Friday, August 31, 2007

My 2007 NFL Predictions

With the beginning of the college football season this week and the NFL regular season next week, my time in the sports wilderness for 2007 has reached its end.

Last season certainly did not go as I expected regarding my two favorite teams. I thought the Titans would be awful again and that the Steelers would make a serious run at defending their Super Bowl title. As it turns out, they both finished 8-8---a pleasant surprise for one, a tough disappointment for the other. On the bright side, my number 3 team---and my favorite player, Peyton Manning---hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy at season's end.

Going into the 2007 season the NFL looks considerably different than a year ago. Coaching legends Bill Cowher, Bill Parcels, and Marty Schottenheimer are gone from the sidelines (at least for now). Marshall Faulk, Tiki Barber, and Tarik Glenn are just a few of the players who have said good-bye to the game. Michael Vick and Pacman Jones are among those who have experienced the strong hand of Commissioner Roger Goodell. Star players such as Randy Moss, Trent Green, Travis Henry, Willis McGahee, Jamal Lewis, and Daunte Culpepper are playing for new teams.

Despite all these changes, some things remain the same. Brett Favre will be calling the signals for Green Bay as he tries to will the Packers back into the playoffs. The AFC is still far stronger than the NFC, especially at the top. And come January many of these picks, and others as well, will elicit great laughter

Well, that's enough talking. Let's get to the picks.



AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

AFC East
New England Patriots (12-4)
New York Jets (8-8)
Buffalo Bills (5-11)
Miami Dolphins (4-12)

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
Pittsburgh Steelers* (11-5)
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
Cleveland Browns (5-11)

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts (13-3)
Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
Tennessee Titans (7-9)
Houston Texans (6-10)

AFC West
San Diego Chargers (12-4)
Denver Broncos* (11-5)
Kansas City Chiefs (5-11)
Oakland Raiders (2-14)

* Wild-card teams

First Round
Denver over Baltimore
Pittsburgh over New England

Divisional Round
Indianapolis over Pittsburgh
San Diego over Denver

Conference Championship
Indianapolis over San Diego



NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
New York Giants (7-9)
Washington Redskins (6-10)

NFC North
Chicago Bears (12-4)
Green Bay Packers (8-8)
Detroit Lions (6-10)
Minnesota Vikings (3-13)

NFC South
New Orleans Saints (12-4)
Carolina Panthers* (9-7)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

NFC West
Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
St. Louis Rams* (10-6)
San Francisco 49ers (8-8)
Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

* Wild-card teams

First Round
Seattle over Carolina
St. Louis over Dallas

Divisional Round
New Orleans over St. Louis
Chicago over Seattle

Conference Championship
New Orleans over Chicago


SUPER BOWL XLII
Indianapolis over New Orleans



4 comments:

Les Puryear said...

Tim,

I agree with most of your prognostications except for two:

1. Unfortunately Carolina won't make the playoffs. As a Panther fan it pains me to make this prediction but they're just not that good. They need help at running back and offensive line, especially at center. Also, they're safety's are suspsect.

2. San Diego wins it all. It's their year.

I am so ready for football.

Les

Lee said...

I see that you hold out little hope for the Vickless Falcons. Neither do I.

The Texans, with a new QB and a new offensive system in place, showed much improvement in their main weakness from the previous three seasons, their offensive line. I predict they will finish 10-6 and make their first playoff appearance this season.

Likewise, it appears that the Arizona Cardinals are well on the way to solving the problems that have plagued their offense, and with Linart in his second season, they'll be at least a 10-6 team, especially if their new coach can get them prepared up front.

Denver will go 8-8. The Rams won't be a playoff team this time around. And I think your Titans, while still owned by Bud Adams, which is their major handicap, will do a little better than 7-9.

Surprise team of the year, Cleveland. Just a hunch.

Want to get into college predictions?

Tim Sweatman said...

Les,

Keep the faith in Carolina. After all, it is the NFC, and they have a good veteran core.

I initially had San Diego beating Indy in the championship, because they always give the Colts problems. But I just couldn't bring myself to put a Norv Turner team in the Super Bowl (and I actually like Norv). But you may be right about it being their year. Any team that loses a playoff game on a play where they intercepted a pass is due for something good.

**********

Lee,

I had little hope for the Falcons before this mess with Vick exploded. I have never been impressed with him as a pro QB. Great athlete, yes. Good QB, not really.

If the Texans played in the NFC I might think of them as a playoff team. I think they'll have a lot of close games this year, but I'm not sure that they are quite ready to win those games. I don't know that Matt Schaub is a big improvement over David Carr. Nothing against Schaub, but I thought Carr was a good QB. It's just hard to be successful when you spend more time on your rear end than standing up.

I've been burned by the Cardinals so many times that I can't pick them for the playoffs, even if I think they're good enough to make it.

If the Titans had made any effort to acquire some top-notch players during the offseason---and they had plenty of money under the cap---I would have rated them as a playoff contender. I think the defense will be much better, even without Pacman. But Vince Young needs someone to throw to and hand the ball off to. They are a 5-11 team, but Vince gets them two games beyond that.

I agree that Cleveland could be a sleeper this year. They have some good young players at the skill positions, but I don't know about their team chemistry. My hunch is that a lot of Browns fans are willing to accept a less than stellar season so they can make a play to get Bill Cowher.

College predictions? I'm not as knowledgeable about college football (especially outside the SEC), and I don't follow it as closely as I do the NFL. I will make a bold prediction for this coming weekend: Vanderbilt over Alabama.

Lee said...

I was kind of shocked to see that Western Kentucky opened up their season with Florida. I guess they are going big time now, with the stadium addition and whatnot. I used to live three blocks off the campus, close enough to get our windows rattled every time the cannon went off during football season.

I know, the Cardinals have been terrible, but I have to rely on three sources--my brother-in-law, who lives in Arizona and keeps up with all things football, the fact that Phoenix area NFL fans won't put up with the Bidwill's way of doing things for another season of mediocrity in their state-of-the-art facility, and Matt Linart at QB. I can't see them in the super bowl this year, even though it will be played in their house, but I am picking them two deep in the playoffs.

The Texans have made a lot of offensive personnel changes, now that they have gotten rid of their team personnel director Charlie Casserly. He's the guy who made Mario Williams, a zero last season and in the pre-season, a number one draft pick, much to the delight of the Titans. The improvement they showed last season, including their late season win over Indy, and their pre-season, gives me hope, so much so in fact that I actually bought tickets for the three late Sunday home games.