Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dr. X goes out on a limb or two....

I'm gonna get right down to it. Forget all of these so-called "experts", who are all predicting Indianapolis to face off against Carolina in the big game this season. Stop pretending like someone knows something because they don't. Injuries, breakout players and other unforeseen variables always play into making these guys look foolish. John Clayton, Peter King, Judge Clark, Pete Prisco....pick anyone and they'll tell you they know nothing more than you or I. That being said, I'm going to make some bold predictions and try to really pull a couple rabbits out of the hat.

One of the hottest topics of the NFL preseason is how the NFC East is going to shake out in 2006. Many are picking the G-men or Cowboys to comeout on top and the Eagles and Skins to battle it out for last. I am not necessarily going to go out on a limb here but stay tuned for the NFC playoff picture. Here is how I see the division ending up come January:

1. Dallas 11-5 Defense + a new TO = Division champs

2. Philly 10-6 Revamped D + a healthy McNabb & Westbrook = Wildcard berth

3. New York Football Giants 10-6 An improved Eli leads the G-men to a winning record but a ridiculous schedule and suspect secondary keeps them from winning the division.

4. Washington 9-7 Brunell + a banged up Portis = a disappointing season and a near playoff appearance but no dice. Sorry Skins' fans, but you should have spent your money on a better QB rather than an overrated #3 WR.

As you can see, there is nothing too far fetched going on with these predictions, but picking the Eagles to finish a close 2nd to the Cowgirls is going against most experts' picks.

Now onto the rest of the NFC and the playoffs:

1. Chicago sneaks by Minnesota on the tie-breaker to win the division at 9-7 and Vikings miss the playoffs due to inconsistent play out of their offense led by an aging Brad Johnson and unproven Chester Taylor. Chicago has little time to celebrate their victory and find themselves KO'd by the Hungry Cowgirls in the first round of the playoffs.

2. Carolina, most experts' lock pick to rep the NFC in the Super Bowl, barely scrape past the Bucs to win the division and lock up the #2 seed in the NFC at 11-5, however they lose too many key players to injury along the way and are upset in the second round of the playoffs by the Bledsoe-T.O. led Cowgirls.

3. Seattle avoids the disaster of the previous 6 Super Bowl losers and cruise to an easy division title in the lackluster West to earn the #1 seed in the NFC at 12-4. They then play host to the underrated Eagles, who come into town with a huge chip on their shoulder to pull off the biggest upset of the playoffs.

4. The worst possible scenario then happens as Philly's big win turns into big disaster on the road at the NFC Championship in Dallas. T.O. burns Lito Sheppard for 2 big TDs to give the Cowgirls an early lead that McNabb & Co. just can't overcome, unfortunately sending the ultra-hated Cowgirls to the big game.

Who will they face??? Let's take a look at the AFC.....

1. The Steelers and Patriots just aren't looking like the teams from the past couple of seasons at this point, but you definitely can't write them least not this year. Both of them fight their way into the playoffs as wild cards, but neither advances past the first round as they will both be lucky just to make it there this time around.

2. Miami, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver all win their divisions, with Indy & Cincy being the #1 & #2 seeds, respectively. Peyton Manning has a great year but once again pulls a Marino and fails to lead the Colts to the Bowl as they are upset in the second round by the visiting Miami Dolphins who use the 1-2 punch of Ronnie Brown & Chris Chambers to keep the ball away from Peyton & Co. Denver takes down the Pats in the playoffs for the second year in a row but then have to head to Cincinnati where their defense just can't keep up with the high powered Bengals.

3. The Orange Cats then play host to the Teal Fish in what proves to be a laugher in Cincy. Culpepper breaks under pressure and Ronnie Brown can't find enough running room to save the day. Cincinnati heads to the game of all games under the great leadership of Palmer and surprising play of their D.

Super Bowl XLI features the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Cincinnati Bengals and the big story lines here are who else but T.O. and Carson Palmer. Which story will prevail? The glorious return from devastating injury or the Showboat who didn't shut up but still put up in 2006? Philly fans celebrate a T.O. melt down and Bengal victory as the other big mouth receiver on the undercard steals the show and leads Cincy to a convincing 31-23 victory.

Hard to believe? Maybe but at least I went outside the box a bit.

Other random predictions......

1. MVP - Donovan McNabb (Philly): Returns to form and carries the team on his back to the brink of a return to the Super Bowl before his arch nemesis steals his thunder. None the less, a season for the ages as he moon walks his way to his first MVP crown.

2. Rushing title - Larry Johnson (KC): No real surprise here but given the number of teams using a RBBC, the options are very limited. Expect the 2,000 yard mark to be broken by this beast in 2006.

3. Receiving title - Torry Holt (St. Louis): An aging Issac Bruce should lead to a few more looks in his direction which he should convert into about 1,400-1,500 yards.

4. Best Defense - Seattle: A healthy Julian Peterson should help this unit into becoming one of the tops in the league and it helps that they play San Fran and St. Louis twice each.

5. Best Offense - Cincinnati: Palmer has a plethora of weapons to work with....Chad Johnson, Houshmanzadeh, Henry, Rudi....look out.

6. Coach of the Year - Andy Reid (Philly): Goes from 6-10 to NFC title game in one year.....gotta love it.

7. Rookie of the Year - Wali Lundy (Houston): This award could go to a number of players, including fan favorite, Reggie Bush, Laurence Maroney, Mike Bell or DeAngelo Williams, but Lundy has a slight advantage over the rest of the field....he has the least difficult obstacle to beat to put up the best overall numbers....Vernand Morency. Granted the Texans suck, but who would you rather have to compete against, Morency or Dillon, McAllister and DeShaun Foster.

8. Best Breakout WR - Lee Evans (Buffalo): I guess if Chris Chambers puts up Steve Smith like numbers in 2006, you could pick him, but I'm choosing someone who is not quite as proven in the NFL at this point.....expect 1,100 yards and 9 TDs from the speedy Evans.

9. Best Breakout RB - Frank Gore (San Fran): Another offense that will suck but he has the starting gig with no one in his way. Don't expect top 10 numbers, but 1,200 yards and 8 TDs may be possible if Alex Smith progresses.

10. Biggest Losers - Green Bay & San Fran: These teams have zippy defense and their offensive line issues will cause fits for their QBs. Expect nothing more than a combined 8 wins.

There you have it.....some of Dr. X's great predictions. Feel free to comment or send me an e-mail on fantasy lineup questions. Stay tuned for more notes as the season goes on.