Official NFL 2011 Predictions
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Dream Team? Maybe. It all hinges on the wideouts staying healthy and Vick improving his reads.
2. Dallas Cowboys*
Rob Ryan’s new system should help, but can the secondary hold up its end? Have the players had enough time to learn the system?
3. New York Giants
Reshuffled offensive line might tweak the identity of the offense. Enough talent here to win the division, but depth could be an issue in places.
4. Washington Redskins
John Beck or Rex Grossman? Ouch.
1. Green Bay Packers
The most talented team in football top to bottom. Their biggest obstacle might be complacency. That’s something you can’t predict, though.
2. Detroit Lions
If Stafford stays healthy…
3. Chicago Bears
Probability says a weak offensive line will catch up to them this season.
4. Minnesota Vikings
No passing game, bad O-line, downgraded defense.
1. New Orleans Saints
The richest, most diverse offensive playbook in football will give them an advantage coming off shortened offseason. Improvements to defensive line are huge.
2. Atlanta Falcons*
Rock solid on all fronts.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rising young team, but serious holes at linebacker and safety hurt the defense. The young receivers and running backs aren’t as dynamic as people think, either.
4. Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton will have his hands full – it’s way too tall an order.
1. St. Louis Rams
If Bradford and the offense can quickly learn Josh McDaniels’s system, we’re looking at a club capable of winning at least nine games.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Kolb is no Kurt Warner, but he’s also no Derek Anderson.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Yet another coaching staff will learn the hard way that Alex Smith is not the guy.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Tarvaris Jackson has looked awful thus far. Not good given the mediocre running game.
Saints over Eagles
1. New England Patriots
Offense is golden as always. Defensively, the slight shift in philosophy should pay off.
2. New York Jets*
Defense is dynamic, but as was the case last year, it comes down to Mark Sanchez taking that next step.
3. Miami Dolphins
They don’t have great confidence in Henne, but a spread offense would make him a different quarterback. Problem is, Sparano wants to remain a black-and-blue running team.
4. Buffalo Bills
Slowly building the right way. 5-11 looks likely, but an 8-8 overachieving try-hard campaign is not out of the question.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Will age catch up to the defense this season?
2. Baltimore Ravens*
Here we are again talking about this team needing an improved passing game in order to get over that final hump.
3. Cleveland Browns
Simply don’t have the personnel right now to propel their offensive and defensive system overhauls.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
A disaster site.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Banking on Manning getting healthy before October.
2. Houston Texans
Not taking the “breakout year” bait again. It’s 50/50 that Wade Phillips’s new 3-4 defensive system will pay off.
3. Tennessee Titans
Quietly underwent a lot of changes this past offseason.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Lack of big-time receiving threat and adequate pass-rusher equates to limited playmaking potential.
1. San Diego Chargers
If the special teams are so much as average, the data says this is at least an 11-win club.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Young defense will be rock solid. Offensively, the loss of TE Tony Moeaki hurts BAD.
3. Denver Broncos
Kyle Orton is good enough to compensate for a subpar running game, but can the readjusted defense get on track?
4. Oakland Raiders
Jason Campbell is far too limited. Defensively, you can’t be a man-coverage based unit and expect to easily shake off the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha.
Patriots over Ravens
Saints over Patriots
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