San Diego Chargers:
Slow start -> hot middle -> iffy finish. But still take AFC West easily. Rivers lights it up again. Can D stay strong without Rivera?
No O-Line = bad times for Campbell. Al Davis fires HC and eats his brain. WR’s qualify for 2012 olympics in “100m dropped passes.”
Kansas City Chiefs:
No NT = bad run D. Cassel returns to Foxboro wk 11, gets warm welcome from fans/blitzing LBs. regress from 2010, but O has potential.
Better than 2010, but still not good. Tebow is “not ready” so Orton starts. D has fewer holes, Dumervil's return will help. 4-6 wins.
Manning’s neck seems a serious issue, can he keep leading Collie into safeties? If no Manning then big trouble. If fit then div winners.
All the pieces on O, talent on D, but still lack DB’s to contain the best passers. Miss play-offs, Kubiak finally fired.
Even less fans that before, Gabbert forced into action too soon. Jones-Drew still explosive. DL keeps them in games, but not enough.
Hasselbeck will help CJ’s running, if he doesnt hold out. Lot of pieces left in the offseason, D is usually strong vs run, pass not so good.
|Joe Robbins/Getty Images|
Big test for Flacco/Rice. Must prove they can get it done. Can Lewis/Reed still do it? After cutting Vets young guys must produce. Wildcard.
Bought their guys back, feel another run is there. Got B’Mores number, but 1 slip and they’ll be in. O/U for Harrison fines: $499,999.
New coach, largely same players. Hillis needs to repeat, McCoy must show more. D might struggle, lots of picks for future after Jones deal.
No TO/Ocho + Palmer “retired”. Ginger rookie QB = trouble. Joseph gone too, Marv Lewis next? Great LB corps. If healthy, could save the D.
New England Patriots:
Brady + Belichick = wins. OL still strong + more youth. DL just got bigger with Ellis/Fat Albert. All the way? Not without better pass rush.
New York Jets:
3rd time lucky? “show me” year for Sanchez, must play all 4 Q’s. D still good but missing OLB’s too. Thin at WR. Revis due DPOTY. Wildcard.
|Nick Laham/Getty Images|
Thomas + Bush backfield has potential. OL could become great. D needs more than just Wake. Henne + Sparano’s last chance? Yes.
Dareus must be good from wk 1. Kyle Williams to get more attention. Run game has potential, Fitzpatrick’s last year as stop-gap?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Young team, few additions, out to prove 2010 wasn’t fluke. Only 1 NFC West game this season though. Freeman for real? Just misses Wildcard.
New Orleans Saints:
Sproles > Bush, Brees still got it. D-Line now monstrous. Big time contenders again, but winning div is a must to get home in the dome.
Trade for Julio Jones must pay off or there’s trouble ahead. Ray Edwards adds bite to the pass rush. Will go as far as Ryan can take them.
All hinges on 1st pick Cam Newton. Resigned core of the team. Sounds good but they were 2-14 for a reason. Unlikely to be 1st pick again.
|Streeter Lecka/Getty Images|
New York Giants:
Many O-Line shifts but should be ok. Thin at LB + Amukamara out. Missing playoffs could be end of Coughlin. Must do better in December.
More talent than they showed last year. Fit Romo will help. Still weak at DB. Could sneak wildcard if all goes to plan. Rarely does tho.
Choosing between John Beck and Rex Grossman is no choice at all. Skins fans just waiting for Andrew Luck in 2012.
Asomugha, Samuel + DR-C = scary good DB’s. Eagles are primed for a deep run. Vick must stay healthy but things look good in Philly.
Green Bay Packers:
A healthy Grant + Finley make the defending champs even better. Kept their own, didn’t splash out in FA. If it ain’t broke… Div winners.
O-Line improved at end of last year, Carimi will help more. Traded Cutler’s fav target Greg Olsen, bought in Roy Williams. D always good.
Everyones favourite sleeper but injuries already taking their toll. Success hinges on Stafford’s health. Playmakers all over, team must gel.
Hoping McNabb has 1 more year in him or Ponder will be thrust into action. Must lean on Peterson, lines getting old. Slim shot at playoffs.
St. Louis Rams:
Favourites for the division. Bradford + McDaniels could be huge. Had a good FA, if draft picks pan out could cause an upset in playoffs.
Paid a lot for Kevin Kolb, he better be good. Adrian Wilson says he’ll play through a torn bicep. Won’t be enough tho. 5-7 wins only.
Made a lot of nice moves (Rice, Miller, Gallery) but still lack the QB to do well. D still dodgy but has young potential.
San Francisco 49ers:
Alex Smith… again. New coach, same QB. Lost Franklin, could expose Willis to more blockers and ruin D. A few bright sparks for 2012.
- Toby Durant (@TDonSport)
- Pulling Linemen