This is the part where I get my hate mail/tweets. These next five teams are the contenders who are just going to fall short. I’ll start with a bombshell:
The Green Bay Packers are not who you think they are. Credit to Aaron Rodgers because he is a great QB, but he has always had solid wide receiver play and great offensive coordinating. He can force the ball in there when he needs too, but it isn’t often required. I am very intrigued to see how Lacy does as running back, but they do not have the greatest run blocking offensive line. Meanwhile, their schedule…. Opening against eh 49ers, Redskins and Bengals is tough, closing against Falcons, Cowboys, Steelers and Bears is insane. Their whole division has tough schedules, so I think they will win the division, but they will be playing in the wildcard round.
The Dallas Cowboys are America’s disappointment. They start off strong, then get into trouble mid-season. Right when you want to count them out, Romo leads the league in comeback victories which would have been quite the feat if not for that last game vs. the Redskins. He starts off horrible and somehow comes back to be in position for a game winning drive and then throws the most mind numbing interception you have ever seen. I like Dallas this season though. I think they upgraded at defensive coordinator, and finally they are going to focus on getting their running game going. Their only Achilles heel is that their fans cannot name three starting offensive lineman. Perhaps this bunch can hang tough and shock the world, but history says that they will crumble vs. a hot defensive line come playoff time (San Fran or Seattle). I do see Dallas getting 10 wins and a playoff win.
The Atlanta Falcons seem to be that team that is always a bridesmaid and never a bride. It seems as though you can always pencil them in a playoff berth and a solid record, but that’s about it. Who can forget Matt Ryan completing a 19 yard pass to Tony Gonzalez to set up a game winning FG vs. the Seahawks one week, and then blowing a 17 point lead vs. the 49ers the next week? Steven Jackson’s presence intrigues me, but I think they will blow it again this year.
The Houston Texans seem to be everybody’s sleeper pick this year. Not mine. Not again. We picked them last year in our top 5 and they got blown out by the Patriots in the 2nd half of the conference finals. They are an extremely talented team but they just cannot seem to get it done when it matters most. Do not get me wrong, I think they will have a great season and are an absolute lock to make the playoffs, but they will not be their year’s Super Bowl winner.
And the final team to not make the Final Five is:
The New England Patriots. Be as mad as you want to be. This is one of the weaker Patriots teams in recent years. Ridley had a great year last year, and they are going to have to ride him a lot this season. As great as Tom Brady is, he just lost his top two receivers and replaced them with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Think about that. Aaron Hernandez is not coming back… this offense has lost some serious fire power. Thankfully, they have a weak division so they will be able to mask their wounds till the playoffs come around.
Now we have our Final Five teams….