Friday, September 5, 2008

That Tabor Guy's 2008 NFL Predictions

Just like last Thursday was opening day of college football, this Thursday is opening day of the NFL regular season. Giants vs. Redskins play tonight and it should be a good one. But rather than talk about 1 game, That Tabor Guy is here to lay down his opinions as well as some facts on the entire NFL. This is my favorite time of the year and I'd be happy to debate my opinions with anyone. First, we’ll start with playoff predictions....

AFC Division winners:
East- New England Patriots
North- Pittsburgh Steelers
South- Jacksonville Jaguars
West- San Diego Chargers

Wild Cards- Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills

NFC Division Winners
East- Dallas Cowboys
North- Green Bay Packers
South- New Orleans Saints
West- Seattle Seahawks

Wild Cards: New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals

1. New England is still the class of the AFC East. However the gap is closing and New England’s roster is in their 30’s for the most part. It was starting to show in the secondary and LB corps in the playoffs last year. Luckily for them they've signed some young talent in the offseason so there's still gas in the tank come the 4th quarter.

2. Bills and Jets have massively improved their rosters to help close that gap. Yes, the Jets signed Favre…but honestly he might not even be their biggest acquisition. They also signed Pro-bowlers Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, and Kris Jenkins in free agency as well as landing 2 first round draft picks that will be immediate starters Vernon Gholston and Dustin Keller. The only problem with the Jets is that their Coach Eric Man”gina” is a giant pussy and also a little cry baby bitch. This will filter down causing girlish behavior in all of his players. (It’s true, look it up!!) The Bills however are a tough, hardnosed team that only gets tougher every year. They have had the best drafts of any team in the NFL if you combine the last 3 years together. (Marshawn Lynch, Trent Edwards, Paul Pozluzny, Leodis McKelvin, James Hardy, and Donte Whitner) As well as signing defensive monsters Marcus Stroud and Kawika Mitchell in the offseason. The Dolphins are in rebuild mode and due to their lack of experience on both sides of the ball, I wouldn't expect much more than a 3-13 season out of them this year. However they are making the right moves and expect them to be a legit team in 2 years time.

3. AFC North is a tough pick. Because every team has glaring weaknesses as well as glaring strengths. Pittsburgh has a horrible offensive line but they seem to be the most well rounded everywhere else. Ravens have issues all over the offense (McGahee’s knee, the QB situation, the departure of Ogden, lack of play makers at WR) I love my Ravens, but I’m not holding my breath. Cincinati is in disarray and have been for a while. No defense, egos, and lack of running game will all play roles in leading them to a 4-12 season or lower. Carson Palmer is no longer a premiere QB and Chad Ocho Cinco is no longer a premiere WR. If RB Chris Perry can stay healthy look for him to have a long awaited breakout season. But outside of that, the Bungles are doomed.

And the final team, the Brownies!!
4. DON’T BUY INTO THE BROWNS HYPE!! They have the worst secondary in the entire NFL. There isn’t a single QB in the NFL that couldn’t rattle off a 400 yard passing game on those chumps. The 10-6 record last year was a fluke, expect them to take a back slide this season. Jamal Lewis won’t run like last year, Derek Anderson won’t pass like last year, Kellen Winslow Jr. isn’t as good as people give him credit for. Donte Stallworth isn’t really that big of an acquisition. They didn’t get anyone in the draft. Shaun Rogers is fat, slow, and couldn’t even make the cut in Detroit. Braylan Edwards is amazing!! But he’s about it.

5. Yeah that’s right I picked the Jags over the Colts in the South. Colts top 4 players (Manning, Sanders, Freeney, and Harrison) are all coming off offseason serius surgeries. Their age is beginning to show on both sides of the roster and they are getting cocky drafting 3 centers in their first 4 draft picks. Whereas the jags are young and hungry. Every year they pick up steam and I look for them to have the most devastating pass rush in the entire AFC this year. As well as the most effective ground attack with MJD and F. Taylor pounding the rock. Garrard doesn’t make the critical mistakes and he has matured a lot over the last couple seasons. Expect the Texans and Titans to have brilliant performances on defense but there are way too many question marks on their respective offenses to warrant much of a threat. Most noteably the Texans RB’s and the Titan’s WRs. However the Titans have made the playoffs with worse rosters and I can't count out Jeff Fisher's ability to maximize his talent.

6. San Diego is the obvious pick in a lackluster division. They are solid in all facets of the roster. They seem to have the Colts number, thumping them twice last season and making it to the AFC Championship game. Much depends on the health of Shawne Merriman’s knee and Ladanian Tomlinson’s vagina. I think the Raiders are probably the second best team in this division although it’s a distant second. They have improved everywhere except for O-line (which will once again be their downfall) But their secondary is amazing. With Asomugha and Deangelo Hall at CB they easily have the most dominant secondary in the NFL. Look for them to make the playoffs not this year, but the next year. Broncos have too many issues on defense. Last place in the NFL last year against the run and they didn’t do anything to improve it. Their once great secondary is also lagging. They lost Foxworth and John Lynch and the once feared duo of Champ Bailey and Dre Bly started to show their 30+ age last year.
Cheifs are the other team in here but they aren’t worth mentioning because they are easily the worst team in the AFC

7. The NFC East looks like it belongs to the Cowboys on paper. In fact the Cowboys look more like a pro bowl team than a legit NFL team. However that’s on paper. Will the chemistry be there? Will Romo choke in the clutch as usual? Will TO be as forgiving? Will PacMan stay out of trouble? I think they’ll be fine in the reg. Season but the playoffs are a different story. The Giants looked to be poised to make a run at a repeat championship. But in my opinion their best player is Osi Umenyiura, and he’s out for the season with a knee injury. This is devastating but their roster is deep enough to still make a playoff run. Plus they made some excellent moves in the draft. Adressing all of their key losses. The Redskins are a team in transition. Look for one of the most run-heavy offenses of the past 3 years to take a completely new approach and pass the ball close to 70% of the time. The whole success of the squad rests squarely on the shoulders of QB Jason Campbell who has improved in the past 3 seasons and needs to take that final step under Jim Zorn. They provided him with a plethora of passing targets in the draft, taking 2 WR’s and a TE with their top 3 picks. Defensively they are solid, but not great. Especially if Jason Taylor can’t get healthy. Philly will be the odd men out in this division once again. Injuries plague this team every season and I’m doubtful if this year will be any different. Signing Asante Samuel might have been smart. But we’ll soon see if he truly was a top CB in the NFL or if he was just a polished turd that flourished in New England like so many other mediocre talents. Desean Jackson is the wild card on this team. Selected in the second round at WR and KR this kid has speed on speed. He had a stellar preseason and if he can stay healthy with his tiny 170 lb frame, he could be the game breaker that the Eagles have lacked ever since TO left.

8. NFC North has changed. For the first time in 16 years Brett Favre wont be QB of the Packers. But they are solid everywhere else. Even if Aaron Rogers only averages a 80.0 passer rating (158.3 being perfect) the Pack has enough talent that they could skate through the division. The only competiton will be from the Vikings, and their QB situation right now is shaky at best. Their defense is scary but I’m not sure if it’s enough to make up for 4 INT’s per game. Expect the Lions to start with a 5-3 record but to finish the season around 6-10 because the first half is cream puffs on their schedule but the 2nd half is brutal. They lack defensive consistency however they have improved a bit from last season as far as personal is concerened adding Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly to their weak-ass secondary. Look for the same solid passing ame on offense and a much improved running attack punctuated by rookie Kevin Smith and verteran arrival Rudi Johnson. The Bears are just the opposite. The very definition of stability on defense but perhaps the most sorry offense I’ve ever seen. It was considered a terrible offense when they went to the superbowl 2 years ago, and since then they've lost their top 2 runningbacks and top 3 wide receivers. Hopefully the defense and special teams whiz kid Devin Hester can provide some great moment for the Bears faithful, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a playoff birth.

9. NFC South is a relatively easy pick for me. Saints are definately gonna be the team to beat regardless of what the Panthers and Bucs fans will tell you. Saints have added so much defense to finally compliment that fantastic offense led by Brees. The Saints moved up in the draft to snag Sedrick Ellis, one of the top DT prespects in recent memory as well as CB Tracy Porter early in the second round.. They also added folks like Jonathan Vilma and Randall Gay to give a boost to all 3 facets of their defense. The Panthers could be a scary team if it weren't for Jake Delhomme's constant injuries. Also the once most feared defensive front 4 in the NFL has been completely disbanded. Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker, and that other guy are all gone. Now only Julius Peppers remains, and he's coming off the most piss poor season of his carreer. But luckily for them they have a new leader on defense in second year MLB Jonathan Beason. Beason is just the latest in the long line of dominant Middle Linebackers from the university of Miami. If it weren't for Patrick Willis' unreal rookie season last year, Beason would have snatched defensive rookie of the year honors hands down. Also look out for Rookie RB Jonathan Stewart. The Bucs were lucky to get into the playoffs last year, and they'll be even luckier if they sneak in this year. Good defense, but once again no balance on offense. Falcons don't warrant much mention. They are in full on rebuild mode, new coach, new qb, new dirty birds Expect them to finish near the bottom of the NFL. Matt Ryan may turn out to be good in the long run, but this team has let go of probowlers left and right over the last few years leaving them with no names on defense or offense.

10.NFC West: Seahawks have owned this pitiful piece of NFL real estate ever since they moved from the AFC West. The Rams, 49ers, and Cards seem to be in a permanant slumber with no aspirations to ever reach the playoffs. Hawks are also playing for their coach Mike Holmgren who has already announced he is retiring at the end of this season. Cards could however be a surprise team to many. Most folks don't realize that they were 8-8 last year and that Kurt Warner threw 27 TD's in the 13 games that he started in. With that WR core it would be pretty easy, it's the best in the NFL. What has surprised me is how they've quietly built that defense into something great. The secondary holds 3 first rounders and their defensive line is a rock. Combine that with the fact that they are in the weakest conference in the league, and you've got the recipe for a surprise playoff run. The 49ers and Rams are both in disarray, may god have mercy on their souls. I expect the coaches of these two teams on the hot seat. If Mike Nolan or Scott Linehan can't build upon their pitiful past seasons expect them to get the boot.

It's time for OFFENSIVE ROOKIES OF THE YEAR!! (prospectively)
1. Jonathan Stewart: RB- Carolina Panthers. Size, Speed, Vision and a coach 100% dedicated to the run make Stewart a sure fire factor.

2.Desean Jackson- WR- Philly Eags- Blistering speed, tremendous preseason, returns kicks and punts. Also the Eagles lack of any playmaking WR's already puts Jackson #1 on their depth chart and guarantees plenty of touches.

3.Chris Johnson- RB- Tennessee Titans. Johnson ran the fastest 40 time in the history of the NFL combine (4.22) He doesn't have to be very good to take the starting role away from Lendale White. He also will get extra votes due to returning kicks. Titans have a solid O-line and like to pound the rock. Great vision for a scat back.

4. Darren McFadden-RB-Oakland Raiders- I didn't even really want to put him on this list but his physical attributes force me to. The guy is a physical marvel running one of the fastest 40 times at the combine as well as throwing up quite a few reps on the bench press. But god given abilty isn't enough in football. I'm not sure if he has the head for this game. He doesn't have the best vision, he seems to always run into the backs of his blockers. He's also had the most fumbles in the nation over the past 4 years in the NCAA. He's also going to be splitting carries with Justin Fargas and Michael Bush which will make him seem less valuable to his team in the eyes of voters. Couple that with his poor Offensive line and we might have a "Bust" on our hands. I hope he can be successful, I've always loved him in college. I just don't know if it's gonna be 1st year success.

1. Jerod Mayo- MLB/OLB- New England Patriots- Stud MLB has won rookie of the year past 2 seasons. Will be playing on a great defense, amazing instincts, will be extremely well coached. Great defensive line will take on blockers allowing Mayo to come clean at the ball carrier.

2. Leodis McKelvin- CB- Buffalo Bills- Instant starter, best CB prospect in the deepest CB class in the history of the draft. Also returns kicks and punts. Phenomenal preseason.

3.Derrick Harvey-DE-Jacksonville Jaguars. Great motor, speed in droves, singlehandedly won the national championship for the gators two years ago. Pro-style body already, look for immedite sack increase for Jacksonville.

4. Vernon Gholston- OLB/DE New York Jets-- Gholston is a freak of nature. Stronger than an offensive tackle with the speed of a safety. Absolutely dominated Jake Long the 1st overall pick from Michigan when they lined up across from each other last season. Intimidates anyone when he's in the zone but only downfall is that he sometimes takes plays off. If he isn't a pro bowler at the end of the year it will be due to mental reasons rather than physical.

AFC Championship game
Patriots 23 Jaguars 16

NFC Chamionship game
Saints 31 Cowboys 28

Patriots 40 Saints 14

So there ya go folks feel free to comment right on the bulletin I'll respond.

1 comment:

reggie said...

Nice call on Buffalo and Arizona I wasn't buying it at first but after seeing them in the first 3 weeks they both look like contenders. Good blog!!

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