|NFL Power Rankings|
Tennessee Titans (10-6)Preseason 8-8. They had gone three years without a winning record. I did not see Vince Young as the immediate savior. Is he?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)Preseason 5-11. Third in the division is where I put them, behind the Saints and Panthers, everybody's, and I do mean everybody's, favorites. Who will step forward and say he or she predicted a division title for them? I want to put a liar's L on your forehead.
Cleveland Browns (10-6)Preseason 5-11. "They'll fry with Frye," was, I believe, the clever line I came up with after the Steelers blew them out in the opener. Oh yes, Frye's reliever was a guy named Anderson, who had never won an NFL game and finished 13-for-28 with one pick against Pittsburgh, in relief.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)Preseason 11-5. Yeah, I went along with the mob on this one. Everyone liked them in the division. As Billy the Kid said before Sheriff Pat Garrett pulled the trigger, "I was in bad company."
Minnesota Vikings (8-8)Preseason 6-10. I didn't see the dizzying ride that would be their season, down in the dumper at 3-6, despite Adrian Peterson's record pace, then flying high with five straight, finally ending up with two straight losses when the enemy closed down the rush lanes on the wondrous rookie. All I saw was a dysfunctional team that would have trouble putting much of anything together, except a rushing defense.
Houston Texans (8-8)Preseason 6-10. Believe it or not, I called their last six games on the nose, and that was back in August. The rest of the way? Well, not too bad, really, except that I remember being unconvinced about the new QB.
New Orleans Saints (7-9)Preseason 12-4, and Super Bowl champion, defeating the Chargers, 31-27. And it was a hell of a game, too. Deuce McAllister fumbled near the goal line, just before New Orleans scored at the whistle. Post game controversy revolved around Sean Payton's decision to go for the TD on fourth down, rather than kick the field goal that would have sent the game into OT. I can't remember what position I took. The correct one, I'm sure.
Buffalo Bills (7-9)Preseason 8-8. I don't seem to be hitting too many nosers, do I? But lookee here. Not bad, huh? I've always been more accurate among the mediocre.
Denver Broncos (7-9)Preseason 10-6. You know, I'm getting sick of this. They let their fans down, their coach, me. Everybody. Don't know why but it reminds me of a story told to me by my old teammate, Al Ginepra, who said that when he was at Brookline (Mass.) High, their captain's pre-game speech before their final game ended with, "Let's win it for ... our dates!"
Carolina Panthers (7-9)Preseason 11-5 and upset winner over Seattle in wild-card round. You know, if someone would have told me Carolina would go through four quarterbacks, I'd have applied the old formula of 2.25 losses per QB, and come up with the correct number. This information was not readily available, however, although some folks hinted at such a possibility.