It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for my final installment of regular season predictions for this NFL season. Don’t you put these out on Friday you ask? Yes, but this week I’ve decided to move this up to Today, and Friday I will post my playoff and Super Bowl predictions. This week I am doing the AFC and NFC West divisions. A popular saying is you always save the best for last, but honestly, I decided to save the worst for last. Remember to check Friday for my playoff and Super Bowl picks and predictions.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers have been kings of this division in recent years. They posses a very high powered offense, with a very stout defense to boot. My complaints with this team really lie more with character issues rather than on the field ability. This team believes they are on that elite level, but when you reign over one of the weakest divisions, it’s pretty easy to get over confident, as evidenced by there recent playoff history. They will almost certainly win this division, but how far they go in the playoffs rests on them checking the egos at the coin toss.
Oakland second? Really? Yes, for a couple valid reasons. First, they now have an experienced quarterback with a chip on his shoulder, not an overweight, over privileged bum..(too harsh?). Secondly, they do have one of the stronger defenses in the NFL, who can play with just about any team in the NFL. Third, and this is just my opinion, I believe this year is the year they decide to quit being a punch line on Sportscenter. Couple all this with the weakness of this division, and I believe they can come in second in this division. I won’t go as far as to say playoffs this year, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did happen.
Denver comes in third, if only for this reason, they are better than Kansas City. Simply put, Denver is relying on a guy at quarterback who has been up and down his entire pro career. Granted, he did have a decent season last year, but he was also throwing to Brandon Marshall. And I won’t even bother going into detail about the obnoxiously early draft pick they used for Tim Tebow, or how I think he is really only a great college quarterback, and that he probably won’t become a good pro quarterback, or the idea that his character makes him a better player in some people’s minds, no I won’t go into detail about any of that. Denver finishes the season with more questions than answers, and more losses than wins.
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City has seemingly been rebuilding for quite some time now. They won’t win this division, or make a lot of progress in regards to wins or losses, but I give them two, maybe three years and the right personnel moves to at least be relevant in this division. The foundation is there, they just need to add more skill position players for Matt Cassell to throw to, tighten up the offensive line, and a few key defensive players, either through the draft or free agency.
San Francisco 49ers
If you like football and you don’t at least respect this year’s 49ers team, throw away your TV. and take up knitting. To me, this team is football, they aren’t pretty or flashy, they simply punch you in the face for an hour. My only concern for this team is the Quarterback position, but the flashes I saw from Alex Smith last season at least quell those suspicions. With most of the skill position players returning to the same offensive scheme from last season, I feel this offense has the potential to be explosive. I’m not going to mention the defense, simply because they are one of the stoutest defenses in all of football. This division is crumbling, and San Fran is the only team I see getting out this season.
Speaking of crumbling, we have the Arizona Cardinals. Kurt Warner retired, Boldin is now a Raven, and Matt Lienart is now the starting quarterback. This guy is definitely the definition of great college quarterback. So far, he has not done anything resembling his former glory days at USC, and I honestly don’t believe he ever will. They still have good quality players, and one of the top receivers in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, but I just see to many weak points for this team to even contend for a wildcard spot this season.
Oh Seattle, have the mighty have fallen. The once dominators of this division have been relegated to at or near the bottom of this division for some time now, and this season won’t be any different. The pieces just don’t seem to fall in place for this like they have in the past. I see rebuilding and retooling for at least a few more seasons. They can eventually get back to there previous winning ways, but it’s going to take some time.
St. Louis Rams
Finally we have come to the end of the line, literally. The Rams have a lot of work to do. Hell, they have a lot of work to do just to get off the bottom of the NFL ladder. Sorry St. Louis, this is not the year, but hey, there’s always The Cardinals…I hear Pujols is having another good season.