Well, another NFL season is about to start. For the first time ever, the regular season will start in August (the 31st to be exact) and training camp is already underway. So it seems like a good time to bring you my first annual (and quite possibly my last) NFL preview.
Since they've won approximately the last 18,468,543 Super Bowls (NOTE:
figure may not be exact) I feel that it is only appropriate to start
with the NFC.
PREDICTED NFC STANDINGS (* = wild card berth):
5. NY Giants
1. Green Bay
5. Tampa Bay
2. *San Francisco
3. New Orleans
5. St. Louis
NFC EAST: This year, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Cowboys will NOT repeat as NFC East champs. I still think that they will make the playoffs, but I'd say that the Eagles will grab first spot in the East this season. They were pretty close last season, and they are definitely a team that is getting better. Sure, the loss of William Fuller to San Diego will hurt the team, but not enough to keep them from finally usurping Dallas as NFC East Champs. The Eagles have a chance to prove themselves early in the season, with a home game against Green Bay in week 2, followed by a trip to Dallas for Monday Night Football in week 3. A win in Dallas might signal the beginning of a ``changing of the guard'' atop the NFC East.
NFC CENTRAL: This should be the most one-sided of all divisional races. Green Bay is arguably still the best team in the NFL, and no one else in the Central has done anything to make themselves serious contenders to upset the Packers. The Packers signed Seth Joyner a couple of weeks ago, and this should only strengthen their already tough defense. Looks like the Packers will run away with another NFC Central title. The real question for the Pack this season is: Can they repeat as Super Bowl Champs?
NFC WEST: The most pathetic division in football should be predictable
once again this year. With the Saints, Falcons, and Rams being the
3 worst teams in the league, there is little doubt that Carolina and
San Fran should be able to win 10 games each this year. I think that
Carolina is still a better team than the 49ers, and will continue to be
a better team until someone can figure out how to stop that devastating
3-4 Zone Blitz that they love to run so much. The Panthers' defense
is just plain TOUGH, but that's not all that impresses me about them.
Last season's game in San Francisco was what really sold me on them.
The game was being billed as a match-up between Carolina's tough defense
and San Fran's potent offense. It was supposed to be simple. Carolina
should win in a low-scoring defensive battle, but surely they would have
no chance in a high-scoring game against the mighty 49ers? After all,
they WERE just an expansion team, and their offense was average at best.
Well, the game turned into a shoot-out, and Carolina beat the 49ers at
their own game. After that, I was sure that the Panthers were a team
to be taken seriously. They should have little trouble recapturing the
NFC West crown.
PREDICTED AFC STANDINGS (* = wild card berth):
2. *New England
5. NY Jets
2. Kansas City
5. San Diego
AFC EAST: This should be the Dolphins' year to shine atop the AFC East. It's time for Jimmy Johnson to deliver on all these promises that he's been making. The Dolphins started 7 rookies last season (5 on defense) and all of them played well, especially Zach Thomas, who came second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. These players should all be better with experience this season, and if the new rookies in Miami can prove to be as valuable as the draftees from last season, the Dolphins will be definite Super Bowl contenders. The Dolphins have already lost 3 players to injury for the season, including top draft pick Yatil Green, who tore his ACL and should be out for the season. This team should still be much improved from last season, and could easily win 11 games.
AFC CENTRAL: Once again, Pittsburgh should shine in this division. Jacksonville should be a good team once again, but before we go jumping on the Jaguars' bandwagon after last season, we should remember that they only made the playoffs because the best kicker in football (Morten Andersen) missed the easiest kick in football (a 16-yard field goal). The fact is, the Steelers are still a better team than the Jags, and should be for the next season or two.
AFC WEST: The Broncos look to be an excellent team once again this year. They still have a great running game and a good defense. Elway is still a capable leader. Maybe he can't throw it as far as he used to, but he doesn't make those stupid mistakes any more either. I think that the Jaguars beating the Broncos in last year's playoffs was somewhat of a fluke: probably a case of Denver looking ahead to the next game. Look for the Broncos to be a force in the league once again. Also in this division, the Raiders have (inexplicably) signed Jeff George as their quarterback. Yeah, that's just what this team needs... more attitude.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Green Bay over Philadelphia
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Miami over Denver
SUPER BOWL PREDICTION: No Comment.
Keith ``Who? Me? Biased? NO!'' Ellul
© 1997 mathNEWS