Hey, folks. I’m back. Didja miss me? Oh, right. Well, with both professional and college football starting in a matter of weeks, it’s tossed-off preview time. Planning at least one division a day and sometimes two for NFL, a college football Top 10 and more format to come. Teams with an asterisk by their names are my guesses as to who will be Wild Cards this year.
1. Dallas Cowboys — On paper, I have no reason to believe this team won’t win a hyper-competitive division yet again. There’s too much offensive and defensive power to not do well between Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Marion Barber, and Adam Jones. The Cowboys do need Terence Newman to get healthy and stay that way — although Jones will take the punt returning problems away — and Patrick Crayton needs to be a solid #2 wideout this year. I don’t they go 13-3 again — their division is too tough, and don’t ask me to predict playoff wins for Dallas.
2. New York Giants* – I feel bad about putting a Super Bowl champion this low on the pole, but there’s a lot of if-come-when surrounding the Giants, and it’s rather predicated upon how much of Eli Manning’s breakout during the playoffs last year is really permanent and whether the pass rush that won them the Super Bowl will be the same without Michael Strahan leading it. It’s not that I question Justin Tuck’s ability, but that’s a large gap (*rimshot*) to fill. Probably a good, safe Wild Card bet, though, so I’ll say they still make the playoffs.
3. Washington Redskins – There are always adjustment periods that come with a new coach and yet another new offense, and I hope the lag time isn’t that long for Jason Campbell. He’s a solid QB who deserves better than the floundering he’s had to go through, and looks like he might get it with Jim Zorn’s West Coast system. Picking up Jason Taylor was a smart trade for a veteran from the front office, which has not had a lot of those over the years. I just don’t think they can leap over the Giants and Cowboys for a playoff spot, and there will be an NFC team outside the East that’s good enough for a Wild Card.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – I hate doing this to Donovan McNabb again, but Eagles management hasn’t done shite to help him on the receivers end in a division loaded with offensive talent. It doesn’t help matters that all the NFC East teams could finish .500 or above again. McNabb doesn’t deserve to go out like this — but these are the things that make a fan base impatient and a front office do dumb things, especially when you can start the office pool on when Donny Mac will be hurt and miss time these days.