Predicting the future: Ten things that will unfold in the '08 season
Peering into my
As for the rest of the season, the Favre-Pennington comparison in the AFC East will be a more subjective call. Favre has the better team around him by far, but Pennington will receive and deserve plenty of the credit for the Dolphins' offensive improvement. In the end, New York will go further than Miami, but both teams will rightfully be able to claim they're better off for the moves they made at quarterback in the preseason.
That's because Tucker reminds many of a younger version of Merriman, one of the league's premier defensive play-makers. An undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest as a rookie last year, Tucker played his way from the Chargers practice squad to the active roster, and wound up winning the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week honor in Week 17, when he sacked Oakland quarterback
No wonder Chargers general manager
While I can't see any opponent succeeding in bum-rushing Brady like the Giants did to great effect in the Super Bowl, I also don't imagine No. 12 is going to have forever and a day to stand back there in the pocket and perform surgery on his opponent's secondary, as was the case so many times in the Patriots' record-breaking 2007 run. Teams are going to be sending the house against Brady this year, because they saw what New York accomplished and will realize anew that giving him time to throw is nothing but a recipe for defeat.
But unlike the Saints of 2007, who went 0-4, scratched their way back to 4-4, and eventually finished 7-9, the Browns will find their stride in the season's second half and wind up winning the AFC North at 9-7. It'll be Cleveland's first playoff berth in six seasons, and its first division title since the
Oh, and one more call: Browns backup quarterback
Defenders are now rewarded by forcing receivers out of bounds before their feet have touched the ground, which will probably result in way more sideline pass interference calls than anticipated, thanks to eager defensive backs plowing into receivers a split second before the catch. Maybe the officials, who were supposed to have the judgment-call element of the old rule erased for them, will wind up having even more tough judgments calls to make in terms of potential sideline P.I.'s.
He missed most of the final two preseason games due to health problems, but Morgan figures to start the season active and be in San Francisco's receiver rotation. With the 49ers short on impact pass-catchers, Morgan is going to get every chance to see his share of the ball in
The Patriots this week added two-time Pro Bowl cornerback
Don't forget, he owns
These aren't the Broncos of past years, who always considered their dominating and multi-back ground game to be the foundation of their offense. With Cutler, Denver is going to be a throwing team that's capable of winning some old-fashioned AFL-like scoring-fests. The Broncos won't have a winning record or go to the playoffs, but they'll be fun to watch with Cutler winging the ball to receivers