Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It Could Be The Eagles or It Could Be...

"I look forward to getting back to the type of season we had in 2004 that led us to the Super Bowl."

"It's the NFC, period. I feel like we can compete with all of them. If you ask those teams, they'll tell you the same, that we have the type of team you have to look out for."

Well judging from the above statements McNabb appears confident that a return to the playoffs is in the cards for the Eagles, heck maybe even a trip to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl.

Outside of McNabb several experts also have the Eagles as a top contender in the NFC, a dark horse to come out of the East on top.

But in case the Eagles tumble (it's Philly, something is bound to go wrong!), lets take a look at some other contenders for the Lombardi Trophy as we enter training camp....

Indianapolis Colts: Let me know when to stop.............Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Bob Sanders..........

New England Patriots: Although they have questions with their secondary, having Tom Brady under center, and 6'4" Randy Moss out jumping 5'9" corner backs, you can't go wrong.

New York Giants:
The defending champs earn a free pass just because they are the defending champs. But with questions surrounding the team such as Michael Strahan, we wonder how this team defends its title without one of its defensive mainstays hitting golf balls instead of Quarterbacks. Forget Jeremy Shockey being gone. This team went 5-1 without Shockey, most of them against top talent and on the road, and went 9-5 with him. This is now Eli's team and we we will all watch in anticipation to see how this team does in defending its title.

Dallas Cowboys:
Seems to be that since the "Romo" era began, people have jumped on the bandwagon that is the Dallas Cowboys. Sure they have Romo, Barber, T.O. and a stout defense, but how many playoff games has this current group of "America's Team" won? Zero. Winning zero playoff games means zero Superbowl trips. However there was a time that the great Peyton Manning couldn't win the "Big Game", and by all means Romo is no Manning. Romo has had a few years of experience under his belt, now its time for him and the 'boys to make that run.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Jack Del Rio made a bold move last year by cutting one time first round pick/bust/out of the league, Byron Leftwich in favor of fourth round selection, David Garrard. Seems to be that the gamble has paid off in the short term. Garrard is good, but can we really base their future off of one year? Tommy Maddox anyone? This off season Jacksonville rewarded Garrard with a long term contract. With a stout running game, solid defense, Jacksonville has all the tools to make it far into to January. So long that our top two contenders don't come up on their playoff schedule.

New Orleans Saints:
Two seasons ago, New Orleans went on a magical run en-route to an NFC Championship date with the Chicago Bears. Last year injuries riddled this team to a 7-9 record and third place finish in the NFC South. So why would we put them as one of the Superbowl 43 favorites? All you have to do is look at the Superbowl 42 winner to determine your answer. New Orleans has made some great off season pickups with players like Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma. They, along with some other acquisitions, should help the team make a strong push toward Tampa in a wide open NFC. With a solid offense, the question remains in New Orleans comes back to defense. Last year their secondary consistently got burned by opposing offenses. But with the NFC lacking some of the offensive firepower the AFC holds, New Orleans could still be playing come February.

San Diego Chargers:
Ahh the popular pick among "experts" for 2008. People seem to forget some of the injuries that this team suffered just 6 short months ago, or that their coach is the poster-boy for the coaching carousel. Did Norm turn this team into contenders, or did the team underachieve under Marty, Wade, and Cam? Although talented on all sides of the ball, San Diego still lacks that big time, go to receiver. Last season's trade for Chris Chambers helped, or maybe the emergence of Vincent Jackson is enough. Last year San Diego overachieved and hit their stride down the stretch. We all know San Diego has the Indianapolis Colts number having beating them twice last season, but there is one more bully on the block they haven't quite overcome. I'm still not quite convinced with this team. Injuries to their Quarterback, Running Back, and Tight End does not have me convinced. But we all thought the same about the New York Giants. Anything can happen.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
The only reason this team is even on this list is the experience that they have in January football. The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a tremendous job over the year at retooling the lineup. From loosing players such as Joey Porter, Plaxico Burress, among others over the years, the Steelers know how to retool. Adding to the mix in 2008, Pittsburgh picked up explosive RB Rashard Mendenhall to compliment "Fast" Willie Parker. Parker seemed to run out of gas as the season went on. Without a solid backup, the Steelers were forced to rely on Parker a little too much. In today's NFL, the two back system is key for success(see Rhodes/Addai and Jacobs/Bradshaw) in today's NFL. Pittsburgh thrived off that type of running game riding. The power of Jerome Bettis complimented the Speed of Parker. This year they seem to have a team put together that somewhat mirrors that magical 2005 team. Now if only they could find a way to beat the Jags?

Honorable Mention:

Seattle: Running Game issues limited Seattle in the 2007 playoffs. Without 2005 League MVP, Seattle's Running Game will suffer setback with Jones.

Tampa Bay:
If they acquire Favre, different story. Until then, defense can no longer carry team.

Green Bay Packers:
Last year's 13-3 run wont happen again with tougher schedule. Oh I almost forgot, number 4 retired.........uh make that reported to camp..........uh make that got traded...........hell who know's what is going on there. If Favre returns, Green Bay has a chance.

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