Friday, September 7, 2007

NFL Preview 2007

We’re here to breakdown the landscape of the NFL. We won’t be tackling every division and every team. We’ll be providing a progressive chat that the three of us did this week. We think this feature will go over well with our readers. Every day either at work, home or wherever you “talk shop” about your favorite sports teams. We wanted to do that in this piece. A candid conservation between three avid sports fans talking about the NFL.

**Note to our readers: Dogg, Q & I are writers for the "Blog Squad" on We write the Vikings piece. We re-post it here, so you'll be getting a heavy dose of NFL on here. However, we been slacking on other posts. We'll pick it up...***

Dogg: I think the Packers are going to make the playoffs this year, Favre will be determined, their defense is solid and they have young, upcoming RB's.
Q: There is no chance they make the playoffs. Their O line is shaky at best; they have absolutely no running game; Favre is extremely turnover prone, especially late in games; other than Driver, they have no one to catch the ball. Plus, look at their schedule (copyright Woody Paige). They have to play Chicago twice (2 losses), they will lose at the Metrodome, probably lose at Detroit because they always play terrible there, they also have games against Philly, San Diego, at Denver, at Dallas, and at St. Louis. By my count, that at least 8 losses (not counting any game that Favre throws them out of early) and that shouldn't get you into the playoffs.
Fuzz: I've predicted the Packers are going to win 5 games, so no chance they make playoffs. If this were the NBA, the Packers have "lottery team" written all over them. I hate them and they suck.
Dogg: Green Bay will be in the playoffs this year, mark my words. Green Bay has young RB's but that's no big deal in the NFL, the best WR in the division, best QB in the division and their defense is vastly improved.
Fuzz: Dogg, you're crazy about Green Bay. You've lost it just like Farve. Farve makes more bad decisions then Matt Millen and Kevin Mchale combined. They aren't that dominant team at home either. Q & I are on the same page, but obviously you've lost it.
Dogg: Side bet on GB Fuzz? 8 wins?
Q: Dogg, while I agree with you that rookie RB's aren't a big deal and Favre is PROBABLY the best QB in the division; do you not know a guy by the name of Roy Williams? You can't seriously believe that Driver is better than him? P.S. Can I take a push on the 8?
Fuzz: Let's stick with the NFC North. Does Chicago have any chance of NOT winning this cream puff division?
Q: I think there is an outside chance that they don't win. I think most "experts" will agree that they overachieved at 13-3 last year. You have some issues with players on D (Brigg's contract, Harris' knee) and the big concern is Sexy Rexy. He can lose a game for you in a heartbeat. Plus Cedric Benson is unproven as a featured back. So yes, there are questions. But they do have the second easiest schedule in the league and a lot of talent on D, so the chances of them not winning are slim.
Fuzz: I put them at not winning at 0%. The rest of these teams are horrendous, just terrible football teams! It's the Bears first and then the Packers, Lions and Vikings fighting for last place.

Q: I agree Fuzz. As much as I don't think they are anywhere near as good as last year, there is a high likelihood that no one else in the division will be over .500 so, they pretty much have this thing sewn up by default.
Dogg: Chicago will have letdowns on defense this year and their offense has always been terrible.

Q: But we've talked about the Norris division enough this year. What about, say, the NFC East? I think Washington is going to be terrible, and NY is on the way down. So that leaves a dog fight between Dallas and Philly. Who ya got?
Fuzz: Dallas has an outside chance to represent the NFC in the Superbowl, so I think it’s theirs to lose. I mean this too. The NFC is very weak this year and Dallas has some serious talent. If McNabb stays healthy, Philly is a playoff team. Washington & New York are bad, bad, bad...
Q: I agree Fuzz; I think that Dallas' defense gives them the edge in this division. That is, as long as Romo doesn't blow it...

Fuzz: One of the hottest teams in the NFL is the New Orleans Saints. A hot pick to make it to the Superbowl. After the 10-win season last year, do you think that was a fluke or a start of a trend?
Q: I think there is a lot to like about New Orleans this year. I know they were the darlings of the NFL and had that extra incentive with Katrina and everything, but they should be as good if not better this year. The offense is loaded with Brees, Bush, McAllister, Colston, Henderson, etc. The D is extremely underrated and they play in a joke of a division (Atlanta obviously has problems, Tampa sucks, and Carolina is, at best, overrated). I see them with 11 or 12 wins and a deep playoff run.
Dogg: I have New Orleans winning the NFC this year. Bush will be your NFL MVP this year, hands down.
Q: I love the NO pick; hate the Bush for MVP thing. He does a lot of things great, but unless you run for 2,000 or 30 TD's, a running back won't win the award.
Q: With all the problems/attention surrounding Vick, what kind of season can we expect from Atlanta?
Fuzz: New Coach, New (bad) quarterback, new drama with the Vick= bad times. I think they're going to be one of the worst teams in football, if not the worst. Vicks sentence isn't until December, so this is going to be hanging around for a while. The start of this free fall will be a butt-kicking Week One by the Vikings, when we win 3-0 on a last second Longwell kick...
Q: Atlanta could surprise a few teams this year. They're still going to suck and they won't make the playoffs, but Petrino is going to have a few tricks up his sleeve and Harrington is as good of a passer (if not better) than Vick. I still got the Vikes on Sunday, but I'll put the final score at 10-6.
Fuzz: In my expert mind, the most enjoyable conference to watch in the NFC is out West. This isn't even a stretch when I say that all four teams in this division can win it. Seriously. Seattle is two years removed from a Superbowl appearance, St. Louis was one win away from taking the division last year, Arizona is a sneaky good team with massive talent on the O side and San Fran is everyone’s favorite water cooler sleeper pick this year. I love this division. With the majority of the NFC playing like a powder puff team, you could see three playoff teams from this division. Am I wrong?

Dogg: I don't know if all those teams are that good but they are all very similar.
Q: I too love the NFC West, but that might just be because we are fantasy rubes. Dogg's right here: there is some mediocre talent in that division. But when you have Gore, Davis, Bulger, Jackson, Holt, Fitzgerald, Boldin, Alexander, etc. we will over value the overall quality of the teams.
Fuzz: Ok, that's enough banter on the NFC. Let's finalize the NFC now fellas. Give me your four division winners and the NFC representative?
Dogg: Packers, Cowboys, Saints, & Cardinals. St. Louis and Carolina being the Wild Cards. NFC rep is the Saints
Fuzz: The Cardinals win the NFC West?!?!?!? Explain to us please...
Dogg: You know why, Matty Lionhart.....The guy is a winner and with weapons like he has on offense, he'll be able to exploit any weakness a defense has. I know nothing about their defense but you have got to assume that they will be at least average after being terrible for 10 straight years. Also, the other 3 teams in their division aren't top of the class by any means.
Fuzz: How about Seattle? Two-time defending division winner with a Superbowl appearance two years ago.
Dogg: Seattle is on the downswing of their dominance; The NFL has way too much parity for a team of their nature to be good this long. Hasselback is old, Shaun's time is about over and they lost Mr. Consistency in Darrell Jackson.
Fuzz: Arizona is still a gutsy call my friend. Here’s mine: Seahawks, Bears, Cowboys and Saints. Wildcard teams Philly & San Fran. My NFC representative will be Saints. They play an AFC type brand of football but play in the Triple A version of the NFL, the NFC. They are almost a lock for a least the NFC Championship game. They got throttled by the Colts, but the Colts are on a different level then anyone right now. Good for that city too, they need a string of good things to happen to them...
Fuzz: P.S. you've always had a soft spot for Leinart Dogg, you sailor you...
Dogg: I do have a soft spot for Leinart but why not? The guy is an absolute stud
Q: I'm going to one up you here Fuzz: I have Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, and Philly as division winners with Dallas and St. Louis getting the Wild Cards. And as much as I like the Saints, I'm going with the Cowboys as my NFC rep. Very tough D, potentially explosive O: gotta love that combo. I’m out for a little fellas…
Fuzz: Dogg, now that the riffraff is gone we can take jabs at one another until one of us taps…
Dogg: I have the Raiders getting to 8 wins this year too.
Fuzz: I like the Raiders this year. Q was telling me that they had a top 5 D last year. Is that true? C-pep will be up for the Most Improved award this year. Just watch.
Dogg: I believe they did have a top 5 Defense and Howie Long said that their defense should be very good this year. I think Porter comes back and has a very good year as well. Along with Lamont too!

Fuzz: What does this Howie Long dude think about the chances for the Raiders in the Division? Chargers have the West wrapped up.
Dogg: He doesn't know because of the QB situation. He's not worried about Russell not being in camp though because he believed the Raiders never planned on having him play this early anyways which makes sense to me...why pay him if he's not going to play anyways?
Q: Ok, I couldn’t sit around and let you guys base your knowledge on Howie Freaking Long’s thoughts. Is this the same process that led him to think that being in Backdraft was a really good idea? I love the Raiders this year, but on the condition that they pull their heads out and start C-Pepp. These rumors of Josh McCown starting are ridiculous.
Dogg: Denver is going to be very good this year as well so I wouldn't give the Chargers that division. I'll take Denver because I believe Norv Turner is a terrible football coach.
Fuzz: Does it really matter who's coaching the Chargers? They have one of the deepest talent pools in the league. You could coach them for crying out loud.
Dogg: I could coach them because I know everything about sports…
Fuzz: HeyO! Here we go again…
Dogg: Coaches can lose games for a team and you should know that more than anybody....Gardy costs the Twins at least 10 games per year.....They lost to New England last year at home so what makes you think they can beat them this year? New England is the cream of the crop because of two HOF'ers....Bill Belichick and Tom Brady
Q: I’m with Dogg on this one. The quality of coaches can’t be overvalued. It applies to all sports. Think about it, you have two equally talented NBA teams but one is coached by Phil Jackson and the other by Flip Saunders. Who would you take in a series? Same thing goes back to the Raiders. Just getting rid of Art Shell should get them 2 more wins.

Fuzz: I didn't say San Diego could beat the Pats, but I think they're better then the flipping Broncos. I think San Diego could beat the Pats though, the more I think about it. They learned a lot from last year. Norv Turner just needs to steer the ship, nothing groundbreaking. The players will remember last year. It's fuel my boy... FYI: Belichick and Brady have been replaced by Dungy and Manning!
Fuzz: Remember them? SB champs and all. Hungrier then ever!
Dogg: Cutler is way better than Plummer and watch out for the name Brandon Marshall in Denver...He will compliment Javon Walker much better than Rod Smith
Fuzz: Brandon Marshall sounds like a techy for IBM. My favorite AFC team, the San Diego Chargers aren't worried about guys from the IT department.

Q: Right, because going by what a guy’s name sounds like is a brilliant way to denounce a team. Donald Driver sounds like my plumber, so Green Bay sucks. Joey Harrington sounds like a 4 year old kid, so Atlanta sucks. Marshawn Lynch sounds like an investment company, so Buffalo sucks. Hey wait a minute; you might be on to something here. I like this name thing.
Fuzz: Yeah, but you’ve heard of all those guys before. Brandon Marshall? That is a deep sleeper that 90% of people DON’T know. He’s part of the Geek Squad and you know it.
Dogg: Speaking of names, you ever heard of Randy Moss? Donte Stallworth? Adalius Thomas? Those are 3 excellent players who New England added this year…
Dogg: Oh I forgot, Wes Welker as well...Brady has never had a WR that should've even been in this league except Branch and now he has all 3 of these guys to go along with Maroney...title for sure…That's a walk off, I'm out…
Q: Wes Welker is overrated…
Fuzz: Hey, where you going Dogg??!?!? I'll take the field against your Pats. You in chump? Randy Moss was an excellent player in 2004, not present I'm afraid to say. Stallworth was a bust in NO and had a decent year last year. Adalius is a nice player; I'll give you that. I’m taking this bet! Dogg? DOGG??? He’s really gone…
Fuzz: I don't know about you guys, but the Colts looked mighty good last night. They play like that; they have a chance to run the table this year. They're a playoff lock in my mind, which isn't really a gutsy call. However, does anyone else in the AFC South have a chance at a wildcard spot? Jags? Titans? Maybe even Houston?
Q: Obviously the Colts looked awesome. I'm still going to wait on "popsicling" them though. Their defense has proved in the past that they can give up as much as they score. Don't get me wrong, they're good, I just want to wait another couple of weeks before I give them back-to-back titles (unlike the talking heads on, say, ESPN).
Q: In their division, I think only Jacksonville has a shot at making the playoffs. You figure that everyone has to play Indy twice (likely two losses) and I just don't think Houston has the team (yet) and Tennessee is flat out terrible. If Garrard plays well, they should be in the mix for a playoff spot. If he's lousy, the Colts have the division wrapped up by November and the rest of the division is barely an after thought.

Fuzz: "If Garrard plays well?" He's going to be lousy. I don't like this cat at all. Some people are drinking the Kool-aid a little too much on this guy. Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat for sure this year. I think they go 8-8, and Jack hits the road. Colts all the way…
Dogg: I think Garrard is solid but they still have no WR's in Jacksonville that they can count on. I like Houston having a breakout year, maybe not the playoffs but maybe a .500 season.... Ahman still has something left in the tank and Schaub will finally get a starting role after everybody and their mom wanted to trade for this guy. Andre Johnson is solid and Jacoby Jones sounds like he has emerged as the No. 2 WR and the staff loves him. Also, Kubiak will get that Denver blocking scheme going and I believe Ahman runs for 1000+ this year with 10 TD's. Just watch…
Fuzz: Another great AFC division is the North. Is it Baltimore's to lose?
Dogg: It is Baltimore's to lose for sure....Cincy has too many problems with their players and defense while Pittsburgh lost one of the best head coaches of all time in Bill Cowher. The Dog Pound hasn't barked since they returned to Cleveland and if they think Jamal Lewis and Brady Quinn are their saviors this year, they've had a few too many cold ones already.
Fuzz: Tomlin is a hell of a coach though. The Vikings D had an identity with him. I'd watch out for Pitt this year.
Q: I too think people are over looking Pittsburgh. They were very good when they won the Superbowl two years ago. Then they had all the problems with Big Ben and Cower retirement talks, etc. and played lousy last year. I think they’re motivated under Tomlin and will take the division. There's obviously a lot to like about Baltimore, but they are old...very old. Can you really count on McNair for a full season? Their O line isn't that good. McGahee really hasn't proven he's a stud yet. Who's catching the ball again? Too many questions…
Fuzz: Alright Gentleman, lets start wrapping this thing up. Our Readers eyes are getting hazy. Plus, we got places to be and women to meet (we hope). Give me your four division winners from the AFC, two wildcards, the AFC Representative, Superbowl matchup & winner.
Q: I got New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, and San Diego as division winners with Baltimore and Jacksonville as the wild cards. That's right Fuzz. Their D is outstanding and I think Garrard is going to give them a better look on offense. Add in MJD and Fragile Fred and you've yourself a very good squad. True, they need a receiver to step up (my pick to do so is Wilford), but they'll make the playoffs. Trust me.
Q: As for my Super Bowl, I have San Diego over Dallas in a rout. There's probably some stats that I could throw out about New England and Indy as to why they won't win it, but that would have nothing to do with my pick. Flat out, I love the Chargers (even if the collars on their new uni's look terrible) and am bored with the Colts and Patriots. Obviously those two teams are good but I'm done with them. Bolts take it home baby.
Dogg: To put it in simple terms: Pats, Ravens, Colts, Chargers. Wild Cards are Cincy and Denver. Patriots vs. Saints in the SB with New England taking home the crown.
Dogg: Tom Brady is going to be on a mission this year and it's going to be great to watch him and Manning dual all year for supremacy in the AFC....Those two are going to have huge numbers this year but Belichick is still better than Dungy which leaps them back to the top.
Fuzz: I wish you knew a thing or two about football. You're like the bad sandlot player we have to put in right field so you don't feel bad for being left out. New England is such a cop out pick. You can only be good for so long. They're good, playoff good. But, their Superbowl goals are squashed. You pick them every year and the last two years, they've fallen short. Indy, Baltimore, and San Diego are the wave for the next couple years. The SB winner will be one of those teams.
Dogg: Oh, that's a great pick....N.O, Dallas or Chicago will represent the NFC...Pick a team and stick with them like I do with New England...They've won 3 when I predicted them going into the season and I'm sure you haven't named one SB winner going into the season so my percentages are a little bit higher than yours pal.
Fuzz: I didn’t say I was done! I needed a minute to think about it. Here are my picks: I'll go with New England, Pittsburgh, Colts and Chargers. Wild Cards are Ravens and my surprise team...the Titans!! Vince Young is a winner and Jeff Fischer is the best coach in the NFL. Write that down. Superbowl matchup is Chargers vs. the Saints. With the Chargers taking it home. They are motivated and very hungry after last year’s playoff embarrassment.
Dogg: I think you need to get a clue. Once again, that's a walkoff for me…
Fuzz: Now that Dogg has left, I can set things straight. This is Shenanigans!!!! The Patriots were 5-11 in 2000 and then went 11-5 in 2001 with a Superbowl victory. Preseason 2001, Dogg did NOT pick the Patriots to win that first one. Believe me, he didn't. This is the same guy that LOVES the Yankees, USA Olympic Basketball and now surprise surprise the Florida Gators Basketball team. He's a leaper fellas.

Q: Fuzz is right. If you looked up "bandwagon" in the dictionary, you'd see Dogg's ugly face. The Bulls in the 90's, Yankees, and Patriots...I even think he once told me that he'd always been a New Jersey Devils fan after they won it all. Don't believe a word he says.
Fuzz: All this NFL talk and nothing really about our Vikings. Are we completely screwed?
Q: Here's the bottom line: everyone is picking New England, Indy, San Diego, and Chicago as virtual locks to make the playoffs and make a deep run. Fact is that at least one of them will fall short. One of those four teams will fail to make the playoffs to everyone's surprise but me. Just make sure you leave us some polite messages when the Vikes win the North while Chicago is floundering at 5-11. You won't need to pump our ego's too much though, we'll be on cloud 9 already, drinking our purple beer.
Fuzz: Haha, you bet Q!
Dogg/Q/Fuzz: All together now…Skol Vikings! Let's win this game, Skol Vikings! Honor your name. Go get that first down Then get a touchdown, Rock 'em, sock 'em, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! FIGHT! Go Vikings, run out the score, you'll hear us yell for more!...V-I-K-I-N-G-S… Skol Vikings, let's go!

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