Welcome to the NFL Roundtable!
With the season coming up, lets start going over the teams, One question per team! Lets kick it off with the Northern Divisions. Lets throw it to EJ and David.
Baltimore – The Ravens lost 8 starters, more than any SB winner, EVER. How far, if at all, do they fall?
EJ: They could miss the playoffs. Losing Boldin and Pitta hurts on offense and losing the on field leadership of Ray Lewis and the off the field leadership of Ed Reed is major on defense. Flacco took a big step last season, but he’s got to take a bigger step this season to keep the Ravens in the hunt.
David: I’m still waiting for Flacco to be a top flight QB like he’s paid to be right now. I have no idea what got into him late in the year, but I’ll lay odds he’s more Eli Manning than Peyton. Got right at the right time. Of course, Eli does have 2 rings. I do think they have lost too much. 10-6/9-7 I can see, but I think they bounce back VERY quickly.
Cincinnati – If we don’t see the Dalton Gang in the Playoffs, do we see the Herm and Marv show from 7-9 on ESPNRadio?
EJ: I’m not sold on Andy Dalton and honestly I believe Marvin Lewis has been in Cincy a little too long, so yes I think the Herm and Marv show will be airing after Mike & Mike after next season.
David: I’ve never thought that Marv was a good coach, but he has done the impossible and made the Bengals worth a poo. I do think that Dalton is a keeper, and do think the Bengals make the playoffs again, but I’m not sure that lets him keeps his job. I don’t think Marv is unemployed long, I could easily see him taking over the defense in Philly or Atlanta next year.
EJ: I’ll go with the over. I think Cleveland is taking some positive steps and I like the additions of Horton and Turner as the coordinators. They’ll finish higher than #6. Not much higher though. The #10 pick at best.
David: I’m going under, I’m not a big fan of many of the moves, and sometimes Turner tends to not make a turnaround in one year. The Browns will improve, but there are some serious gaps in talent with the rest of the division.
EJ: I won’t count out the Steelers organization. I just won’t. The key is Big Ben has to stay healthy and the Steelers have to run the ball more to take the pressure off of him. If they can do that, then the Steelers will make the playoffs.
David: Division? No. Super Bowl? Yes. The Steelers have enough to compete with a dropping Ravens, whatever the Bengals do and the Browns. But the window is closed, and they have to rebuild, and quickly. Hopefully Troy is next and that money goes into the trenches.
EJ: Something about Jay Cutler has always irked me. I’ve argued with DJ, my fellow J. Brother (who absolutely loves the guy), about his progress for years now. However, this isn’t his last stand. I don’t think Cutler will ever lead a team deep into the playoffs but he’s a talented QB who just doesn’t have all of the pieces he needs in the receiving corp. As long as he’s statistically sound he’ll be in Chicago for awhile.
David: I don’t think so, I do like Cutler, and lets be honest with you, the Bears are good enough elsewhere to make sure they don’t get a high pick in the draft If I was playing QB. If the Bears had grabbed one of the 1st round QBs that dropped to the 3rd or 4th, I could see it, but Culters better than most QBs, and If he gets some WRs to throw to, maybe he can prove it.
EJ: Yes. I like Coach Schwartz but his forte is supposed to be defense, yet that is the weak link of the Lions. Their offense is loaded. Stafford and company will put up huge numbers but if that defense underperforms again, then Coach Schwartz will be given his walking papers.
David: Yes. The problem is, they are the 3rd best team in the division on Paper, but great coaches make teams on Paper better, and Jimmy has done what Marvin did in Cinci- pulled it away from laughingstock status. Problem is- no one loves .500 ball.
Green Bay – Is that window starting to close?
EJ: Not as long as #12 is around. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the National Football League. As long as he puts together his type of season, then the Packers will always be in the conversation.
David: I’ll be honest, I think it is. They have lost a TON of talent, there is not a ton of cap room coming, and they are almost becoming a colder version of Pittsburgh.
EJ: Cordarelle Patterson. Patterson is raw as a route runner, but the former Tennessee Vol has tremendous athleticism. If Patterson can bring his X-factor to the offense and take some of the defense’s attention away from Adrian Peterson then the Vikings can be a balanced attack this season.
David: I’m going with the Sherif. Lets see, you have to deal with Rodger, Stafford and Cutler- Oh, and you have the cruddiest QB in the division? Might want to get after him and make sure that the running backs don’t do squat either.
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