Final Analysis (NFL Finale 2/2)
Next Year- Jerryland aka New Texas Stadium
The Year After (Provided Goodell Doesn't Strangle The Best Thing Going Right Now Into A Work Stoppage) - Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the reigning AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts
The Year After That- Louisiana Superdome home of Da Saints
It will happen at some point in the next three years, I guarantee it. Alright, so let's kick the ballistics here. I believe it was Nas who said...
So you went Platinum, yeah that's nice...
Now let me see you do the same thing twice.
So it's on this premise that I go on by saying, short of some serious defensive upgrades, I don't like the Saints' chances of repeating. I just don't. Teams that are heavily reliant upon shooting their way to back to back titles don't have much success. Look at the Greatest Show On Turf. They had just enough defense to keep Kevin Dyson inches away from the tying touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIV. Know what happened to them the year after? They were punched out in the Wild Card Round by...the New Orleans Saints. Irony's a mofo, ain't it? So let's get to it...
Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints
Why They Can Repeat
- They've got Drew Brees, they've got that offense for all intents and purposes returning intact. As long as you've got offense that can throw up points like they can, you're never out of it. But...
Why They Can't Repeat?
- As I stated above, this formula usually works just once. The league is good about adjusting to stop you and within their own division, it's highly unlikely everyone's just going to roll over for them again. (Hell if trends truly dictate, the Tampa Bay Bucs are going to win the NFC South next season. Stop laughing, the cellar dweller the year before has risen to the top the following year.) That defense has to get much better and they need to add some serious firepower to it if they're to celebrate in Jerryland a successful defense of their title.
AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts
Why They Can Get Peyton's Second Ring...
- Because they've still got Peyton, those receivers that emerged this year will be a year older and much better. Oh, did I forget that they'll have Anthony Gonzalez back and healthy next year? In all the hub bub about Garcon and Collie, Gonzie was forgotten. With him back, three really good receivers and a tight end become FOUR really good receivers with a tight end of All Pro pedigree. You talk about a nightmare for defensive coordinators...
Why They Can't Get Peyton's Second Ring Next Year...
- The defense doesn't improve a lick and Peyton can't shake whatever it is about the playoffs that gets what we saw 24 hours ago. The absolute great thing about any championship game, no matter the sport is that it exposes every flaw you've hidden for the entire season for the whole world to see. Last season, it was Arizona's inability to stop anyone. Much the same reason they didn't get back this year to defend their NFC Championship and go after that first Super Bowl. (Take note Saints fans, this could be you in one year.) There needs to be depth added to that defensive line and even though they've got Bob Sanders, me thinks it might be time to add an insurance policy of sorts. They need someone to take pressure off Antoine Bethea back there.
What Gets Them Back To The Super Bowl?
- Favre. A healthy Favre, the Favre we got for all but ONE throw in that NFC Championship game and I'm telling you right now without any ifs, ands or buts...this is your NFC Champion next year. Of course if Plan A fails, there's always Plan B. McNabb. Childress needs to implore Viking management to do whatever it takes to get Philly to let McNabb walk. Because let's face the facts here. As long as he remains in Philly, two things are certain.
One, McNabb will continue to be the New Age Randall Cunningham. As in he'll constantly get the Eagles to the playoffs, but without a true #1 receiver to bail him out and a running game to keep defenses honest, failure is inevitable. Two, Philly faithful will continue to rue the day he was drafted and the day that Terrell Owens left town.
What Keeps Them Out Of It?
- If Plans A & B as outlined above fail outright and something short of a Godlike leap doesn't happen with whomever's under center next season. This roster as it's presently constructed is BUILT for a Super Bowl championship or two max. Yet the window of opportunity is incredibly limited, especially as it goes with that great defense.
New York Jets
What Gives Rex & The Sanchise The Franchise's 2nd Super Bowl Championship?
- Improvements on defense and well...the maturation of Mark Sanchez as a QB. Make no mistake about it, their running game is great. But it'd be foolish of folks to dismiss the weapons that Sanchez has at his disposal from an offensive standpoint. Cotchery and Braylon form as good a 1-2 punch as any QB's got at his disposal in the NFL. Oh and mark my words on this, with the Cleveland Stink off of him, Braylon WILL have a career year next season. If this happens and the de...well let me say it this way.
If everything that fell right this year does so again next season, nobody's stopping the Jets. Not even the Colts.
What Piles On To The Ongoing Misery Of The Jets?
- If Rex proves to be no more a one year wonder than his predecessor. If somehow the line between being brash and stupid gets blurred to the point where his eye is taken off the ball and this team takes a huge step backwards. The secondary beyond Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis was exposed in a huge way in that AFC Championship game against the Colts. That has to change if the Jets are to knock the Colts off their perch atop the conference and to a lesser extent, to knock The Hoodie and his Pats off their divisional throne.
What Gives The Ravens Another Title, Nevermore?
- A returning Ed Reed for starters. Perhaps some receivers that are under the age of 30 that can make plays for Joe Flacco. I believe this defense has MAYBE one really great run left in it, but I think it's next season. The Ravens need to start putting a contingency plan in place and fast for this defense, otherwise it's going to become an afterthought in its own division...nevermind the conference itself.
What Has The Ravens Fading To Black, Nevermore?
- A departed Ed Reed, a defense that just gets older and slower. Oh, no help whatsoever for Joe Flacco and way too much dependency on the legs of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee to carry this offense. Yeah, that's fairly simple, ain't it?
What Gives Them #6 On Their Home Turf Next Year?
- Perhaps getting the real Roy Williams to step up for starters. You know, the guy who was a stud at The University of Texas? The guy who until he was traded, looked like he was a stud receiver stuck on a crap team. The guy who we thought with Owens in Dallas, would never get to shine until Owens left only once he left...he flickered at best. Why do I mention this as opposed to Miles Austin? Because next year, every defense this side of the Mississippi will be locked in on Miles. It's going to be up to Williams to take the pressure off of him. For if Roy can step up and be what Jerry thought he would be when he traded for him two seasons ago, this Dallas offense is as potent if not moreso than it was during their 90s dynasty. Their defense needs some tinkering, but nothing that constitutes and absolute overhaul. They've gotta get some help in that secondary to alleviate the pressure on that front seven to get to the QB.
What Has Them Watching The Super Bowl On Their Turf Next Season?
- Jerry stands pat and leaves Wade to his devices. Tony Romo grows up to the sum of zero and Roy Williams does more pouting than catching. Miles Austin gets overwhelmed at all the attention he's getting by defenses and basically, the passing attack sputters. The defense is creamed when their pass rush isn't getting to the quarterback, leaving their corners to get raped and pillaged something awful.
San Diego Chargers
What Gives San Diego Its "Super Finish"?
- Hmmmm. Ya know, it's almost hitting a point where this is becoming the franchise that's almost star crossed to a point. They had Brees and let him go, but not before they had the #1 pick and had a franchise so fucked up...Eli foregone sun and neverending Summer for the media hotbed that is New York City and Winters that defy logic. It's almost unprecedented to a point, but right now if you're keeping count...their 2004 Draft Day trade to get Phillip Rivers cost them TWO Super Bowl Championships. One for Eli, one for Brees, whom management let walk so Phillip could get his turn to shine.
So...now that we've covered that, what gets them back to the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl XXIX? Going under the assumption that Tomlinson will be gone, for starters, praying that Darren Sproles is better than we suspect he is. I believe Tomlinson's presence to a point has helped conceal any real flaws Darren's game might have. Without Tomlinson, I'm not so sure, but for the sake of San Diego...Darren had better be all that and a Lombardi Trophy. Because the rest of that offense is sound. Those receivers will continue to pose matchup problems for any secondary not running on stilts or flying with a jet pack. That defense is still as sound as any in the league.
What Will Lead To Another Short Circuit?
- As painful and ironic as it might be, Norv Turner. I believe that it is feasibly possible to outcoach yourself and even with the most talent one can have, figure out a way to blow it. Norv Turner, while he has succeeded to a point where Marty failed, he is still finding ways to lose with far superior talent under his thumb. How he got an extension after this year's collapse in the Divisional Round confuzzles me greatly. But I think that Norv is the key here.
Beyond that...well for sake of going too long with this...
I see only the Patriots out of the teams that didn't get out of Wild Card Weekend as legitimate Super Bowl threats next season. But that's only IF Welker's healthy and Belichick does a great job of retooling this roster. Moreso on defense, because they're getting old and something's just missing. As for the Bengals, the notion of trading for T.O., isn't bad in theory. After a certain point in your career, you've cashed every check there is to cash and broken every record you can break. If you're truly worth a damn, you need to have a ring and as much a Madden Wet Dream as it might be...T.O. and Ochocinco would be too much for opposing defenses to handle next year. Provided of course, the year Benson had wasn't a one hit wonder and the defense continues to make progressive strides towards being respectable again. Alright, enough NFL talk. Time to get my NBA mojo going as there's MUCH to cover on that front.