NFL Season Preview: 5 Burning Questions Answered
I know our city hasn’t had an NFL team in over a decade, but that doesn’t mean the NFL is dead in this city. Since most of us Angelinos come from other parts of the country, we still hold on to our hometown football teams.
Even though I grew up in Baton Rouge, LA until I was eight, I am a huge Chicago Bears fan. My first recollection of football was Superbowl XX which was dominated by the Bears. Back in 1985 the Saints were horrible and the people in New Orleans were known for wearing paper bags over their heads. So once the Raiders and Rams left town, I vehemently cursed them and started rooting for the Bears.
With that, here is my take on the NFL this season. I blatantly stole some of the questions from Yahoo, and I made up others.
HAVE THE ATLANTA FALCONS BASICALLY TURNED INTO AN EXPANSION TEAM OVERNIGHT?
The Falcons have become an expansion team over the course of a couple of seasons. It didn’t just happen overnight. Even if Michael Vick was the starting quarterback, his inconsistencies in the passing game would keep the Falcons from having a winning season much less the playoffs. True anyone can win the NFC, but with an improved Carolina Panthers team and a New Orleans Saints team that has a year of experience under its belts it will be hard to come out of the NFC South.
Also remember first-year head coach Bobby Petrino is coming out of the college ranks. The NFL usually abuses college coaches in the first year. Even Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 with the 1989 Dallas Cowboys.
CAN NORV TURNER FINISH THE JOB WITH THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS?
Norv Turner laid down the foundation of this offense when he was the offensive coordinator in 2001 under head coach Mike Riley. In order for Turner to be successful he needs to avoid fucking around with things too much. However the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots will be stumbling blocks for the Chargers this season. They will win a postseason game but will ultimately wilt against the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The question is how well the chemistry between Turner and general manager AJ Smith will be. Much has been made of how Smith and former head coach Marty Schottenheimer hated each other. There's no doubt Smith is a genius when it comes to player personnel: he traded the 2001 #1 overall draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons in order to draft running back LaDainian Tomlinson. By the way that #1 draft pick was Michael Vick.
CAN ANYONE UNSEAT THE CHICAGO BEARS IN THE NFC?
As the case has been this decade, the NFC is completely up for grabs. Although I don't see the Bears suffering from the Superbowl Loser's Curse, there's one huge question that hasn't been addressed: quarterback Rex Grossman. If Grossman has another rollercoaster season like he had last season, they will not make it to the NFC championship game. But if he is consistently good (not great) there's a chance the Bears will go all the way to the Superbowl.
However the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks all have a good chance of going all the way. The Saints are more experienced, the Eagles will go as far as QB Donavon McNabb will take them and the Seahawks will be dangerous depending on how healthy they stay.
WHO WILL MAKE THE POSTSEASON?
AFC: New England Patriots (East), Baltimore Ravens (North), Indianapolis Colts (South), San Diego Chargers (West), Denver Broncos (Wild Card), Cincinnati Bengals (Wild Card)
NFC: Philadelphia Eagles (East), Chicago Bears (North), New Orleans Saints (South), Seattle Seahawks (West), Dallas Cowboys (Wild Card), San Francisco 49ers (Wild Card)
The Saints will upset the Patriots in the Superbowl.
WHO WILL WIN TONIGHT?
Both the Saints and the Colts have good offenses and bad defenses meaning it will be a high scoring affair. The over/under line is currently at 53 points. If I were betting man I would take the over.
Since the Saints can't stop the pass (the Colt's specialty) and the Colts can't stop the run (the Saints have Reggie Bush), I'll call this a push. In this case I have to go for the home team to win. Indianapolis over New Orleans 38-35.
I absolutely love the NFL, and I have a hardon just thinking about it. I'll be back tomorrow for my picks for this weekend's games.
I am ready for some big boy football. Indeed!
AP Photo by Al Berhman