TGE’s 2008 NFL Preview

In our extensive 2008 NFL Preview, we pick every division, the playoffs, MVP and Rookies of the Year. But, reader beware: we’re not buying the chic media picks.

It seems like just yesterday that this happened, but in reality, it was almost 7 months ago. A lot’s happened in the meantime, too: the Jets went on a free agent binge, Michael Strahan hung ‘em up, Brett Favre became a Jet, Osi Umenyiora went down with a season-ending knee injury, Strahan decided to keep ‘em hung up. Oh, and that’s just New York.

So with pro football getting started Thursday night, we thought we’d go on record with our picks for the 2008 season. Without further ado…


NFC East

Kevin’s take:

  1. Eagles
  2. Cowboys
  3. Giants
  4. Redskins

I know I’m probably crazy for picking against the Cowboys, but I just don’t foresee the dominance that many other outlets do for Jerry Jones’ crew this year. Pro Football Prospectus 2008 thinks the ‘Boys have been lucky with injuries for the past few years, and it may catch up with them this year. Elsewhere, look for the league’s offensive coordinators to catch up to Steve Spagnuolo’s fastball, especially now that the G-Men’s DE corps is relying on an Eagles castoff. This outlook is certainly rosy for my hometown Iggles, but if McNabb and Westbrook stay healthy and the D can cause turnovers (unlike last year), then it’s certainly possible.

Steve’s take:

  1. Cowboys
  2. Eagles
  3. Giants
  4. Redskins

Kev’s point about the Cowboys health concerns are duly noted, especially at receiver where they’ve already suffered some injuries during camp. But, you can’t make a prediction based on who might get hurt, and with the players healthy as of today, the Cowboys are the most talented team in the division. The Eagles offense should be explosive (it can’t be as bad in the red zone as it was last year) and Jim Johnson’s defense always packs its lunch. Why such a low spot for the defending champs? Granted, it’s difficult to question Jerry Reese based on his first draft class (and Kenny Phillips, who should terrorize the East for years to come), but I don’t see the depth up front on defense. There were too many offseason losses for the front seven (Strahan and Kawika Mitchell in particular) to sustain an injury like Umenyiora. The Redskins finish a hard luck fourth in arguably the NFL’s toughest division.


NFC South

Kevin’s take:

  1. Panthers
  2. Buccaneers
  3. Saints
  4. Falcons

I’d like nothing better than for the Panthers to tank this year so that the #1 pick they so graciously gave my Eagles turns out to be a good one… but I just don’t see it. Carolina’s offense can only be better with Vinny Testaverde and DeShaun Foster no longer running the show, and I’m willing to bet that Julius Peppers has more than 2.5 sacks this year. Why am I so down on the Saints? A suspect offensive line and a pass defense I still don’t believe in are a couple of reasons — but partially, I’ll admit that I just don’t trust all the love the media’s been giving them.

Steve’s take:

  1. Panthers
  2. Saints
  3. Buccaneers
  4. Falcons

The Panthers had four different starting quarterbacks last year. If Jake Delhomme can stay healthy, the Panthers and their Orthrus-like rushing attack (De’Angelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart) will win the South. New Orleans should benefit from a talent influx courtesy of the Big Apple (Jeremy Shockey and Jonathon Vilma) to hold off the Bucs for second. Meanwhile, the only battling the Falcons will do is with the Dolphins for the first pick in the draft.


NFC North

Kevin’s take:

  1. Packers
  2. Vikings
  3. Bears
  4. Lions

The Packers sans Brett Favre are still a pro-caliber football team? Blasphemy! Truth be told, I think Rodgers is a better fit for Mike McCarthy’s West Coast offense than the gunslinging Favre (note: it’s a settled rule that “Favre” must always be preceded by the adjective “gunslinging”). Green Bay’s underrated D should carry them to another division title, and while the Vikings might push them, Tavarris Jackson doesn’t exactly inspire confidence yet. The Bears pip the Lions to the NFC North bronze (note: this is kind of like winning the CBI) based on a better defense. And seriously… how does Matt Millen still have a job?

Steve’s take:

  1. Packers
  2. Vikings
  3. Lions
  4. Bears

The Pack’s D is good enough to keep them in games regardless of who the quarterback is this season. Rodgers showed some encouraging signs in his action against the Cowboys last year, and Lord knows he’s had enough time to absorb the offense. One of the league’s best (and most underrated) receiving corps should also smooth his transition to starter. The Vikes should be good, but like Kev, they reek of this year’s media darling, which I like to avoid. The biggest question about the Bears is will they finally draft a quarterback in the early rounds?


NFC West

Kevin’s take:

  1. Seahawks
  2. Cardinals
  3. Rams
  4. 49ers

The Seahawks officially get Atlanta Braves status in this division until further notice. No, there’s nothing thrilling about them, but replacing Shaun Alexander’s corpse at RB (with Julius Jones) should help on offense, and the solid but unspectacular D should be enough to carry them through a pitiful division. I can’t bring myself to buy into the Cards — for whatever reason, I can’t get this game out of my head — and neither the Rams nor the 49ers is even worth mentioning. Well, except that J.T. O’Sullivan was once NFL Europa co-Offensive Player of the Year. That’s something.

Steve’s take:

  1. Cardinals
  2. Seahawks
  3. Rams
  4. 49ers

Surprise, surprise! Yes, I’m putting my faith in the NFL’s version of the LA Clippers, but this is the year the Cards finally return to the playoffs. Matt Leinart had an abysmal preseason, but Kurt Warner filled in very nicely last season, and with the talent around him should have just as good a campaign in ’09. Everyone will pencil in the ‘Hawks because of track records, but Arizona’s offense should be the best in the West and their defense may well be too, which isn’t saying much in the worst division in football.


AFC East

Kevin’s take:

  1. Patriots
  2. Jets
  3. Bills
  4. Dolphins

Ding dong, the witch is dead! Well, the Pats aren’t going away that easily, especially when they have the easiest schedule in the NFL. The D is still suspect, especially in the secondary, but provided Randy Moss doesn’t run a traffic officer over with marijuana in his car — again — the Fightin’ Belichicks will score enough to make another run at a Super Bowl. The Jets revamped their offensive line over the summer, added a couple of pass rushers in Vernon Gholston and Calvin Pace, and picked up some Fav-ruh guy at QB — enough for a decent shot at some January football, at least in my book. And poor Bills fans… Buffalo has seemed about 2 years away for the past 6 years now, haven’t they?

Steve’s take:

  1. Patriots
  2. Jets
  3. Bills
  4. Dolphins

Well, they won’t finish the regular season 16-0 this time, but the Pats will still run roughshod over the East. I’d get into what they do well, but I’d rather brand my face with a scalding iron in the shape of the Philly Phanatic. For the Jets, Thomas Jones must be doing cartwheels that he has a real offensive line to run behind, and a quarterback that won’t allow defenses to stack nine men in the box. Favre will have plenty of weapons to play with in addition to Jones, as Laveranues Coles (who cares if he has an unhealthy man-love of Chad Pennington) and Jericho Cotchery form a solid 1-2 punch and Dustin Keller, Brad Smith, and Leon Washington will provide plenty of speed. And the D will be the best in the division thanks largely to the large edition of Kris Jenkins. The Bills would be an attractive sleeper pick if they were in any other division in the AFC. One day that franchise will catch a break. Maybe?


AFC South

Kevin’s take:

  1. Colts
  2. Texans
  3. Jaguars
  4. Titans

Welcome one of the two toughest divisions in football (the other being the NFC East). Try as I might, I can’t justify putting anyone ahead of the Colts — Peyton Manning will keep audibling and running that offense, Bill Polian will continue stocking the D with enough speedsters to keep them competitive, and Indy will open its new stadium with another NFC South title. The Texans can’t possibly be as unlucky with injuries as they were last year, and Matt Schaub is the real deal at QB, so I like them to finish second. (As an aside: no one outside the Kardashian family still thinks the Texans were crazy for taking Mario Williams over Reggie “Let me dance sideways for a 2-yard loss” Bush.) As good as the Jags’ D is, I think David Garrard may have played a bit over his head last year, and Jags fans should fear a regression.

Steve’s take:

  1. Colts
  2. Jaguars
  3. Texans
  4. Titans

The Colts enter the season with as much competition as they’ve ever faced in this run of division titles, and there are certainly some legitimate questions about them to boot. But they’re still the Colts. Peyton Manning is still their quarterback, and until he misses significant time, I’m hitching my wagon to these horsies. The Jags defense will be ornery as always under Jack Del Rio, but what can we expect from an offense that will count on such luminaries as Reggie Williams, a suspected coke-head and a guy the Vikes discarded. I’m a big fan of the Texans (and their schedule strength relative to the rest of the South) this year, except that they’re in one of the best divisions in the league (only the NFC East can compare). Despite my respect for Jeff Fisher, my desire to see Vince Young succeed (probably a Sisyphean task), and my man-crush on Chris Johnson, the Titans will pull up the rear.


AFC North

Kevin’s take:

  1. Steelers
  2. Bengals
  3. Browns
  4. Ravens

The Steelers are the same as always: solid D, grind-it-out running game, and Evil Kinevil pulling the strings at QB. After that, it gets ugly. I’d like the Ravens to come in second thanks to their D (seriously, how old do Ray Lewis & Co. have to get before they’re no longer effective?), but I can’t justify that given that the team’s starting QB failed to lead his squad past Villanova last year. The Browns are probably due for a regression — Derek Anderson, good as he was last year, has to demonstrate more consistency before I’m totally sold — so I’ll take the Bengals in second, Ocho Cinco sideshow and all.

Steve’s take:

  1. Steelers
  2. Browns
  3. Bengals
  4. Ravens

Old reliable — defense and a running game — carries Pittsburgh to the top of a division that is the definition of mediocre. The Browns would be the pick with a solid front seven on defense and a terrific o-line. But, call me a doubting Thomas because I can’t get behind Derek Anderson until he does it again. Sorry Dawg Pound. The Bengals are an outright circus in every way, and the Ravens inexperience under center will submarine their season.


AFC West

Kevin’s take:

  1. Chargers
  2. Broncos
  3. Raiders
  4. Chiefs

Even if Philip Rivers struggles to get back in the groove as he returns from his ACL tear, the Chargers shouldn’t struggle to take this mediocre division. The Broncos aren’t great, but with Jay Cutler and [insert whichever RB Mike Shanahan decides to turn into a 1000 yard rusher this year], they’ll finish ahead of the Raiders and Chiefs. Other than a few Darren McFadden highlights, a JaMarcus Russell 75-yard (incomplete) Hail Mary, and a few Herm Edwards post-game rants, those two teams won’t provide anything worth monitoring this year.

Steve’s take:

  1. Chargers
  2. Raiders
  3. Broncos
  4. Chiefs

Ummm, so this division is pathetic. Picking the Chargers is child’s play, so I’ll stick my neck out a bit on this and say San Diego also ends up with the best record in the AFC. The more interesting story line out West is the Silver and Black. Oakland has a stout D (thanks to frivolously spending Al Davis’ money), and even with a young, unproven offense, that should be enough to out-pace the rapidly declining Broncos and the Fightin’ Herm Edwards as they continue to run Larry Johnson harder than the Brewers abuse C.C. Sabathia’s arm.


Playoffs

Kevin’s take:

  1. NFC Wild Card — Seahawks over Vikings (WC); Cowboys (WC) over Panthers
  2. AFC Wild Card — Colts over Jets (WC); Texans (WC) over Steelers
  1. NFC Divisional — Packers over Cowboys; Eagles over Seahawks
  2. AFC Divisional — Patriots over Texans; Colts over Chargers
  1. Championship Games — Eagles over Packers; Colts over Patriots
  1. Super Bowl — Colts over Eagles

Steve’s take:

  1. NFC Wild Card — Packers over Saints (WC); Eagles (WC) over Cardinals
  2. AFC Wild Card — Jets (WC) over Colts; Steelers over Jaguars (WC)
  1. NFC Divisional — Packers over Panthers; Cowboys over Eagles
  2. AFC Divisional — Steelers over Chargers; Jets over Patriots
  1. Championship Games — Cowboys over Packers; Steelers over Jets
  1. Super Bowl — Steelers over Cowboys

NFL MVP

Kevin’s take:

  1. Peyton Manning. No, it isn’t an exciting pick, but if he’s able to navigate the Colts to the playoffs through one of the NFL’s toughest schedules, he’ll be deserving of it.

Steve’s take:

  1. Brett Favre. History tells us it will be a quarterback or running back from a playoff team, and with the media hype surrounding Favre a successful year will make him the absolute media darling. Also, in a year that includes historic matchups like Celtics/Lakers and Steelers/Cowboys, the MVP should be historic as well — Favre will win his record fourth MVP award in his swan song (or is it?).

Rookies of the Year

Kevin’s take:

  1. Offensive — Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers)
  2. Defensive — Keith Rivers (Bengals)

Steve’s take:

  1. Offensive — Jonathon Stewart (Panthers)
  2. Defensive — Kenny Phillips (Giants)

That’s it for now, but check back tomorrow when TGE’s 2008 NFL Preview rolls on as we tackle football’s greatest pastime — betting. We’ll unveil our infamous Over/Unders for NFL ’08, as well as give our locks for Opening Weekend.

3 Comments

Filed under New York, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports Hodgepodge

3 responses to “TGE’s 2008 NFL Preview

  1. John D.

    Good pick on the Titans guys haha….worse than the Texans??? come on now

  2. Bruno the Bear

    You guys blow. In high school, I would have picked the Titans in a heartbeat. I was an NFL predicting Amazonian bear. You don’t even know….

  3. kimmy you girl very good and very sexy one kiss foor you kimi you girl not bitch okey byee valjeta balboa

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