Is the Greatest Show on Turf back for an encore?
• David Garrard’s release before the start of the season will lead to Jack Del Rio’s release at the end of the season.
Owner Wayne Weaver clearly stressed that Del Rio’s job will be on the line unless the Jags make a playoff appearance, so they might as well get a head start and fire him now. With Luke McCown or Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, I don’t see any way this team sneaks into the playoffs in the AFC.
• Terrelle Pryor will start more than one game this season. What do the Raiders have to lose? Jason Campbell isn’t going to take this team anywhere. Oakland will fall off and finish under .500 this season.
• Jamaal Charles will come close to the 2,000 yard mark. Charles exploded last season finishing 2nd in the league in rushing and 1st in yards per carry while spitting carries with Thomas Jones. With Matt Cassel still in limbo since Charlie Weis’ departure, Jamaal will have to carry the load.
• The Philadelphia Eagles will not win the NFC East. There are too many new pieces on that unit so I would expect them to start slow. They also bring in a new D-Coordinator in Juan Castillo, who was previously their O-Line coach. The offensive line has also been really shaky during the preseason. With this being said, it’s going to be interesting see if Vick can have the same kind of success from last season.
• The Andy Dalton experiment will only last one season. I fully expect the Bengals to draft Andrew Luck 1st overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
• Jake Locker will have the best season out of all rookie quarterbacks. He looked solid during the preseason and was surprisingly accurate compared to his college days. Look for him to slide in front of Matt Hasselbeck by the season’s end.
• The Detroit Lions will clinch a Wild Card spot. They have slowly improved year after year, and Matt Stafford looks to be the real deal. They have playmakers around him in Megatron and Jahvid Best. The defensive line looks flat out scary. If Stafford can stay healthy, expect big things from this team.
• Tom Brady will win back-to-back MVPs. Everyone knows what Brady is capable of.
• Jimmy Clausen will throw more touchdown passes than Cam Newton. I expect both quarterbacks to see time as the Panthers will struggle in their rebuilding year. Cam is extremely inaccurate and hasn’t been too impressive thus far.
• Chad Henne will breakout. He’s always had the arm and frame, but his inconsistency has been a huge problem. Believe it or not, I think the addition of Reggie Bush is going to help a lot. Chad knows if he doesn’t start winning ballgames, his time in Miami is over.
• The Washington Redskins will finish top 5 in rushing. It doesn’t matter who the running back is, Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking always seems to make it work.
• The Greatest Show on Turf will return. Sam Bradford will pass for over 4,000 yards with Josh McDaniels at OC. Not to mention, Stephen Jackson’s inability to play an entire season.
• The Indianapolis Colts will miss the playoffs. It’s going to be ugly if Peyton Manning misses more than one game. Oh yeah, that one game he’s going to miss is against divisional rival Houston Texans.
• Eli Manning will play nowhere near Tom Brady’s caliber. Manning claimed to be in the same class as Brady, but throwing for multiple interceptions in the preseason isn’t going to help his case. I’ll expect another 20+ turnover season from Eli.
• The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are poised for a playoff run with Peyton’s injury and with potentially two rookie quarterbacks starting in their division. If they can’t do it this season, they never will.
• The San Diego Chargers will make the Super Bowl. Philip Rivers and Norv Turner know the window is closing. Statistically they had the best defense in the league and their offense is always high powered with Rivers, but it was the special teams that brought setbacks. I think this is the year they go on the radar and make that run.