A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Football
NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) – It’s that time of year again. Time for hard hitting action on the gridiron in both the NFL and college football. The thrill of a sack of the quarterback, a punt returned for a touchdown or a game winning catch.
Some teams in college and the pro level will feel the pleasure of these scenarios while others and their fans will go home disappointed. Each week I will give you my opinion on who are the top teams in college and the NFL.
We’ll focus on teams to watch and key matchups each week. Some will do ok but most will fail and that’s why we call it The Good, Bad and Ugly. This week, I am only picking the top teams in each category will a few other items added.
Top 15 teams in the NFL (Preseason):
1. Pittsburgh Steelers-They are the defending champs and a healthy Ben Roethlisberger and a top ranked defense should put them back in the mix for another Super Bowl run.
2. Philadelphia Eagles-Donovan McNabb is poised to do great things. The addition of Michael Vick in some capacity can only help the team and they still have a formidable defense despite the unfortunate death of Jim Johnson.
3. New England Patriots- If Brady is healthy and Randy Moss is focused, the Patriots should win the AFC East. The Key will be if the departure of Mike Vrabel, the trade of Richard Seymour and the retirement of Teddy Bruschi will set them back in terms of leadership on defense.
4. New York Giants- New York added a few young receivers to try and compensate for the loss of Plaxico Burress. It didn’t't work last season especially in the playoffs as the Eagles shut down Eli Manning and the passing game. The lost of Derrick Ward in the backfield just adds more pressure to Eli Manning and a young receiving group.
5. Tennessee Titans-Kerry Collins had a mistake free season for the most part but to ask him to duplicate that especially when you don’t add any difference makers on offense and you take away one of the best defensive players and difference makers in the league like Albert Haynesworth.
6. Indianapolis Colts- Indy returns a formidable team on offense and have even added some more talent on that side of the ball and defensively, they are still fast but they need to stay healthy, especially Bob Sanders.
New head coach Jim Caldwell wants to bring a more physical style especially on defense but the question is can he duplicate the success of former head coach Tony Dungy.
7. Atlanta Falcons- Matt Ryan should be just as good as last year thanks to running back Michael Turner and a defense that was pretty good in key situations last season. They made need to open up the offense even more because they will be challenged for the by the high powered offense of the New Orleans Saints and the new look/scheme defense of the Carolina Panthers.
8. Baltimore Ravens-Question: can Matt Ryan have another stellar season at quarterback?
9. Arizona Cardinals-Question: can the Cardinals sneak up on teams this year like they did in the playoffs and can their offense score enough points to win enough games and get back to the playoffs?
10. New Orleans Saints-Question: Can Drew Brees have another MVP like performance at quarterback and like the Cardinals, can the offense score enough to make it to the playoffs?
11. San Diego Chargers-Question: Can San Diego stay healthy enough and get good enough coaching to win the weak AFC West?
12. Carolina Panthers-Question: Can Jake Delhomme stay injury free to get this team back to the playoffs and is the new look defense capable of making big plays and playing better in crunch time?
13. Green Bay Packers-Question: Will Aaron Rodgers continue to progress at quarterback, can he be a leader and will the defense get better from last season?
14. Houston Texans-Question: Can Matt Schaub stay healthy?
15. Minnesota Vikings-Can Brett Favre be the missing piece in the Vikings getting to the Super Bowl?
AFC North : Steelers
AFC East : Patriots
AFC West : Chargers
AFC South : Titans
NFC North : Packers
NFC East : Eagles
NFC West : Cardinals
NFC South : Falcons
Wild Card Teams:
Colts and Texans
Saints and Panthers
Houston Texans-All the pub is consumed by the Titans and Colts and it’s well deserved but the Texans will have a say in who wins the AFC South this season. If the Texans can keep Matt Schaub healthy, run the football well and continue to improve on defense like they have over the last two seasons, they will be a playoff team and with a few breaks their way, could even challenge the bullies of the division(Titans and Colts) for the Division title.
Green Bay Packers-All the talk in the NFC North is about the Vikings and Bears because of their quarterback changes. Well the changes at quarterback for those teams will back fire and Aaron Rodgers will have a good season and the defense of the Packers will be much improved in leading them to a Division Title.
Dolphins, Jets, Broncos, and Ravens-Miami and Baltimore were in the playoffs last year but they played over there heads for the most part. The Dolphins schedule is too tough to make the playoffs based on their personnel while its too much to ask a young quarterback like Joe Flacco to duplicate the kind of season he had last season with limited offensive weapons and an aging defense. Meanwhile, the Jets are in disarray even though they seemingly have their quarterback of the future. They will ask Mark Sanchez to manage the game and that will not be enough to take the AFC East or make the playoffs. The Broncos will not make the playoffs because they made the wrong decision in hiring an inexperienced coach who doesn’t't have any clue in building relationships with current players not to mention they have one of the worst defenses in the league.
Vikings, Bears, Bucs, Redskins- The Vikings will not make the playoffs because of two words: BRETT FAVRE.
The Bears will not make the playoffs because they have a spoiled insecure “brat” at quarterback who is vastly overrated in Jay Cutler and a overrated defense who, like the Ravens, is getting old fast.
Sorry, Lovie Smith. The Bucs will need to add more talent on offense and continue to get younger on defense before Rahim Morris can take them to the playoffs and the Redskins need to get a new coaching staff in there that believes in their quarterback and add more talent on both sides of the ball before they get back to postseason play.
Super Bowl Prediction:
Eagles vs. Steelers
I had these two teams last year and I had half of my prediction correct.
Both these teams have lost some talent but gained some through the draft and free agency and barring any significant injuries both should get to the big game. Both have starting quarterbacks that have the ability to make big plays, have big play receivers and a defense that can get after the quarterback and put pressure on the quarterback and who knows what Michael Vick can potentially bring to the game after almost a full season under his belt. It should be another great Super Bowl and let’s hope the Eagles can live up to their preseason and make me look like “NEGRO-DAMUS”.
Top 15 Division 1 College football teams:
6. Penn State
7. Oklahoma State
8. Ohio State
9. Ole Miss
12. Virginia Tech
13. Boise State
14. Georgia Tech
National Championship game:
Florida vs. Texas
Top 10 HBCU Division 1 teams:
1. South Carolina State
3. Prairie View A&M
5. Grambling State
6. Alabama A & M
7. Alabama State
8. Northfolk State
9. Jackson State
10. NC A & T
Top 10 HBCU Division II teams:
2. Albany State
3. Elizabeth City State
4. Fayetteville State
5. Benedict College
6. Bowie State
7. Virginia State
8. Fayetteville State
9. Virginia Union
10. Fort Valley State
DIVISION 1 HBCU PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Derrick Wiley of South Carolina State - The Freshman quarterback led the attack for the Bulldogs, after starter Malcolm Long suffered an injury in the first-half and didn’t return the remainder of the game. Wiley finished with 13 rushes for 77 yards, while going for 4-6 in the air for 40 yards. Long finished the day 13-20 for 101 yards and two touchdowns in their 34-31 victory over Grambling State in the 5th Annual MEAC/SWAC football game in Orlando, Florida Sunday.
DIVISION II HBCU PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Joaquin Green of Saint Augustine College - In only his second collegiate start, Green threw six touchdown passes against Charleston (W.Va.), which is the most by a Falcons quarterback since the program was re-instated in 2002. Green is a red shirt freshmen. The Falcons came up 2 points short in a thrilling game against Charleston 43-41 in triple overtime.
Well that’s it for this week. We will talk with you next week. Enjoy the games!