Saturday, September 12, 2009

USC vs. Ohio State

I've got the Buckeyes in this one. The Southern Cal defense is stout, and they're deep at running back, but I think Terrelle Pryor's experience and Matt Barkley's lack thereof is the deciding factor tonight at the Horseshoe.

Honestly, I just feel obligated to root for the Big Ten in nonconference games no matter what. Especially against BCS opponents.

Ohio State 20 - USC 17


(by the way, between Central Michigan's upset of State, Michigan squeaking by a ranked Notre Dame team, and Western and Eastern Michigan both taking their respective Big Ten opponents down to the wire, it was a wild day to be an underdog from the Mitten State!)

Peter Vecsey's Horrible Hall of Fame Speech

...this is from the dinner the night before the HOF induction ceremony, where media members get their love.

Props to Jeff Pearlman, who was there, for breaking news of what is probably one of the five worst speeches of the Internet era.

Michael Jordan actually left about halfway through. Just got up and left. And it was his party, basically.

Way to go, Vecsey.

EDIT: You can see MJ's cool-ass speech at his own induction HERE. I loved it. Talk about competitive fire.

Indiana vs. Western Michigan: I Don't Even Have a Subtitle For This

Bloomington, IN, 10:43 AM - Last week, Bill Lynch's Hoosiers squeaked out a 19-13 win over a FCS (that's I-AA, to clarify) team. Last week, the Western Michigan Broncos lost 31-7 in Ann Arbor, kicking off year two of the Rich Rodriguez Project at Michigan.

You could argue that neither of these teams has an ounce of momentum headed into today at The Rock. And you'd probably be right.

Indiana's allegedly new and improved pistol-style offense yielded only 72 yards on the ground - again, against a I-AA team. Just to remind you.

On the upside, Ben Chappell, Tanden Doss, and Demarlo Belcher looked like they might be able to put together a halfway decent passing game.

The defense looked pretty good, except when they let a screen pass turn into a long touchdown.

Like it or not, this is a huge measuring stick for Indiana. Western Michigan features solid quarterback Tim Hiller (77 career TD's) and WR Juan Nunez, who went for 151 yards last week despite the lopsided score. The last time these two teams played, at Western Michigan in 2007 (the Insight Bowl season), IU came out on top 37-27. For reference, that's closer than either the Iowa or Minnesota games that year.

I'm predicting another shootout and a disappointing result, as IU fails to score in the 4th quarter and lets it slip away:
Western Michigan over Indiana 41-33.

Now get out there and prove me wrong, guys.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Number 23 Enters Hall of Fame Today

Joined by also-rans David Robinson, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan, and C. Vivian Stringer, Michael Jordan will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts today. It just might be the greatest HOF class ever.

ESPN has had extensive coverage over the last week, which we have linked to here, but I thought I'd say a few things.

Michael Jordan shaped my childhood. Growing up in the Chicagoland area, many of my fondest memories are of watching Jordan, Pippen, and company battle all the other great teams of the era (Pistons, Lakers, Jazz, and so many others). I remember running through the streets celebrating after titles, watching Grant Park championship parties... I collected basketball cards like a fiend. Cubs? Sox? Hell, even the Bears took a backseat to MJ's Bulls during the nineties. It's hard to remember now, but back then when you said "Chicago" the first thing that came to most people's minds was "Bulls."

When I was in Italy a few summers ago, playing basketball with some random kids outside a high school, they asked me where I was from. After I told them Chicago, their first response was "OH! Michael Jordan!" That's how deep his impact has been. Guess why I root for UNC today? That's right.

(By the way, in attendance today at the ceremony are Dean Smith, Tim Duncan, Scottie "Please give me a JOB!" Pippen, and others. No Jerry Krause.)

I've never watched the Basketball HOF Induction Ceremony before, but I'm watching every minute of this one. And, health care be damned, I bet Barack is in the Oval Office doing the same thing right now.

Side note: Below is my favorite Air Jordan commercial ever. This one even gets me a little misty.

Weekend Watch/Wagers (09/11/09)

The glorious return of a forgotten franchise! I threw down $40 on 4 games this weekend (legally in Vegas), so I will be watching those in addition to the normal watch stuff. My first wager was Ga Tech -5 over Clemson. I looked good in the first before Ga Tech decided they had already won, and stopped playing and then milking the clock for a game winning FG (WHERE’S THE TD TO COVER!).

Anyways on to the Watch


College GameDay 9 AM ET

Come on you know you watch it too. Live from Columbus Ohio.

Early Games

I put $10 on Iowa State +6.5 over Iowa (Sorry Anne and Colin). So I will be watching that one in addition to IU and Western Michigan

Who I want to Win: Iowa by 3.

Who I think will Win: Iowa

Who I want to Win: IU

Who I think will Win: Western Michigan

Afternoon Games

Michigan at Notre Dame. This should be a fairly exciting game based on the way the two teams played last week. We will see though. The story of the game will be the QBs. Can Clausen put up his good numbers against a team not from the WAC? Will the shoelace wonder (yes the QB Robinson who doesn’t tie his shoes) and Forcier continue to excel after there 1st game success? The over/under was 48.5 and I put $10 on the over so as you can tell I’m expecting them all to perform.

Who I want to win: I can’t decide but since I’ll be in the state of Michigan, Michigan

Who I think will win: I thin Notre Dame will show they are for real in this game.

Night Game

Southern Cal (South Carolina is the REAL USC) vs THE Ohio State University. The Showdown in the Shoe or whatever you want to call it this year. This is as big as a must win for Ohio State and the Big Ten if they want to be viewed as an elite conference this year. Southern Cal starts a true frosh QB in his first road game ever. They also are returning just 3 starters on defense from last year so Southern Cal might be having a more down year compared to recent Southern Cal team. Saying all that, Ohio State has lost a ton of talent as well. They do return Pryor who was Big Ten Pre-season player of the year. The key to the game will be how Ohio State’s O-Line plays. They have struggled against very athletic defenses, and guess what Southern Cal has. If they can manhandle them and get into a steady rushing rhythm they can win. If they get into too many 3rd and long, the Southern Cal defense will have a field day with the OSU O-line. 105,000 going nuts in the shoe, should be a good game.

Who I want to win: Ohio State

Who I think will win: Southern Cal

Random Tangent. Yes I am giving Southern Cal crap about not being the real USC, but Southern Cal looks fine in print. Nothing throws me off more then seeing Louisana State or hearing that name, I’m always like who the F*&% is Louisiana State, and then it clicks, LSU. Doesn’t phase me with BYU or Southern Cal or any other initial school, but there’s something about LSU


Early Games

Falcons vs Dolphins

The overachievers last year! I think this will be a very entertaining game even though neither team will repeat what they did last year

Who I want to win: Dolphins

Who I think will win: Dolphins

Sunday Night Football

Bears vs Packers. Bears getting 3.5 you bet I put money on that. This game could go a long way in determining momentum for the NFC North. Either team starts out the season with a blowout; they can carry that with them the rest of the season. I got Bears winning by the same margin as last year in Indy.

Who I want to win: Bears

Who I think will win: Bears.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Week 1 Predictions

Titans vs. Steelers: Steelers
Dolphins vs. Falcons: Falcons
Broncos vs. Bengals: Bengals
Vikings vs. Browns: Vikings
Jaguars vs. Colts: Jaguars
Lions vs. Saints: Get ready for it: Lions 27-24.
Cowboys vs. Bucs: Cowboys
Eagles vs. Panthers: Panthers
Chiefs vs. Ravens: Ravens
Jets vs. Texans: Texans
Redskins vs. Giants: Redskins
49ers vs. Cardinals: Cardinals
Rams vs. Seahawks: Seahawks
Bears vs. Packers: Bears 53-0
Bills vs. Patriots: Patriots
Chargers vs. Raiders: Raiders 17-14

My Record: 0-0

My 2009 Preseason Power Rankings

These power rankings are decided upon last years finish, players gained over the offseason, players coming back from injuries, and how I expect them to finish. Mainly, though, most teams will be judged based on last years performance.

1. Steelers

They won the Superbowl, they are number one until they lose a game.

2. Patriots

They went 18-1 two years ago, last year, without their record setting QB went 11-5. With the acquisition of Fred Taylor this team could be tough.

3. Giants

They had the best record in the NFC last year, they won the Superbowl the previous year, and they get Osi Umenyora back. However, they did lose Plaxico, but by default (and I don't think they are this good) they go here.

4. Colts

They have Peyton Manning and tied for the second best record in the AFC. Too bad they were stuck behind the Titans.

5. Chicago Bears

Last year they went 9-7. In the offseason they added Orlando Pace, Kevin Shaffer, and Frank Omiyele on their offensive line. They demoted Bob Babich and handed over the defensive play calling duties to Lovie Smith. They signed Rod Marinelli to improve the drastically underachieving d-line play. And they added a probowl QB. Enough Said.

6. Tennessee Titans

They had the best record in the NFL last year. However, I don't see them repeating that, especially without Albert Haynesworth.

7. Baltimore Ravens

An incredible defense with a young QB who looked like he could really play last year.

8. Eagles

They beefed up their o-line and were one game away from a Superbowl trip.

9. Cardinals

They did get some help at RB, as well as added some defensive players. However, the only reason they are this high up is because they went to the Superbowl last year.

10. Minnesota Vikings

They were phenomenal against the run last year, they have Adrian Peterson, and most people think that Brett Favre is going to put them over the top. I don't. But still, they went 10-6 last year and added him.

11. Panthers

They played quite well last year, and they have the offense and defense to do it again.

12. San Diego Chargers

They finished last season quite hot, winning their final 3 games, and then the first round against the Colts

13. Falcons

Matt Ryan had an incredible year last year. This year he is still armed with Roddie White and Michael Turner. Oh yeah, and they added Tony Gonzalez.

14. Redskins

They added Albert Haynesworth to an already great defense. They have Clinton Portis and Santana Moss. If Jason Campbell does anything to break out this year, this team could be dangerous.

15. Packers

With great play from their offense this year, they could be a playoff contender. However, they will need their defense to step up.

16. Jacksonville

They improved their offensive line and WR. They already had a good defense, this could be a team that competes for a title.

17. Dallas

The team is overhyped, as usual, and really has a lot of holes. However, being the best of the bottom half sounds just about right for this team.

18. Seahawks

They could be poised for a great year this year. They added Housh and will get Hassellbeck back this year. They also added Edgerrin James.

19. Texans

Everyone's "sleeper" pick. They aren't that good.

20. Saints

Another one of everyone's sleeper pick. They are a good passing offense, with a solid run game. That's it.

21. Dolphins

Does anyone in their right mind think the Dolphins are going to do anything this year? I know they went 11-5 last year, but they were 1-15 the previous year. My guess is the truth lies somewhere in the midde, say: 6-10?

22. Bengals

This team could actually have a much improved year this year, especially if Carson Palmer stays healthy.

23. 49ers

I'm ranking them above the Bills for one reason only; MIKE SINGLETARY!

24. Bills

Terrell Owens was their big addition this year. Will it be a mistake? We will find out.

25. Buccaneers

I actually think this could be a pretty good team this year. However, they lost their starting QB, and are actually having Byron Leftwhich battle Josh McCown for their starting QB role.

26. Chiefs

They added Matt Cassell; I personally think that was a mistake as I think Tyler Thigpen is better but oh well. This team won't be as bad as their 2-14 record last year, as they lost many of games at the very end.

27. Browns

A team that could have an explosive offense... but won't.


29. Detroit Lions

I know, I know, how could I put them here based off of last year's performance?!?!?! Because they had a solid off-season, and a good draft. I never thought they were a 0 win team, and I still don't think they were (Of course they were, but what I mean is their talent wasn't bad enough to warrant 0 wins). And actually, if you read Bill Simmons' article on how to tell if they are a sleeper, the Lions meet almost all of the criteria:

"As we all know (or should know), a true sleeper pick can only be a team that: (A) flagrantly sucked last season; and (B) generated little buzz heading into this one. That rules out Houston (too much buzz), Green Bay (ditto), the Jets (9-7 last season) and Bucs (9-7 last season). You have to pick someone from this group: the Bills, Browns, Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs, Lions, Rams, Bengals and Niners. You need the "Nobody believed in us!" factor. You need a team that nailed its April draft and is blessed by a bad division and/or an easy schedule. You need an easy September for momentum. You need a franchise with fans who lost hope and will lose their collective crap if anything good happens. And you need to feel like you want to throw up even as you're anointing the team your sleeper."

The Lions beyond flagarently sucked last year. Their is absolutely no buzz surrounding them this year. Nobody does believe in them. I do think they nailed their draft. They are blessed with a semi-easy schedule (but hard September). There is no way you can say their fans didn't lose hope and would lose their "collective crap" if they started winning, and who wouldn't want to throw up by picking them as their sleeper. So... this team could be the sleeper! Also, don't forget, they are 2 years removed from going 7-9.

30. Oakland Raiders

From here on out, its going to be teams that sucked last year, and had horrible offseasons. They drafted Darrius Heyword Bey with the 7th overall pick, and a guy who wasn't even on many people's boards in the second round. However, they did add Richard Seymour. So, that should keep them a notch above the rest (plus they are my sleeper pick).

31. Denver Broncos

They lost their team to the Chicago Bears. Brandon Marshall isn't playing for them as of now. And they hired a nar-nar for a head coach. Plus their defense was awful. That is why they are here!

32. St. Louis Rams

They sucked last year, their gonna suck this year, and they'll suck again the following year. They released Orlando Pace and Torry Holt; while I believe it was the right move, they were two of their only stars. This team won't be good for another few years, but they'll have enough high picks to counteract that... in maybe 5 years.

There you have it!

Top Chef Power Rankings (09/09/09)

Spoiler Alert: These power rankings are after the show that first aired on 09/09/09.

Top Chef made power rankings easier this week by eliminating two competitors last night. Let’s see how the rest fall out

Top Shelf

After last night’s episode it’s clear that there is a top 4 and then everyone else. If I had to place a bet, these are the four that I would take. The problem is, it has been made even tougher to determine who is number 1? One of the Brothers Grimm or is it Red Beard? (Yes I’m making up nicknames, similar to tweak in Top Chef Chicago)

1. Kevin “Red Beard” Gillespie

Red Beard gets the nod over the brothers for two small reasons. First his winning meal (the quick fire) was cooked in 45 minutes compared to 3 hours for the brothers. Second, even though the brothers carried their teams, Red Beard cooked his dish alone. For those two reasons, he just barely edges out the brothers.

2. Bryan Voltaggio

He moves up 1 spot and just barely beats out his brother. He won the challenge last night which is a big reason I put him here, but also, he basically told Mike I how to cook his part of the course.

3. Michael Voltaggio

Drops two spots to three and he was one of the finalist last night, tough crowd huh. Another solid week for him, but with the competitions wins matter and the two above him got wins and he didn’t.

4. Jennifer Carroll

A top three finish on the quick fire and then a finalist in the elimination challenge has her moving up 1 spot to number 4. More importantly I feel after last night’s episode she really asserted herself as a major contender in this competition. She has consistently rose to challenges and has taken them head on.

Best of the Rest

5. Eli Krishtein

Eli had just a so so episode last night. He never talked to the judges for good reasons or bad. He didn’t do anything to justify a giant move up or down.

6. Ash Fulk

He was unhappy with his dish that went out and he knew he didn’t like it right away. His sauce turned out good, but the beef Hector made took too long to cook so he was kind of SOL. He knew what he did wrong and I think he was in the bottom two more so for the poor performance of Hector then himself. This is his first slip up and he has been consistent with the rest of the competition.

Could go either way

7. Michael Isabella

Our biggest mover this week but I’m still not sure on how he’ll do. He has a good quick fire and was part of the winning team, even though Bryan came up with the concept, told him how to make it and basically did everything short of stirring to help him complete his dish. Part of me thinks he’ll stay long for reason’s other then his cooking, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he has an early exit as well.

Middle of the Pack

8. Ron Duprat

He kept it simple while working with all over the place Robin and kept her focused. Without his cooking of the frog legs I think his team would have ended up on the chopping block

Chopping Block
My how the chopping block has grown. Another bad episode from any of these 4 could send them packing in a hurry

9. Ashley Merriman

Her second bad finish of the season along with a bottom three on the quick fire where she had to cook to save herself. I think she’s the best of the worst. She has made some really good dishes but has made some poor decisions along the way. I don’t see her lasting much longer

10. Robin Leventhal

She has shown to be scattered brained while cooking on this show, which, when you’re timed, is not a good thing. She was a bottom 3 on the quick fire, but did very well on her 20 minute elimination dish. She can easily get trapped of getting unfocused and not complete her dish on time. If Ron didn’t keep her focused, she very well could have been sent packing.

11. Laurine Wicket

Stayed out of trouble last night, but still did not impress the judges with any of the food.

12. Mattin Noblia

Frenchy sits squarely on the bottom because this entire episode was right in his wheel house. He grew up in France and French is his specialty. However, even with all these advantages, he did not place in the quick fire, and on top of it, he finished in the bottom of the elimination challenge. If he couldn’t perform with all these advantages, how is he going to do when he runs into a dish he’s never attempted before.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

And the Bears Captains Are................

So in a follow up to my column post on May 14th 2009 the Bears have announced thier captains. There is no suprises in the bunch. The Bears Captains are

O: Jay Cutler
O: Olin Kruetz
S: Patrick Mannlley
D: Adewale Ogunleye
D: Brian Urlacher

Dissecting ESPN's Scouts Inc. NFL Rankings By Position: The Linebackers

Although I had said after my last dissection that I was going to next move on to the Tight Ends, I decided that that would have just been boring as all hell (albeit it an excuse to post G-Reg's 7th Floor Crew rap). So instead today I bring you the Linebackers!

(Grades in () )

1. DeMarcus Ware (94): With this grade, Ware is the highest rated overall player in the NFL. Although I don't know if I would normally spout his name off the top of my head if someone were to ask me who the top player was, I would definitely at list consider him. Since coming into the league in the 2005 season, his lowest season sack total was 8. This total was not only his lowest, but also the only time he has gone under 10 sacks on the year. Last year he came within 2.5 sacks of sharing the league record set by Michael Strahan in 2001. He has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons, and will most likely continue to dominate this season as well. Much like former college teammate Osi Umenyiora, he is also a trader to War Eagle fans across the country by being from Auburn, yet choosing to go to Troy. As someone who has been to Troy, AL I can only imagine that he was paid off, because that town is nothing to write home about.

2. James "Silverback" Harrison (93): Plain and simple, if I saw Harrison walking towards me, I would probably void my bowels and run away crying. He has got to be by far one, if not THE most intimidating defensive player in the league. He shows unwavering aggression, as well as some surprisingly decent speed (as seen during his Super Bowl pick 6). Not only is he an intimidating presence to other players, but he also allegedly (charges were thrown out) assaulted his girlfriend, and as this fan from Cleveland (reportedly to also have the highest IQ of any Browns fan) can show us, even the fans aren't safe from this 2-time Pro Bowler/2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year:

3. Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman (92): I'm calling bullshit on this one. I don't care what his stats for the first three years of his career say (2005-2007), the guy tested positive for roids and got suspended for it. Not only that, his sack dance makes him look more spastic than an epileptic at a strobe light expo. As noted during my rundown of running backs, MJD knocked this guy on his ass (video link in that post), so take that for what it is (5'6" RB lays out 6'4" LB). And lest we forget the recent legal problems with his current significant other, the delightfully trashy Tila Tequila:

4. Patrick Willis (90): I was going to try and come up with some bitter argument about why Urlacher should have beaten this young two-time Pro Bowler out in at least one of his two seasons in the league...but statistically I cannot. He's a good player, who has been coached by the greatest pants-dropper in the NFL (next to Esera Tuaolo of course), the baddest dude on the '85 Bears: "Samurai" Mike Singletary!

5. (Tie) Karlos Dansby (86): Uhh, k. I mean he has some decent stats, but, uh....he spells Karlos with a K so I guess he's unique in that respect at least.

5. (Tie) Terrell Suggs (86): Phew, for a second there I was losing hope in the rest of the post, back to someone relevant! Although he has made the Pro Bowl 3 times, his stats really aren't anything special at all. When it comes down to it, the Raven's defense is noted more for Ed Reed and Stabby McStabs-Alot than Suggs. So I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that although he is a good player, he should be lower on this list when compared to other players.

7. (Tie) Lance Briggs (85): Woohoo a Bear in the top 10 in his position!!! Briggs has made the Pro Bowl each of the past four seasons, and as of late has been the most dominant member of the Bears D. I expect that number to reach 5 this season. And although it's his jersey number, like Sammy Hagar, Lance clearly 'Can't Drive 55'

7. (Tie) Jon Beason (85): Pretty good numbers, belongs in the top 10. This Pro Bowler/7th Floor Crew member should make the top 10 alone on the accolade of being a former Hurricane without a criminal background.

9. (Tie) Aaron Kampman (83): Normally I would put Kampman easily within the top 10 for his position...but that was back when he played DE. Now that the Pack has switched to a 3-4, Kampman has been moved to linebacker. Because of this switch, I feel that until I see how well he can handle the new system I'd have him a little lower on the list. On a side (and actually serious) note, Kampman went to Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa, where an average student population of under 300 students has produced 4 NFL players. This speaks volumes about the dedication of these players, as well as the coach Ed Thomas, who tragically had his life taken earlier this year. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope the bastard who shot him rots in hell.

9. (Tie) Keith Bullock (83): How'd this guy get ahead of Urlacher? Solid player, but not better than Brian.

11. (Tie) Brian Urlacher (82): I may just be being a homer about this, but although Urlacher has lost a little bit of his groove over the past two seasons, he still puts up some damn good numbers (some better than several of the players listed above). I think that if you have to put Brian out of the top 10 for this, then the same should have been done with Brett Favre. His Old Spice Swagger commercial should have at least given him the edge over Bullock.

Next up: Defensive Ends

One more thing I have to gripe about: Blogger's editing interface blows

Emergency QB? & ESPN on Jordan

A few quick thoughts for Tuesday morning. If we look at the Bears Depth Chart take a look at the Bears QB spot and you will find as expected Jay Cutler is the starter. Behind him is Caleb Hanie and, and, and? No and, that’s it. Just two Bears QBs on the roster. So what if the worst happens? What if Both Jay and Caleb go down in one game? Who comes in at QB? The Bears no longer have Marty Booker, who has filled the emergency QB roll for the team in the past. So who takes over?

Well if the worst happens I think the Bears will run a mix of the “’Cane,” their version of the wildcat, with Hester or they will have Forte take over as QB. If Forte played QB, he showed enough awareness to throw the ball away on a half back pass this preseason, I think he would be competent enough to make the defense respect the fact he might throw, compared to run every play. I can’t think of any other WR’s or TE or anybody who the Bears would hand over the offense to if the worst would happen. Let me know what you think.


A fantastic piece by ESPN/ESPN Chicago about Jordan.

My NFL Predictions

NFC North

1. Bears 12-4

Jay Cutler = Bears Superbowl!

2. Vikings 7-9

I know, most people think the Vikings are going to be great. Everyone is picking them because they added Brett Favre. People aren't picking the Bears because they say the Bears are that team that everyone picks but flops (yet no one is picking the Bears). This is the team that flops this year. They have an old man, whose never played well at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and a locker room that is rumored to be somewhat divided. Plus everyone is talking about how great Percy Harvin is, who I think will be a bust. Put all that together and you have the makings of a grade A flop.

3. Packers 7-9

I'm not sure why everyone is picking the Packers. They are switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 without the proper personnel. They went 6-10 last year, and Aaron Rodgers is Mr. Collapse in the 4th Quarter. So, 7-9 makes sense to me, they'll improve a little bit, but I really think its 2010 that this team will start to hit its stride.

4. Lions 4-12

Yes, I do think the Lions will not only win one game this year, but 4. Lets be honest, although the Lions were AWFUL last year, they aren't actually a 0 win team. They'll pull off some wins.

NFC East

1. Redskins 11-5

Yes, I know, everyone is picking the Eagles, Giants, or Cowboys. Personally, the Eagles have suffered some injuries over preseason, and are always overhyped. The Giants were useless without Plaxico, and the Cowboys are not that good. That leaves the Redskins. With a shut down defense, and now they added Haynesworth, a QB that is consistently improving, and has the looks of putting up a solid season, some solid WR's, TE, and Clinton Portis, this team could be a contender this year.

2. Dallas Cowboys 10-6

I know they aren't that good of a team, but Romo was injured last year which caused them to lose a few games. I see them improving this year, but still falling short of the Redskins.

3. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7

Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb are injury prone. They have sustained a few injuries during preseason and they are always overhyped. Thus 9-7.

4. New York Giants 7-9

The Giants had a nice run to the Superbowl two years back, and they had a great regular season last year. With that said, this team doesn't have a good WR which is going to hurt them since they don't have that good of a QB. The only thing they can do is run the ball, and it won't be enough to win this division.

NFC West

1. Seahawks 10-6

Edge and Julius Jones. TJ Whosyomomma (no idea how to spell the actual name) and a healthy Matt Hasselbeck spell success in the league's second easiest division.

2. Arizona Cardinals 7-9

Superbowl failures, an old (overrated) QB, and an elite cast of WR's. This team will have a good offense, but they're defense still isn't up to snuff. Don't expect their offense to put up the same numbers as last year.

3. San Francisco 49ers 7-9

A slight improvement this year, as Mike Singletary continues to build his team towards winning in the future.

4. St. Louis Rams 3-13

One of the worst teams in the league got rid of their LT, WR, and LB. A remnant of its former self.

NFC South

1. Carolina Panthers 11-5

Good RB, WR, QB, OL, DL, and DB = 11-5.

2. Tampa Bay Buccanears 8-8

Not the same team as they were two or even four years ago.

3. Atlanta Falcons 7-9

Played way above ability last year. A team with talent, but just no quite enough, at least not yet.

4. New Orleans Saints 7-9

For the life of me I just cannot figure out why people pick this team. They have no talent on D, and their RB's are incredibly overrated. Another mediocre year for this team.

AFC North

1. Steelers 12-4

Reigning Superbowl champs continue their great play.

2. Ravens 11-5

A good young QB, solid RB's, and an incredible defense that is great at everything.

3. Bengals 9-7

I think this team is going to take a huge step forward this year. This may be the year Carson actually stays healthy!

4. Browns 4-12

They stink. Brady Quinn is no good. Jamal Lewis is old. Braylon Edwards can't hang on to the ball.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots 13-3

The best record in the NFL again, as Tom Brady stays healthy this year, and Fred Taylor gets over 1,000 yards on the ground.

2. Buffalo Bills 7-9

They continue to improve, there's hope for next year, but this just isn't their year.

3. Miami Dolphins 5-11

I think we can all agree that the Dolphins were by far the worst 11-5 team last year. Chad Pennington is far from being a great QB, and the Wild Cat won't be as effective this year as teams learn to slow it down.

4. Jets 4-12

Matt Sanchez = Bust. Thomas Jones = Good RB but can't lead his teams to the playoffs without a great defense, which they don't have.

AFC West

1. Oakland Raiders 10-6

I know, what am I thinking, right? JaMarcus Russell (although I've always thought he was a bust), Darren McFadden, Richard Seymour, Eric Kelly, Nnamandi Asom(whatever; and just b/c I don't think he's better than Bailey doesn't mean I only found out about him due to Madden, just an untrue statement). This team is loaded with young talent, and I think they are going to shock the football world this year.

2. San Diego Chargers 10-6

A healthy defense, plus LT should have another good year, as well as Phillip Rivers. This team could be dangerous.

3. Kansas City Chiefs 5-11

This was a team that blew many games at the end due to their inexperience. This record could be a few games better if they learn to start Tyler Thigpen over Brodie Croyle and Matt Cassel.

4. Denver Broncos 4-12

They traded away their team for a couple of draft picks and Kyle Orton. They have one of the worst coaches I have ever seen, they won't have Brandon Marshall, their defense let up 28 points a game last year, this team is a mess.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts 11-5

Peyton has another strong year as this team wins their division once again.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6

This team's defense reverts back to its former self. Their improved o-line play, and Torry Holt help them improve this year.

3. Houston Texans 9-7

A good young team, but just not quite there yet.

4. Tennessee Titans 5-11

Losing their best player on defense, having Kerry Collins start at QB again, and having no good receivers is a recipe for a HUGE crash and burn.



Panthers 27 Eagles 30.

Seahawks 24 Cowboys 17.


Colts 21 Jaguars 27.

Raiders 10 Ravens 31.

Divisional Round


Bears 31 Eagles 17.

Redskins 21 Seahawks 23.


Patriots 41 Jaguars 28.

Steelers 17 Ravens 21.

Conference Championships


Patriots 20 Ravens 31.


Bears 42 Seahawks 17.


Bears 20 Ravens 12.

Jay Cutler Superbowl MVP
Matt Forte Regular Season MVP
Matt Forte Offensive Player of the Year
Brian Urlacher Defensive Player of the Year
LaDanian Tomlinson Comeback Player of the Year (does he qualify?)

As you can see, I think the Bears are going to have a great year. And no, I'm not a homer (oh wait, yes I am!!!)

Tomorrow Power-Rankings