I’m into making the most of what I say. Sometimes, the words that roll out onto the screen can be interpreted as complete idiocy—but mostly it’s just a rant gone wrong.
So, in the spirit of being completely off-the-cuff and minus a censor, it seemed fitting to start spouting off some bold predictions for the 2010 football season.
At this point, no one can say for certain that any of these predictions will be proved wrong and, honestly, if I get called to the carpet, I can just plead insanity…right?
1. San Francisco will win the NFC West.
There, I said it. I’m not taking it back and, seriously, looking at the NFC West this season, I don’t see a reason to.
Forget the chatter about not having a quarterback and all that, have you seen the Niners defense? If not, it’s that unit on the field that was near the top of the league in points allowed per game last season (17.8). They have a ton of talent and a whole lot of attitude when they step on the field—with a player like Patrick Willis to call your own, why not?
That said, the Niners were also first in penalties received. They need to play a lot smarter on Sunday’s if they expect to parlay that 8-8 season into the 11-5 one I easily see them achieving in 2010.
2. Speaking of the NFC West, look for the Cardinals to fall flat without Kurt Warner.
Here’s the thing, with both Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin on the field in 2009, the Cardinals went 10-6—better than the year before when they rode a 9-7 record to the Super Bowl. However, that was in a weak division where their best competition was offered by San Francisco (a team that beat them twice).
This year they not only don’t have Kurt Warner to lend both his veteran preference and his big arm to the equation, but they lost Anquan Boldin too—a key compliment to Larry Fitzgerald. Some might say that there is plenty of talent left in both Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, but, did I mention they no longer have Kurt Warner?
I’m not buying that the defense in ‘Zona will be the difference and I am not a believer in Tim Hightower or Beanie Wells’ ability to carry the offense on the ground. The Cardinals are about to do some slipping—7-9 will be the end result (if they’re lucky).
3. The Green Bay Packers will win the NFC North.
Brett Favre may or may not change his mind and decide to take up residence in Minnesota—it won’t matter if he does. Whether it be Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson, or Fran Tarkenton, the Vikings aren’t going to win the north this season.
Green Bay got accustomed to the 3-4 rather quickly in 2009, and ended up fielding one of the best defensive units in the league. Aaron Rodgers showed that he is more than capable of filling the tremendously big shoes that Brett Favre left behind—despite the woodshed beat down that Favre put him through in both their meetings.
The one question mark was/is the offensive line. They had a tendency to let too many guys get through and that resulted in Rodgers seeing the turf a bit more than he should have—Bryan Bulaga will hopefully offer a cure for that problem.
If he can, the Pack should be one of the most well-rounded teams in the north and they should be the early favorite to win their division.
4. Terrell Owens won’t make a difference in Cincinnati.
My feelings about Terrell Owens aside, the move to bring him into the Bengals organization won’t make much difference as far as the production of Carson Palmer is concerned. Owens, along with Ochocinco, will make a lovely sideshow but the offensive line troubles me—they seemed to be off during the HOF Game on Sunday and, considering Carson Palmer’s injury history, that’s not a good thing.
The defense had some bright spots but, for the most part, there is still work to be done and that means the Bengals will likely lose more than they’d like and the T.O./Ochocinco Show will largely be a publicity stunt with little gas left by mid-season.
9-7 is believable, 10-6 is probable, but this team isn’t going to the Super Bowl—not this season.
5. Chris Johnson will return to earth in 2010 and be happy to settle for a reasonable contract by season’s end.
Johnson is feeling himself right now. He thinks he’s the most explosive offensive player in the league and he figures he’s due a pretty big payday in the near-future. The Titans, obviously, don’t share that same opinion and declined to offer him the big money deal he was looking for—much to his chagrin.
So, now he will play on a one-year contract and hope to blow the doors off the league yet again. Once he does, he will likely be looking to put himself on the market so he can get what’s coming to him.
In my opinion, Johnson won’t come close to the 2,000 yard mark. He’ll top out at 1,300 yards and he’ll get the contract that befits a guy of that caliber. 2009 was impressive but this is a new year and Johnson’s day in the sun is about to see some cloud cover.
6. The Pittsburgh Steelers will miss the playoffs.
I like the Steelers. No, check that, I LOVE the Steelers, but I think all of the issues surrounding their slightly immature quarterback will be their undoing this season. Neither Byron Leftwich nor Dennis Dixon are going to be the answer for an absentee Ben this year (who will serve a four-to-six game suspension), and Charlie Batch is long overdue for his pension check.
The defense is still formidable, but it’s older and the loss of Troy Polamalu for the better part of last season showed some chinks in the armor of that once stellar secondary unit. If the offense sputters and the defense is forced to carry the team, things could get tight for Mike Tomlin’s crew pretty quick.
It’s still the Steelers, though, and you almost expect them to find a way to come out on top but I see a 2-4 start at best and an uphill battle the rest of the way.
7. The Denver Broncos will lose more games than last season.
Everyone is so in love with the Broncos right now. They have Tim Tebow! They have talent at wide receiver! They have good running backs!…uhhhh, how about these points: THEY HAVE NO O-LINE!! THEY LOST BRANDON MARSHALL!!! THEY LOST EIGHT OF THEIR LAST TEN GAMES IN 2009!!…how about that?
Listen to me, the Broncos might be the second-coming of the New England Patriots in about two years, but do not get caught up in the hype that’s coming from the big name sitting on their roster. Tebow will play but he isn’t ready to lead a team to victory. Kyle Orton is still average and now he won’t have Marshall to throw it to anymore. Moreno and Buckhalter are both good but they are nothing without a strong offensive line—which the Broncos do not have.
Don’t believe the hype, you’ll be disappointed.
8. Neither the Colts nor the Saints will be making a return trip to the Super Bowl.
I like the Baltimore Ravens and the Green Bay Packers to go deep into the playoffs. Baltimore is, by far, one of the most balanced teams in the AFC—they have very few holes to speak of at this point. Green Bay is solid as well, if they can keep Rodgers upright, I like their chances to get back to the big game this season. If not them, then you have to figure this is the year that Tony Romo will finally lead his team to the promised land.
Either way, the love train for both the Saints and the Colts ends in 2010—mark it!
9. C.J. Spiller will be a candidate for Rookie of The Year.
The Bills are going to run the ball, that’s a given, but whether or not the man toting the rock is C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson will be the ultimate question. Spiller was a phenom at Clemson and is as dynamic as they come where the running game is concerned—he will battle Fred Jackson for the big time carries this season.
If he wins, expect him to produce and be quite the spark plug on a Bills team that has been mired in mediocrity for far too long—now, if they could just get that quarterback spot locked down.
10. The Oakland Raiders will win eight games this season.
Did I just make myself sound crazy? Well, that’s okay (see intro). I don’t think much of Jason Campbell but I think a lot more of him than I did JaMarcus Russell. I expect the soft-spoken QB who was tossed away by Washington to play with a renewed vigor this season as he attempts to lead the Raiders back to AFC significance.
The pieces are in place in Oakland and the only thing missing was a decent quarterback to lead the way. Look for Zach Miller to have his best season yet and watch both Louis Murphy and Darren McFadden mature into the players they were meant to become when they were brought to Oakland.
I sound insane again, right?…(again, check the intro).
Are you ready for some football?!?…I know I am.