So we have all been hyped up all off season about our teams and the start of the football season.
Brett Favre is back... again
Revis Island is set to be a lonely place again....
and The Baltimore Ravens are looking to cover their weakness on defense(funny right) with something that actually resembles a POTENT offense...
This leads me to what hasnt been talked about much the surprise teams in the league and boy are their a few I can think of.
1. Washington Redskins- Mike Shannahan and Donovan McNabb. Two winners getting together to rebuild a Redskins team a few pieces away from playoff or maybe even division leader status. The Redskins boast a top ten defense the last 3 years being ranked as high as 6. They have young fast db's including the monster at safety Laron Landry and a young pass rushing LB in Orakpo look for them to continue their top 10 trend. Mike Shannahan changing their defense to a 3-4 team wont hurt at all if any and adding Donovan is a huge upgrade for this offense. You have to go all the way back to 1999 to find the last time Donovan wasnt a winner. I'm going to catch flak for this much like i did at work(and home lol) but i wont be surprised at all to see the redskins in a NFC championship game or even the Superbowl
2. The Oakland Raiders- Superbowl...NO, Division winner... possibly, a winning record? I would be surprised IF THEY DONT HAVE ONE. The Raiders boast a good offensive line, a power back in Michael Bush and a home run hitter In Darren Mcfadden. They have one of the top tight ends in the league and have upgraded their Qb from a 85 ford taurus wagon to a 2009 honda accord. That wagon got you around but your not sure how and if it would even work, now you have a reliable car that still isnt going to be flashy but will at least get the job done. The raiders secondary is amazing... amazing i say because you have one side of the field that does not even exist(revis island is a place but Nnamdi Asomugha creates a black hole where receivers enter and dont return until the 4th qtr clock reaches 00:00). With Richard Seymour and the addition of John Henderson look for the Raiders defense to improve drastically. Im thinking with denver not being as strong this year, the chiefs being the chiefs, and San Diego having major issues with some of its top performers the Raiders can easily sneak into a division leading role.
3. A surprise to some but not to most, The San Fransisco 49ers. This is a team who came on very strong late last year, Vernon Davis has emerged as one of the top tight ends in the nfl and is a matchup nightmare. Michael Crabtree looked every bit the part of what was expected of the rookie once he finally put the pads on and with a full camp and preason combined with last years experience look for him to put up decent numbers being option 2 for Alex Smith. The running game is still solid and Patrick Willis is... Patrick Willis. They have some concerns in the secondary but they also have another advantage, The Arizona Cardinals are no longer a serious factor. Im looking for this division to be ran away with by the 49ers and anything less is unacceptable.
4. My favorite surprise pick... Miami Dolphins. Yall finish laughing yet? With them being in the same exact conference as the super power Patriots and the loaded J-e-t-s jets jets jets jets its easy to overlook the Dolphins. They followed a 1-15 season with a 10-5 season. They finished a 10-5 season with a 7-9 season, but keep in mind this was 7-9 with their 2nd and 3rd string Qb's as the starters. Chad Henne stepped in for Pennington and made Dolphins fans believe in the young qb, the addition of Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins and its easy to see why they could upset their divison. Lets be serious if he can make Kyle Orton look amazing imagine what he can do with a mobile strong arm Qb like Henne running the show. In a division aging fast and the young talent spread between the Dolphins and Jets i can see these two teams fighting for playoff spots for the next 3-4 years.
5. My final surprise pick and my favorite team. Before anyone says this is personal bias it actually isnt. After watching the first game of the season i realized the Chicago Bears arent that bad off. Yes our offensive line is questionable, our franchise Qb "punted" the ball 26 times last year, yes our starting db's would most likely be number 2's and nickel backs on most other teams, and yeah Lovie(love you to death) is holding on to a system that everyone has figured out... but with all that said I see hope. The Bears are running a Mike Martz offense. Martz was let go as offensive coordinator after San Francisco ranked 23rd in points scored, 24th in total yards, 13th in passing yards per game and 22nd in net passing yards per attempt, which represents an improvement over 2007 (when SF ranked dead last in all 3 categories). That means the 49ers under Martz moved up 8 spots in total yards, 19... yes 19 spots in passing yard, and 10 spots in passing yards per attempt. This year the Bears are 23rd, 17, and 20 respectively. So following Martz 49ers trend the Bears are looking at 15 in total yards, 1 in passing yards, and 10th in yards per attempt what is their not to be optimistic about our offense. Defense was ranked 17th last year and if we at least match or beat that rank this season i could see the bears going 9-7 easily with a possibility to finish 10-6.
How do you guys feel about these?