There is another post asking about power rankings. I am not a big fan of "power rankings" because who cares who the worst 10 teams are when you are a Patriots fan. Also, there are two conferences for a reason so let's use them. I want to talk about Playoff contenders. Here are my predictions and why.
NORTH-Vikings-The best running game in the NFL has a QB that can not only manage the game but can also win one as well. Defense can stop the run very effectively and if you think you should throw all day instead, you better triple team Jared Allen. This guy is scary. The best team in the NFC.
EAST-Giants-Eli seems to be a better QB when you take away the playmakers around him. First Tiki and Shockey, now Burress. Eli looks better than ever. Defense is still very good but does not look as good as the Vikes D.
SOUTH-Saints-Brees has got that O rolling thats for sure. How good is there D though. We all know how an Offense can carry the team, but for how long. I think Vikes and Giants who are more rounded teams will both beat this team when it counts.
WEST-49ers-Singletary has got this young team playing tough, hard-nosed football. They run the ball very effectively and seem to play well both stopping the run and pass. Look to have similar season Vikings used to have before Farve. Get this team a QB in the next year or two and watch them take the next step.
WILDCARDS-Eagles-McNabb is out and Westbrook is hurt. Yet they are still playing well. Watch out when both get back and that offense with Vick start clicking.
Falcons-Atlanta edges out the Bears and Cardinals. Cutler is doing what everyone thought he would do, that is leading this team to an 8-8 record. Cardinals had too much turnover after their SB run, and their O-Line cannot keep Warner upright. They will keep that SB hangover curse or whatever alive and miss the playoffs this year.
NORTH-Steelers-Tough to pick them over the Ravens right now, but Big Ben has proved over the years he is a very clutch QB. Flacco has only one year under his belt. Steelers have more weapons on offense with much better receivers. Ravens D has lost a Coordinator, starting safety and MLB in the offseason. Steelers D has lost a starting safety in Polomalu for a few weeks. When he comes back their D goes from pretty good to being the best.
EAST-Patriots-I have to believe the Pats will continue to find their way. Brady looks better and more comfortable each week. Welker is back and healthy. Also the D has surprised so far and without Mayo. When he comes back they will be even better.
SOUTH-Colts-Peyton is Peyton. Dungy leaving was a good thing for this team. They got bigger in the middle of their Defense without giving up speed where they need it. This allows them to be more effective against the run. This ultimately makes it harder for teams to win the time of possesion battle against the Colts which always seems to be the key to beating them. Keeping Peyton on the sidelines.
WEST-Broncos- Struggled picking them over the Chargers but I feel like the Chargers have some internal problems that are becoming public. It seems they are looking to make some trades to shake things up. Whenever a team does this mid-season I don't like it. Broncos get to the dance.
WILDCARDS-Ravens-This spot goes to Ravens or Steelers depending on who wins North division. I stated my reasons for giving it to the Steelers above.
Jets-Jets, Chargers and possibly Cincy who have surprised and look like they are better than they are supposed could take this spot. Ultimately Cincy has too much ahead of them in their own division so they do not get the wins to make it. Chargers like I said have problems between their GM and its once star players. LT is not performing and Merriman has sounded off at AJ Smith possibly opening the door for a trade. The Jets just picked up Edwards from the Browns, who will probably keep it together to finish out the season giving them the edge.
I realize it is early, but it is always fun to throw predictions out there. Anyone disagree with my picks or my reasoning?