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Douche Baggins
07-04-2006, 05:35 PM
1. Carolina

The Panthers took a huge hit this off-season when linebacker Will Witherspoon left in free agency. He was the leading tackler on the NFL's third-ranked defense. But Carolina played the season without injured Pro Bowl tackle Kris Jenkins. He's back in 2006. Counting Keyshawn Johnson, the Panthers signed six veteran starters in free agency: defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis, linebackers Keith Adams and Na'il Diggs and center Justin Hartwig. The playmaking skills of Smith, DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams will make the Panthers the team to beat in the NFC.

Final '05 rank: 10



2. Indianapolis

The Colts were the team to beat in the 2005 playoffs with a 14-2 record and the Steelers beat them at Indianapolis in their playoff opener. That may benefit the Colts in 2006. The Steelers were the team to beat in the 2004 playoffs after posting a 15-1 record and the Patriots beat them in Pittsburgh in their playoff opener. That allowed the Steelers to fly under the radar in 2005, and they quietly went about the business of winning an NFL title. The Colts stole kicker Adam Vinatieri away from the Patriots in free agency.

Final '05 rank: 3



3. Pittsburgh

The downside of winning a Super Bowl is that everyone wants your players. The Steelers lost three starters in free agency: wideout Antwaan Randle El, safety Chris Hope and defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen. Pittsburgh absorbed another blow when Jerome Bettis, the NFL's fifth all-time rusher, retired. But the Steelers used first-day draft picks to find replacements for Randle El at wide receiver (Santonio Holmes) and punt returner (Willie Reid). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be a year better.

Final '05 rank: 1



4. Seattle

The NFC champion Seahawks also took a hit in free agency in losing Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson. As long as Seattle plays in the NFC West and lines up Shaun Alexander at tailback, the Seahawks should win enough games for a first-round playoff bye. Alexander, the league's MVP, scored 14 of his NFL-record 27 TDs in his six division games against the West. Only three other NFL players scored as many as 14 TDs in a 16-game season. Free agent LB Julian Peterson toughens up the defense.

Final '05 rank: 2



5. Miami

Nick Saban didn't waste any time building the Dolphins into contenders, posting a 9-7 record in his first season in 2005. Miami's glaring weakness was at quarterback, and Saban addressed that by acquiring three-time Pro Bowler Daunte Culpepper in the off-season. A couple of Allens, veteran cornerback Will and rookie safety Jason, bring big-play ability to the NFL's 20th-ranked pass defense. Ronnie Brown will become a 1,000-yard rusher with the departure of Ricky Williams.

Final '05 rank: 16



6. Cincinnati

Everyone forgets that the Bengals won the AFC North last season, not the Steelers. But Cincinnati lost quarterback Carson Palmer on the second play of its playoff opener against Pittsburgh with a knee injury and went on to lose the game. All 22 starters are back from an 11-win team in 2005. If Palmer can return to his Pro Bowl form after an off-season of rehabilitation, the Bengals can again contend with the Steelers for division titles and Super Bowls.

Final '05 rank: 7



7. New England

As long as the Big Three remained intact coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and kicker Adam Vinatieri the Patriots loomed as Super Bowl favorites. But the Big Three is now a Big Two with the defection of Vinatieri to the Colts. Safety Rodney Harrison, offensive tackle Matt Light and center Dan Koppen return after missing a combined 33 games last season. Top draft pick Laurence Maroney gives New England running back insurance for Corey Dillon.

Final '05 rank: 8



8. Kansas City

The Chiefs became only the second team in the salary-cap era to win 10 games and miss the playoffs. Kansas City defeated AFC division champions New England, Denver and Cincinnati in post-Thanksgiving games. New coach Herman Edwards inherits the NFL's No. 1-ranked offense, featuring quarterback Trent Green and halfback Larry Johnson. But the Chiefs must move up from 25th in defense into the teens to make a playoff run in 2006.

Final '05 rank: 14



9. Chicago

The Bears won 11 games and captured the NFC North last season despite the absence of starting quarterback Rex Grossman for 13 games. All 22 starters return, and Chicago again should dominate a division that features new coaches at the other three teams. The Bears finished second in the NFC in defense and have improved their pass coverage with the signing of free-agent DB Ricky Manning and the drafting of Abilene Christian's Danieal Manning in the second round.

Final '05 rank: 5



10. Denver

The Broncos have one of the NFL's best home-field advantages, but four turnovers by quarterback Jake Plummer sank host Denver in the AFC title game. If coach Mike Shanahan has his doubts about Plummer's ability to be a championship quarterback, he reinforced them by trading up in the first round last April for Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler. The Broncos upgraded the NFL's 18th-ranked passing game by acquiring veteran Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker.

Final '05 rank: 4



11. Jacksonville

The Jaguars won enough games (12) in 2005 to win six division titles. Unfortunately, the AFC South was not one of them, thanks to the 14-2 Colts. The Jaguars needed playmakers for the NFL's 15th-ranked offense and found them in the first two rounds of the 2006 draft in tight end Marcedes Lewis and halfback Maurice Drew.

Final '05 rank: 6



12. Washington

The Redskins have the best defense in the NFC East and that's always a good place to start. They added a thumper (safety Adam Archuleta) and pass rusher (Andre Carter) in free agency. Newcomers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd will give quarterback Mark Brunell downfield options on offense to complement Pro Bowl flanker Santana Moss.

Final '05 rank: 12



13. Atlanta

A running game and defense is a proven champion- ship formula. The Falcons have half the equation, leading the NFL in rushing the last two seasons. But the NFL's 22nd-ranked defense needs help, so the Falcons traded for Pro Bowl pass rusher John Abraham, signed safety Lawyer Milloy in free agency and drafted cornerback Jimmy Williams.

Final '05 rank: 17



14. Dallas

Terrell Owens was the splashiest off-season addition by any NFL team, and Mike Vanderjagt brings stability to the kicking game. But the offensive line remains as large a question mark in June as it was last January, when Drew Bledsoe was sacked five times in the season finale. If the Cowboys can't block, they can't contend.

Final '05 rank: 13



15. Arizona

The Cardinals move into a new domed stadium in 2006 and the home schedule is already sold out. Air conditioning is a powerful attraction and so is the team. Arizona was the only team to rank in the top 10 in both offense and defense last season, and the Cardinals have added two-time NFL rushing champion Edgerrin James to the offense.

Final '05 rank: 20



16. NY Giants

Eli Manning is ascending as a quarter- back and the Giants have a top 5 offense with playmakers Tiki Barber, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey. But the 24th-ranked defense needed help, so the Giants signed four veteran starters in free agency: linebacker Lavar Arrington, cornerbacks Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters and safety Will Demps.

Final '05 rank: 9



17. Tampa Bay

The Bucs have the NFL's best defense and elite offensive playmakers in Carnell Williams and Joey Galloway. Like the Cowboys, the concern is the offensive line. So Tampa Bay used its first two draft picks on blockers (Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood) and signed tackle Torrin Tucker in free agency. It's Chris Simms' team now.

Final '05 rank: 11



18. Baltimore

The clock is ticking on quarterback Kyle Boller and head coach Brian Billick. The Ravens played half the season without Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis and still finished in the top 5 in the NFL in defense. Trading for QB Steve McNair should help an offense that was inconsistent and non-threatening last season.

Final '05 rank: 19



19. Philadelphia

Healthy seasons from quarterback Donovan McNabb and halfback Brian Westbrook could restore the Eagles as a prolific offensive unit. But Philadelphia will miss the downfield plays of Terrell Owens. Free-agent end Darren Howard will improve the pass rush and No. 1 draft pick Brodrick Bunkley will bolster the run defense.

Final '05 rank: 21



20. San Diego

The Chargers are playoff- ready everywhere except quarterback, where inexperienced Philip Rivers inherits a top 10 unit from Drew Brees. Rivers has watched Brees for two years, and now it's time to show why he was the fourth overall pick of the 2004 draft. Pro Bowlers LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates will ease the transition.

Final '05 rank: 15



21. Minnesota

The Vikings emptied the building this off-season, ridding themselves of a head coach, general manager, quarterback and running back. Minnesota signed Steve Hutchinson away from Seattle. At 37, Brad Johnson takes over as the starting quarterback.

Final '05 rank: 18



22. St. Louis

Mike Martz is gone, Marshall Faulk is on the bench, and the Rams are no longer the Greatest Show on Turf. They need to start playing some defense, which is why the Rams hired Jim Haslett as coordinator and signed Will Witherspoon, La'Roi Glover and Corey Chavous in free agency.

Final '05 rank: 25



23. Green Bay

Brett Favre spent the off-season hemming and hawing before deciding to play in 2006. If he matches his career-worst and NFL-leading 29 interceptions in 2005, he'll wish he had retired. The Packers signed cornerback Charles Woodson, but his money would have been better spent on offense.

Final '05 rank: 27



24. New Orleans

The hiring of Sean Payton as head coach gives the Saints a chance on offense. A greater impact, though, will come from the signing of quarterback Drew Brees in free agency and drafting of Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. The Saints may not win much in 2006, but they'll be fun to watch.

Final '05 rank: 28



25. Cleveland

The young quarterback is in place in Charlie Frye. What the Browns need now is tight end Kellen Winslow and wideout Braylon Edwards to become the playmakers they were drafted to be. They were Cleveland's top picks in 2004 and 2005 but missed a combined 22 games last season with injuries.

Final '05 rank: 22



26. Buffalo

Halfback Willis McGahee and wide receiver Lee Evans give the Bills game-breaking speed on offense. But quarterback remains a concern with J.P. Losman disappointing as a starter in 2005. The Bills used their first five draft picks on defense, which ranked 29th in 2005.

Final '05 rank: 26



27. San Francisco

The 49ers lost a league-high 106 games by starters because of injuries in 2005. That contributed to a 12-loss season. The rookie struggles of QB Alex Smith (one TD, 11 interceptions, 29 sacks) also contributed. The 49ers hired guru Norv Turner to straighten Smith out.

Final '05 rank: 31



28. Tennessee

The future of the Titans is in place with the selection of quarterback Vince Young (Texas) and running back LenDale White (Southern Cal) with their top two draft choices. The present has been bolstered with the free-agent signings of David Thornton, Kevin Mawae and David Givens.

Final '05 rank: 24



29. Detroit

General manager Matt Millen hired the third head coach (Rod Marinelli) of his six-year tenure and also gave up on his quarterback (Joey Harrington). Look for rookie defenders Ernie Sims and Daniel Bullocks to become instant starters.

Final '05 rank: 23



30. Oakland

Art Shell is back for an encore performance as head coach. He took the Raiders to the AFC title game in 1990 but was fired after the 1994 season. No. 1 draft pick Michael Huff upgrades a secondary that intercepted four passes in 2005.

Final '05 rank: 29



31. NY Jets

Head coach Herm Edwards and Pro Bowl defenders John Abraham and Ty Law are gone. Eric Mangini takes over as head coach, and Patrick Ramsey takes over at quarterback. The Jets are as far away from the Super Bowl as they've ever been.

Final '05 rank: 30



32. Houston

The blueprint didn't work. Heading into their fifth season of existence, the Texans ousted general manager Charley Casserly and coach Dom Capers. The Texans don't need a better plan. They need better players.

Final '05 rank: 32

rad
07-04-2006, 05:39 PM
Miami up to #5 from #16?!?!? :bong:

Mr. Laz
07-04-2006, 06:24 PM
Miami up to #5 from #16?!?!? :bong:
i don't know ... they won their last 6 games last year and seriously upgrader their weakess position at QB with a proven,if somewhat overrated, veteran in Daunte Culpepper.

Ronnie Brown should be improved too.


if there oline can improve with the addition of Shelton they should be pretty solid.

cornerback position is a littler rough for #5 though.

rad
07-04-2006, 06:28 PM
I agree they're improved but #5 in the league seems abit generous. Who knows, they could be this years Bengals.

StcChief
07-04-2006, 06:30 PM
Miami up to #5 from #16?!?!? :bong:

Yeah. big jump... maybe to #8 or #9. Dante will be the key if he's not there yet...then Joey Harrington can fill in.
ROFL

Rausch
07-04-2006, 06:32 PM
Putting the Phish that high is moronitasticulous.

And abandoning the homer shades for a moment, until KC proves they're a more consistent team than Denber what have we done to be ranked higher?...

rad
07-04-2006, 06:40 PM
Putting the Phish that high is moronitasticulous.

Can you show me how to pronounce that word?

Sam Hall
07-04-2006, 06:46 PM
I'm not buying into the Indianapolis hype again. Their best chance was last season. I'd probably have Indy at #5. Miami is obviously too high, even if you buy into the hype. Cincy won't be ranked ahead of KC after week 1.

Rausch
07-04-2006, 06:58 PM
Can you show me how to pronounce that word?

Moron-e-tas-tic-you-lous...

banyon
07-04-2006, 07:06 PM
I'm not buying into the Indianapolis hype again. Their best chance was last season. I'd probably have Indy at #5. Miami is obviously too high, even if you buy into the hype. Cincy won't be ranked ahead of KC after week 1.

why not?

cause they lost the "Edge"?

They have almost rushed for 1000 with Mungro and Rhodes.

They'll still be solid and won't shank playoff kicks with an "idiot" kicker.

banyon
07-04-2006, 07:07 PM
Hope we are #8. That means playoffs.

Cochise
07-04-2006, 07:10 PM
No. 1 draft pick Michael Huff upgrades [Oakland's secondary,] a secondary that intercepted four passes in 2005.


Jeez, and we thought ours was pathetic.

listopencil
07-04-2006, 07:14 PM
Lame.

blueballs
07-04-2006, 07:17 PM
Doll****s

W Denver H 13-3

L @ Jets 4-12

W Car H 11-5

L @Buff 5-11

L @ TB 11-5

L KC H 10-6

W @NO(?) 3-13

L Atl H 8-8

L Pats H 10-6

L @ Clev 6-10

W Oak H 4-12

W Buf H 5-11

W @ SD 9-7

W Jets H 4-12

W Tenn H 4-12

W @ Pats(set players 4 POs) 10-6

Cochise
07-04-2006, 07:25 PM
Jeez. Well it can't be said that Miami was beating up on the class of the league there at the end.

milkman
07-04-2006, 07:29 PM
Moron-e-tas-tic-you-lous...

I just pronounce it 'F**ked.

It's easier.

shaneo69
07-04-2006, 07:29 PM
Apparently the additions of James Reed, Ron Edwards, and Lenny Walls have really impressed Gosselin.

blueballs
07-04-2006, 07:29 PM
and all
at home

Douche Baggins
07-04-2006, 07:31 PM
Apparently the additions of James Reed, Ron Edwards, and Lenny Walls have really impressed Gosselin.

Don't forget Herm Edwards, the new defensive coaching staff and Tamba Hali.

shaneo69
07-04-2006, 07:35 PM
Don't forget Herm Edwards, the new defensive coaching staff and Tamba Hali.

Apparently Herm Edwards' five years in NY really impressed Gosselin.

chiefqueen
07-04-2006, 08:29 PM
Miami up to #5 from #16?!?!? :bong:

In August they will probably be the "trendy" SB pick from the AFC IMO. Look for the "experts" to also include the opportunity to be the first team to play in a SB in its home stadium to be an extra motivating factor.

blueballs
07-04-2006, 08:33 PM
gives the experts a excuse
to go check out Miami's practices
and cheerleaders while there

Sam Hall
07-04-2006, 08:43 PM
why not?

cause they lost the "Edge"?

They have almost rushed for 1000 with Mungro and Rhodes.

They'll still be solid and won't shank playoff kicks with an "idiot" kicker.

Since they've disappointed on several occasions, I need to see Indy get it done before I believe in them. I believed in the Colts last season. It was their golden opportunity.

This debate seems to come up every season. People think team X will be better after losing a star player. It doesn't work out that way. Indy still has good backs, but Edge is hard to replace.

htismaqe
07-05-2006, 05:17 AM
Apparently the additions of James Reed, Ron Edwards, and Lenny Walls have really impressed Gosselin.

:deevee:

Chiefnj
07-05-2006, 07:35 AM
"Arizona was the only team to rank in the top 10 in both offense and defense last season"

I'm surprised.

Lonewolf Ed
07-05-2006, 07:46 AM
Jeez, and we thought ours was pathetic.

It pretty much was, but Oakland's was wretched.

CupidStunt
07-05-2006, 11:15 AM
Whether he'd have predicted us to go 16-0 or 0-16, i'd say this: the man has a better track record than most.

In fairness, that's mainly due to his draft insiders and sources, but I'd rather see Gosselin praising the Chiefs than some shmuck like Len Pasty.

htismaqe
07-05-2006, 11:20 AM
Whether he'd have predicted us to go 16-0 or 0-16, i'd say this: the man has a better track record than most.

In fairness, that's mainly due to his draft insiders and sources, but I'd rather see Gosselin praising the Chiefs than some shmuck like Len Pasty.

Gosselin has a soft spot for the Chiefs, he was Gretz before Gretz... :D