We have a Tuck sighting! Off the starboard bow! He's firing with both barrels now! Today's picks should REALLY piss him off big time!
1) Cincinnati (12-4)
2) Pittsburgh (9-7)
3) Baltimore (7-9)
4) Cleveland (4-12)
I love the Bengals this year, provided Carson Palmer stays healthy. His knee will make everyone nervous for the first few weeks, but if it holds up, this team will be an offensive powerhouse that should blow most teams right out of the stadium. They will be the most explosive offense since the Vermeil/Martz-era Rams, and you know Marvin Lewis' defense won't stink, either.
Bring on the hate, haters. Pittsburgh is going to have a tough year because of injuries and subtractions. No Bettis, no Heinz Ward (for a while), no Randle-El, no Rothlisburger for the first couple of weeks (at least) spells danger. Have you looked at their schedule? Miami, at Jacksonville, Cincinnati, at San Diego, Kansas City, at Atlanta. Good God! They could start the season 0-3 and possibly 1-5. I'm being optimistic picking them to finish 9-7.
It seems like there's a lot of folks jumping on the Baltimore bandwagon. Not me. Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis are both a year older, and anyone who thinks Steve McNair is the savior of this team didn't watch any of Tennessee's games last season. Sure, McNair's tough and competitive, but he's also 68 years old.
Cleveland...who plays for Cleveland? Who's their quarterback? Starting running back? Defensive star? Anyone? Yeah, that's what I thought.
1) San Diego (12-4)
2) Denver (11-5)
3) Kansas City (8-8)
4) Oakland (4-12)
San Diego finally gets a break in the schedule, which should put them over the top. New QB Phillip Rivers will get help from all-world RB LaDanian Tomlinson. This will give Marty Schottenheimer yet another opportunity to choke in the playoffs.
Denver will be an interesting team to follow just to see how many interceptions Jake Plummer has to throw before Broncos fans start clamoring for impressive rookie Jay Cutler to take over the starting job. I just want to watch Mike Shanahan's head explode like a nuclear device.
Kansas City's going to be mediocre because Trent Green, while a great guy, is too far over the hill to make a difference, and their new head coach, Herm Edwards, has his picture in the dictionary next to the word "mediocre."
Oakland can only aspire to mediocrity. Outlaws and scumbags might have worked for Al Davis back in the days before the salary cap, but these days the NFL is all about not making mental mistakes like turnovers and stupid penalties. Guess which team has led the league in penalties for about the past five years? I hope Randy Moss enjoys watching the Superbowl on television--again!
Tomorrow: Playoff and Superbowl picks