Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Year in Review - NFC

Yes, I know we haven't finished the entire season, yet, but I figured why not take a look back at all the teams that are done for the year. I'll leave out the Final Four. NFC today.

NFC EAST
Dallas Cowboys (13-3): Even when they were 12-1, there was a sneaking suspicion this team wasn't nearly as good as their record indicated. Then Jessica Simpson entered the scene and it all went to shit. See what happens when you girly up a football jersey?

Highlight: Knocking off Green Bay 37-27 to take top seed.

Lowlight: Nearly everything since that game.

2008 outlook: Another solid regular season followed by an early playoff loss and TO crying. Not necessarily in that order.

Washington Redskins (9-7): Winner of this year's roller coaster award (edging out the Detroit Lions). Got the living shit kicked out of them in Foxboro, won their last four games to squeak into the playoffs, then completely fell apart against Seattle and lose their coach to retirement. The amount of drama this team went through in 8 weeks is more than most teams go through in 5 years.

Highlight: Coming together and making a run at the exact right time.

Lowlight: Sean Taylor's murder.

2008 outlook: Undetermined. Need a coach and you can be sure Dan Snyder will bring in a bunch of over priced, over rated free agents to muck things up.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-8): Despite what seemed like a lost season, Andy Reid probably did his best coaching job this year. Finishing at .500 after the first half this team had was a major accomplishment. There is also a remote possibility that Donovan McNabb may be around next year. He looked pretty good his last few weeks. Maybe his knee really wasn't healed properly. I'm also wondering which doofus in my fantasy league will be suckered into taking him next year.

Highlight: Nearly toppling the Patriots in Foxboro; destroying the Supreme Being and the Lions 56-21 in week 3.

Lowlight: Any game I started McNabb in my fantasy league. Ugly.

2008 outlook: Depends on McNabb's health, location (if he's with the team) and contract (if he has one). Expect a bounce back from a mediocre 2007.


NFC NORTH
Minnesota Vikings (8-8): I thought this team was going to suck this year. Turns out they were average. If they can get a decent quarterback they might move up to good next season. Big if.

Highlight: Adrian Peterson

Lowlight: Adrian Peterson's knee injury

2008 outlook: Bright. Peterson should be back to 100% and everyone's first pick in the fantasy drafts and the defense was solid throughout. If the QB can get things together they may be a tough team next year.

Detroit Lions (7-9): They were 'God's team' for about 8 weeks, then God either died or lost interest or something. This team folded like a cheap lawn chair over the last half of the season. Sadly I can't blame their collapse on Jon Kitna having impure thoughts or not praying hard enough. It was the defense that left town. Over the first 8 games they gave up a shade over 19 points per game. That includes the 56 points they gave up to the Eagles in week 3. The last 8 games? 32 points per game. Ouch.

Highlight: Having the media actually pay attention to them the first half of the season.

Lowlight: Firing their offensive coordinator after the season despite the defense caving. If it was anyone other than Mike Martz I would have felt bad.

2008 outlook: Questionable. A new offensive coordinator may cause things to take a step back this year. Need to improve the defense if they want to be taken seriously.

Chicago Bears (7-9): Last year's trip to the big game is a distant memory. Previously defined by their defense, which decided to take the year off. This year they were known for having the wrong Adrian Peterson and a hotly debated quarterback controversy. Unfortunately, the debate was which quarterback sucked more.

Highlight: Knocking around Green Bay 35-7 in week 15.

Lowlight: Nearly every play that involved Rex Grossman.

2008 outlook: Since they still have Grossman at QB I'll just say 'depressing'.

NFC SOUTH
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7): Granted their defense was pretty good, but what business did this team have hosting a first round playoff game? It's time to get rid of the conference leaders when the NFL seeds the teams. Keep them to see who makes the playoffs, but seed the teams by record after that. A playoff team that was completely unimpressive in nearly every way.

Highlight: Yeah, I've got nothing here. They didn't beat one good team all year.

Lowlight: Basically tanking their last two regular season games because they had their division wrapped up. That worked well.

2008 outlook: More of the same.

Carolina Panthers (7-9): 2-1 when Delhomme went down with a season ending injury. By season ending, I meant for the entire team. They used Carr, Testaverde and the immortal Matt Moore the rest of the way. Looking at those names it's a miracle they managed 7 wins.

Highlight: Providing grandfather jokes for every announcer by starting Testaverde.

Lowlight: Getting crushed by the Jaguars 37-6. Check out the offensive stats on this one when you have a minute. UGLY!

2008 outlook: Dangerous. Delhomme should be back, which means an improved Steve Smith.

New Orleans Saints (7-9): This was a hard team to figure. They looked great at times; they looked atrocious at times. Some of those times were in the same game and from series to series. Let's just mulligan this season.

Highlight: Winning four games in a row...

Lowlight: ...after starting 0-4

2008 outlook: I'm chalking this up to an off year for this team. Expect them to be back in the hunt next season.

Atlanta Falcons (4-12): How was this season a total disaster? Let us count the ways. They hire a mercenary coach who quits on them after 13 games, their franchise quarterback is jailed for two years for being a Godfather type leader of a dog fighting ring (shouldn't we call him the Dogfather?), having to depend on Joey Harrington and futilely snagging Byron Leftwich out of desperation.

Highlight: Emergence of Roddy White.

Lowlight: See anything listed above.

2008 outlook: Dismal.

NFC WEST
Seattle Seahawks (10-6): Team was better than many thought. Their defense was solid, if a bit unspectacular and Hasselbeck is still one of the top 10 QBs in the game. Too bad they had receivers that consistently drop the ball and a running back that should have retired 2 years ago.

Highlight: Knocking the Redskins and Sean Taylor's memory out for the season.

Lowlight: Imploding in Green Bay the following week.

2008 outlook: Undetermined. Is Holmgren retiring? Is Alexander going to get new legs? Will Hasselbeck join the Hair Club for Men?

Arizona Cardinals (8-8): One of the most spectacularly average teams in NFL history. I don't even have anything to say about them. The entire team constitutes one big shrug and sadly, that's an improvement from years past.

Highlight: Kurt Warner's rise from the dead.

Lowlight: Kurt Warner's rise from the dead.

2008 outlook: Questionable. Need to shore up their defense to take the next step. Offense should be imposing even if Leinart is back at full strength.

San Francisco 49ers (5-11): Everyone expected them to be contending this year, but they took an enormous step back that was more like falling down a well. Every part of this team regressed despite an improvement in personnel. Odd year for them.

Highlight: Preseason expectations.

Lowlight: Actual season.

2008 outlook: Unknown. Will the real Frank Gore, Alex Smith and 49er team please standup?

St Louis Cardinals (3-13): Tough year. Once their offensive line was decimated by injuries, things quickly fell apart. The offense showed slight improvement towards the end of the season, but they need to shore up their O line if they want to stay close next year.

Highlight: Steven Jackson's Nike commercial.

Lowlight: Steven Jackson's offensive line in week 8.

2008 outlook: Whatever.


Today's distraction: As a tribute to how the Cowboys and Colts will be spending their Super Bowl weekends, it's Mini Pool.

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