Indianapolis Colts: 11 - 5
Two questions, will the Colts miss Edgerrin James and can Peyton win the big game? The Colts may not miss the rushing of Edgerrin James as veteran Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai should more than make up for his yardage. What the Colts, and especially Peyton will miss is James' pass blocking and all those other "little things" that James did perfectly. Can Manning sell the play action pass as easily without the reputation of James to cause defenders to hesitate. Whether Payton can win the big game or not, you will have to wait for my post season predictions.
The Colts defense will be fast, it will rush the passer, it will take advantage of mistakes and teams will be able to run all over it. However, if the offense is able to continually run up the score, opponents won't have the option to run and will have to pass. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will be ready and waiting to punish the quarterbacks when they do drop back to pass.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 11 - 5
Byron Leftwich will miss recently retired Jimmy Smith. Matt Jones has only one year of experience as a wide receiver and is not ready to take over Smith's role as the go-to guy. Reggie Williams has been a bust and must start performing before he no longer is given any more chances. Fellow third year receiver Ernest Wilford has won the other starting spot, but is more of a slow possession-type and will not scare any defenses.
The defense, led by the immovable wall of tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud will continue to dominate at times, but also lack consistency. A good game plan can beet this defense. This team will play quite a few close games.
Tennessee Titans: 4 – 12
The time may have been right to let Steve McNair leave, but the Titans should have made sure the Billy Volek was truly ready to be a starting quarterback. A terrible preseason led to signing of street free agent Kerry Collins. The Titans should have looked back to Collins in 2004, where he took six or seven weeks to fully adjust to the Raiders offense. Collins is left with even less time to learn Norm Chow's system and this could be a very brief marriage. The game plan for now is to give Vince Young a series or two of experience each week, but if Collins struggles and Volek cannot reclaim the starting role, the Vince Young era may start ahead of time in Tennessee.
The Titan defense is slowly developing into a respectable unit. Albert Haynesworth is the rock of a solid line, which returns surprise 2005 sack-man Kyle Vanden Bosch. Keith Bulluck leads a fast and active linebacker corps. The secondary will count on the maturing of team distraction Pacman Jones.
Houston Texans: 3-13
Reggie Bush will be an instant star in Houston. Wait, you say that the Texans passed on Bush in favor of the next Mike Mamula, Mario Williams. Perhaps the Texans had little need for Bush, due to a then healthy Domanick Davis; but the Texans should have acquired some more draft picks and traded down to finally select that franchise tackle the team has lacked through their entire existence. David Carr or whoever eventually replaces him will never have a chance until the offensive line is strengthened.
The Texans did provide a few more weapons for Carr with the acquisitions of Eric Moulds and Jeb Putzier. The loss of Domanick Davis to season ending injury will not be that great of loss, as rookie Wali Lundy should be a more than adequate replacement, especially in the Denver-like system that new head coach Gary Kubiak will run.
The Texans will feature one of the worst defenses in the league, yet again. However, this year's model will be base 4-3 unit rather than the 3-4 previously employed. Rookie linebacker DeMarco Ryans will be one of the few bright spots on the unit, and is an early favorite for defensive rookie of the year.
You can find more predictions below:
- NFL Overview
- AFC East Preview
- NFC East Preview
- AFC North Preview
- NFC North Preview
- NFC South Preview
- AFC West Preview
- NFC West Preview
- Playoffs and Super Bowl Preview
- Awards and Such Preview
Links will be added as the previews are posted.