2003 NFL PREVIEW
After falling 1 game short of the Super Bowl two years in a row, it would not be hard to imagine the Eagles experiencing a let down. Entering Lincoln Financial Field the Eagles will win the NFC East again, but wont go far in the playoffs.
After a string finish Giants fans have high expectations and hopes of a division title. However, the Giants inconsistent play will catch up with them as they struggle through a disappointing season.
Before the Redskins take a step forward Coach Steve Spurrier must learn patience dealing with your Quarterback Patrick Ramsey, and must take the good with the bad, and avoid more of the QB carousel.
The signing of Emmittt Smith make no sense any where as the Cards let their best QB and WRs go to sign Smith, who will regret not retiring, while suffering on a team that could go winless.
Not even Bill Parcells could win with Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson starting at Quarterback. Expect the Cowboys to show flashes, but finish 5-11 again, before finally acquiring a franchise QB next year.
In year 2 under Jon Gruden the Buccaneers could be even better as his infectious intensity will keep the defending Champs hungry, which is always the recipe a team needs to repeat.
Brett Favre is beginning to show his age and the Packers are no longer a powerhouse. However they will easily win the weak NFC North again, but will likely have another quick playoff exit.
Expect the young Lions to make big strides under new Coach Steve Marriucci who is well known for making young Quarterbacks into winners. Expect 2nd year QB Joey Harrington to make the Pro Bowl.
Without Michael Bennett the Vikings could be in a word of hurt, putting the weight of the entire offense on the passing game, and porous defense. Expect better play but not better results.
The Bears are back home at Soldier Field, but no better off then last year. Injuries to offense line will expose the Bears weaknesses at RB, as the signing of Kordell Stewart becomes a big free agent bust.
Expect the Rams to bounce back and return to the playoffs. However they will not come close to making it back to the Super Bowl, as age will catch up with them at the end of the season.
The Saints suffered one of the worst late season crashes in NFL history. This year they will struggle from the outset playing no better the .500 ball all season as they get buried in a tough division.
All the Falcons need to do is stay afloat in September while Michael Vick heals. Upon his return the Falcons immediately become a legit Super Bowl contender that could go as far as the NFC Championship Game.
Despite having one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Panthers are a team heading for nowhere with Rodney Peete starting at QB expect Stephan Davis to be a strong RB, but no improvement for overall.
The 49ers will regret firing Steve Marriucci, as they struggle all season and lose 10 games. One major area of concern must be the health of QB Jeff Garcia who hobbled through the preseason with a sore back.
The Ravens defense will continue to be one of the best in the NFL but with rookie Kyle Boller, and Chris Redman battling for the QB job they wont be able to do any better then 7-9.
The Dolphins are too good to fall apart like last year. On paper this is clearly the team to beat in the AFC, and with a solid back up QB the Dolphins will not suffer a collapse this year if QB Jay Fielder gets hurt.
Things could not be more stacked up against the Jets who lost several key players in free agency and QB Chad Pennington to injury. Coach Herm Edwards will have to be a miracle worker to get them to playoffs.
The Patriots made some big additions and should be able to return to the playoff. However, another trip to the Super Bowl is highly unlikely with several strong teams ahead of them in the AFC.
The Bills could be a sleeper in the AFC if a few teams slip up, but playing in the tough AFC East they will get lost in the struggle as they miss the playoffs while being better then any team in the AFC North.
Expect the TItans to continue to be one of the top teams in the AFC again with a legitimate shot to return to the AFC Championship Game.
The Colts struggles in big games will again be the teams downfall as they lose several key games during the season, and miss the playoffs with a better record the the Steelers.
With new Coach Jack Del Rio the Jaguars are clearly in a year of transition as QB Mark Brunell, who has been there since the very beginning is on the way out, as Byron Leftwich takes over.
The seeds for controversy are planted as the Steelers win the NFC North with a losing record while teams with winning record are on the outside looking in.
With the lingering effects of a QB controversy still hanging over the team expect the Browns to struggle and take a major step backward, as their poor defense is exposed.
After a 2-14 season last year there is only place to go and that's up, so a 4-12 season will be considered progress and the Bengals are a year away perhaps from turning the corner.
Expect Jake Plummer to finally capitalize on his potential with a better team around him, as he guides the Broncos into the playoffs, after toiling in Arizona, with the pathetic Cardinals.
After their crushing loss in the Super Bowl the Raiders are a year older and not a year better. Expect them to suffer Super Bowl hangover and a mediocre season.
Every year a team comes out of nowhere to contend for the Super Bowl, this year it will be the Seahawks who finished last season on a strong note and have a strong balanced offense with a good defense.
The Chargers continue to be an the fringe of the contenders of the AFC despite having a solid young offense, as the team struggles to replace several key veteran departures on defense.
The Chiefs are the trendy pick in the AFC with one of the top offenses in the NFL. Expect them to be one of the top teams in the AFC all season, making it to the AFC Championship.
The Texans will continue to experience growing pains in their second season as they try to build an offensive line around a solid young offense.
Coach of the Year
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Offensive Player of the Year
JIm Haslett-New Orleans Saints
Dick Jauron-Chicago Bears
Dave McGinnis-Arizona Cardinals
Coaches who will be looking for work after the season
Predictions Made: August 30, 2003