Monday, September 04, 2006

NFL 2006 Preview: AFC East and South

Tonight we move our attention to the AFC, where the likely Superbowl champion will emerge—again. Let's just hope it's not that team in Massachusetts.

1) Miami (13-3)
2) New England (11-5)
3) New York Jets (7-9)
4) Buffalo Bills (5-11)

Nick Saban did a lot more last year with the Dolphins than anyone thought he would, and that was without a real quarterback. Now he's got Daunte Culpepper, who should have a HUGE chip on his shoulder and something to prove to the rest of the league. Their defense will be nasty and almost impossible to score on. I like this team a lot this year.

New England is getting old, and they may have shot themselves in the foot with this Deion Branch non-signing problem, but as long as the names "Belichick" and "Brady" are on the top of the letterhead, they're a safe bet to win double digits and compete for a playoff spot.

The Jets will improve on defense thanks to Belichick disciple Eric Mangini, their new head coach, but I won't put any faith into Chad Pennington, and he doesn't have many weapons to go to anyway. Buffalo still thinks it's the mid-1990s with Marv Levy running the football operation. Someone explain to me why Buffalo has a team and Los Angeles doesn't?

1) Indianapolis (14-2)
2) Jacksonville (10-6)
3) Houston (6-10)
4) Tennessee (2-14)

Indianapolis won't flirt with perfection—I have them losing early in the season to Denver—but they will continue to focus on home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and this year Dungy and Manning won't let the game get away from them the way they did against Pittsburgh last year. In fact, I see them following the Steelers' gameplan: lose the playoffs as big favorites, learn your lesson, go out and win it all the next year. Oops, I just gave away my playoff predictions, didn't I?

Jacksonville will continue to serve as the bridesmaid in the south, although I see them falling back a bit due to a tougher schedule than last year. Houston will make some progress with new head coach Gary Kubiak, though I think he would have been better served with Reggie Bush. Tennessee will only win two games because it's just as hard to lose them all as it is to win them all. Jeff Fisher's gonna wish he had taken the job in St. Louis instead, Vince Young or not. By the way, he'll be starting by week seven and getting killed every Sunday. Happy trails!

Tomorrow: AFC North and West


TUCK! said...

Okay, let's fight.

1) I LIKE THE VIKINGS "D" (And they better back me up as I've taken them in my annual exercise in futility, AKA "my fantasy football league"). To compare them to the Rams is a slap and a taunt. Just b/c they didn't invite you on the party barge last year is no reason to get pissy (can I say "pissy?" I just did, again). AND best of all, if the end of last season (and into this pre-season) is any indication, they're coming from nowhere. Which is why...

2) Minnesota, NOT Chicago, wins that division. Even if Griese ends up as their QB.

3) The reason Buffalo has a team (and LA doesn't) is b/c 60000 people plus show up to every freaking game. talentless frauds like Lohsman. To see Even pre-season games against Cleveland. I know, I was there. And, yes, the tickets were free. Or at least, really darned cheap.

4) The thought of Arizona winning nine games gave me a spit take this morning. Thank you. Thank you very much.

5) New Orleans is going to have a better season than you give them credit for. Drew Brees will be able to have the opportunity to play in at least six games before that pathetic sham of an O line invites opposing defense to rip his head off and use it as a ball holder on all subsequent kickoffs. And they won four games without him last year.

6) Really, are you related to Bidwell or something?

7) Ballsy pick on JAX (can I say "ballsy?" Well, I just did, again, too). I like that one .

8) No, seriously: Where do you buy all that Phoenix Kool-aid?

9) And finally, here you had a great opportunity to do the pre-season picks that I REALLY want to read (ie, "Overunder on how long it takes Martz' head to spin on his spine, trying to coach the 'quarterback staff in Detroit'," and, "Who has a longer shelf life: Art Shell or any job held by Mike Keenan?")...and, nada, nothing, empty set.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I mean you're doing these things daily now, right? (Cue: Another spit take.)

Sandman said...

1) You better hope you picked the Parkway North Vikings instead of the Minnesota Vikings. They will be no better than 20th in the league in total defense, and they will be atrocious against the run--no D-line in the middle, no linebackers. Enjoy your Minnesota misery--we love converts.

2) If Chicago doesn't win that division, then a Mike Talayna's pizza and a trip to Ted Drewe's is on me.

3) 60,000 people showing up to watch the Bills play proves that P.T. Barnum was right--there really IS a sucker born every minute.

4) Dennis Green in his third season with his staff and people in place. He's a consistent winner, so I have no reason to think he won't deliver.

5) N.O. = New Orleans; N.O. = No Offensive line. It will be hard for Drew Brees to pass when he's flat on his back. And even if he and Reggie Bush score three TD's a piece per game, that defense will give up seven. I never figured you for a Louisiana "homer." (Hey, you said you wanted to fight.)

6) Healthy Kurt Warner throwing to the best wide receiver corps in football with Edgerrin James, the best blocking back since a healthy Marshall Faulk. This offense has "99 Rams" written all over it.

7) I hate Jacksonville. There, I said it. That should have been St. Louis' expansion team. Yeah, we got the Rams, but if you can hate Tagliabue for a decade, I can loathe Wayne Weaver.

8) Matt Leinart, baby!

9) I'm saving my snarky comments for my Steelers preview.

I can't freakin' believe you picked the Vikings' defense. Nice job, chummmm......p!

TUCK! said...

Well, in my own defense, the MN D is my backup corps...

("Matt Leinart"...yow. Pass the kool-aid.)

(New Orleans Homer? How do you figure, exactly?)

And: Trip to Talayna's sounds nice (though I'd prefer Fortells); you flying me (and the crowd) in??