Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"Let's Talk Football" with Guynes and LeVar Burton
Before I get started, here's a little Fun Fact for you: I actually started this blog post as an imaginary conversation between me and LeVar Burton about the state of 2009-2010 NFL season through week 3. But it was way too much fluff and mostly inside references to Reading Rainbow, so I ultimately scrapped the idea after about 6 lines of dialogue. If you're disappointed - don't be.
In honor of my failed idea, I've kept the title intact as well as the pic of LeVar.
So anyway, here's what I wanted to talk about... I keep waiting for Creth to bring it up, but he won't, so it's time for ol' Guynesy to take the reins.
1) What's the most competitive division in the NFL?
For the last three years you could probably say the NFC East and be right. And you could say it again this year and still be right. But with the Eagles continuously struck with the injury bug, and Washington unable to defeat the Lions, I'm not sure this will hold true to the end. I think the Giants are (unfortunately) better than ever in the Eli era, and I'm not dismissing the Cowboys by any means. So if the NFC East isn't the toughest division, what is?
My pick? Surprisingly, it's the AFC East. This was one of the lamest divisions year after year because it was basically the Patriots' way of cakewalking to the playoffs. But we all know the Jets are legit this year, the Patriots are still really good (don't sleep on 'em!), and I actually like the Bills too, despite their no-show against New Orleans. They have good weapons (air and ground) if only they can figure out how to use them. And remember they'd be 2-1 (and the Patriots 1-2) if their defense could make a stop against the Patriots in the waning seconds of MNF.
And even with Chad Pennington out, I think Miami is WAY better than their 0-3 record. They'll definitely finish with a losing record because they have two meetings with the Jets and the Patriots and I think they'll win one of those four games. I guess my point is that just because the Patriots and Jets will beat them more often than not doesn't mean they're an easy out. I surely don't want my Cowboys playing them.
Other than the NFC and AFC East, the only other tough division I see is the AFC North, because Cincy is really turning it on this year and Baltimore is playing with intensity. Not to mention you have the reigning Super Bowl champs in the mix too (though they are 1-2).
I don't buy any case for the NFC North, because Favre won't go the whole season and Chicago is a work in progress with Cutler. But they do have more wins than any other division (tied with the NFC East).
I don't have a great segue to my next question, even though I really should. So I'm just going to pull the trigger.
2) How do you see the NFC East shaking out?
ESPN (and I'm sure a lot of other sports media outlets) had their talking heads get together and made predictions from those individual picks. Here's the rundown for Dallas: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/preview09/team?team=dal
The NFC East is predicted to finish as follows:
I think the Cowboys have an outside chance to be #1, but they have to basically win out in the remainder of the games against the NFC East. In other words, no mistakes. I think two wins against the Redskins is not asking too much. I'm thinking the Eagles will be banged up towards the end of the year (we play them in November and then in January), so if we catch them vulnerable, we can beat them twice as well. Otherwise, we'll split (and I think we'll win in Philly and they'll win in Dallas). And of course there's the last meeting with the Giants in the Meadowlands. It'll probably be like the last game - a coin toss. So I'm not predicting anything there.
The Redskins were never really in the mix to win the division. You might argue they were the sexy pick because they beefed up their defense. But it's really down to three teams.
Look for these red flags: Either one of the Giants/Cowboys/Eagles loses both games to one of the other, or somebody loses to the AFC West. It's a long season, but that might give you your first hint of who is ahead of the pack, and who's falling behind.
Let's just hope it's not the 'Boys.