Cardboard Connection 2010 NFL Season Preview and Predictions
- Dallas Cowboys 11-5
- New York Giants 9-7
- Philadelphia Eagles 8-8
- Washington Redskins 7-9
The powerhouse division known as the NFC East will be a shadow of it's former self in 2010. Despite a weak showing in the pre-season, the Cowboys offense will be just fine. There's a reason Jerry Jones chose to sit Dez Bryant for the final pre-season game that had nothing to do with injury and everything to do with preventing teams from developing a game plan to stop the talented rookie receiver. The Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are all .500 teams that will spend the season beating each other up for the right to finish second in the division. Those who expect Kevin Kolb to be the second coming of Aaron Rodgers may end up being extremely disappointed, Kolb has struggled during the preseason and lacks the killer instinct and field vision of a great Quarterback.
- Minnesota Vikings 12-4
- Green Bay Packers 10-6*
- Detroit Lions 9-7*
- Chicago Bears 5-11
The Packers are the trendiest pick in years and will be a good team, but not a great team. The Pack's lack of a dynamic factor back will catch up to them in 2010, Ryan Grant simply isn't very good. The demise of Percy Harvin and the Vikings has been greatly exaggerated. The Vikings have more All-Pro players than any team in the league and the emergence of a Packers' Tight End (Finley) isn't going to change that. Adrian Peterson will use the 2010 season to remind us who the best Running Back in football is, which will propel the Vikings to the top of the NFC. This may sound stupid, but the Lions are a good enough team to make the Playoffs now, not in 2-3 years. Nearly every wild card contender from last year has taken a step back, creating an opening for the Jim Schwartz led Lions. Matt Stafford is the real deal and will prove in 2010 why he was the 1st overall pick in 2009. Rookie runner Jahvid Best will feast on the open space covering Calvin Johnson creates and rookie Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh will anchor a vastly improved Lions D. The Bears sold their offense to the devil in the off-season, Mike Martz will yet again attempt to recreate the "Greatest Show On Turf" without Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Marshall Faulk. He will fail just like he did with the Lions and 49ers. Martz doesn't understand how to use wide outs with ball skills, which happens to be the Wide Receiver of today.
- New Orleans Saints 11-5
- Carolina Panthers 8-8
- Atlanta Falcons 8-8
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-11
Outside of the Saints, this division is pretty weak. The Panthers and Falcons are nice teams, but both have major holes and no Drew Brees. The Saints will be a pretty good team, but their "pick 6" style defense is going to catch up to them sooner or later. Defenses predicated on big plays tend to come down to Earth after having a season like the Saints D had in 2009. Tampa Bay won't be a very good, but for the first time since the Gruden firing will have an identity. In Quarterback Josh Freeman, Rookie Wide Receiver Mike Williams, and Rookie Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy, the Bucs finally have players to build around on both sides of the Football.
- San Francisco 49ers 12-4
- Arizona Cardinals 7-9
- St. Louis Rams 7-9
- Seattle Seahawks 4-12
The 49ers are the real deal. Last season, they brought their A game to every game and in 2010 that A game is going to be good enough to beat most every team in the NFC. They nearly beat the Vikings and Colts last season and still ended up being 8-8. Patrick Willis is the new Ray Lewis, Mike Singletary is a humbler version of Rex Ryan, and in Gore, Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree, the 49ers posses one of the NFL's most dynamic trio of skill players. The Rams won't contend for the Playoffs, but will take major strides in the right direction in 2010. Sam Bradford will steer the Rams offense in the right direction and second year Linebacker James Laurinaitis will come into his own as one of the game's premier defensive players.
- New England Patriots 11-5
- New York Jets 11-5*
- Miami Dolphins 8-8
- Buffalo Bills 3-13
Mark Sanchez is the without a doubt the NFL's most overrated player. He is a caretaker Quarterback who doesn't have the accuracy, arm strength, or decision making skills to carry a football team to the promise land. Fortunately for the Jets, they finally came to terms with Darrelle Revis, the only Corner Back in Football you can build a defense around. The AFC East is by far the best coached division in the game. Bill Belichik vs. Rex Ryan is quickly developing into the best chess match in professional sports. The Patriots offense will be running on all cylinders in 2010, Randy Moss and Tom Brady will show us what happens when future first ballot Hall of Famers have something to prove. The Dolphins are a good enough team to make the Playoffs, unfortunately for phins' fans, they don't play in the NFC.
- Baltimore Ravens 12-4
- Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
- Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8
- Cleveland Browns 4-12
The Ravens are the cream of a loaded AFC crop. The addition of Anquan Boldin will move the chains, which was the missing link that prevented the Ravens from taking their talents to south beach in 2009. Those extra first downs will lead to extra touchdowns, which will lead the NFL's toughest team to Dallas. The Bengals are going to be a really, really good team, but will end up being the best team in Football to not make the Playoffs. There isn't a better corner combo in football than Leon Hall-Jonathan Joseph. Even if the Steelers had Roethlisberger for a full 16-games they aren't a better team than the one that missed the playoffs in 2009.
- Houston Texans 12-4
- Indianapolis Colts 11-5*
- Tennesee Titans 7-9
- Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12
2010 will be the year that the undersized, robotic entity known as the Colts take a back seat to Andre Johnson and the boys from the state of Football. Peyton Manning will have a great season, but will not be able to secure a division title this time around. The difference is going to come down who can play better defense between the two teams and in 2010, the Texans defense is superior. After an off-season of studying game tape, teams will figure out how to guard the running lanes that led to Chris Johnson's 2,000 yard season in 2009, like the Dolphins, it's unfortunate they don't play in the NFC. Even before it was known that Maurice Jones-Drew was banged up the Jaguars weren't contenders, their 2010 Draft read like a page out Al Davis' hand-written draft manual. The Jags don't seem to see the writting on the wall from the overhead projector of doom.
- Denver Broncos 10-6
- San Diego Chargers 9-7
- Oakland Raiders 7-9
- Kansas City Chiefs 5-11
Even though Dumervil is out for the year, Moreno is banged up, and first round pick Demaryius Thomas has a screw loose in his foot, Josh McDaniels will deliver the West to the Denver faithful. This division could be the ultimate display of why you don't retain coaches like Norv Turner and Tom Cable. The Chargers, not the Raiders might be the most dysfunctional team in the division for the first time in years. The Raiders could end up being surprisingly good in 2010, Rolando McClain is going to be a star and their defense is on pace to be absolutely dominant down the road, it just might take a coaching change for all the pieces to come together in Oakland. The Chiefs are perhaps the most difficult team to figure out in football, Dexter McCluster reminds me of Percy Harvin and Eric Berry is the type of Safety you can build a defense around. The question is whether or not Matt Cassel is an NFL Quarterback or better suited to hold the clip board.
NFC Championship Game: Vikings 31 - 49ers 21
AFC Championship Game: Ravens 28 - Jets 17
Super Bowl XLIV: Vikings 31 - Ravens 28
NFL MVP: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: Andre Johnson, Texans
NFL Defensive Players of the Year: Patrick Willis, 49ers
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: Dez Bryant, Cowboys
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ndamukong Suh, Lions
NFL Coach of the Year: Mike Singletary, 49ers
Breakout Star of the Year: Matt Stafford, Lions
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