Posted on: May 11, 2008 5:46 pm

AFC North

1.        Pittsburg Steelers : Last years AFC North champions that surprised most with the change of the guard from Bill Cower to Mike Tomlin was able to post a 10-6 record that most would have thought would have struggled. Troubles on the OL made for some of the difficulties that were obvious through the season. Even with the difficulties that the Steelers had the run and passing game was spot on and if had additional depth in order to fill the gaps late in the season this could have been a special year for them. The leaving of Alan Faneca was in a lot of ways not as bad as people thought. An 11 year veteran, the OL needed youth and versatility that Faneca alone could not resolve.  This year the drafting of RB Mendenhall and WR Limas Sweed to add to the passing and running style that the Steelers have been famous for over decades will return with a vengeance and even surprise some that will doubt them this year. Still reeling from the two looses from the Jaguars at home in Pittsburg has never happened in the 75 year history of the franchise is something that will fuel them this season and the game at Jaguars 05 Oct 08 will only bring the excitement to a new level. Former AFC Central rivals have forged a smash mouth game that few can match. 2008-09 projected standings 10-6   <o:p></o:p>

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2.        <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Cleveland</st1:city></st1:place> Browns: Last years surprise sleeper team that with Derrick Anderson posted a 10-6 record that if it was not for a late season melt down would have returned to the playoffs as the #6 seed since 2002. With the drafting of QB Brady Quinn and OT Joe Thomas has added new dimensions to the game and this years trading, drafting and signing 23 players in the off-season will only add depth and potential starters to the rotation that was a dire need late in the season. The Browns are this year’s potential wild card pick to win the AFC North and if not able to win the AFC North crown should be able to compete for the #6 seed once again. 2008-09 projected standings 10-6   <o:p></o:p>

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3.        <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cincinnati</st1:place></st1:city> Bengals: This off-season started with an adventure of attitudes with the antics of Chad Johnson wanting a trade, and a slew of problems that are guaranteed to make any organization have migraines for years to come. Posed to make a hard run at the AFC North title last year the melt down on both defense and offense made for a long year that most on the team wished they could just go to bed and wake up and it all be over. The off-season was no better with having to draft, sign and battle personnel issues this year will be a knuckle bitter until something positive happens. History shows that clients of Drew Rosenhaus (Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens) get there way eventually, so this year should be no different. Speculations are that Chad Johnson will not sit out the season but will make every effort to demand a trade. The thought process from the Bengals organization is that if they give in they will have others follow suit. From Johnson’s point of view is that if he causes enough problems he will get what he wants. What normally leads to locker room disarray will prove to be another long year for the Bengals. 2008-09 projected record 6-10, top 5 pick in 2009 NFL draft.   <o:p></o:p>

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4.        <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Baltimore</st1:city></st1:place> Ravens: A team in transition and rebuilding still has the veteran experience and focus to make those that doubt there abilities a painful thought in the aftermath. Anchored by Ray Lewis in the Defense and with the retirement of All Pro OT Jonathan Ogden will have a hard competition in Training camp for the starting job. The Ravens should never be doubted, like last years Patriots Ravens game a miss interjected Time out by the sideline cost the Ravens a chance to stop the unbeaten season of the Patriots that would go on and post a 16-0 record the first in modern day history.   2008-09 projected record 7-9, top 10 pick in the NFL draft.    <o:p></o:p>

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Posted on: May 11, 2008 5:43 pm

2008-09 Fantasy Draft of Defenses


1.        Vikings (NFC North) With the addition of Jared Allen, will only make this team better<o:p></o:p>

2.        Chargers (AFC West) Will have to pick up the slack from the offense<o:p></o:p>

3.        Jaguars (AFC South) The secondary was the weakness last year that should have been answered<o:p></o:p>

4.        Bears (NFC North) If your offense is not pulling the load someone else has too<o:p></o:p>

5.        Colts (AFC South) Will be a hardnosed team to beat but will not be the focus of the effort<o:p></o:p>

6.        Cowboys (NFC East) Could be ranked higher but will need to be in the regular season to find out<o:p></o:p>

7.        Steelers (AFC North) Smash mouth football is there calling sign, the defense is just that much better<o:p></o:p>

8.        Bills (AFC East) With the acquisition of Marcs Stroud will have the needed push that the Bills were missing last year.<o:p></o:p>

9.        Texans (AFC South) Maybe ranked higher than the stats have provided but they just needed a DB in order to help what there DL has provided in the past. <o:p></o:p>

10.     Packers (NFC North) Without Brett Favre the defense will have to work twice as hard<o:p></o:p>

11.     Seahawks (NFC West) Needs to step up in the NFC West in order to make a run at the playoffs<o:p></o:p>

12.     Giants (NFC East) Without Michael Strahan this year will lose some ground but will still be hard to defend against<o:p></o:p>

13.     Patriots (AFC East) An aging Defense will be in question but with the Offense who really needs a Defense<o:p></o:p>

14.     Titans (AFC South) Albert Haynesworth  will be in camp just who will be on either end to help out<o:p></o:p>

15.     Ravens (AFC North) With Ray Lewis you can not go wrong now can they bottle up that frustration into the regular season<o:p></o:p>

16.     Buccaneers (NFC South) Can go either way just needs training camp to solidify the timing<o:p></o:p>

17.     49ers (NFC West) Had the Defensive ROY last year now can they build on that for this year<o:p></o:p>

18.     Browns (AFC North) Willie McGinnest is a reckon force but age and focus will be key if the Browns want to win the AFC North<o:p></o:p>

19.     Panthers (NFC South) This team is in a very hard predicament win now or learn there fate at the end of the season, we can only see <o:p></o:p>

20.     Broncos (AFC West) Shannahan will work hard to improve last years fiasco we will have to see <o:p></o:p>

21.     Eagles (NFC East) With the acquisition of Asante Samuel may be the final peg in the hole to a solid secondary<o:p></o:p>

22.     Redskins (NFC East) A team in unrest, will they be able to recover and see the future better than years past<o:p></o:p>

23.     Chiefs (AFC West) Had a great draft now can they pull it all together<o:p></o:p>

24.     Saints (NFC South) Will need to have a comeback season to do anything, there is faith down south to be better than where they are now<o:p></o:p>

25.     Raiders (AFC West) Al Davis is the puppeteer for a coaching staff that is just wondering around<o:p></o:p>

26.     Dolphins (AFC East) Bill Parcells runs this team now, sit back have a coke and a smile hardnose football is back<o:p></o:p>

27.     Lions (NFC North) <o:p></o:p>

28.     Jets (AFC East) This is a little low for them but when regular season gets here the truth will be known<o:p></o:p>

29.     Falcons (NFC South) Good draft but to many problems and holes to fill<o:p></o:p>

30.     Rams (NFC West) Not much of either offense and or defense will need both to do anything<o:p></o:p>

31.     Cardinals (NFC West) More Offense than defense but can make improvements still to move up<o:p></o:p>

32.     Bengals (AFC North) What can I say, they will take a few years to be at the level they once were<o:p></o:p>

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 10, 2008 8:51 pm

AFC West

Here is a division that had 2 teams in the top 5 of the 2008 NFL draft Raiders (4) and Chiefs (5) with the Denver Broncos escaping into pick 12 with the 7-9 record. The San Diego Chargers won the division with 11-5 record and made it to the AFC Championship before getting beaten by the Super Bowl runner up New England Patriots. Below is a break down of each team and there project win loss column in 2008-09 NFL season<o:p></o:p>

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San Diego Chargers, with the NFL leading Rusher LaDainian Tomlinson, 2004 draft pick RD 1 (4) QB Phillip Rivers, TE Antonio Gates and a Chargers Defense anchored by LB Shawne Merriman, LB Shaun Phillips and CB Antonio Cromartie the Chargers are primed for another run at the Super Bowl. So what stands in there way, well one is injuries to Tomlinson, Rivers and Gates will be intriguing to see what happens when training camp gets here this summer. The other reason that speculation will arise is the Head Coach that has a track record of loosing with a 9 year history with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders out of 141 games he has 58 wins to 83 losses or a .415 win percentage record. With the ousting of the previous head coach do to speculation of disagreements between Head Coach and GM caused a changed at the helm and Norv Turner comes in with a team that had a 14-2 record and it was not until week 5 that the return to form was able to be acknowledged. This season the schedule shows some Pro’s and Con’s that might be able to assist them in making another run at the Super Bowl but historically the window of opportunity starts to close as the number of losses at the playoff level continues. The 2008-09 projection would look to be a 12-4 record with a #2 seed and no more than a #3 seed at the most. Questions with the direction of the team will continue but should be overcome with focus.<o:p></o:p>

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Denver Broncos are a team on the rise again after a few years of getting beat up with injuries and changing of players, the Broncos should get some much needed support at the OL due to the drafting of OT Ryan Clady but the questions will not be on the OL this year it will be at the RB and WR position since the recent diagnosis of QB Jay Cutler Type 1 Diabetes that with focus and proper nutrition should not be a problem but will continue to be a concern if certain actions from the QB can not be performed due to exhaustion and or dehydration that could develop from the insulin deficiency.  <o:p></o:p>

The Bronco Defense was upgraded with LB Boss Bailey the brother of DC Champ Bailey should get some attention during the season. The 2008-09 projection is not as good as everyone would like being low at a 9-7 record just 2 better than last year. With the ability to overcome some obstacles could get a 10-6 record and possibly take the #6 seed in the wild card race. <o:p></o:p>

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Kansas City Chiefs are a team on a mission to get better. The trade of Jared Allen may prove to be the most deserving move that could be accomplished in the offseason of any team in the NFL this year. The drafting of DE Tamba Hali in 2005 made DE Jared Allen expendable and with the acquisition of Vikings 1ST round pick plus other later rounds allowed the Chiefs to make the necessary changes to the roster to hopefully make a move at the playoffs this year. This years drafting of DT Glenn Dorsey and OG Brandon Albert will solidify both DL and OL as a primary need to get back in the race. The question will be surrounding RB Larry Johnson and WR Dwayne Bowe to see if last year was a fluke or will additional attention need to be played in order to strengthen the deficiencies.  Chiefs have the tools now it will be time to see if they all work. 2008-09 projection 7-9<o:p></o:p>

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Oakland Raiders will be a team that passed on potential fame for a player that might not be who they expect. Darren McFadden is an outstanding candidate for 2008 <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">ROY</st1:place></st1:city> but there is fear that the position that he will be playing is not worthy of the #4 pick in this year draft. The obvious pick this year should have been at DT with Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis still on the board to replace DT Warren Sapp which was the heart and soul of that defense. Darren McFadden will be a home run hitter but his ability to out run veterans may be harder than it was in the college level. The Coaching staff has been nothing more than the puppets of NFL renegade Al Davis and has been since his merge into the NFL from what was called the AFL in the 1960’s. 2008-09 projection 6-10, #5 in the 2009 NFL draft. <o:p></o:p>

Posted on: May 10, 2008 7:25 pm

Drafting a RB Pro and Con

When looking to draft a RB in the draft this year for your fantasy team here is some information that you will want to look at to get a better decision when drafting.

My qualification for a solid 2008 fantasy RB would have to coincide with the better OL and QB that can throw the ball, both are essential to the success of a solid RB in any fantasy pool. The OL and QB are the key ingredients to the success of the RB getting the carries that are essential to the success of the player that is using the RB’s stats to win in there league.  <o:p></o:p>

LaDainian Tomlinson sure meets that prerequisite but injuries to Phillip Rivers (ACL), Tomlinson (Knee), Antonio Gates (Toe) has to play a heavy problem for the Chargers. If all is clear then yes he will regain the rushing crown once again. <o:p></o:p>

Steven Jackson is a very good RB but questions with the OL and passing attack has to come into question since double teaming Torry Holt will be a must and 8 in the box will be an everyday occurrence. So I can not put allot of emphasis on him<o:p></o:p>

Joseph Addai is another great draft pick for the Colts but teams in the AFC South has already worked there defense to defend the pass and run so Addai's stats will come down in coming months. The acquisition of Mike Hart will add the needed 1-2 punch that the Colts need but intern decrease the amount of carries that Addai gets each game. <o:p></o:p>

Andrian Peterson is another outstanding draft pick for the Vikings that with Chester Taylor has increased the value of the run game and help the passing game that much better. This year Tavaris Jackson will need to put it all together or his time at the helm will be limited with the acquisition of John David Booty that will be on the sidelines waiting his turn. <o:p></o:p>

Maurice Jones-Drew should receive some attention with the Jaguar Run game ranked #2 in the NFL last year and this is probably the last year for Fred Taylor since he wants to break Browns RB Jim Brown #8 all time rushing record before calling it quits. <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Taylor</st1:place></st1:city> needs 1600 yrds to do it and playing the AFC and NFC North will get him extra yards that would not normally be there. <o:p></o:p>

Marshawn Lynch is the other candidate that should get some consideration since the emergence of the Bills Offense and Defense restructure and the 2nd year starter Trent Edwards will need the push of the run game to keep the hopes alive for the AFC East crown or a wild card invitation. <o:p></o:p>

Rookies of consideration are Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall and Felix Jones due to the system that they are drafted to and the types of offensive power the teams portray. <o:p></o:p>

I have not mentioned Darren McFadden since the Oakland Raiders are behind the 8-ball with how they are going to use him. His running style is a homerun style each time he gets the ball but the OL is questionable and with no real Passing game the running game will be questionable to the amount of yardage can be acquired. <o:p></o:p>

Larry Johnson and Ronnie Brown are returning from injuries and could be a potential come back player of the year candidate. The Dolphins and Chiefs are primed to make a run but like previously mentioned the OL and QB situation is questionable so the run game will pay. <o:p></o:p>

Brian Westbrook is an excellent candidate for a solid fantasy point competitors but with Donovan McNabb and the OL having concerns not including the distractions associated with the Andy Reid family this year’s projections do not seem well with the Eagles<o:p></o:p>

Reggie Bush is another competitor that will fall again this year in the stats race, came out of USC with outstanding expectations past up by Texans and taken #2 by the Saints that have used him as more a wide out than a RB. His exceptional speed and athletic ability is something to be focused on but the system that Bush plays in does not really use him to his full potential. <o:p></o:p>

Frank Gore will be something that you have to look out for; the 49ers will need to take heat off of 2005 #1 pick Alex Smith in order to get passes out to the points of attack. The problem with Gore is not his abilities but the ability to break away from the many defenders that are in the box waiting for him.  If the off-season for the 49ers were better than last then Gore’s stats should improve from last year if not then you will not get what you want in a feature back of your Fantasy Team. <o:p></o:p>

Willie Parker is coming off a leg fracture that will place some doubts on his ability to perform this year. With the recruitment of Rashard Mendenhall the 1-2 punch will be just like the 1-2 punch of Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker, the pounding to be done by Mendenhall and the stretching of the defense by Parker. <o:p></o:p>

DeAngelo Williams is in a predicament, the acquisition of Jonathan Stewart and OT Jeff Otah will add to the strength of the run game and allow some time with Jake Delhomme to get passes out to Steven Smith and or Dwayne Jarrett who should be a better threat in year two of his career. <o:p></o:p>

The next blog will address those RBs that could have some stat support when drafting in later rounds of the fantasy draft. <o:p></o:p>


Posted on: May 9, 2008 9:57 am
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Posted on: May 7, 2008 11:14 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2008 11:16 pm

AFC East

This year’s most exciting division in the AFC will be the AFC East. <o:p></o:p>

Miami Dolphins was overhauled in the off-season and new VP of Personnel Bill Parcells has the history and the proven track record to bring the Dolphins back to the playoffs that have not happened since Dan Marino retired in 2000. The number #1 pick Michigan  OT Jake Long will give the dreadful OL that the Dolphins once had a new burst of energy and 2005 RB Ronnie Brown coming back from injury will have something to run through. The potential pick of DE Chris Long and or DT Glenn Dorsey would have made a lot of sense but the strategy to implement either or was not in the cards with the confiscating of Cowboys Defense and available coaches to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins will go to a 3-4 Defense that is the calling card of Parcells and with the 2nd Round pick of Phillip Merling the potential replacement for this off seasons trade block Jason Taylor that will probably play his last season with the Dolphins before retirement. The QB situation is good in many ways, it will allow their current QB John Beck 2007 2nd rd pick and 2008 2nd rd pick QB Chad Henne compete for the starting role. This will enable the Dolphins to have invested QBs that can grow with the new found philosophy and if necessary be a future draft trade pick for another team if necessary.  The 2008-09 projection (7-9) 4<sup>th</sup> in the AFC East<o:p></o:p>

New York Jets is a team on the rise but may be a year or two from making it to the play-offs. QB Chad Pennington has showed age and inconsistency that looks to be a new Sheriff in town with Kellen Clemons 2 yrs QB out of <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Oregon</st1:place></st1:state> primed to start. Training camp for the Jets will be interesting since the addition of two new rookies Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge are waiting in the wings for a potential QB controversy. The RB corps that shows little signs of progress will see the return of Thomas Jones that will be tested highly to see who in the stable is willing to carry the rock for years to come.  The OL is anchored by OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, C Nick Mangold and OG Alan Faneca that without a doubt will be primed to make a statement, as long those behind are able to break free from the oncoming rush. The Jets defense was not the calling card of the organization last year but have made improvements to get better, JETS fans are only hoping that the glory of in stadium hosts New York Giants and last years Super Bowl champs can pick up some of their luck and get out of the pigeon hole that they have dug themselves into. 2008-09 projection (8-8) 3rd in the AFC East<o:p></o:p>

New England Patriots last years AFC Champions and the only team in modern history to go 16-0 was highly disappointed with the defeat from the New York Giants that seemed to have wasted the whole season of hard work. Tom Brady and Randy Moss set NFL records with Passing (50) and Receiving (23) TDs that will have to rely highly on the past accomplishments and next years statistical easiest NFL schedule to make an attempt to return to the Super Bowl that has not been see since the 1992 Buffalo Bills did it and the only team in NFL history to return 4 straight season an loose everyone. NFL analysis agree that after a loose in the Super Bowl the average time to return to the Super Bowl is roughly 3-5 years but after a devastating loose that the Patriots endured after going 16-0 and not winning it has a length of 8-10 years that may mean that the current Patriots team and Coaching staff will have completely turn over when that happens. The FA period for the Patriots was not kind with the departure of the most of the secondary and those left on the defense will be older than most of the players in the NFL. The new rookies that have been drafted will be welcomed and will have a long way to meet the expectations from years past performances and 3 Super Bowl titles. 2008-09 projection (9-7) 2nd in the AFC East<o:p></o:p>

Buffalo Bills are this year’s sleeper pick for the playoffs and have the tools and acquisitions to do it.  QB J.P Losman, RB Marshawn Lynch and WR Lee Evans will have an uphill battle but have the experience and foresight to make the necessary changes to get to the playoffs. Rookie James Hardy the newest addition to the Bills will add the #2 WR that will be needed to keep opposing defenses from 8 in the box and allow the passing and running game to take new flight. There chances of making the playoffs are slim but this author feels have the best chances to get ahead of the competition. The Bills defense will be anchored by FA acquisition Marcus Stroud from the Jacksonville Jaguars and the rest of the defensive players are all within their prime or below to keep the spirits alive of doing great things in the AFC East for years to come. 2008-09 projection (11-5) 1st in the AFC East and the #3 seed in the playoffs that will be projected to play #6 seed Houston Texans<o:p></o:p>



Posted on: April 16, 2008 11:49 am

AFC South

In the hardest division in the NFL, teams like Jaguars, Texans and Titans playing in any other division in the NFL would be able to compete for a Division title each year.

You have the Colts that by far have the best Offense in the NFL, that has more NFL records as a whole that with Manning that can do more than an Offensive Coordinator can do from the sidelines, and a cover two defense created by Tony Dungy when he was in Tampa Bay that has been duplicated by most of the teams in the NFL.

The Jaguars have been the team on the rise for the last few years but have been subject to the powerful offense of the Colts that have been on fire in recent years that with uncertain luck have been too much for the Jaguars to overcome. If played in the NFC would be  Super Bowl contenders on a regular basis. David Garrard offers a new dimension to the Jaguar offense that has not been there since Mark Brunell left the team in 2004, mobility, arm strength and game management that is unmatched by 70 percent of the NFL. The Defense is the calling card of the Jaguars and the same scheme that lead the Ravens to the 2000 Superbowl and almost upset in the 2004 Superbowl with the Carolina Panthers that Jack Del Rio was the Defensive Coordinator for.

The Titans on the other hand have overcome salary cap hell to have one of the youngest teams in the NFL with a QB that can run, pass and make defenses miss that intern makes the Defensive Coordinators in these instances take longer to plan for. With age comes experience and Vince Young in a matter of a short time will be equal if not better than his predecessor Steve McNair that in his prime lead the Oilers / Titans to unprecedented playoff runs and upsets on a routine basis. If current Titans team played in the AFC North, would probably make the Steelers, Bengals, Ravens and Browns cringe each time they played the Titans.

The Texans are the newest franchise to the NFL and from the begining assembled a cast of players that will be the foundation for many years to come. When Dom Capers was released as the Head Coach and replaced by Gary Kubiak the aggressive style that was the calling card of the Denver Broncos for years is now the calling card of the Texans with the additions of Mario Wiliams #1 pickin 2006 and Okoye, Amobi DT that is only 20 years old this year. The building of the Defensive Line will solidify the presence in the middle and with last year trading of Matt Schuab from the Atlanta Falcons that is the aftermath of the Micheal Vick era changes the dynamics far greater than ever before. This is the team to watch out for this year and a potential wild card winner that could be an upset for many teams in the AFC.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com