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AFC East Predictions

I will now be covering predictions for each division over the next 8 days leading up to the start of the NFL season.  That being said, they are only predictions, and every year someone suprises me.  The Vikings last year and the Saints in 09 just to name a few.

AFC EAST.

4. Dolphins.  I love the Dolphins.  I particularly like their move to go younger at RB (Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush).  I have never been sold on Chad Henne, but I like him as a Dolphins fan and I wish the best for him.  I was hoping my favorite team–to be unnamed–to draft Pat Delvin, they didn’t, but I think that Miami is a good place for him.  Matt Moore isn’t a starting QB in my opinion either, giving Devlin a chance, probably around the fall of 2013 or 14 though.  I think overall the dolphins did little to help themselves in this already intense division.

3. Bills.  I think that the Bills made some good offseasons moves, my personal favorite is for utility man Brad Smith.  The Bills probably won’t improve all that much, unless Ryan Fitzpatrick does, which I feel he could, making the Bills no longer in the cellar of their own division any more.

2. NY Jets.  I don’t buy all the off-season hype that the Jets get every year.  This year too I felt that they were too focused on Nnamdi Asomugha to be effective in the short and intense offseason.  I understand their desire to want him in a division that has the Patriots, but they shouldn’t have let the rest of their team fall apart while that was occuring.  That being said, the Jets will still be good, but it’s tough to be at the top of the East since the emergence of Tom Brady.

1. Patriots.  Duh.  Is that all I have to say.  Tom Brady’s amazing performance last year is no suprise.  It also is very likely that he’ll do it again.  The way he sees the field, the way he spreads the ball around, the way Bellicheck finds great players from places most people haven’t heard of.  It’s hard to pick against the Patriots, and watch for Chad Johnson (I know him by no other name) to have a good season for them once he catches on.  He has a chance to win a Superbowl, something he never had in Cincinnati.

Early look at QBs

Some teams are set at Quarterback, but it seems almost every team has a QB fighting for a position.

Looking at day one of the preseason, it appears that some are putting up a good fight, while others are laying down and dying.  First let’s look at those who looked good on the first night of the preseason.

A starter: Kevin Kolb.  I’m one of the people who thought that getting rid of Donovan McNabb was going to be a terrible idea for the Eagles.  I also thought that Michael Vick was awesome, I even wore his old Falcons jerseys while he was in prison (lots of people hated me for it).  Anyway, I was not surprised when Kolb had a disastrous week 1 of the 2010 season against Green Bay.  I then thought it stupid that every team in the league with “QB issues” was dumb to consider him the top available prospect.  Last night Kolb shut me up a bit.  He looked very poised and like a guy who was ready to lead a team.  Last year perhaps was a bit of a wakeup call and now he’s ready to take the next step and lead a team.  Don’t let the 4 for 7 stats fool you, he was very solid, and watch for him to continue to grow now without the pressure of being in front of Vick.

A Backup: Tim Tebow.  Before he was  drafted,  I thought all the hype about him was extreme.  One guy even said “I would like this good lookin’ man to run my offense.”  What does that mean?  When he scored his first rushing TD, Jim Rome said something along the lines of the Greatest rushing TD ever.  I’m all about proving it on the field, which Tebow hasn’t really showcased; however, I’m also against all the negative publicity he’s getting lately for no reason and have begun rooting for him (I still like Kyle Orton more).  Last night Tebow was 6 of 7 which included a 43 yard dart to Matthew Willis.  Tebow again proved that in big games, he shows up.  This game wasn’t big for Denver, Dallas, or many other second string players, but Tebow had to come out and prove he can play QB in the league, and for now he did.

Looked bad:

Starter: Tarvaris Jackson.  Was anyone really surprised by his once again average and blasé performance put many fans asleep, but this time in Seattle not Minneapolis.  You can argue that T-Jack didn’t have Sidney Rice to throw to, but that didn’t work too well for them in the purple uniforms either.  Now may be the time to panic for Seattle as well as Russell Okung heard a pop in his ankle last night, and even though x-rays came back negative, this can’t be a good sign.

Backup: Blaine Gabbert.  Gabbert got his first dose of the NFL.  He also got his first dose of what it’s like to play for a declining NFL franchise.  The Jaguars did their best to make Gabbert look awful allowing 3 sacks and 3 drops while Gabbert was on the field.  It’s only one game, and too early in Gabbert’s career where it will affect him too much.  This mostly means that David Garrard will probably lead them into their 3-13 season, and potential move to L.A. (although other teams seem more likely to go).

NFL to L.A.

I know I’m a few days behind on this one; however, I still think it merits the conversation at almost any point until it happens.  The city of Los Angeles has approved the building of a $1.2 billion stadium provided that AEG can get a franchise to commit to a long-term lease.

The San Diego Chargers have been a team most linked to the move to Los Angeles, which wouldn’t be to abrupt on fans, they’d at least stay in the state.  Today Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said for Vikings fans not to worry about the move to L.A. as talks have started to go somewhere on a new stadium for them.

To me, the move that makes the most sense is for Jacksonville to high tail it out of there and head straight to that beautiful $1.2 billion stadium.   doesn’t really have the support of its own fans, even from day one (and I watched their hall of fame game against the panthers when they were both expansion teams), last year just showed how few people are watching that team.  The other teams in question at least seem to be consistently competitive and do a far more superior job selling out games.

Braylon Edwards is Worthless

The 49ers clearly think that Braylon Edwards is a worthless player based on the new contract that he has accepted.

The new contract that Edwards received could be a very good one if he learns the offense, behaves, and most importantly, performs.  The current contract would allow the niners to cut ties with Edwards in the event that he doesn’t work out, at any time during the pre-season or training camp without owing him as much as a dime.  If they cut him after the season starts they will owe him a millions dollars.  This is a great chance for Edwards to show that he is a great WR, possibly even one of the best in the league.  But most teams didn’t want to take him on with the baggage that would be included.  If Edwards behaves, after the season perhaps other teams will have some real interest in him.

Big Z’s Fantasy Board: TE

Thursday of our fantasy work here at Big Z’s NFL Blog brings us to the TE position.  A position that can either bring loads of fantasy points, or many months of frustration for those of you who draft like me and don’t care about TEs.

1. Antonio Gates
2. Dallas Clark
3. Jason Witten
4. JerMichael Finley
5. Vernon Davis
6. Tony Gonzales
7. Owen Daniels
8. Rob Gronkowski
9. Brandon Pettigrew
10. Jimmy Graham
 
1. Gates is a proven great TE, and will continue to do so this year.  Rivers likes throwing him the ball and fantasy owners will like having him on their team.  Watch how his foot injury may affect him this year though.
2. Peyton Manning, need I say more.  Yes, Dallas Clark runs like a WR and is coming off missing a lot of last season, Manning will like having him back.
3. Witten will benefit a lot from having Tony Romo back (that’s the closest to a compliment I will ever give Tony Romo).
4. Aaron Rodgers won’t know what it’s like to throw to people other than Driver and Jennings and have them not drop the ball, he’ll like Finley.
5. The 9ers are due to be good eventually, I don’t know that this is their year, but if it isn’t, Vernon Davis will be the one carrying them to their 5-11 finish.
6. The Falcons will have a “high flying” offense with lots of passing yards, Gonazales will be involved as another great dome team looks to put up insane passing numbers
7. Schaub will also have great numbers, don’t look for Owen Daniels to be a major threat to score, but he’ll have good numbers otherwise.
8. Tom Brady has shown us the past couple of season how much he likes to get his TE involved, this year will be no different.  He may be a slightly riskier option as Hernandez might get more involved
9. Pettigrew I put higher than most people but I think that Stafford is going to stay healthy this year, and he will have to have a big year to keep his QB job, and he’ll have to keep Johnson and Pettigrew involved to do so.
10.  Saints throw the ball a lot, and with Brees loving to spread it around, watch for Graham to be involved.

To Stay away from:

Drafting a TE too early.  Don’t get me wrong TEs can be very helpful to an offense, but if you’re not getting a high end TE stay away from drafting one too early.  I’ve seen far too many people waste picks on TEs.

Tebow Takes a Seat

Just a few days after the final trade attempts of Kyle Orton from the Broncos to the Dolphins fell through, it appear he’ll get the starting job.

Orton was not traded to the Dolphins as he and Miami could not come to terms on a new contract.  Miami then went after QB Matt Moore, and gave up on Orton putting Denver in an awkward spot.  Now it seems that they awkwardness of what to do with Orton is gone, and he will start over the overrated Tim Tebow.  Tebow, a Josh McDaniels dream QB, was taken in the first round of last years draft.  Based on the way that Tebow ended last season this seems like a strange move, but remember with McDaniels no longer running the team, it appears that the Broncos want to go with an actual QB under center.

Randy Moss Return?

Apparently since his retirement a few days ago, the Philadelphia Eagles have made on offer to WR Randy Moss.

The Eagles have been making many explosive decision moves this offseason, so this one seems to fit right in.  There is no word yet on whether or not Randy Moss will find the offer intriguing enough to return, but it shows 2 things. (1) The Eagles are still looking to improve their seemingly impressive roster and (2) that teams still have interest in Randy Moss and think he can still play the game at a high level.  The Eagles seem to be a good fit for Moss, but not being the big attention getter on the team may deter him.