TJR: 2012 NFL Season Preview - NFC & Super Bowl Edition
Welcome to the second half of my two part NFL Season Preview. I covered the AFC on Monday. You can read that RIGHT HERE if you missed it.
Now it's time to preview the National Football Conference, which I feel is the deeper conference of the two.
The last three Super Bowl champions have come from the NFC. The Saints in 2009 won as the #1 seed in the conference, then the Packers won in 2010 as a wild card team and the Giants won in 2011 as division champions with a 9-7 record. If the last few years proved anything it's that home field doesn't matter as much as a lot of people think. It's about being hot at the right time.
This is the toughest division to predict in the NFL. I could see any of the top three teams winning the division and the last place has the kind of rookie that can turn them around very quickly. Flip a coin time. It's the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Don't be surprised. The Cowboys were very close to making the playoffs last season. If they could have beat the Eagles or Giants in one of their last two games of the year they would have made it. That's pretty impressive when you consider all of the injuries they had to key offensive players like rookie RB Demarco Murray, WR Miles Austin and of course an offensive line that had issues. They finished 8-8 even though they were an awful 2-4 in their own division. That week 14 game against the Giants when they lost 37-34 at home may have been the regular season game of the year (Niners/Saints playoff game topped it) and it's also the one Cowboys fans were likely angry about the most in the offseason.
The biggest problem the Cowboys had last year was defending the pass. Teams threw against them a lot. What did they do? They signed CB Brandon Carr of the Chiefs to a $50 million deal over 5 years and then they traded up in the draft to get prized rookie corner Morris Claiborne at the sixth pick. They knew they had issues at corner, so they addressed them. Now, if they barely missed the playoffs with below average corners and they upgraded the position significantly shouldn't that mean more wins? I sure think so. I'm also a huge fan of DeMarcus Ware at OLB, who I feel is the best pass rusher in the game and is the potential defensive player of the year.
I think offensively they should be fine. QB Tony Romo had a great year, Murray is all healed up, I think Dez Bryant might become a top ten WR after they figured out that he needs a babysitter at all times and despite early injuries to WR Miles Austin and TE Jason Witten I think they'll be fine in the later parts of the year. The Cowboys can put up points. They just have to hope that their usually shaky offensive line can do their part to keep Romo standing because if he goes down so does the team.
There you have it. The Dallas Cowboys will win the NFC East. The third different winner of this very difficult division. I believe in the offseason moves they did to improve the defense. Now they just have to prove me right.
New York Giants (10-6) *
Congrats to the New York (Football) Giants because I see you topping last year's 9 win season from last year. The thing about Giants fans is they think their team is disrespected because they are not the prohibitive NFC favorite. Yes they won the Super Bowl and they deserve credit for that, but they were still a 9-7 that had to win their last two games just to get in the playoffs. This wasn't a dominant team by any means and I think a lot of the same issues that cropped up last year will be there this year too.
Their pass defense was pretty suspect. Their defensive line is excellent, but this is a team that gave up 27 or more points 7 points and averaged 25 PPG against. It's hard to be considered a great defense like some people think they are when you give up that many points. With that said, I love the pressure that they get from their DE's Jason Pierre-Paul and Jason Tuck along with Osi Umenyiora, who is part of their rotation. They're fast, they're big and they have depth. It makes it tough especially when teams have to throw on them. They need to be more consistent against the run and pass though.
I like the offense a lot. Eli Manning is an elite QB with great weapons at WR in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz while also having a very good RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who is backed up by rookie David Wilson - a guy that has been receiving rave reviews in the preseason. The offensive line has been together for a many years, so they're a solid group.
I like the Giants this year. I don't think they're going to be the best team in the regular season, but just like they showed us last year and in 2007 what matters most is what you do at the end of the year. As long as you get in the playoffs, which I expect them to, anything can happen. I'm sure their fans can agree with me on that one.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
They are the hardest team in the NFL for me to predict. Last year they were a favorite of many people. What did they do? They started the year at 1-4. I don't need to tell you that if you start your season in such an early hole it's hard to climb out of it especially in the competitive NFC East. To their credit, after falling to 4-8 they won their last four to finish at a respectable 8-8 although with expectations higher that has to be considered a down year for them.
This year's Eagles team didn't change much from last year. The big change was adding MLB DeMeco Ryans from the Texans, who is an upgrade over what they had last year. Defensively, the unit was solid although not spectacular and had a tough time rushing the passer as well as forcing turnovers. Their secondary, led by CBs Nnamdi Asomugha & Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should be the best group in the league. They didn't play like it all year, though, so they need to be more consistent.
The most important player on the team is of course the QB, Michael Vick. Two years ago Vick was incredible. He was a legitimate MVP candidate in leading them to a 10-6 record and NFC East division win. The concern with Vick is always his health. If he can give you at least 14 starts then you have a chance to win a ring. If it's less then that then it may be difficult. With offensive weapons like RB LeSean McCoy, WRs DeSean Jackson & Jeremy Maclin, TE Brent Celek and pressure on coach Andy Reid to win it all this could be the year the Eagles finally do it.
Do I think it will happen? No. I think the pressure will be too much. I think they will miss the playoffs, Andy Reid will get fired at the end of the year and they will have a new voice leading them into next season. Or they may make the Super Bowl. With the Eagles, you just never know!
Washington Redskins (5-11)
Guess what? It's rebuilding mode in Washington…again. It seems like that happens a lot over there. That's what happens when you've got an owner like Daniel Snyder who is a little crazy. Or is he a lot crazy? You decide. At least now the rebuilding will be done around the arm and legs of prized #2 overall pick QB Robert Griffin III, who has Redskins fans very excited going into the year. And why not? He looks legit. He looks like a difference maker from game one. I usually don't care to watch the Redskins on Sundays, but when RG3 is in the game I think I'll give them a look.
I think they have a ways to go to catch the teams ahead of them, though. Their receivers are an average group with Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss while the RBs have Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Alfred Morris. Is there a clear starting RB? Of course not. This is a Mike Shanahan offense. That's how he rolls. Defensively I like a lot of what they do. They are not the kind of "bad team" that gives up 30 points regularly and gets blown out. They play a lot of close games because the defense keeps them in it, but in past years they had trouble ending games and I think those problems will continue this year even with a talented signal caller like RG3. He is a rookie, after all.
On a personal note, since my St. Louis Rams have the Redskins #1 picks in each of the next two drafts I wouldn't mind seeing them get even less than five wins. I think long term the deal to get RG3 will be beneficial to both teams. It's just that it may take a few years to see the dividends pay off.
Could the NFC North have three playoff teams? It might happen.
Green Bay Packers (13-3)
I know what some of you may be thinking. Last year's Packers were 15-1, so if I pick them to go 13-3 that means I think they'll do worse. Not necessarily. Remember what I said at the beginning of this NFC preview. The NFC is getting better every year and I think it will be tougher this year than last year.
We know what the Packers are about: throwing the ball. The offense is led by reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who had one of the best seasons ever one year after leading his team to the Super Bowl. In the playoff loss to the Giants, they were simply overmatched and his usually dependable receivers had a case of the dropsies - that means dropping the ball too often. Still, the weapons that Rodgers had have all returned with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson starting at wideout while younger players like TE Jermichael Finley and second year WR Randall Cobb figure to get involved in the action a little more. If they actually run the ball, they have picked up a good RB in Cedric Benson who can get the short yardage if they need it.
The big concern with the Packers last year was their defense. It's silly to say that it was a problem when you consider that they won 15 games, but obviously that's something they want to improve upon. They have talented players on the team. It's mostly the same crew although I think they will miss emerging MLB Desmond Bishop, who is gone for the year with a hamstring injury. It's tough to expect backups to be as productive as a team leader. They'll have to hope that Clay Matthews is a force rushing the passer and that some of his teammates step up because they need to be better defensively than they were last year.
As I said, though, it's about the offense with them. They were 14-0 last year to start the season, they averaged exactly 35 points per game for the entire season (that's five TDs per game if you need help with the math) and there's no reason to think they will be unable to do that again. Might they lose more than last year in the regular season? Yes, I think so. But they are still the prohibitive favorites to make the Super Bowl out of the NFC.
Chicago Bears (11-5) *
I think the Bears will be fantastic this season. Two years ago they made the NFC Title game. Last year they were sitting pretty at 7-3 when QB Jay Cutler got hurt and then they went into a tailspin while losing five in a row. Sometimes good teams don't improve in the offseason because they think the talent was already there. Not them, though. They got better.
The best move they made was their acquisition of Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall, who is a former Pro Bowler that used to be a teammate with Bears QB Jay Cutler in Denver. He's the first superstar WR they've had in Chicago maybe ever. They're not a team that has star WR's very often. He's a difference maker because he'll demand double teams, which will open up other weapons on offense. In addition to Marshall, they also added RB Michael Bush, who may be the best #2 back in the game considering how admirably he filled in for an injured Darren McFadden last year in Oakland. They signed starting RB Matt Forte to make him happy and they also lit a fire under his ass because if he doesn't perform as well as they like they have Bush there to run the ball if they need him to.
If you're a fan of the Bears you should be happy with your front office because they knew the weakness of the team was they lacked weapons at receiver and they needed a better backup at RB, so that's what they got. As for the defense, Lovie Smith has always been a great defensive coach that I'm familiar with because he was running the Rams defense in the early 2000s. He's done an excellent job as Bears head coach too. I think the Bears will be an elite team in 2012. Look out Packers. They're knocking on the door.
Detroit Lions (8-8)
I can hear the complaints already. "We made the playoffs last year and you think we're going to do worse this year?" Yes. I do. I also think the Packers will do worse at least in terms of their record. In the Lions case, doing worse will mean missing the playoffs because the NFC is a stacked conference with about 11 teams that I could see seriously contending for a playoff spot.
In QB Matt Stafford's first healthy season in the NFL, the Lions started off 5-0 and made the playoffs with a 10-6 offense thanks to Stafford's ability in finding the best WR in the NFL Calvin Johnson aka Megatron. Johnson is arguably the most talented player in the NFL and in my opinion the best athlete because there's nothing he can't do as a WR. Even when he gets double teamed he finds a way to produce. To the Lions credit, they do everything to get him the ball and Stafford has built up a great on field relationship with him. It's hard to deny chemistry even when two or three defenders are in the area. I think what they need to do in the next year or two is find another dynamic offensive player either at RB, WR or TE (Pettigrew is okay but he is no Gronk or Graham) through the draft or free agency and hope that by doing that they can take some of the attention away from Megatron. The highest scoring teams like the Patriots, Packers and Saints are loaded with weapons. The Lions need a few more weapons to be at that level.
Where the Lions have issues are on the defensive side of the ball where they are very susceptible to the passing game. Teams throw a lot against them and they do a great job of putting up numbers because the Lions pass defense is so poor. The Lions defensive line is a strength, but they're not stopping teams from throwing on them. The other Lions issue is their inability to run the ball. I doubt most teams are scared of the RB tandem of Kevin Smith and Michael Leshoure.
Can the Lions make the playoffs? Of course they can. I'm not saying they're a bad team at all. It's just that the NFC is so stacked that some teams are going to miss out on the playoffs. They are one of them. Hey, at least 8-8 is better than 0-16 right Detroit fans? Too soon?
Minnesota Vikings (4-12)
Sorry Vikings fans. It's going to be a long year for you once again. I think what we're seeing with them is they went all in with Brett Favre in 2009-2010 and they should have won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season (I certainly thought so), but instead they fell short. Now? Rebuilding mode. The fact that they're in a division with an elite team like the Packers and two very good teams in the Bears & Lions doesn't make it any easier for them.
Offensively, I think they have two stars in RB Adrian Peterson and WR Percy Harvin. Peterson's coming off an ACL tear though. While he is a freak of nature type of athlete, I don't expect him to be at his absolute best for a few weeks. As for Harvin, he had a great year last season after dealing with migraine headaches in previous seasons. By the end of last season, they realized if you get him the ball he can make things happen. What about QB Christian Ponder? He's heading into year two, which can sometimes be a difficult one for a QB. I'm not sure if he has the potential to be an elite QB or if he's just an average starter, but in this division he's going to need to be close to elite due to the other teams he'll be up against. That's why they'll struggle. He's not there yet. Maybe in two or three years he could be that, but not yet.
Defensively what do they have? Jared Allen. He had 22 sacks last year to lead the NFL. However, you need more than that on defense. If sacks mattered that much they would have won more than three games right? Giving up 28 PPG as a team is a problem. They didn't do enough to address those problems. It's going to be a few years before they can build a winning team again.
This was a tough one to predict. Last year the NFC South had two playoff teams. This year I think only one team from this division will make. Some people are forecasting two or three of them to get in, so it should be intriguing to see who emerges from the pack.
Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
I like what they're doing in Atlanta. The offense could be a top five group with QB Matt Ryan throwing it to his talented WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones, who I think will be a special player in his second year and maybe even be the second best WR in football behind Calvin Johnson as soon as this season. I think they'll run more than they pass, which is fine considering RB Michael Turner has been used a lot the last few years and it will keep him fresh if he's running 15-20 times per game instead of 25 times per game.
The question for them is can they make enough stops to win the big games? I think so. Their secondary is pretty solid and the addition of Asante Samuel at CB was a good one although his game has slipped a little bit. Outside of DE John Abraham they don't have much of a pass rush, though, so they could probably look at blitzing a bit more.
I think there's a lot of pressure on Matt Ryan as he enters his fifth year. There's no more "he's too young" excuse for him. He has the experience now. He has to be consistent all season and lead this team to some wins the playoffs. I think they have enough talent around him to do just that.
New Orleans Saints (10-6)
This was tough for me because I have them missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. I think the big reason why is because they will miss their head coach Sean Payton, who is suspended for the 2012 season, and they are missing key pieces on defense like Jonathon Vilma and Will Smith as well. It just seems like there's a dark cloud hanging over them. Of course when you have a legit MVP candidate in QB Drew Brees on the team you always have a shot. He threw for over 5,400 yards last year and he could even top that this year. That's how good this offense is.
My concern with them is can they stop people? Look at how they lost to the 49ers in the playoffs. They played their hearts out. It was the game of the year. However, they were unable to come up with the big stops late in the game and it cost them their season. I don't think they did enough in the offseason to help them stop the run, rush the passer and defend the pass. I think those defensive deficiencies are going to keep them out of the playoffs.
Maybe I'm wrong. I certainly could be. The Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. No team has ever played in a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Perhaps they could use that as motivation to get that done and to "win it for their coach" as they say. They certainly have the talent to do it. I just don't think they will be able to stop teams enough to get it done.
Carolina Panthers (7-9)
Here's another team I really like because of their electrifying QB Cam Newton, who is one of my favorite players to watch on a weekly basis. He's exciting. His ability to make plays with his arm and also run the ball (14 rush TDs for a QB?) makes him very scary for defenses to match up against. You would think that he would get better in year two and he might, but the NFC is stacked and I'm not sure they can move up the ladder too much.
Much like the top two teams in the division, the question is are they good enough defensively to get in the playoffs? I'm not sure. They had issues with rushing the passer and making stops on pass defense. Those things can't be cured overnight. Without any major upgrades on defense I have my doubts about them being able to stop teams when they need to.
They're a team that I can see winning anywhere from 6 games to 12 games. They have that kind of potential. I just think they're a year away from being a playoff team. The future is bright for the Panthers. I just don't see it happening yet.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
We see this all the time in the NFL. They're a young team that surprised people with a 10-6 record in 2010 that failed to make the playoffs and then last year they regressed to a 4-12 team that lost 10 in a row after starting 4-2. They haven't won a football game that counted since October 16th. That's a long drought.
The question is did they lose 10 in a row last year because they just aren't good enough or was it because they quit on head coach Raheem Morris, who seemed like he was a bit of an egomaniac running the ship? I think it's a little bit of both. QB Josh Freeman looked awful last year. He should have improved after a great 2010 season, but instead he looked like he didn't even belong in the league. I liked their offseason signing of WR Vincent Jackson from the Chargers, who is a very talented guy. I wonder if they paid him too much, though. He's an elite receiver, but I'm not sure if he's worth the $55,555,555.55 (yes that's legit) deal he got paid for the next five years. I do like when teams realize they need an impact offensive player and they get it, so kudos to them for that.
Much like their NFC South counterparts, the defense is the question of the day for the Bucs. They gave up 494 points last year, which is just under 31 PPG. You can't win with those kinds of numbers. Unlike the offense, they didn't do enough to improve on that end. With three extremely explosive offenses in their division I think it will be very difficult for them to stop anybody and the end result will be another losing season for the Buccaneers.
Last year the Niners surprised a lot of people in going from 6 wins to 13 wins. This year it won't be a surprise when they dominate the division once again.
San Francisco 49ers (11-5)
It's rare for a team to bring back all 11 defensive starters, especially when those starters are a part of what is arguably the best defense in football. That's what the Niners have managed to do. It may not last for another season because free agency and trades are a part of the NFL, but for one more year this impressive group will stay together. I love this defense. The secondary is stingy, the LB group led by Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman and Aldon Smith - who may lead the league in sacks in his second year - are the best group in football. The DL, led by Justin Smith, is impressive too. It's tough to score on the Niners. Defense still wins championships, or at least it puts you in a position to win.
Offensively, they got better too. By adding Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to the WR group they added two weapons to go along with impressive TE Vernon Davis and yet to emerge WR Michael Crabtree. While I am not completely sold on QB Alex Smith, you have to give him credit for cutting back on his turnovers last year and being consistent all season. It was the first time in his career where he put it all together for 16 games and the end result was a trip to the NFC Title game. The running game is solid with RB Frank Gore leading the way and they have a lot of depth behind him too, which is smart in today's NFL. It's hard not to like what the Niners did to improve the offense in the offseason.
They could have won it all last year. If Kyle Williams didn't fumble in the NFC Title game they could have got that wrong. I think the pain of last year's loss will motivate them to make it very far this year. The schedule is harder, so winning 13 games once more may be difficult. However, once the playoffs come in January they will be a threat to win it all one more time.
Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
This is another team with the potential to make the playoffs. My issue with them is I'm not sure they have enough offense to make it there. Even though they signed free agent QB Matt Flynn, rookie QB Russell Wilson will get the starting nod. It's hard for rookies to lead a team to the playoffs. Sure, some of them have done it in recent years, but I think those teams had more talent on offense than what Wilson has. RB Marshawn Lynch had the best year of his life in his contract year. Do you think he'll repeat that performance? I'm not sure. It's sports. A lot of guys have their best year when they are about to be paid and then once the money is there suddenly they're not as good the next year. On the outside, the WR group lacks a true number one guy because Sidney Rice, while talented, has a rep as being injury prone. The guys behind him won't scare defenses either.
The strength of the Seahawks is their defense. I think head coach Pete "Mr. Excitable" Carroll has done a great job of building the defense with a group of guys that have either come out of nowhere (like CB Brandon Browner) and they've put them in positions to succeed. The defense doesn’t have big names or stars. They're relentless, they come at you and when you're playing them at home the fans in Seattle never stop. It's arguably the best home field advantage in the NFL. It makes a difference for them.
Last year they won seven. This year I think they will repeat that. Like I said they could make the playoffs, but I think they will experience some growing pains with a rookie QB who doesn't have enough weapons to put up the necessary points to get to that next level.
St. Louis Rams (6-10)
My boys! Two years ago the Rams were 7-9. Last year they were 2-14. There were a number of factors that caused that with the main one being a ridiculous amount of injuries, including six CBs ending up on Injured Reserve and they were literally starting guys they signed off the street on a Monday to start on the following Sunday. The Rams are the youngest team in the NFL with the average age of their players being 25 years old and of the 53 players on the roster, 32 new players are there. New head coach Jeff Fisher has not only brought toughness to the team, but he's also brought along a lot of new faces.
I think due to all of the roster turnover, there will be some struggles especially on offense. QB Sam Bradford has a lot of pressure on him. The Rams could have taken Robert Griffin III at #2 this year, but they stood by Bradford because he's going into year three and since he's making $15 million this year it would have been difficult to move him. They're right in not giving up on him, but I will always wonder what it would be like to have RG3. Hopefully Bradford returns to the form he showed as a rookie in 2010 when he threw for over 3,000 yards and nearly carried the team to the playoffs. The team will be led by RB Steven Jackson, who you can pencil in for 1,200 yards most years and he's got an electrifying rookie backup RB in Isaiah Pead, who will lighten the load for Jackson. I'm worried about the WRs. There's not a star there. It seems like a bunch of #2 or #3 guys. I was hoping for a big splash in free agency or perhaps drafting Justin Blackmon, but instead the highest rookie pick was 2nd rounder Brian Quick. It might take him some time to catch on. Due to the WR group, I don’t see the offense improving that much although they should score more than the 12 PPG per game they got last year. At least I sure hope so!
Defensively, I think the team should be pretty good. Injuries destroyed the secondary last year. This year the Rams brought in prized CB Cortland Finnegan, drafted rookie CB Janoris "four kids with four women" Jenkins and brought in other guys that don't have the stench of last year on them. I think the DLine will be very good since three of them were recent first round picks led by DE Chris Long (who is a Pro Bowl level player) and second year man Robert Quinn, who ended last year very well and is looking fantastic heading into this year. I have concerns about the LB group other than the middle man James Laurinaitis, who is a consistent player, but hopefully the talent around them will make up for their lack of explosiveness. In other words, I doubt they will give up 407 points again this year or see opponents run on them as much as successfully as last year. I think the defense will improve under coach Fisher.
If the Rams can get up to 6 or 7 wins this year I'll be happy. Then in 2013 they can hopefully add some more pieces (thank you Redskins for the first round pick) and perhaps contend for a playoff spot. I miss watching my team in the playoffs. I'd love for them to get back there soon.
Arizona Cardinals (4-12)
The Cardinals were 8-8 last year? Really? Yes they were. They started the year at 1-6 and ended it at 7-2. When you look at the scores of their games, they found a way to win a lot of 20-17 type games including four OT wins. Weird huh? Well I'm sorry to disappoint the Cardinals fans out there, but to me that makes it seem like they had a lot of fluky wins and they seem like the kind of team that will regress this year.
The main reason for my concerns is with their QB situation. John Skelton or Kevin Kolb, who will it be? Looks like it will be Skelton to start, but it's not like management is showing a lot of confidence in either guy. They still have a talented WR in Larry Fitzgerald and they added first round rookie Michael Floyd at WR to support him, which was a good move. I just don't think it will make that much of a difference for them this year.
I think their defense is okay. CB Patrick Peterson looks like he'll be an All-Pro type of player sooner rather than later. They had the kind of defense last year that didn't give up too many points. They always kept them in games. Are they difference makers though? I don't think so. Cards are going to have a tough year. Teams that have "QB battles" usually do.
NFC PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
Here's how my NFC playoffs look.
1. Green Bay Packers (13-3) - First round bye
2. Atlanta Falcons (11-5) - First round bye
3. San Francisco 49ers (11-5)
4. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
5. Chicago Bears (11-5)
6. New York Giants (10-6)
WILD CARD ROUND
Bears over Cowboys
Giants over 49ers
NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
Packers over Giants (teams re-seed in round two)
Bears over Falcons
Packers over Bears
I went with the Packers to make it to the Super Bowl as the #1 seed just like I predicted the Patriots to do in the AFC. To me they're the clearly the two best teams in the NFL with the best QBs to lead them there. Depth on offense helps. The defenses are good enough. I know it's rare for the prohibitive favorites to make it to the big dance, but it has to happen once in a while. This is the year for that.
SUPER BOWL XLVII PREDICTION
New England Patriots 34 - Green Bay Packers 27
This time Patriots WR Wes Welker won't drop the game clinching pass late in the 4th quarter. They'll finish the job this season. They have too much depth on offense and I think the defense will improve enough to get them the win. These teams are very similar and to me they are the best in the NFL in 2012.
Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady
MVP: Tom Brady - Patriots
Offensive Player: Tom Brady - Patriots
Defensive Player: Jason Pierre-Paul - Giants
Offensive Rookie: Robert Griffin III - Redskins
Defensive Rookie: Morris Claiborne - Cowboys
Coach: Romeo Crennel - Chiefs
Looking back I don't think I picked enough surprise teams. It's a hard thing to predict, though, so I went with the ones that have been good in a lot of cases because I think they are building teams the right way in today's with pass heavy offenses. It's what works.
That's a wrap. I wrote over 10,000 words about the upcoming NFL season, so I guess you could say I'm ready for it huh?
I'll be writing weekly NFL picks here on TJRSports.com along with my friends Bret Clev and Mike Maloney, so be on the lookout for that.
Any thoughts and comments on my picks? Surely you can't agree with them all, so let me have it! Deposit them below.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org