So it's the first Sunday without football. Well, there is the Pro Bowl, but that's like a small amount of methadone for a hardcore heroin addict. So it's a little depressing. But of course I do have the Steelers' Super Bowl victory to keep me warm. Sometimes that will pop into my head and I'll smile spontaneously.
Anyway I'm gonna write a few predictions for next year here and now, so I can lord them over everyone next year when I'm right (and completely forget about em when I'm wrong). Of course, this type of early prediction can really change with one or two free agent moves or injuries. So cut me some slack.
I'm gonna start with the NFC. The big team I can see surprising a lot of people next year is the Cardinals. That's right, the hapless Cards. They showed some signs of life and will be playing in a brand new stadium. Their passing game looked outstanding and if they can get their O-Line some help and shore up that defense they will be a threat. Dennis Green is a solid coach and frankly their division isn't the toughest out there.
The Seahawks will be in the hunt again, baring injury to Hasselbeck and Chicago is only gonna get better offensively. Also, I think the Skins will continue to improve and they could be a serious postseason contender if that offense finds a second receiver. Sorry Gabe, but I think the Eagles were only starting their bad times this season. That defense is getting old and the offense is lacking some firepower now. I also think that Atlanta will continue to be overhyped because of Michael Vick, but will ultimately flop.
In the AFC, almost anyone can win. I have to start with my Steelers. Keeping Ken Wisenhut for another season really keeps the dream alive. We're probably gonna lose Randle El, which sucks, but what can you do? We still have enough threats without him to be a serious contender, especially with Big Ben at QB. He may have looked shaky in the Super Bowl, but he is a game winner. I really do expect Pittsburgh to be in the thick of things again next year.
The out of nowhere team (sorta) of the AFC will be the Dolphins. That six-game winning streak was a nice way to end the season and makes for a good leaping point for next year (and probably kept Nick from leaping off any very tall buildings). That offense really came around. I'm not 100% sold on Mike Mularky as an offensive coordinator (he's too pass happy and Miami wants to play smash mouth, run-first football), but he's not terrible. But yeah, I think the Fish could challenge the Patriotss in that division.
Other than that there are plenty of teams that could legitimately go all the way. Pats, Colts, Broncos, Bengals all have to be at the top of the list with the Steelers. You can pencil in the Chiefs (although there may be too much upheavel with the coaching change) and the Chargers.
Anyway I think that's enough of my lame football predictions. I'll try to hold off with my football chatter at least until the draft.