Lets face it, if your a die hard football fanatic like I am, the moment the superbowl is over there are two things on your mind. How will my team improve in the offseason, weather that may be through free agency, draft, coaching changes, or just getting healthy. Which by the way as a Rams fan I'm sure we are all enthusiastic about our upcoming year. Then there is the question that seems to always come up in our post superbowl drunken, ego driven "i know more than you do about football" conversation. Who will win it next year?
Well in order to make an educated decision and not look like a fool you have to wait until atleast this time of year to make your picks. Now having said that there is still the chance that some major player for a superbowl contender will holdout or get injured in practice or the preseason, or maybe a pick up game of hoops or a motorcycle accident (suggs this year, big ben a few years back). Not to mention the ever so popular suspensions ( drugs, dui, bounty scandal,dog fighting, night club shootings, hell maybe even shoot yourself in the leg).
Lets just say for conversation sake that there will be no further unpredictable drama that will shake anything else up. Being that football is at a stand still this time of year, what better way to get some TFT back an forth that a controversial topic like this? So who ya got?
There are your teams that justly so will be in the convo this year (pats, packers, steelers). A few teams that surprised some people last year ( 49ers, lions). The teams that seemed to have a good chance before devastating injuries threw a knock out punch the likes of Tyson in his prime (texans,bears). Then theres your all around solid teams that never can seem to get it done (ravens,falcons). What about those teams that someone will pick simply because their blinding love for there favorite teams will have some moron picking a Bills vs Vikings matchup. Then there is the Cowboys, Americas team, all that talent and publicity, that can never seem to overcome the romocoaster going off the tracks when it matters most. Last but certainly not least last years wold champs the giants... but we all know how hard it is to repeat. The dreaded superbowl hangover, free agency scooping up players from that team forcing winners to lose key components to there superbowl run (manningham,jacobs, hell even ballard)
So lets take a look at some of those fore mentions teams...
New England Patriots- we all know Tom Brady is goin to eat teams alive with his over the middle passing attack to his two young but superior tight ends (gronk, hernandez). The ever so reliable wes welker. Then they add brandon lloyd, teaming him back up with the man who made him a star (josh mcdaniels) who by the way was the OC the last time the pats won a superbowl. that gives brady a nice outside option. they even add some good talent to there D in my home town college team De from syracuse Chandler jones and Dont`a hightower from powehouse D alabama.
Green Bay Packers- Rodgers n company will certainly not Take a step back in there offense either with there star studed cast or wideouts and emerging play maker randall cobb. They certainly have play makers on D and even added a good pass rusher in Nick perry and another big tacke in jerel worthy to make a very stout front four. Although both the pats and packers had abysmal passing d`s, that usually happens when your teams gets up big early and the other team is forced to gun sling it to catch up.
New York Giants- Manning seems to have taken the next step in his career perhaps with another stllar year can solidify his place as a no doubt elite qb. emerging star salsa dancing victor cruz, nice draft pickup in under utilized but good wide out Rubin Randall to go along with star wideout Nicks (although a foot injury will have an impact on him early). They did lose a veteran 3rd option in manningham, and a if nothing but conistent TE jake ballard, and bruising back brandon jacobs. who will be replaced by an elusive home run hitter in david wilson. looks like they will keep osi and with jpp making a name for himself and having a healthy secondary including last years top ranked cb in the draft prince amukamara. They should have an above average D...again.
San Fransisco 49ers- alex smith showed he can manage the hell out of a game and even make some big time throws in big time games (game winning td against the saints). Harbough proved he can get 10 times the play out of the exact same player hall of famer mike singletary failed to do. They added alot of talent on the outside with old but gifted randy moss, superbowl stand out manningham, and rookie burner aj jenkis. Although i could argue that getting away from the run game has proved no so good the 9ers and alex amith in the past, they certainly did add weapons even adding super fast scat back lemichael james. nothing needs to be said about the defense but incase you forgot they injured more runningback than they gave up rushing tds an it wasnt even close.
Houston Texans- Schaub and johnson healthy will prove to be top five qb/wr duo worthy again, zone running scheme and versatile arian foster led run game with the emergence of ben tate as a nice #2 will have this team in the leagues elite offenses, and lets not forget their D was top 5 last year without mario williams. They will replace him with whitney mercilus.
Chicago Bears- lets not forget that the bears were one of the hottest teams in the league last year before injuries to cutler and forte. Cutler gets his top wideout from denver back in brandon marshall, they were quite a pair back in den. and add a big time play maker in alshon jeffery. forte is a beast who is capable of the rare everydown back can run it and catch it. led by controversial pass happy oc mike martz from the greatest show on turf rams. this should be an offense that will light it up this year. The D led by urlacher should be solid adding a versatile pass rusher in shane mcclellin. and we cant forget about the ridiculous devin hester(even if it is only in the return game). could use some help on the o-line. maybe scheme and wide out talent will surfice.
Detroit Lions- Stafford to Megatron proved to be flat out disgusting. stafford goes for over 5000 yards and megatron tranformed into the leagues best. they get mikel leshoure back this year although he probably wont have an impact until mid way through the season after he serves a 2 game suspension and then gets integrated into the system.The D led by freak of nature and at times dirty player ndamykong suh, has a nasty front four. but penalties and suspensions might again be a factor. They even added a solid O-line prospect in riley reiff and ncaa record holder for most yards in a career for a wide out ryan broyles.
Philadelphia Eagles- ultra fast offense led by play maker vick, who if he can stay healthy and look like the 2010 vick will be a team to look out for.With speedster desean jackson and versatile and shifty rd shady mccoy they are dangerous. They finished off the year strong and if the continue to gel big things could be in the making for the vince young proclaimed "dream Team". They added serious talent on D with top ranked tackle fletcher cox. speedy play making lb in kendricks, depth to a good pass rush with vinny curry. and i guess db boykins could turn out to be nice in the nickel, they also just added former ram oj atogwe.
Pittsburgh Steelers- Well they are the steelers you could almost leave it at that...but i wont, they had an excellent draft adding talent to the o-line in gaurd david decastro and tackle mike adams. They got a bj raji style tackle in Ta`amu, and speedy running back chris rainy to add to the backfeild of mendenhall and redman. still have mike wallace as well and big ben is the kind of big tuff qb who extends plays that every team would like. but they do have a new oc in todd haily who is coming off a season where the team didnt seem to like him so much. They still will have a solid D even if they are old.
Dallas cowboys- what can you say about the cowboys that hasnt already been said, loaded with talent cant win the big game, is this the year they turn that around. I bet alot of americans do, especially the women( dallas is the most popular team in the womans vote) and they are just overall a popular team. But i wouldnt sleep on them too much. its easy to say oh romo will choke again. but remember this, they got the best cb in the draft in morris claiborne, still have the leagues top pass rusher in ware, and a stable of talent. with demarco murray emerging as a go to back, If romo can change the perception of him and not throw away some games, they have what it takes to make a run.
so those are my contenders, feel free to comment on anything or anyone I left out. Now time for my picks.... I am going to take the bears and the texans! i know maybe a little far fetched, but maybe not. both teams were hot last year before injuries. both teams got better and both teams should have big time offenses and solid D`s. Let the debate start