These are my football views for this year:
This is a scrappy division with no clear front-runner. The Eagles, Giants, Redskins and Dallas could all finish in first place or they could finish in last. I think the Cowboys with coach/GM Jerry Jones will finish last, but I can't call the winner.
The Packers are clearly the best team in the division. I think the Bears will fall apart midseason, the Vikings will self-destruct like they did last year, and the Lions will fire Matt Millen at the end of the year for drafting Joey Harrington.
The Rams are the best team in the division, although the 49ers are also pretty good this year, now that Mariucci and Owens kissed and made up. The Seahawks will be wondering what they hell they were thinking when they made Holmgren head coach/GM and the Cardinals will continue to be the second-worst run franchise in the league. Interesting factoid that may interest only me (again, apologies to Peter King): The Rams don't play a dome road game this year; the only turf they'll see is at home.
This is the Bucs's division to lose. I think the Saints will revert back to the old days of the 'Aints and fire Jim Haslett, the Falcons should fire Dan Reeves, and the Panthers will play like they were an expansion team.
In short, there are two good teams in the NFC: the Rams and the Pack. The wannabes are the Bucs, the 49ers and whoever comes out of the NFC East on top. Everyone else is going to be watching TV in January.
Top to bottom the AFC East is the toughest division in football, followed closely by the NFC East. I think the Dolphins come out on top, although the Jets and the Pats will give them a good run for the money. The Pats get no love from me because chemistry will only take a team so far and they don't have as much talent as either the Fish or the Jets. I think the Bills did themselves a huge favour by trading for Bledsoe, but they're still a year away from .500.
The Steelers are the conference favourite because they should have beaten the Pats last year and faced the Rams in the Big One. If Kordell has a good year, the Steelers will have a good year. If Kordell has a bad year, Steelers fans will want Bill Cowher's head for not drafting Chad Pennington last year. The Ravens are rebuilding, the Browns will do better, but not make the playoffs and the Bengals will continue to be the worst-run franchise in the league. If only Mike Brown would fire himself as GM and let someone who knows football run the operation . . . but he's too much of a tightwad and Cincinnati will continue to ruin the careers of many, many fine young players.
I like the Raiders in the AFC West because, quite frankly, no one else is very good. The Chargers are on the way up, but the Broncos and Chiefs are on the way down. **** Vermeill should have stayed retired. In Denver, you wonder if it was the system that produced all of the 1,000-yard backs or the illegal chop blocks the league is cracking down on. Neither Griese or Green will survive the season without being benched.
The Colts are the best of the AFC's castoffs. Tony Dungy is the best thing that could have happened to them. The Titans are healthy again, but they're not the same team that went to the Super Bowl three years ago. They'll do better, but will still miss the playoffs. The Texans are an expansion team so they'll be lucky to win 4 games this year. The Jaguars are still digging themselves out of Salary Cap Hell and will play a lot like an expansion team. They should cut Brunell et al, blow the team up and start over.
The AFC is a much more competitive conference than the NFC, but they lack a clear frontrunner. If Kordell can pull off a full season without a meltdown, the Steelers will be playing in their sixth Super Bowl (big "if" there). Time's running out for the Raiders and I think an AFC East team will emerge as a contender for the AFC crown.
Still, unless Kurt Warner's thumb falls off, I think the Rams will be hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy in January.
Jesus saves! And takes half damage!
If brute force doesn't work, you're not using enough.