Thursday, September 09, 2004

AFC North Predictions

C'mon this is the New NFL! It's the Bengals turn. This team was clearly on the rise last year and installing QB Carson Palmer over Jon Kitna is a mistake, at least now. Kitna will buy Palmer some more seasoning. This is undoubtedly the NFL's surprise team. Cue the "Back from the Dead" news stories.

Maybe I'm hoping this group of unappealing, if not, scary individuals on this team (i.e. Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis) fail. I can't deny their defense. I'm not sold on QB Kyle Boller. Maybe because I saw few positives from his days at Cal and then suddenly he was the most sought after signal caller in the country. Still sounds like hype. The Ravens will earn the AFC's last wildcard spot.

QB Jeff Garcia will be a one-year experiment in Cleveland. This is the same Browns team for the last 4 years. Wild things will happen everytime they play. Expect maybe a 30-point, 4th quarter comeback. An opposing QB throwing for 500 yards or a Brown linebacker forgetting to wear his pants on the field. Rookie TE Kellen Winslow, Jr. will be an impact player. Much more than NY Giants' TE Jeremy Shockey, but in the same vein. This guy is better.

At first glance, the Steelers seem solid. QB Tommy Maddox should hold the starting spot nicely until Ben Rothlisberger is ready (he's going to be gooood). Pittsburgh is trying to do the retro thing on defense. Former defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, is back, but he doesn't have the same personnel. The defense will be like fitting square pegs into a round hole. On offense, RB Duce Staley will do fine until about Week 7, then, I don't know how RB Jerome Bettis can still perform to his former level.