After everything I’ve seen these first two weeks, the NFL is a crap shoot. There is no one dominant team and everyone looks beatable. Let’s take a look at some of the top teams and why they will and won’t make deep runs into the playoffs.
New England Patriots
Why they will: They are a veteran team with a lot of talent. They know how to win and Belichick will keep them in most games.
Why they won’t: I do not like that defense at all. It’s old and slow. The offense was able to cover it up most of last year as it’s much easier to play D when you are up by 50 points. Regardless of what Randy Moss thinks, this team is just not a juggernaut without Brady.
Why they will: Oh yes, this team is good at football. They have a very nice defense with Marcus Stroud (love those big nasty tackles). Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans are excellent weapons on offense. And who can forget those special teams? Roscoe Parrish is filthy.
Why they won’t: I’m not sure that they are there yet. We’ll see if James Hardy can be a big help to Lee Evans on the other side of the field. I still need to see more of Trent Edwards.
Why they will: They are still loaded with talent. Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Bob Sanders…etc.
Why they won’t: Peyton Manning’s recovery from the bursa sac removal will take some time. It’s going to take a few weeks for him to get fully comfortable again. Another problem I have with the Colts is that they have their whole payroll tied up with just a few guys. This makes them really strong at some positions, but forced to really on low-level scrubs for depth. That’s bothersome to me.
Why they will: David Garrard is an excellent QB and I still like that defense with DT John Henderson. Fred Taylor and MJD are a phenomenal one-two punch out of the backfield.
Why they won’t: I may have exaggerated in the first part. The Jags are sans their two starting guards for the season. Also, center Brad Meester has yet to play. Good luck playing without the interior of your offensive line. Garrad already has thrown as many INT’s this year as he did all of last year.
Why they will: Like I said, I love defenses that start with great tackles. Albert Haynesworth is a beast when motivated, and since he’s playing with the franchise tag, he’s motivated. Cortland Finnegan is one of the most underrated corners in football. And how can you not like the kid Chris Johnson? He is a hell of an explosive runner.
Why they won’t: They have two QB options, they have decided that Kerry Collins is better, and they are right. I like Collins ok, but I wouldn’t him to the be the horse I’m riding to the Super Bowl. Vince Young is most likely cooked and may not play another down for the Titans.
Why they will: Jay Cutler is looking like the truth (he also looks like a bumbling dufus) this year and he has two dynamite weapons in Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.
Why the won’t: They gave up a butt-load of points to the Chargers and should have lost that game. I do need to see Cutler do it for a full season before I can fully jump on his bandwagon.
San Diego Chargers
Why they will: They got hosed last week and should be 1-1. Philip Rivers is still a nice QB and they will be fine once their weapons get healthy (LT and Gates). This team is incredibly talented and will right their ship and be fine.
Why they won’t: They got absolutely shredded by the Broncos offense on Sunday. Antonio Cromartie, who is a superstud, looked miserable. Those injuries actually do concern me. Ladainian is starting to get nicked up and this is exactly what happens to RB’s as they get older. Especially ones that have been pounded the way LT has since 2001.
Why they will: Despite losing DE Brett Keisel for two months, I still like that front seven. James Harrison does more than just assault women, he’s ferocious on the field too. Big Ben is a horse you can ride and Willie Parker just keeps on doing it. Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes give Roethlisberger some great targets in the passing game.
Why they won’t: I still worry about that o-line. They were shaky last year and then lost Pro Bowl G Alan Faneca to boot. The secondary could be an issue as well.
New York Giants
Why they will: That defensive line is still very tough despite losing Strahan and Osi. Their offensive line is still one of the best units in the league and I’m a firm believer that it all starts up front. They also run the ball like nobody’s business and have three backs that can hurt you in Jacobs, Bradshaw and Ward. Plaxico Burress is a top five WR in the league at this point.
Why they won’t: It’s very tough to repeat, especially in the NFC East. Eli still needs to show that he can play at a high level for an entire year.
Why they will: They are probably the most talented team in football. They are the early-season favorites to take it all right now.
Why they won’t: Tony Romo has been dreadful the past two years in and past December. The Cowboys at the end of the year have not been the Cowboys at the beginning of the year. That is very, very troubling.
Why they will: McNabb is healthy and back to being a top-three NFL quarterback. Brian Westbrook might be the best back in football and rookie DeSean Jackson has given the Birds that top-flight WR they’ve wanted so damn much. The defense has improved and will cause problems for offenses this year.
Why they won’t: Pick a reason, it’s Philly. McNabb needs to stay healthy for the entire year or none of the other stuff matters. Against Dallas, the defensive front four couldn’t generate any pass rush and that is a huge issue. There are also concerns at safety. Brian Dawkins is falling off, Quinton Mikell doesn’t cover very well, and Sean Considine should be working at Wendy’s.
Green Bay Packers
Why they will: The Packers are looking pretty tough right now. I’ve liked Aaron Rodgers for a while now and he’s finally showing that he’s good at football. They are deep at running back and wide receiver and they have playmakers all over their defense.
Why they won’t: Let’s see Rodgers do it for the whole year. Also, Ryan Grant has been battling a hamstring injury and he was incredibly important to their success last year.
Why they will: Plain and simple one of the best, if not the best, defenses in football. And with Adrian Peterson running the football, you can win on any given Sunday. The combination of defense and running game has won many a Super Bowl.
Why they won’t: Tarvaris Jackson is abysmal!
Why they will: They are 2-0 this year and have won without Steve Smith. Jake Delhomme gives them a good chance to win as does the RB duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Why they won’t: I just don’t there is enough talent on the entire roster to take down some of the other teams. That said, you never know. It’s all about playing well at the right time.
New Orleans Saints
Why they will: Drew Brees is a phenomenal QB who can kill you on any day.
Why they won’t: The defense stinks, Reggie Bush is overrated and their WR’s are depleted right now.
Why they will: They are the upstart team with a rejuvenated Kurt Warner at the helm. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitgerald scare the bejesus out of opposing teams. And they are in a division with three other stinkboxes.
Why they won’t: They are the Cardinals. WR’s don’t win championships. They may make the playoffs in that division, but only because someone has to.
Check back later in the year to see how stupid and off-base my analysis is.