More importantly, the Jets are gonna suck… oh hello. Didn’t notice you there. Yeah, I took Tebow as my last pick in my fantasy draft. Yep. That happened. Other than that my team is Matt Ryan, Calvin Johnson, Andrew Luck, Falcons D, Peyton Hillis, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a random kicker (cause who cares) and the highest ranked TE when I got around to it. I have some other receivers too, I don’t remember who. The other league I’m in, no Johnson, but that one required me to pick all the defensive players too. That was 28 rounds. Went pretty quick though.
So only two more divisions to look at before we get to the week one predictions. I know some of my season predictions have been a little wild, but I think except for the record they are pretty accurate. Who the hell knows? You could say I write this column with a grain of salt, a ton of knowledge and a cynical view of some teams, especially the Browns. Ugh.
So how about those replacement refs huh? This is going to be freaking awesome. There is so much that they haven’t seen in preseason, the rules have changed a lot since a lot of these guys have seen action. There are going to be huge mistakes, bad calls and games are going to drag on because of it. Thankfully, that’s why we have NFL RedZone. There’s going to be no point watching a game on CBS or FOX this season, as those broadcasts are going to be long, boring and full of standing around – which means more commercials. Fun. I hope the NFL reaches an agreement with the real Refs as soon as possible.
Lets see, what has changed in Denver? Not too much I think. Wide Receivers Andre Caldwell, Bandon Stokley join Eric Decker on the offense. Some secondary help in safety Mike Adams and corner Tracy Porter. Tebow is gone, I mean, all he did was lead them to the playoffs. Brady Quinn is also out. What else? I can’t think of anything else that has changed in Denver. Oh yeah – Jack Del Rio comes in as defensive coordinator.
There is something else… what is it. Well, anyway, new offensive coordinator Peyton Manning is oddly enough playing quarterback too, who does that? Really though, the Broncos have a coordinator, but you know damn well that Manning is going to be running the offense. Peyton has already taken a few hits in the preseason and frankly, he looks good so far. I did say that he wouldn’t be physically up to it, but it looks like I might be wrong. His neck is holding up well, and his arm and aim look as good as ever before. This should be interesting to see Manning play for a new team. Really though, it won’t matter. The Colts were only as good as they were because of Manning. The Broncos will get the same effect.
Because, and this bit is important, of the defense. With Von Miller still coming off the edge, and an improved secondary, the Broncos should be good against the rush and the pass. Really, it comes down to pass protection and if Manning can get enough time to get those razor sharp passes off. As for Willis McGahee, well, I think he’s still got a bit left in the tank. Considering the Broncos won the division with a shaky, but impressive leader in Tebow, they’ll definitely win the division with Manning. Er, Manning will win the division with the Broncos backing him up.
Projected Finish: 12-4
Kansas City Chiefs
Palko and Orton have made way for Quinn to back up Matt Cassell, who couldn’t carry the offense by himself last year. That was partly to Jamaal Charles not making it through the first few games. Charles needs to be on his game in order for the Chiefs offense to work correctly. Though, the Chiefs are not sitting on their hands on this on, they brought in Peyton Hillis to be the one hitting the line hard to take the brunt of the hits. If there is one running back in the league who can crush it at the line, it’s Hillis.
The big talk on the Chiefs though is first round draft pick Dontari Poe, defensive tackle out of Memphis. If this guy can deliver, he can impact the defense like Von Miller or Mario Williams. A guy who plays hard and pushes the rest of the defense to his level. However, if he is a super bust as some are saying he might be, then the Chiefs might have a problem. Also, I’m hoping Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson improve a bit over last year, cause those two high draft picks could also make an impression.
The Chiefs are one of those teams that either surprise their opponents, or just be a complete bust. Crennel coaches well under pressure, and he’s under pressure. He’s gotta know that if he doesn’t hit the playoffs or get close, he could be out of a head coaching job. I think that the Chiefs will do well this year, spring out some interesting wins, but they won’t top Manning and the Broncos.
Projected Finish: 10-6
Who follows the Raiders and wants to write this bit for me? If there is one team in the NFL I could really give a shit about, it’s the Raiders. Lets see, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart some other players, new GM, new approach to playing football – oh yeah, Al Davis is dead. Well, that should change things in Raider country for sure.
The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2002. Darren McFadden hasn’t impressed like Arian Foster has, which might change with new coordinator Greg Knapp who coached Foster with the Texans. The Raiders have had a lethargic offense the past few years, mostly because they try to be as pass heavy as possible. With putting more focus on the rushing game though, that might help them win a few games.
I think we are going to see some crazy shit on defense though. Multiple fronts, wild schemes and zone coverages thrown in for good measure. The Raiders are looking to shake things up with the way this franchise is run, on and off the field and while it may not pay dividends this year, it might next year.
Projected Finish: 8-8
San Diego Chargers
This has got to be the last chance for Norv Turner right? I mean this guy can’t hang on any longer if he can’t lead this team through the darkness of the second half of the season and reach the playoffs right? The Chargers always seem to start off hot, then Rivers fizzles near the end of the year. Meanwhile, his draft buddy Eli has won two Superbowls. That has got to sting just a little bit.
Well, premier receiver Vincent Jackson is gone but the Chargers worked pretty hard to replace him. They’ve brought in Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Roscoe Parrish to give some depth to the WR position. Then they brought in Le’Ron McClain and Ronnie Brown to help out Matthews in the backfield. None of these guys really screams top-flight running back to me, but the three of them together should get the job done. Really though, the tandem to watch for again is Rivers to Gates.
As for the defense, John Pagano takes over for Greg Manusky and he’s got first round pick Melvin Ingram, second round pick Kendall Reyes and third rounder Brandon Taylor. The hope here is that these rookies, along with the current defense, will help the Chargers late in the season when Rivers needs it the most. This team rests on the shoulders of Rivers and Turner, hopefully they can work together to get it done this year.
Projected Finish: 11-5Pin It