Five fearless predictions
Six weeks into the NFL's regular season isn't the time to start making a bevy of bold, definitive calls. But in some instances it's enough of a sampling to begin seeing the writing on the wall in a few situations around the league. So, with apologies to my colleague,
1. I think nine will wind up being enough for
Here's what I believe is the reality of the situation in Seattle: Though they're off to a modest 3-3 start, the Seahawks may still win the weak NFC West and make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. But it's apparent Seattle doesn't have what it takes to be one of the league's elite teams, and the Seahawks' Super Bowl window of opportunity has likely closed. Holmgren and Seattle took their best shot at a ring in 2005, making Super Bowl XL and giving Pittsburgh a game of it for three quarters. But that's going to be as close as the Seahawks get with the nucleus of their current roster.
Holmgren will come to realize that as this season unwinds, and he'll again start contemplating retirement, as he did two years ago, immediately after Seattle's Super Bowl run. He won't stick around just to go 9-7 or 10-6 for another year or two, surviving maybe into the first or second round of the playoffs. He's been there and done that, many times.
Holmgren and his wife, Kathy, have other more admirable interests in life besides football and I could see them deciding to pour their energies into their church or charitable work -- Kathy is a nurse who has taken medical missionary trips to Africa and elsewhere. It's not beyond the imagination that Holmgren would take another coaching job, but I think it would have to be a perfect fit, such as a homecoming to San Francisco, should the 49ers continue to disappoint and bring the
2. I think it'll be readily apparent by the end this season -- and possibly even by Thanksgiving -- that the Bills consider rookie quarterback
The Bills will shop Losman around the league and try to recoup in trade the third-round pick they spent to draft Edwards out of Stanford this year. That could be more than the market will bear for Losman, but the fourth-year veteran is still young enough that some quarterback-challenged team might find it a reasonable price.
The Bills coaching staff is very high on Edwards' combination of poise and intelligence, with some of its members believing that he was the best quarterback in the draft this year. Buffalo was ecstatic to find him still there in the third round, and the selection signaled that the Bills wanted another youthful option at the position because Losman had not yet erased doubts about his franchise quarterback status.
For whatever reason, it doesn't seem like Losman and the Bills are going to have a long-term marriage. He has made strides in some areas of maturation as a pocket quarterback. In the early days, Losman would take off and scramble at the drop of a hat after looking no further than his primary receiver.
But the Bills aren't convinced he's ever going to be as consistent and efficient as they'd like. At the end of year four, with Edwards showing promise, the odds of Buffalo cutting its losses with Losman are good. Losman will likely quickly sum up his situation this season and ask the team to help him seek a fresh start elsewhere in 2008.
3. I think San Diego's trading-deadline acquisition of Miami receiver
That comparison sounds a bit overstated when you consider that Chambers had just one 1,000-yard receiving season in his six full years in Miami and went to the Pro Bowl only after the 2005 season. As it also happens, Chambers is currently working on a 14-game touchdown drought. No matter. Sources insist that his impact with the Chargers -- who had 11 Pro Bowl players and five All-Pros last season -- will be far more significant than the role he played in the moribund Dolphins offense.
There's certainly a need for a big-play No. 1 receiver in San Diego. The Chargers had to put
Chambers' impact on the Chargers offense should be evident quickly. He played for
4. I think Chambers won't be the only lucky Dolphin veteran who gets to pack his bags and head for greener pastures in the coming months. Whether general manager
That means defensive end
While the Dolphins will probably say they're seeking a first-round pick for Taylor, odds are they'd be content if they can turn him into a high second-rounder. As for Taylor, he won't balk at a move. He wants to win now and realizes that Miami is starting over again. He'd probably click his heels out the door, waving good-bye to his brother-in-law and longtime defensive teammate, linebacker
Miami might not achieve total fire-sale status in dealing its veterans and turning to youth, but that doesn't mean the Dolphins wouldn't mind if that happened. No matter if quarterback
5. I think if the steamrolling Patriots go on to win their fourth Super Bowl title in seven seasons, New England's vice president of player personnel
Who would the potential suitors be? It's early, but logic tells you that Miami would love to steal his expertise away from its AFC East rivals. Cleveland, where Pioli started in the NFL while
Other potential landing spots would be Detroit, where GM
Pioli could always cross us up and again stay put. But if the Pats bag themselves a fourth Lombardi, Pioli's already glitzy resume would likely never look better.