NFL Week 2: Patriots @ Jets

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

Over the past decade, the New England Patriots have absolutely dominated the AFC East division with little or no competition from any of the three other teams in the division.

Even though the New England Patriots have a great chance of coming out on top once again in the AFC East division this season, times might be changing as the New York Jets look like they are legitimate Super Bowl title contenders and ready to dethrone their division rivals.

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There is no question at this point in time that the New York Jets have arguably the best defense in the NFL, but after struggling to put points on the board in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, their offense is in serious question as quarterback Mark Sanchez couldn’t get anything going and whether or not their offense can complement their dominant defense remains to be seen.

In Week 2, the Rex Ryan’s Jets will have their work cut out for them once again as they will go up against Tom Brady’s Patriots who looked very good in their Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Unlike the Jets, the Patriots main concern this season was on the defensive side of the football as they basically had to start from scratch after seeing many of their veterans either retire or get traded away over the past couple of seasons.

Fortunately, despite all of the obvious problems surrounding the Patriots defense, the young New England secondary were able hold their own against the high powered Cincinnati Bengals offense in Week 1 and proved to the rest of the league that they might be able to contend for a Super Bowl title this season.

The one thing that there is absolutely no doubt about heading into Week 2 against the division New York Jets is that the New England Patriots offense is firing on all cylinders as they were able to put up 38 points against the Cincinnati Bengals defense. Not only was Tom Brady back to form and looking like the dominant quarterback of old, but perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker showed that he is fully recovered and back to form as well with two receiving touchdowns.

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Coming into this Week 2 matchup between these division rivals, the one head to head matchup to watch for is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the league in Randy Moss going up against arguably the best cornerback in the NFL in Darrelle Revis.

It is no secret that there isn’t much love lost between these two great NFL players as they have had some words for each leading up to this highly anticipated matchup, but it does make for some great NFL action as both of these perennial Pro Bowlers will be looking to go at each other all day long, but in my opinion it will be Randy Moss and company that come out on top.

NFL Week 1: Colts @ Texans

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans Sun. Sept. 12th 1pm EST

The AFC South division is the Indianapolis Colts division as they are without a doubt the favorite to come out on top in the division every single season.

Coming into this NFL regular season not much has changed as Peyton Manning and company are top dogs in the AFC South and the entire AFC Conference for that matter, but they might have their work cut out for them against the division rival Houston Texans who have only gotten better with every passing season.

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Even though the Colts will almost certainly have some tough opponents this season, the Texans might turned out to be their toughest test as Matt Schaub and company always give Indianapolis a run for their money.

Obviously, Peyton Manning’s squad tend to come out on top, but this season things might start to change as the Houston Texans have the best passing game in the league and will be looking to exploit the Indianapolis Colts weak secondary.

Ironically enough, even though the Indianapolis Colts are favored to win this AFC South showdown, the Houston Texans have finally been given their due respect as many people believe this game could be extremely close with the team ending up with the football at the end of the game being the team to start to the season 1-0.

The one thing to watch for in this game is whether or not the Indianapolis Colts defense can find a way to stop quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson from lighting up the scoreboard the way Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne do for their offense.

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Needless to say, I believe this will be a shootout between two great offensive minded teams with perhaps the highest point total in Week 1. These two high powered offenses will almost certainly go back and forth all day long this Sunday with neither team backing down or taking chances downfield.

In the end, I really can’t see the Houston Texans getting the best of the Indianapolis Colts as they are without a doubt the best team in the league at coming from behind in the fourth quarter and basically scoring at will. I do believe the Houston Texans will give Peyton Manning and company a run for their money once again, but ultimately the end result will be the Colts getting the best of their division rivals and getting off on the right foot to start their 2010 campaign in hopes for a second Super Bowl title in the Peyton Manning era.

Even though the Houston Texans will most likely start the season with the loss, they could gain some much needed momentum in this game as being able to take arguably the best team in the league to the limit can only improve their confidence in competing for a playoff spot in the AFC Conference at season’s end.

NFL Week 1: Bengals @ Patriots

Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots Sun. Sept. 12th 1pm EST

The New England Patriots got some good news a few days ago when they learned that their superstar quarterback Tom Brady had agreed to a contract extension worth about $72 million dollars over the next four years with $48.5 million guaranteed.

This news couldn’t have come at a better time for the Patriots as they will head into the NFL regular season with high hopes of getting back to prominent status in the AFC Conference with their sights set on competing for another Super Bowl title.

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Unfortunately, this good news was almost immediately followed by some bad news as the Patriots learned that Tom Brady had gotten into a car accident. This car accident was serious by any means, but it definitely gave the team a punch in the gut after finally being able to agree on a long awaited contract extension.

As of right now, Tom Brady has said that he has been effected by the car accident and will be good to go for the New England Patriots Week 1 showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals, but anyone that has been in a car accident, even a tiny fender bender, knows that it can affect you a little later on.

So despite the car accident, Brady seems ready to go for this season as he looks to lead his team back to form once again and reclaim the AFC East division title, but they will have their work cut out for them in the first game of the regular season as the Cincinnati Bengals will almost certainly put up one hell of a fight in order to come out on top in this one.

During the offseason the New England Patriots pretty much seemed content with their current squad on both sides of the football, but the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t as they went out and signed veteran wide receiver Terrell Owens to take the pressure off perennial Pro Bowl wideout Chad Ochocinco.
It is no secret that both T.O. and Ochocinco can do more harm than good to a football team at times as they have a tendency to open their mouth and create controversy and locker room turmoil, but before heading into the NFL regular season, these two superstar wide receivers seem to be on the same page and have the common goal of winning football.

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Ultimately, the Batman and Robin combination of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco might be a little too much for the Cincinnati Bengals too handle, especially if they start to struggle or one receiver gets all the attention from quarterback Carson Palmer, but as of right now they seem poised to contend for a second straight AFC North division title and maybe even a run at the
Super Bowl.

Even though the Bengals have made a considerable upgrade and could very well have the better defense heading into this Week 1 matchup, I believe the Patriots will be the team to come out on top as Tom Brady and company will play much better than anticipated.

NFL Week 1: Chargers @ Chiefs

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs Mon. Sept. 13th 10:15pm EST

The AFC West division is no longer considered amongst the league’s most competitive divisions, but even though it may not get the recognition that the AFC North or the NFC East does, there is one team in the division that consistently plays well every single season in the San Diego Chargers.

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In five out of the last six seasons, the San Diego Chargers have been the top dogs in the AFC West division and considered Super Bowl title contenders as their team is as well rounded as it can be with a potent offense led by quarterback Philip Rivers and a lockdown defense led by linebacker Shawne Merriman.

Last season may have started out somewhat rough for Norv Turner and company as the won only two of their first five games of the regular season, but once they were able to pull it together they didn’t lose a single game in the regular season after that has they headed into the playoffs with 11 straight wins and a 13-3 record.

Unfortunately, the San Diego Chargers weren’t able to get the best of Rex Ryan’s New York Jets in the first round of the playoffs and went home much earlier than anticipated, but this season they will be looking to dominate in the regular season once again as they have made some key additions to their football team.

The two most notable players that the Chargers will be without this season are former NFL MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson (New York Jets) and Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson (suspension, holdout). Even though LT still feels like he had something left in the tank, the Chargers didn’t think so and decided to release their former face of the franchise and draft a promising young rookie running back out of Fresno State in Ryan Matthews.

Even though Matthews still has to prove that he can get it done on the NFL level, the Chargers coaching staff believes he is the real deal and has the potential to be one of the best backs in the league.

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In Week 1, the San Diego Chargers will get a chance to show off their rookie running back as they will face off against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

Over the past two seasons, the Chiefs have continued to make some good moves to upgrade their roster, but they still have been considered a force to be reckoned with in the AFC Conference, especially since they share the AFC West division with the Chargers.

The one player on the Chiefs to look out for in this game is rookie safety Eric Berry out of Tennessee. During his time in college football he was considered the hardest hitting and arguably the best safety in the game with comparisons to the Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed. With this addition to the Kansas City secondary, the Chiefs might be able to contain the potent Chargers offense, but in all likelihood, Philip Rivers and company should cruise to an easy win in Week 1.

NFL Week 1: Falcons @ Steelers

Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers Sun. Sept. 12th 1pm EST

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be heading into this NFL regular season with an uphill battle ahead of them as they try and play to the best of their ability in the first six games of the season without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under center.

Even though Big Ben may not put up the numbers of say Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts) or Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), the quarterback has been essential to their franchise as he has lead them to two Super Bowl titles over the last five years.

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Unfortunately, due to suspension for violating the NFL’s person conduct policy during the offseason, the Steelers will have to go with up and coming youngster Dennis Dixon for the first four games of the regular season. Most people have had their doubts about whether or not Dixon can get the job done for the Steelers as he has a much different approach to the game compared to Big Ben with a run first attitude, head coach Mike Tomlin has already come out and said that his two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback is not guaranteed a starting role when he comes back if Dixon plays well in these first four games.

So with a changing of the tide possibly on the horizon in Pittsburgh, the Steelers will have their work cut out for them in Week 1 by defending Heinz Field this Sunday against Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons.

Despite finishing last season with a 9-7 record and missing the playoffs, the Atlanta Falcons are coming into the 2010 NFL regular season with high hopes of being playoff bound and contending with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the NFC South division.

It may be a stretch to say that Matt Ryan and company can beat out the Saints in the division they dominate, but with all three of their best players back healthy in running back Michael Turner, wide receiver Roddy White and quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons are looking as good as any other team in the league right now and have been a popular pick to at least clinch a playoff spot in the NFC Conference this season.

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As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they will be looking to turn things around after a dreadful title defense last season which ended with superstar safety Troy Polamalu being banged up for the majority of the year and being unable to clinch a playoff spot.

Fortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers are confident they will get back on track this season, but it will be hard to overcome a team like the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 as Matt Ryan and company will want to get out to a quick start and will be looking to take advantage of a team without their starting quarterback under center.

If Dennis Dixon has a big game and the Atlanta Falcons defense can’t find an answer for his quick feet, this game will almost certainly tilt in the Pittsburgh Steelers favor, but I believe it will be the other way around as Dixon struggles and the Falcons start the season with a 1-0 record.

NFL Season Preview: NFC Wildcard

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Green Bay Packers (11-5)

Last year the Green Bay Packers were overshadowed by Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings, but even though they were unable to win the NFC North division or get past the first round of the playoffs, their record would just one win less that their division rivals.

It could be argued that the Green Bay Packers have the better all around team than the Minnesota Vikings, but chances are they will finish second in the division once again with Brett Favre coming back for one more run at a Super Bowl (or so he says).

Much like the New England Patriots in the AFC East, the Packers will most likely fly under the radar this season and ultimately cruise into the playoffs through the NFC Wildcard for a second straight season.

Atlanta Falcons (9-7)

Despite sharing the NFC South division with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons could be a serious force to be reckoned with this season as they will have their three best players healthy (Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner) and ready to get back to playoff contention once again.

If they can stay healthy this season, the Falcons might even have a shot at contending for a Super Bowl title, but chances are they will end up finishing second in the NFC South and start their playoff run at the through the NFC Wildcard.

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

This season will be the beginning of a new era of football in Philadelphia as the Eagles made a drastic move in the offseason by trading their face of the franchise away in six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to the division rival Washington Redskins.

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Even though when teams make a move like this it takes a few years to rebuild and get back form, the Eagles will be poised to make a playoff run this season regardless as young gunslinger Kevin Kolb will be under center and ready to become a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback in this league.

Along with Kolb taking over as the number one guy under center, Philly has some good young prospects in the form of wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back LeSean McCoy.

Chicago Bears (7-9)

Last season was an absolute nightmare for the Chicago Bears as they got off to a rough start in the season opener and lost arguably their best player in perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher to a season ending wrist injury.

As if losing Urlacher for the season wasn’t bad enough, the Bears were also breaking in a new franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler and the results weren’t pretty as the former Denver Broncos gunslinger threw a league-high 26 interceptions.

Fortunately, the Bears did end the season on a high note as Cutler finally looked comfortable running the offense and gave the team high hopes for next season.

There is no way this team will be able to compete with the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North division, but they might be able to clinch a playoff spot when it is all said and done.

NFC Wildcard Prediction: Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons

NFL Season Preview: AFC Wildcard

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New England Patriots (10-6)

The New England Patriots are no longer the dominant team they once were a few years ago, but despite no longer have that intimidation factor that used to scare opposing teams, Tom Brady and company could surprise some people this season as they might fly under the radar with all the attention that the New York Jets are getting in the AFC East division and slowly, but surely turn into Super Bowl title contenders once again.

Houston Texans (9-7)

Being in the shadow of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South can be frustrating, but this season people might start to take notice of the Houston Texans as they could be very well on their way to punching their ticket to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Even though they will have to beat out some of the teams on this list and the rest of the AFC Conference, Matt Schaub and arguably the best wide receiver in the game in Andre Johnson might be up to the task.

Tennessee Titans (9-7)

Last season the Tennessee Titans looked like a mess in the first half of the season (0-6) and arguably the worst team in the league, but with the help of one of the best running backs in the NFL in Chris Johnson and the return of quarterback Vince Young, Jeff Fisher’s squad was able to turn things around and threaten to make the playoffs by winning eight of the last 10 games of the regular season.

Unfortunately, the Titans just missed out on the postseason, but this year they will have some much needed confidence and momentum as they charge forward with one of the best running games in the league and a quarterback getting back to Pro Bowl caliber form.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)

A few years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were considered to be one of the elite teams in the NFL as they had won two Super Bowl titles and had arguably one of the best leaders under center in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

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Even though they still have their championship squad still relatively intact, minus wide receiver Santonio Holmes (New York Jets), the Steelers could be in for another long season of disappointment as they will be without Big Ben for the first four games of the season and will face some stiff competition in the AFC North division, but they will have be a legitimate playoff team.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

Last year the Cincinnati Bengals just dominated the AFC North division as they finished with a perfect 6-0 record in division play, but even though they have added perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens into the mix, the Baltimore Ravens are looking like Super Bowl title contenders this season which leaves Carson Palmer and company shooting for a playoff spot through the AFC Wildcard.

Even though I think that the Cincinnati Bengals will challenge the Baltimore Ravens within their division, ultimately they will have to settle for a playoff berth through the Wildcard.

Prediction: New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals

What does the return of Revis mean for the Jets?

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Darrelle Revis has finally come to his senses and finally signed a contract with the New York Jets. He signed a four-year deal worth a reportedly $46 million. He held out just enough to skip all of training camp so head coach Rex Ryan doesn’t know what kind of shape he’s in.

It doesn’t matter to Ryan because he knows that for his teams’ secondary to be one of the best in the league, he’s going to need Revis shutting down the league’s best receivers. Revis can play the best receivers one on one.

With Revis’ contract, he is now the highest paid corner back in the league. He deserves it but why did it take so long for the Jets to offer him an acceptable contract.

Ryan joked, “I do think we may play Revis, I’m not sure,” coach Rex Ryan quipped. “I think he might need to practice for several weeks before we play him, but don’t be shocked if he’s out there.”

Ryan played a part in the negotiation to bring Revis back.

The Jets did okay during the preseason without Revis. With the exception of Giants free agent wide receiver Victor Cruz running circles around the Jets secondary New York’s defense handled pretty well.

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The preseason showed that the Jets can succeed without Revis in the line-up. This is good because it means that Revis’ secondary teammates are also improving. Against the Colts last year, Revis was the only one who had a spectacular game. The rest of his teammates played bad and allowed Peyton Manning to pick them apart.

Revis is the heart and soul of the Jets and without him, opposing teams don’t fear them as much. Revis is the best corner in the game, proving time and time again that he can reduce the best receivers in the league to just going through route motions.

His teammates welcomed him to the field not with disdain but with open arms. Even they realize that he’s talent is appreciated.

“It was kind of funny,” safety James Ihedigbo said. “A bunch of guys started the Rudy clap, that nice slow clap, as he came out. We welcomed him with open arms.”

Revis was humble when asked about the shape he’s in. “I haven’t had pads on and I haven’t had contact,” he said. “So that’s something I have to get back into and just take it slow in the process.”

The Jets are one of the teams that can win the Super Bowl this year and with Revis recent contract signing you’d be dumb not to believe it.

It’s the Jets offense that should raise some concerns.

NFL Season Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Just two seasons ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers became the top dogs in the NFL once again as they won their second Super Bowl title of the decade, but last season in their title defense, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers really struggled to get back to championship form.

Even though the Steelers championship team was relatively intact, Pittsburgh just could get any kind of consistency going on the football field as they seemed like they were still recovering from a long NFL season the year before. Not only were the Steelers struggling on offense, but they were missing a huge part of their defense in the form of superstar safety and perennial Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu.

With Polamalu battling a knee injury all season long, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense seemed to be exposed on the defensive side of the football and the once dominant AFC giant started to get beat by some of the worst teams in the league like the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.

Despite losing to some of the worst teams on their schedule, the Steelers did have one highlight last season by handing Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings their first loss of the year in week seven just before they went into their bye week, but other than that, it was a pretty disappointing year to say the least.

Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers fail to make the playoffs in their Super Bowl title defense, but in the offseason their superstar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got into trouble off the field once again as he was accused of sexual assault.

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Ultimately, the charges were dropped against Big Ben and the two-time Super Bowl champion could take a sigh of relief, but his
punishment was forth coming as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he would suspend the Pittsburgh Steelers gunslinger for the first six games of the regular season for violating the person conduct policy.

Even though the suspension seemed a bit steep for a player that hadn’t been convicted of anything, Roger Goodell still felt that it was warranted, but there was a chance for the quarterback to redeem himself as the commissioner has said that he is willing to cut the suspension from six games down to four if he feels that Big Ben has made an effort to correct his life off the gridiron.

Fortunately, it appears that Big Ben has impressed Goodell with his behavior over the rest of the offseason and into the preseason as they are set to meet in New York soon to discuss a possible reduction in suspension.

In the meantime, head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers have to plan for life without their starting quarterback for at least the first four weeks of the season in which they will face off against the Atlanta Falcons (week 1), Tennessee Titans (week 2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (week 3) and Baltimore Ravens (week 4) before heading into their bye week in week 5.

Even without Big Ben under center the Pittsburgh Steelers look pretty good with some veteran backups like Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and lightening quick youngster Dennis Dixon.

NFL Season Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

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This season marks the beginning of a new era of Philadelphia Eagles football as they have finally decided to move without six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb by trading him to the rival Washington Redskins and go with promising young gunslinger Kevin Kolb under center.

Even though McNabb is still considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game, there is no question that the fans in Philly have been asking for his head over the past couple of years as their perennial Pro Bowl quarterback has failed to win a Super Bowl title as the leader of the Eagles franchise.

So despite having 11 successful years in Philly, McNabb has moved on to the nation’s capital to try his luck under two-time Super Bowl champion head coach Mike Shanahan.

With McNabb no longer under center in Philly, the Eagles will try their luck with Kevin Kolb and even though he hasn’t started more than a couple games in his NFL career, a lot of people believe that he is the future face of the franchise and with great potential to lead this team to the promise land.

Last season Kevin Kolb was impressive in his two starts under center for the Philadelphia Eagles as he racked up Pro Bowl caliber
numbers with 741 yards and four touchdowns. These numbers may have been impressive and Kolb was able to lead the team to a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs in week three, but he did have a problem with his turnovers as he threw three interceptions against the New Orleans Saints.

Even though Kolb did struggle against the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, his two starts really impressed the Philadelphia Eagles brass and may have convinced head coach Andy Reid and company that now was the time to move Donovan McNabb and get some Kevin Kolb under center as their starter from here on out.

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Along with Kevin Kolb being their number one guy under center, the Philadelphia Eagles have arguably the best backup quarterback in the league in former NFL MVP Michael Vick. Some people say that he has lost a step or two after serving 18 months in jail for his role in a dog fighting ring, but the more time he gets under center, the more he is starting to look like his old self again.

Obviously, the Eagles have decided that Kolb is their new starting quarterback, but if he starts to struggle in the regular season and there is a good chance that he might, Andy Reid won’t hesitate to get Vick under center.

Needless to say, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the middle of a transition phase right now and the upcoming regular season could go one of two ways as they might struggle to compete with the best of the best in the NFC Conference or they could be much improved and give the Dallas Cowboys a run for their money in the NFC East division.

No matter what happens this year, the consensus around the league is that the Philadelphia Eagles will be much improved in the near future, but the timeline is uncertain.

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