The Lombardi Trophyâ€¦What It’s All About!
My God this is a long column and I want to welcome you all to our NFL preview edition this week. Our biases surely kick in from time to time, but we have that freedom so deal with it. This time around we take all eight divisions one by one and let you know who we think is going to win it and why. We also let you know our picks for the MVP and who is headed to the Superbowl.
Fun shit eh?
Oh and Mike Vick will join the Cincinnati Bengals’ personalized cell sometime in December. Shall we? Let’s roll with this andâ€¦
1.) AFC EAST
Paulie: J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! Yes. I still believe in the Jets. I also believe that the AFC East is probably the single toughest division in the NFL. If you put New England, Buffalo, or the Jets in any other division they’d probably at least fight it out for the top spot. If Miami had a QB they’d be up there too. But they don’t. So they won’t. I’m still not overly crazy about JP Losman and feel like he’s the only thing really holding the Bills back right now. My pick order for the AFC East:
1. NY JETS
2. New England Patriots
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Miami Dolphins
Charles Joseph: Hopefully you’re right, cause I got Pennington as my QB in our league. But I’m gonna have to disagree with you here. New England is too powerful for this division. Miami has an old defense and QB, Buffalo lost its two best defensive players. So the Jets and Pats will be 1,2. But the pats added a ton of wideouts which was their weakness last year, and they signed the best defensive free agent. Pats win this division easy.
Danny: I do not know what is with you and all this Jet-love Paulie. You really do want to see the Mangenius don’t you? Your picks are the suxxorz cuz the Pats will take it. Their offense is extremely strong and they will win the division, but their lackluster defense is going to hurt them in the long run through the playoffs. I say long run because the Colts and Bolts are getting the first round byes. The Bills are going shock a lot of people but Losman is finally coming around and has a decent crop of receivers to throw to and Marshawn Lynch is going to be insanely good.
The Jets come in third because as long as Pennington is behind centerâ€¦well, then the J-E-t-â€¦sâ€¦.ain’t winning a damn thing. Thomas Jones will help the backfield, but ol’ Chad can’t hit the broadside of a barn with an earthball. I see them being mediocre 7-9 or 8-8 and in the strong AFC, that isn’t enough to go anywhere. The Dolphinsâ€¦well, they’re just garbage.
1.) New England Patriots
2.) Buffalo Bills
3.) New York Jets
4.) Miami Dolphins
2.) AFC NORTH
Danny: This is always an interesting division because any team can win it any year. Ok, well all but the Browns can. I hate thinking the Charlie Frye era is over before it even got much of a chance, but you know Quinn will be starting by game four and that’ll be all she wrote. But he isn’t their savior just yet. They need a lot more work, especially on defense, to make this a team that can even contend in its own division. The Bengals are going to end up just a step up from the Browns simply because their defense blows. They have all the weapons needed on offense with Palmer, TJ, Ocho-Cinco, Rudi Johnson, and a damn fine line. But their D- can’t even begin to stop a damn pee-wee team from running and passing all over them.
The only reason I’m putting the Steelers in second is because I can’t stand Big Ben. If they continue to bring up that f*cking appendectomy and motorcycle accident from last year, I’m going to puke. It wasn’t the reason their season was so badâ€¦Ben just sucked balls last year. Straight up. Tomlin is a coach that is going to bring this team a few championships, but not this year. They could end up a wildcard team though. The Ravens have weapons out the ass on both sides of the ball. Ray Lewis and the defense are aging, but they still have a couple more dominant years in them. McGahee adds more to this team then Jamal Lewis did and I think could take them far, but not past Indy, San Diego, or New England.
1.) Baltimore Ravens
2.) Pittsburgh Steelers
3.) Cincinnati Bengals
4.) Cleveland Browns
Paulie: Danny’s got the top and the bottom right but the middle is all flippity floppity. Baltimore will be on top because of their defense and a rejuvenated running game as long as McNair can continue in the simple caretaker role. Cinci’s offense should be enough to carry them to 2nd in the division, it’s just that strong. The Stillers. Well. I just hate the Stillers. And if it wasn’t completely idiotic I’d pick them last and put Cleveland 3rd. But Cleveland has nothing on either side of the ball. So, my picks..
1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Cleveland Browns
Charles Joseph: I actually have some confidence in Cleveland. Their offense could be pretty good soon. I think Jamal Lewis is in for a rebound year, the line should be good with Thomas, Steinbach, and Bentley if he’s healthy. They have Edwards and Winslow as good weapons in the passing game and they have two QB’s who can lead the teamâ€¦to third in the Division. Baltimore wins the division, Cincy’s offense takes second and grabs a wild card.
3.) AFC WEST
Charles Joseph: The big question hanging over this division is â€œCan LdT carry the Bolts to another division championship?â€ I’d say it’s a resounding yes. Nobody else in the division really got any better. Denver lost its veteran QB, Oakland gained Daunte Culpepper, and Kansas City is basically bringing the same team back except they have no quarterback. San Diego runs away with this division. LdT could start at QB for any other team in the division.
Danny: A division full of one great team, one good team, and some underachievers. Do you really not think the Chargers are going to run (pardon the pun) away with this thing all together? Rivers, Davis, Tomlinson, and Gates are more then enough to score thirty points every game. Although I do wish they’d run more two tight end formations so Manumaleuna could get in the game. His name is just fun to say. Manumaleuna. And their defense had 61 sacks last yearâ€¦sixty-firggin-one!
Denver is next and really has put together a good team with a good leader in Cutler, but they are a year or two away from dominating. Maybe wildcard which I think they can get considering they have one of the scariest secondaries ever in John Lynch, Champ Bailey, DrÃ© Bly, and Nick Ferguson.
Kansas City though Brodie Croyle was going to be its saviorâ€¦they still do, but Damon Huard won the starting job cuz Croyle blows. Just like he did at Alabama . Larry Johnson thinks he’ll be ready by game two or three. Are ya kidding me? Not to mention Willie Roaf and Will Shields retired making their O-Line have more holes then Swiss cheese.
Raiders. Come on Alâ€¦really?
1.) San Diego Chargers
2.) Denver Broncos
3.) Kansas City Chiefs
4.) Oakland Raiders
Paulie: I’d say we’re pretty much all in agreement here. I hate that LJ was the best on the board when I picked in the draft last night. I also hate that Gordi stole Rivers from me. STOLE I SAY! Grr. Argh. I think I’ll give Oakland the nod over KC though because KC is Larry Johnson and a bunch of scrubs. Oakland at least has SOME talent at other positions.
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Denver Broncos
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Kansas City Chefs
4.) AFC SOUTH
Paulie: Oh baby, the AFC South. Peyton Manning’s personal playground. But once you get past Indy, it’s a three way battle for runner up. And the battle revolves around the QB position for each of the remaining teams. Tennessee is hoping for Vince Young to avoid a sophomore slump and still be able to work his magic. It’s going to be tough for him though, and not because of some Madden Curse. It’ll be because last year he was barely over 50% as a passer and with him being in his second year now, defensive coordinators have had time to figure out what he likes to do on the ground. This may be the year that we find out if Vince Young will be a good QB or if he’ll be another Mike Vick who has skills to scare the hell out of you, but can’t translate those skills into leading a team consistently.
In Houston, the great Matt Schaub experiment is beginning. But will the O-line be able to keep him off his ass long enough to show what he can or cannot do. I’m still on the fence with Schaub as I was never really impressed by what he did at UVa and he didn’t really show much in his few opportunities in Atlanta. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt though since he’s currently leading my Madden team to victory on a regular basis.
Jacksonville is still overly infatuated with Byron Leftwich. I still think Garrard gives them the best chance to win, and not just because I went to High School with him for a whole year and would have been in college with him if I had stuck around that place for another year or two. I just think Garrard is a better QB than Leftwich.
So, AFC South final order:
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Houston Texans
Charles Joseph: This division is tighter than Paulie makes it out to be. I believe Tennessee had the best divisional record last year, and Indy only won when it was at home. Indy blows everyone away not in the division, but the teams in the division have seen them enough to not be scared. Paulie’s ranks are spot on, except the bottom two are switched around. Vince will get hurt, and he lost his best wide out, and any semblance of a running game went to Denver.
Danny: Oh how I love the AFC South just because it is so unpredictable. We all know the Colts shall rule again, but a few of their division foes always end up beating them each season. So let’s go to second placeâ€¦and it really is a toss-up, but I think Jacksonville is going to be very good again. Leftwich is a damn fine quarterback although this may be his last season in the teal and black. Maurice Jones-Drew is a beast and will prove that his rookie season was not a fluke, but he’ll be even better. A good defense makes them wildcard material.
Next come the Titans led by Vince Young who I am still having mixed feelings on. He shows moments of brilliance at times, but then other times shows extreme immaturity (suspended for a preseason game, taking a swing at a teammate). If he can get those things under control now, this team will be very good for years to come. But it all lies on his shoulders, and I don’t think they do it just yet. Finally are the Texans led by Matt Schaub. While David Carr was not a bad QB; he just wasn’t right for this team. The Texans are slowly building a damn fine team and will be a force to contend with, but not for a couple more years.
1.) Indianapolis Colts
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars
3.) Tennessee Titans
4.) Houston Texans
5.) NFC NORTH
Charles Joseph: Ahhh, the Norris division, The Black and Blue division. Ahhh the glory days. Now days, the Vikings are a black hole of suck. The Packers are waiting for Brett Farve to retire so they can finally actually rebuild, the Lions should be a good offensive team, but come on, they’re the Lions, and the Bears have Rex Grossman. No idea who wins this division, but 6 wins might pull it off.
Danny: The Bears’ defense is not going to be as dominant as it was last season. The players want out and it seems the team is simply trying to dismantle that hard-nosed unit of roughnecks. It’ll keep them in games though and it will need to considering the loss of Thomas Jones as I don’t feel Benson can carry the whole load. And Grossmanâ€¦well, nuff said. But they are still the best team in the division by leaps and bounds. Coming in a distant second are the Minnesota Vikings. They aren’t good, but they really aren’t that bad either. Adding Kelly Holcomb provides veteran insurance in case Tarvaris Jackson failsâ€¦which he may. Greenway is back from his injury and that kid is going to be something special.
Green Bay is becoming more of a joke every year. Favre still can go, but he needs to be put on oxygen. I actually feel kind of bad for Aaron Rodgers because he has to sit and wait while Favre makes his retirement decisionâ€¦EVERY DAMN YEAR! They could end up ahead of the Vikings, but if Donald Driver’s foot injury is naggingâ€¦forget about it. The last team in the division could also be the Pack or Vikes, but for now I say the Lions. Their offense is loaded with wide receivers out the wazoo including Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and don’t forget Mike Furrey. Tatum Bell and T.J. Duckett make a nice backfield behind Kitna and they will score a lot of points as a unit. But simple enoughâ€¦their defense is awful. I mean just absolutely horrible and considering starting FS Daniel Bullocks is now lost for the year, it’s over.
Chicago will win it, but the last three are interchangeable all season for spots 2 â€“ 4.
1.) Chicago Bears
2.) Minnesota Vikings (Sorry CJ, Childress is around a few more years)
3.) Green Bay Packers
4.) Detroit Lions
Paulie: Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. You’re all wrong. Here is where I do my Peter King impression and look dumber than usual.
1. Detroit Lions
2. Chicago Bears
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Minnesota Vikings
6.) NFC EAST
Paulie: You know, I’d love to talk shit about the NFC East. They probably are in the bottom half as far as division quality is concerned. But, my Panthers also couldn’t beat any of the bastards last year. But really and truly, none of them are that good. So, yeah, let’s just skip to projectionsâ€¦
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. NY Giants
4. Washington Redskins
Charles Joseph: I think McNabb leads the Eagles to a better record than the Cowboys. I think the Cowboys have to hope the fumble didn’t ruin Romo, cause if he’s still screwy from that, T.O. will blow up this year, and as we’ve seen once he goes off, the team he’s on is done. The Giants are old on defense and their team â€œleaderâ€ looks like he’s twelve. The Redskins look good on paper, but they’ve looked good on paper for a few years. The Landry/Taylor safety combination should be fun to watch.
Danny: I hate this division with a passion and could give two shits about a single team in it. Oddly enough my Saints beat every team in the damn East last year except the shitty Skins. If McNabb stays healthy, then the Eagles are the team to beat. But that defense is brittle and if one of their boys gets hit too hard then he’s going down like a sack of potatoes. Homo and the Cowgirls will be second. Done with that.
Eli will never be his brother so let’s stop the comparisons please. He will not be Peyton, he cannot be Peyton, and he will always underachieve even if he plays fantastic football. Problem is, he doesn’t play fantastic football and Tiki was rightâ€¦Eli is not a leader. And speaking of leadersâ€¦with Strahan gone, their defensive leader is gone and it is going to get even worse then it was last year. Still, they can’t be worse then the Skins who just suck. All that money can’t buy wins Mr. Snyder. And the defense (especially the secondary) is awesome as hell, but their offense is crap and Jason Campbell will never be too good an NFL QB.
1.) Philadelphia Eagles
2.) Dallas Cowboys
3.) New York Giants
4.) Washington Redskins
7.) NFC SOUTH
Danny: Ahhh the division I will have my eyes most closely on. Simple enough, the Falcons are going to end up at the bottom of the pile. Vick is gone, Harrington is in. Not sure their QB status improved or not with that. But after watching Harrington take a sack on the first play of the Bengals/Falcons’ preseason game; you know they are going to miss Vick’s footwork. Dunn is getting older and the defense just isn’t that impressive.
Next upâ€¦sigh, sorry Paulie but your Panthers aren’t looking too impressive. I know it is only the preseason but the starters are even looking like shit. I can’t help but place them in third as much as I hate to. The defense has looked weak and the offense just can’t seem to click. I tell you whatâ€¦if Carr gets put in at any time this season; I can see them winning a few more. But if you stick with Delhomme, it is going to be a long year.
The Bucs have impressed me and rightfully so. They have a lot of talent and eighteen QB’s on their roster. The defense is getting up there big time in terms of age, so that will be their weakest spot, but the offense has really come alive under the leadership of Garcia and I think this team could surprise a lot of people.
My Saints. Brees, Deuce, Bush, Colston, Henderson, Patten, Johnson, Pittman, Moore, Karney, Mare on offenseâ€¦Smith, Grant, Kaesviharn, Fujita, Clancy, Simoneau, Shanle, David, McKenzie, Harper on defense. We are loaded. The offense was going to be fantastic and we simply added more weapons for Brees to open it up even more. Defensively was our weak spot last year and the additions of Kendrick Clancy, Kevin Kaesviharn, Jason David, Brian Simmons, and Dhani Jones has improved it greatly. Realistically we can win ten games on our schedule easy. But if we play like we can every single game, then I can see twelve, maybe even thirteen wins. Seriously.
1.) New Orleans Saints
2.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3.) Carolina Panthers
4.) Atlanta Falcons
Paulie: Well, Danny, the Panthers ALWAYS suck in the preseason. But it’s an odd numbered year so they HAVE to have a winning season. The Bucs still have no running game, hardly anyone to throw the ball to, and their defense just isn’t there anymore. And Atlanta is going to actually be better with Harrington throwing actual CATCHABLE balls to the receivers this year. But, yeah, New Orleans is winning the division. I still think David Carr will be starting for Carolina before the end of the year and he’s got great receivers to throw to but the running game is going to be the killer this year. In the Super Bowl run, they had Stephen Davis, a strong, bruising between the tackles runner that really fit John Fox’s style. But for some reason they haven’t made any attempt to get another runner in that vein since. DeShaun Foster is not an NFL starter, he’s a change of pace scat back at best. DeAngelo Williams just doesn’t seem to have â€œitâ€. But I still think they’ll get at least 9-7 and a 2nd place finish in the division. Finalsâ€¦
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Carolina Panthers
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Charles Joseph: Panthers are winning this division if everyone stays healthy. Morgan is a walking concussion and Jenkins is a walking IR. But if they stay healthy the defense if one of the top units in the league. New Orleans has a ton of weapons on offense, but the defense is still a sieve. This is the second year for the Saints offense and I think the league is starting to catch on, they’ll still finish second in the division. Tampa needs to pick a QB before we can see how truly bad they’ll be. The D is just too old. And Atlanta has Joey Harrington.
8.) NFC WEST
Charles Joseph: This should be a fantastic division race. San Fran is much improved, Seattle has a healthy Alexander, St. Louis still has a great offense, and Arizona is a sleeper for a lot of people. Seattle and St. Louis have the experience edge on San Fran and Arizona and the division will come down to whether or not the young guys can sync up and play well for a full season. If everyone stays healthy, I think Seattle wins the division, but this division could steal both wild card spots.
Danny: It is amazing how â€œweakâ€ the NFC has seemed in the past decade or considering two strong divisions like the NFC South and NFC West, and then throw on top of it teams like the Bears, Cowboys, and Eagles. We just can’t get over the damn hump.
But this division is perhaps the hardest to predict this season there are three really good teams and one that could surprise. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that San Francisco will take it. It is Alex Smith’s team and he has Frank Gore, Darrell Jackson, Vernon Davis, and Arnaz Battle at his disposal. A lot of people don’t realize it either, but Ashley Lelie is also on this team. Some scary ass linebackers and a good secondary led by Nate Clements is going to take this team far.
Second runner-up and possible wildcard is going to be the Seahawks. They’re just a good team on both sides of the ball and have a hard stadium to go and try and get a win in. Alexander needs to stay healthy thoughâ€¦Hasselback too. Coming in a close third will be the Rams. Bulger is the newest QB with a huge new contract and Stephen Jackson is going to run over a lot of teams. A really good defense is what’s keeping them from taking the next step though. And Isaac Bruce is there but getting older and Torry Holt could be bothered by a nagging injury all season I recently read.
Last but certainly not least are the Cardinals. They have a lot of weapons on an offense led by Leinart and a decent enough defense to maybe play .500 ball. Here is the area they need to work on improving for next season in order to move up one levelâ€¦running back. Unless I see something this year, Edge is done. I agree with CJ though, the two wildcards may end up coming right from this division.
1.) San Francisco 49ers
2.) Seattle Seahwaks
3.) St. Louis Rams
4.) Arizona Cardinals
Paulie: Truly, this is the hardest division to predict. If Arizona’s O-Line can actually block for Edge this year then they will be all grr argh and shit. The Niners are finally coming into their own with Gore and Smith and Davis. St. Louis is always a threat dependant on their defense. And Seattle is the old standby but slowly losing ground on the rest of the division. Let me get my flippin coin and see what we can come up withâ€¦
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. St Louis Rams
4. Seattle Seahawks
What? That’s what my coin said. Suck it.
Paulie: It’s so hard to pick the MVP. I mean, we all know who’s good. But figuring out that ONE guy that’s going to step it up that little bit and carry over the top is damn near impossible. So, I’m going say that the MVP is coming out of San Diego this year. And it won’t be LdT. This year’s NFL MVPâ€¦
Phillip Rivers. Mark it down. CHAMPIONSHIIIIP!
Charles Joseph: Rivers very well could. Peyton very well could, Brady very well could, LdT very well could, Ocho-Cinco very well could. Its impossible to predict. So I’ll go out on a limb and say Alex Smith, QB San Fran.
Danny: There are a lot of candidates for MVP although I don’t think that LdT is going to repeat this year. It comes down to the quarterbacks and that is Manning, Brees, Palmer, and Rivers. I don’t think Palmer will get it even though he could have a monster year because his team won’t produce the wins to make it look more successful. I’m going to go with Manning taking it with Brees and Rivers very close behind.
10.) Super Bowl Picks
Charles Joseph: San Diego vs. Seattle. San Diego wins big. Vincent Jackson Superbowl MVP.
Danny: My picks for the big game are half the same as CJ’s. Bolts and Saints in the desert. The Saints bulked up their defense with some key additions in the offseason that will give that added oommpphh needed to take that high-powered offense the one step further. The Bolts have it all in LdT, Rivers, Gates, and a host of receivers to pick from. A solid defense puts them over the Pats and Colts to head to the movable field in Arizona . But after all is said and doneâ€¦Saints win 38 â€“ 24.
Paulie: San Diego Vs. New Orleans. The Bolts will have the tougher row to hoe and the Saints will be there cause no one else in the NFC will want it. New Orleans makes it close because the Chargers will be kinda beat up from their playoff run. But Phillip is the difference maker as the Bolts winâ€¦ 31 – 27
Like movies but never know what to watch. Then read up on some DVD reviews, by heading over to The DVD Lounge where there are a lot of good people watching a lot of crap so you don’t have to. And for a person who has over 1300 DVDs and watches every movie imaginable, Travis really finds some things that even I have never heard of.
Popcorn Junkies is a place you really need to go check out as well because there are great people like Caroline, Ping, Michaelangelo, Kubryk, and more bringing you news and movie reviews at all hours of the night and day.
So how you like all that?? We went through everything so you don’t have to worry about even watching football this season. Just save this column to your favorites and when you want to know what is going on sometime in like mid-Novemberâ€¦click it and see that we are right. Or at least I am!
You got something you don’t agree with or simply want to bitch about your team? Then head here in the forums or you can e-mail us. Join us in the forums though as we are going to be around the whole season talking about the happenings and all that good shit. Besides the three of us; there are truly a lot of football fans hanging around there waiting to talk smack with one another or just complain. But it is a lot of fun.
And we had our Inside Pulse Fantasy Football Draftâ€¦the forum Insyders and other staff members from around IP joined Paulie, CJ, and myself in a fourteen team league that will run straight through the entire season. Our championship game is the last week of the season so every game counts. And we here at PTP will keep you updated with standings each and every week to let you know how things are going.
Matt is a bastardâ€¦he took Drew Brees on purpose.
Enjoy your weekend of college football folks and get ready for some football!