid-season that 2006 would be his final year. Losing one player has left the Giants on a turn for the worse, and I mean much worse. They added Rueben Droughns to share the load with 3rd year man Brandon Jacobs. Other notable names that are out the door are left tackle Luke Pettigout, linebacker LaVar Arrington, outside linebacker Carlos Emmons, and return man/running back Chad Morton. To go along with the axing, the Giants went with Aaron Ross in the first round when many believed there were other players that presented more value at the pick. The Giants were in the playoffs a year ago but at just 8-8, and I don’t see a repeat performance for the G-men.
Best add: Aaron Ross CB
Worst loss: Tiki Barber RB
Outlook: 5-11 battling with the Redskins for 3rd in the NFC East.

30. Chicago Bears- When the Bears drafted Cedric Benson in 2005, I don’t think they envisioned this outcome heading into the 2007 season. In his 2 years, Benson has amassed just 919 yards playing behind Thomas Jones. Jones rushed for 2545 yards in those 2 seasons, but despite the production of Jones, money won and the Bears dealt Jones to the New York Jets. This is just one move I question among many the front office has executed this off-season. The problem isn’t with players gained and lost, but rather with the executive’s low balling players and coaches. Prior to a recent contract extension, Lovie Smith was the lowest paid coach in the NFL despite exceeding expectations for 3 years and eventually leading the Bears to Super Bowl XLI. The Bears were reluctant to give Smith a big deal, but eventually caved and paid the much deserving coach. The Bears are also neglecting star linebacker Lance Briggs who vowed he won’t play another down for the Bears. This all goes without even mentioning Tank Johnson’s jail time, and Alex Brown’s request to be traded. It’s a good thing the Bears are already in good shape because it has been a tumultuous off-season for Chicago.
Bess add: Greg Olsen TE
Worst loss: Thomas Jones RB
Outlook: 11-5 locking up an extremely weak NFC North.

29. Green Bay Packers- To play or not to play, that has been the question with Bret Favre the past few years. Well, he’s back and seems disgruntled by the Packers’ front office. With basically no notable free agent signings, all there is to discuss is subtractions and the moves that didn’t go through. The starting backfield is gone, the tight end is off to Miami and Randy Moss is a Patriot. Ahman Green, William Henderson and David Martin are all in new places. The Packers are questionable at the running back spot (at best,) and drafted 2 injury prone players in the draft (Justin Harrell and Brandon Jackson.). My other question is, did you really need a defensive tackle at the 16th spot of this year’s draft? The worst part about it is that Justin Harrell was their best addition.
Best add: Justin Harrell DT
Worst loss: Ahman Green RB
Outlook: 6-10 because they over achieved last season and will come back down a couple of games.

28. San Diego Chargers- What does a team that finished 14-2 need to do to improve? It’s not a matter of addition, but rather what that team lost. The Chargers have a brand new coaching staff after they fired Marty Schottenheimer, and lost Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips to coaching jobs. Norv Turner is the new coach and he has attempted to get a play maker at wide out with Craig Davis in the first round. The Chargers lost linebacker Donnie Edwards to division rival Kansas City. Their best addition may have just been not letting a beast on the line get out of town. The Chargers will be back in 2007 however.
Best add: Retaining Kris Dielman OG
Worst loss: Donnie Edwards LB
Outlook: 11-5. It’s difficult to do what the Chargers did last year and the AFC West is very tough.

27. Buffalo Bills- Remember that this list rates how the team did for their team in the upcoming season. While I believe the Bills had a great draft, the departure of some key players has left the Bills depleted in several areas. Losing running back Willis McGahee, linebackers London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes and corner Nate Clements will prove costly for the Bills in 2007. Marshawn Lynch and Paul Posluszney were their first round choices and are both electrifying players; I just don’t like the impact these players will have in year 1. The Bills did upgrade the offensive line adding Derrick Dockery, Langston Walker and Jason Whittle. The one knock on these signs is that the Bills paid too much and I too am on the “Marv Levy overpaid” bandwagon.
Best add: Marshawn Lynch RB
Worst loss: London Fletcher-Baker LB
Outlook: 5-11 after a good draft that bumped my expectations slightly.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Jim Mora was a player’s coach that never quite seemed to get a grasp on Michael Vick’s talents. After some controversial comments about wanting a position at the University of Washington, Mora all but wrote his obituary with the Falcons. Mora is out; enter former Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. It’s Petrino’s job to finally turn Vick into the superstar his talents suggest he should be. The Falcons adding Joe Horn to a receiving core that can’t seem to catch a cold who will add some much needed veteran experience to a young group of pass catchers. The Falcons also added, and I hate to say this but it’s true, bust quarterback Joey Harrington to backup Michael Vick. They lost key pass rusher Patrick Kerney to Seattle and traded Matt Shaub to Houston in exchange for some picks. With those picks the Falcons did very well selecting Jamaal Anderson, Chris Houtson and Justin Blaylock. I think Atlanta improves and pending on the Michael Vick situation, the Falcons could be serious NFC contenders.
Best add: Joe Horn WR
Worst loss: Patrick Kerney DE
Outlook: 8-8 and challenging for a playoff spot in 2007.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jaguars didn’t make a lot of noise this off-season relying on the health of quarterback Byron Leftwich. The biggest decision they made was deciding on the enormous oft-injured gunslinger to lead their offense. The decision was a surprising one as coach Jack Del Rio opted to name Leftwich the starter opposed to opening up a camp competition with David Garrard and Quinn Grey. Tony Pashos and Denis Northcutt join the offense that simply needs to put more points on the board. Reggie Nelson, Justin Durant and Mike Walker are among several draft selections the Jaguars made. Nelson should step into a starting role immediately filling in for Deon Grant’s vacancy. The Jags are young at WR and still have a young offense, it’s on Leftwich and those receivers (who I’ll classify as decent) to see where this team goes.
Best add: Tony Pashos OL
Worst loss: Deon Grant S
Outlook: 8-8 but playing every team tough. It’d be another story in the NFC.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Mike Tomlin is just 34 years old and is entering his first year as a head coach in the NFL. He has quite an act to follow stepping in after the position was manned for 37 years by just 2 men; Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher. The Steelers also lost both of their coaches in Russ Grim and Ken Whisenhunt to other jobs. Tomlin’s first order of business was cutting emotional leader, linebacker Joey Porter. I really question that move as the Steelers only went on to draft a linebacker in the first round. Granted, Lawrence Timmons is a solid player, but Porter was a huge asset to the Steelers. All-pro guard Alan Faneca is on the fence and reportedly wants out. If they lose him, it’d be a huge blow to that offense considering they already lost Jeff Harting to retirement. They have stood pat for the most part this off-season, a team that just won a Super Bowl and then went 8-8, I don’t know if that’s a good thing.
Best add: Lawrence Timmons LB
Worst loss: Joey Porter LB
Outlook: 8-8. Last year was an aberration for Roethlisberger, but like the Jaguars, will have a tough time against the AFC elite.

23. Indianapolis Colts- Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are all still there. These guys are the ones that make this team go and despite losing a load of key players from their Super Bowl team, they’re still the Colts. Among the free agency casualties are Nick Harper, Cato June, Jason David, Montae Reager, Brandon Stokley and the man I felt should’ve been Super Bowl MVP, Dominic Rhodes. There were no big free agent signings but they did find their replacement for Brandon Stokley in the first round with Anthony Gonzalez.
Best add: Anthony Gonzalez WR
Worst loss: Cato June LB
Outlook: 10-6. Some key pieces are gone, but I don’t think anyone in the AFC South is ready to challenge the Colts

22. Kansas City Chiefs- Damon Huard got a big deal and Carl Peterson is playing cat and mouse with Miami GM Randy Mueller over former pro bowl QB Trent Green. Eventually Green will be out the door ending a very nice career with the Chiefs. There are some moves I love and some moves I hate but the bad outweighs the good. The Chiefs lose another key offensive lineman to retirement as Will Shields decided to hang it up. Donnie Edwards and Napoleon Harris are great additions at linebacker and Dwayne Bowe was a nice draft choice to help a depleted receiving core.
Best add: Donnie Edwards LB
Worst loss: Will Shields OG (Retirement)
Outlook: 6-10 The Chiefs seem to be heading backwards. Can LJ carry it 400 times again? He might need to with that passing attack.

21. Washington Redskins- Usually the winners this time of year, the Redskins decided not to be the huge buyers again. The Redskins cut ties with several of those players that were supposed to make them winners all those years. David Patten, T.J Duckett, Troy Vincent, Adam Archuleta and Derrick Dockery are all gone. Stepping in on the O-line is Jason Fabini and London Fletcher-Baker are two additions that shouldn’t be frowned upon. I like what the Redskins did this year, addition by subtraction, and refrained from over spending on big free agents. Although half of their draft had been traded away, they still netted, in my opinion, the best defensive player in the draft with Laron Landry.
Best add: Laron Landry S
Worst loss: Derrick Dockery OL
Outlook: 4-12. In the cellar of the NFC East again, I’m not yet sold on Jason Campbell.

20. Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins have ushered in a new era with brand new head coach Cam Cameron. He was immediately unpopular after selecting Ted Ginn over Brady Quinn in the NFL draft, but has played a pretty nice hand in cap cutting underachievement axing. Miami made an outstanding defense even stronger with signing the hard hitting linebacker Joey Porter who will provide a lightning fast pass rush opposite Jason Taylor. Miami selected John Beck to be the QB of the future in the 2nd round but doesn’t look for him to start right away. The biggest move is the one that hasn’t been made yet with QB Trent Green, he should eventually be in aqua and orange and the starter next year. Some losses that will hurt are tight end Randy McMichael and Donnie Jones. Wes Welker is gone but Miami replaced him with a faster more electric player, and received a high round pick for Welker.
Best add: Joey Porter LB
Worst loss: Randy McMichael TE
Outlook: 8-8. Miami will surprise some people this year by contending for a playoff spot.

19. Baltimore Ravens- Baltimore hasn’t quite overhauled the team, but there are a lot of new faces for the Ravens this year. Willis McGahee takes over at running back for Jamal Lewis which is a monster upgrade, but the Ravens lost star linebacker Adalius Thomas. Tony Pashos, Edwin Mulitalo and Ovie Mughelli are among other players that are in new cities but Baltimore got some replacement help in the draft by selecting big Auburn guard Ben Grubbs in round 1. Yamon Figures is a lightning bolt receiver and return man that Baltimore drafted along with Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.
Best add: Willis McGahee RB
Worst loss: Adalius Thomas LB
Outlook: 11-5. I’ve got Baltimore and Cincinnati neck and neck in the AFC North this year.

18. Cincinnati Bengals- The M.O. this off-season for the Bengals seemed to be “stay out of jail.” It’s been over 3 months since a member of Bungles has been behind bars and it seems they are setting a precedent. Losing Kelly Washington wasn’t a huge deal until Cincinnati learned that Chris Henry would miss half of the season. The only big free agent note was losing big offensive guard Eric Steinbach to cross state rival Cleveland Browns. Leon Hall and Kenny Irons were 2 big names selected as Hall will help a poor pass defense and Irons should take a decent load off of Rudi Johnson’s shoulders.
Best add: Leon Hall CB
Worst loss: Eric Steinbach OG
Outlook: 11-5 I felt off-season issues and underachievement killed the Bengals last year. It should be a great race with them and the Ravens in the AFC North.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
17. Houston Texans- This offense has been rebuilt from head to toe. Matt Shaub is the new quarterback, Ahman Green is the new running back and Jordan Black is the big offensive tackle over from Kansas City. Dominick Davis and David Carr are gone and these moves are better for the two parties, Davis and Carr need a shot somewhere else while they weren’t working out in Houston. Amobi Okoye was the first round selection as he steps in with sophomores Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans on the defensive front. This team is headed in the right direction, just not there yet.
Best add: Ahman Green RB
Worst loss: David Carr QB
Outlook: 7-9 going through some growing pains, this team is finally going the right way. A lot of this team’s success hinges on the progression of Matt Shaub.

16. Carolina Panthers- I don’t know that any one loved the pick of Dwayne Jarret more than Keyshawn Johnson. I suppose someone should’ve told him that Jarret was taking his job as Keyshawn now finds himself without a job. The Panthers hit a home run in the draft also selecting John Beason and Ryan Kalil. These are 3 guys who could come in and be big contributors immediately in 2007. Charles Johnson could also be a good pass rusher opposite Julius Peppers as the Panthers continued a strong draft. Their two big hits in free agency were Chad Lavalais to play left tackle, and David Carr who will finally give Jake Delhomme a viable backup.
Best add: John Beason LB
Worst loss: Keyshawn Johnson WR
Outlook: 8-8. The NFC South could get back to being one of the tougher divisions this year, expect the Panthers to have a say in that race.

15. Minnesota Vikings- You have to love the new 1-2 punch of the Minnesota Vikings with rookie Adrian Peterson and finally full time starter Chester Taylor. Minnesota has a lot of burners at WR and they added a much needed big body in Sidney Rice in the 2nd round. If Troy Williamson can live up to expectations, it could turn into a solid 1-2 combo at WR. If they find a way to get Tavaris Jackson to develop soon, this could be a very good offense. Another team that kept mostly the same body of work, adding Mike Doss as a safety was the only big move. The team need pass rushers, receivers and secondary help; they attacked all of these spots as they also drafted corner back Marcus McCauley.
Best add: Adrian Peterson RB
Worst loss: Brad Johnson QB (Yes, this is how few players they lost.)
Outlook: 6-10. I’m still not sold on that secondary or those inconsistent receivers. Minnesota will dominate the trenches again, but still struggle with winning games.

14. New York Jets- Doing absolutely nothing flashy in 2006, it’s a complete mystery how the Jets made the playoffs. Chad Pennington is incapable of taking shots down the field, and Leon Washington ranked 31st in yards amongst the 32 NFL starting running backs. To help this area, New York traded for a very good runner in Thomas Jones. The Jets drafted Darrell Revis and then moved back into the first round to select linebacker David Harris. These two should help a defense that was already pretty darn good as they will be starters right away. The only player of note that the Jets lost, was full back B.J Askew.
Best add: Thomas Jones RB
Worst loss: B.J Askew FB
Outlook: 7-9 coming back down to the earth, I still think the Jets overachieved big time last year. The Jets don’t have enough offense to make another run.

13. Philadelphia Eagles- No one can say they thought the Eagles stood a chance when Donovan McNabb went down with a season ending injury mid way through 2006. Jeff Garcia rallied the team all the way to an NFC Divisional round playoff game. Garcia is gone but the Eagles drafted a backup with their first pick in the 2nd round in Houston’s Kevin Kolb. Takeo Spikes, Montae Reager, and Ian Scott are all defensive help for the Eagles. Losing Donte Stallworth is gone, but the Eagles replaced him with hot prospect Kevin Curtis in free agency. I like a lot of things the Eagles have done and I consider them serious contenders in 2007.
Best add: Takeo Spikes LB
Worst loss: Donte Stallworth WR
Outlook: 11-5 and serious contenders to play in Super Bowl XLII next February.

12. Arizona Cardinals- Apparently Dennis Green isn’t “who we thought he was” and that was the man who would turn the Cardinals around. He is out, and former right hand man to Bill Cowher Ken Whisenhunt is in. He begins his run with a team that has a great deal of talent but can never achieve their lofty expectations. Big man Leonard Davis is the big man out the door at left tackle but in is Mike Gandy from Buffalo, Al Johnson from Dallas, and former Penn State OT Levi Brown. Brown is expected to be responsible for Leinart’s blind side as the Cardinals attempt to repair a line that has been nothing short of awful this century. Roderick Hood and Terrance Holt are two other players of note that head to the desert this season. If Matt Leinart gets it going this year, and they can keep him off his backside, this could be a pretty good team.
Best add: Levin Brown OT
Worst loss: Leonard Davis OT
Outlook: 8-8 and battling through a tight NFC West all year.

11. Dallas Cowboys- Another team, another new coach. Wade Phillips takes over for Bill Parcels and he walks into a comfortable situation. He has play makes on offense, hard hitting players in the secondary, and a fast front 7. The weak spot of the team was the offensive line and the Cowboys broke the bank on the 370 pound left tackle Leonard Davis. Jason Fabini is out but the Cowboys feel Davis is an upgrade at that position. Ken Hamlin joins Roy Williams to be one of the hardest hitting safety duos in football. Brad Johnson was signed to be the backup QB and Dallas selected Anthony Spencer to rush the quarterback opposite Demarcus Ware.
Best add: Ken Hamlin S
Worst loss: Jason Fabini OT
Outlook: 10-6 and right there in the NFC East.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
10. Seattle Seahawks- Despite having no pick in the first round of the draft the Seahawks made out pretty well this off-season having a big free agent period. The team continued to bulk an already strong defense adding pro bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney, and Jacksonville safety Deon Grant. Grant takes over for Hamlin which was a monster loss until the signing of Grant. Darrell Jackson was traded to division rival San Francisco and I hated the move. The Seahawks are depending on Nate Burleson and DJ Hacket to pick up the slack at WR.
Best add: Patrick Kerney DE
Worst loss: Ken Hamlin S
Outlook: 9-7 and right with everyone else in the NFC West.

9. New Orleans Saints- New Orleans is fresh off of a miracle season that ended in Chicago in the NFC Championship game. The big surprise of that team was the defense playing solid all year long. This off-season the Saints decided focus on that side of the ball in the draft and free agency. Veteran WR Joe Horn is gone to division foe Atlanta but New Orleans replaced him with former Tennessee WR Robert Meachem. Eric Johnson is the new tight end from San Francisco and I really like that move. Brian Simmons, Jason David and Kevin Kaeshivarn are new additions on defense. The Saints will have a hard time with a repeat performance but should compete again.
Best add: Brian Simmons LB
Worst loss: Joe Horn WR
Outlook: 10-6 winning the NFC South.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs were already notorious for a stout defense and this off-season they’ve only become stronger. Kevin Carter is the new defensive end and he is joined by Gaines Adams on the opposite side to make for a strong pass rush. Cato June brings his Super Bowl bling down to Florida to man a linebacker position. Luke Pettigout is new on the line and the quarterback position has been a mess to say the least this off-season. The Bucs picked up Jake Plummer and Jeff Garcia only to see Plummer retire. Bruce Gradkowski and Chris Simms will be given a chance to win the job but it’s all but Garcia’s at this point. The Bucs failed to find another WR and I’m still not high on their offense.
Best add: Gaines Adams DE
Worst loss: Jake Plummer QB (I know he was never a Buccaneer, but would’ve been nice to have him.)
Outlook: 5-11. The defense is great but I don’t like the offense, at all.

7. Detroit Lions- All of April everyone was saying Gaines Adams at number 2 for the Lions. Detroit opted to go for their 3rd WR in 4 years with Calvin Johnson and rightfully so. Johnson is a freak with his abilities and will absolutely be a star receiver in this league. Couple Johnson with Roy Williams and Jon Kitna can only smile thinking about his targets. Detroit was also aggressive in free agency building that offense gobbling up running backs Tatum Bell and TJ Duckett to make for a great thunder and lightning combo. Shaun McDonald is also a new addition at receiver as the Lions are running out of room for pass catchers. George Foster, Edwin Mulitalo and Zach Piller are all new on the offensive line. This offense is entirely new but what about the defense? The Lions continued their spree in the 2nd round drafting Drew Stanton to groom behind Kitna. On defense Dre’ Bly is gone and Travis Fisher is in at corner back. The Lions will score some points, but are they going to stop any one from doing the same to them?
Best add: Calvin Johnson WR
Worst loss: Dre’ Bly CB
Outlook: 4-12. They’re on their way; believe me, just a couple of years off.

6. Cleveland Browns- The Browns are building a solid core on the offensive line. Last year they signed LeCharles Bentley to play center, and this year they made Eric Steinbach the highest paid lineman in league history, and also drafted the best OT in the draft in Joe Thomas. Brady Quinn and Eric Wright were the succeeding picks in what was a very solid draft. Brady Quinn will probably be the starter this year and the Browns will go through some growing pains. They lost Rueben Droughns but added Jamal Lewis at running back. Perhaps the best moves the Browns made were getting Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards healthy. However, it will still be a tough year for the Browns.
Best add: Joe Thomas OT
Worst loss: Rueben Droughns RB
Outlook: 4-12. Similar to the Lions, they are on their way, just not yet.

5. Oakland Raiders- Calling the Raiders’ offense average last year would be an insult to average. Randy Moss was complaining, Jerry Porter didn’t even want to play and Aaron Walter was on his backside most the time. Perhaps this is the reason the Raiders overhauled the offense. New quarterbacks are in with Jamarcus Russell and Josh McCown, new runners with Dominic Rhodes and Michael Bush, new receivers with Mike Williams and John Lee Higgins, a rookie tight end in Zach Miller, and finally a new line with Jeremy Newberry and Marion Henderson. Quentin Moses was their first defensive pick at DE but he was the only real addition on defense. This Raiders’ team is entirely new which can’t be a bad thing after finishing 2-14, but I don’t see a lot of upside this year either.
Best add: Dominic Rhodes RB
Worst loss: Randy Moss WR
Outlook: 4-12. No defense and still some instability at QB and WR.

4. St. Louis Rams- This team is making all the right moves at this point. The offense is probably the best in the NFC after adding tight end Randy McMichael, WR Drew Bennett, iron man fullback Brian Leonard. Defense was their weakness in 2006 however, and the Rams went out and got linebacker Chris Draft from Carolina, and Adam Carriker and James Hall in the draft. The greatest show on turf just might be back with Tory Holt (the best WR in the NFL in my opinion) Issac Bruce, Drew Bennett, Randy McMichael, Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger. The Rams are my sexy pick for this year.
Best add: Randy McMichael TE
Worst loss: Kevin Curtis WR
Outlook: 12-4 and my surprise team taking the NFC West by storm.

3. New England Patriots- The Patriots have done everything they never did before. They went out and signed a lot of big names in free agency rather than keeping the core guys in and believing in the system. To run through the list, Adalius Thomas, Donte Stallworth, Randy Moss, Kyle Brady, Wes Welker, and retained standout corner Asante Samuel. Moss and Stallworth have question marks but would be huge if they pan out, Wes Welker is a nice 3rd option and an average punt returner and Adalius Thomas is one of the best linebackers in football. Brandon Meriweather (another troubled player) was their first selection in the draft. I see two possibilities with this team, either they sweep through the league and take the title, or all these question marks blow up in their face.
Best add: Adalius Thomas LB
Worst loss: Corey Dillon RB
Outlook: 11-5 and winning the AFC East again.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Who isn’t picking the 49ers to do very well this year? The reason is the off-season this front office has put together. Alex Smith is progressing and they surrounded him with loads of talents. Vernon Davis and Frank Gore are still there and in come Ashlie Lelie, Darrell Jackson and drafted speedster Jason Hill. On defense Nate Clements got a huge contract, Tully Banta-Cain is in at LB, first round selection Patrick Willis, and Michael Lewis is a new safety. This is a pretty balanced team and depending on Alex Smith, could be pretty darn good. Antonio Bryant is out but this team is on its way. Everyone is drinking the kool-aid but I’m not 100% sold yet.
Best add: Nate Clements CB
Worst loss: Antonio Bryant WR
Outlook: 9-7 challenging for a playoff spot in the NFC

1. Denver Broncos- I’m beginning to think I could run for 1000 yards in the Denver running scheme. Bring in Travis Henry and you have a dangerous ground attack. Henry led the Titans to 6 straight wins and a near playoff birth last season running for 1211 yards. Daniel Graham is the new tight end from New England and Patrick Ramsey will back up 2nd year man Jay Cutler. Dre Bly joins the Broncos giving them the stingiest set of corners in all the NFL. The Broncos knocked out the draft also getting pass rushers in Tim Crowder and Jarvis Moss. Al Wilson is the only big loss this team took but I still love the Broncos to do very well this year and I’ve given them my early Super Bowl pick.
Best add: Travis Henry RB
Worst loss: Al Wilson LB
Outlook: 13-3 and Super Bowl champions.

Well there it is. It may be objective in some ways but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. There are always winners and losers in the off-season but no matter how you slice it, it’s always difficult to forecast. I really believe the Dolphins can sneak into the playoffs and be the surprise team this season. If the offense can get Chambers and Brown going and figure out the QB spot, that would be enough with the awesome defense. And my early picks for the Super Bowl are in; I’ve got Denver beating St. Louis at this point. Take it how you like, but it’s still very early. Here’s to looking forward to a great NFL season, it can’t come soon enough.
 

PatsRI

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Since your posting it here I'm betting you have the Pats #1------
Ah I was wrong but I don't see the question about how Cutler will play for Denver in your ranking. Do you think he doesn't factor because of the running game?
 
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Fixit

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Why does everyone mention Banta-Cain as if he's a marquee pickup?
 

pats1

Moderator
PatsFans.com Supporter
How many 11-5 teams can you possibly have?!?

Aqua, if the only team you have finishing above 11-5 is the 13-3 Broncos, there is something seriously wrong with your predictions. I know there's parity in the league, but not that much.

And I personally don't think there's anything to get excited about with the Broncos.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
How many 11-5 teams can you possibly have?!?

Aqua, if the only team you have finishing above 11-5 is the 13-3 Broncos, there is something seriously wrong with your predictions. I know there's parity in the league, but not that much.

And I personally don't think there's anything to get excited about with the Broncos.

It's not necessarily picking in terms of where team's where will finish, but just the talent level I think they have. Yes my picks would be differnt in a total prediction write-up but that's not the point of this article. It's only to measure wether the team betterd or made their team worse in the off-season.
 

Remix 6

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
bills should be at 30-32 easily

27 is too much of a gift

they lost
-Spikes
-Fletcher
-McGahee
-Clements

isnt that basically their top talent? I know Spikes has been hurt last 2 years but his presence is felt when hes on the field and Fletcher was another leader on team. McGahee was unhappy but if he had a good OL he would of been better. Clements was a top 10 CB and definatley 1 of the best players they had.
does Lynch replace McGahee? Fine..it could happen. CAn Poz replace Fletcher and Spikes? NOPE. Can Webster replace Clements? NO WAY. The only good signing they had was Dockery..Walker was the worst OL for Raiders last year..overpaid.

Them and Titans downgraded the most. Bills should be below Bears and Packers who really..just lost their starting RB but Bears have their first rounder, top 5 from a few years ago while Packers werent getting enough from green.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
Remix, if you read the blurb about the Bills I claim that they somewhat salavage their terrible FA period with a good draft. I too think those losses will kill them but at least they got Lynch and Posluzny.

Also, the Bears I have that low because they lost their only offensive threat and the FO is in shambles. They almost didn't pay Lovie Smith and now are screwing over Lance Briggs.
 

Remix 6

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Remix, if you read the blurb about the Bills I claim that they somewhat salavage their terrible FA period with a good draft. I too think those losses will kill them but at least they got Lynch and Posluzny.

Also, the Bears I have that low because they lost their only offensive threat and the FO is in shambles. They almost didn't pay Lovie Smith and now are screwing over Lance Briggs.

and Bears added a threat on offense in Olsen. Benson is ready in their eyes if they let Jones go. not that big of a deal if Benson can stay healthy and play hard.
 

zippo59

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
I could have sworn I just read the 49ers were ranked at number 2.

I don't get that at all.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
and Bears added a threat on offense in Olsen. Benson is ready in their eyes if they let Jones go. not that big of a deal if Benson can stay healthy and play hard.

Yeah I like the Olsen pick but Rex Grossman is still their QB and that's a problem in my eyes. Beson may be a good running back one day, but he's not Thomas Jones yet.
 

Mainefan

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Corey Dillon isn't the Patriots' worst loss. He didn't have much more in the tank and the running back pickups will more than take up the slack, once Maroney becomes the featured back.

The worst loss is Daniel Graham. But even here, Kyle Brady should ease the loss.

Also, Keyshawn isn't Carolina's worst loss. If losing him were really damaging, they would have kept him. They're not dumb.
 

Aqua4Ever04

Banned
Corey Dillon isn't the Patriots' worst loss. He didn't have much more in the tank and the running back pickups will more than take up the slack, once Maroney becomes the featured back.

The worst loss is Daniel Graham. But even here, Kyle Brady should ease the loss.

Also, Keyshawn isn't Carolina's worst loss. If losing him were really damaging, they would have kept him. They're not dumb.

Yeah but you have to keep in mind that they didn't really have any other notable losses.
 

zippo59

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
What don't you understand about Nate Clements, Michael Lewis, Patrick Willis, Ashlie Lelie, Darrell Jackson and Jason Hill?

So they pick up a few big names players and they go from being mediocre to the second best team in the league?!
 
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