The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

NFL Preview, Part 1: The NFC South

So you like Mike Vick, do you? You think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, and that the Falcons will be a perennial playoff team and Super Bowl contender with him around (if he's healthy of course).

That's fine. Me? I like quarterbacks who can pass. The fact is that Vick is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, and that the Falcons win in spite of his efforts, not because of them. He's a fine runner, but a running QB will only take you so far, and in a tough NFC South, it won't be far enough.

Is Atlanta a bad team? Certainly not. They have a fine defense (Pat Kerney, Rod Coleman, Ed Hartwell, Keith Brooking) and an excellent running attack, which is aided by Vick, but they are a one trick pony on offense, and, while this will sound incredibly cliched, if you can stop the run, you can stop the Falcons, because the Falcons simply cannot pass.

I also like teams with easy schedules. Here are the first 5 games for the Falcons:

Philly (On Monday Night)
@Seattle (On a short week)
@Buffalo (After flying across the country)
Minnesota
New England

That is a tough, tough opening schedule. It does get easier towards the end, but if Atlanta falls into an early hole, I don't like their prospects for getting out in a strong NFC South.

So who's going to finish ahead of them?

How about the Bucs?

They have managed to put together a pretty good offense with second year standout Michael Clayton paired up with Joey Galloway, at least until he gets hurt. And as long as he stays away from dogs and driveways, Brian Griese isn't half bad.

The defense isn't what it was in its glory days, but it is still formidable. Simeon Rice still provides an excellent pass rush and Derrick Brooks is still a very good LB. In fact, if not for Martin Grammatica's complete meltdown last year the Bucs might have already become a force to be reckoned with.

The Bucs will be one of the surprise teams of the NFL, and return to the playoffs as a wildcard team.

You all know about Carolina. Decimated by injuries a year ago, John Fox's team rallied to a near playoff birth, just barely missing out on the last day of the season.

This team looks poised for a return to 2003 form, when they lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Jake Delhomme is a solid QB, Steve Smith is back from a broken leg (if you are going to suffer a terrible injury, this is the one to suffer), and Kerry Colbert seems to be emerging as a solid number two option, which just makes Rod Gardner even more dangerous at the three spot.
DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis are expected to split time this year in a RB by committee, and should find success behind an improved line featuring former Packer Mike Wahle.

And we all know about the defense. Jenkins, Peppers, Morgan, Witherspoon, Minter.

They should win this division, and return to at least the NFC Championship Game.

As for the Saints, they're...the Saints. Not much has changed really. Same inconsistent QB, same Joe Horn, same Deuce.

They beat bad teams and lose to good teams. They'll probably make a little mini-run sometime during the year and then fall apart. If your team loses to the Saints, your team has problems.

They will bring up the rear in a very strong division that should produce two and possibly three playoff teams.

Tomorrow: The AFC South.

2 Comments:

  • Even the easier part of the Falcons' schedule isn't as easy as it would look at first. For instance, the Falcons play at Detroit and at Chicago, two fairly easy games ordinarily, but at Detroit is Thanksgiving, where the Lions have been a little better than they usually are, and at Chicago is at night in December, when it should be very cold, which is hard on warm weather/dome teams.

    By Blogger MDS, at 3:27 PM  

  • Very good points. I hate it when the Pack plays on Thanksgiving. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that that game is responsible for an extra .5 wins a year for the Lions.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:52 PM  

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