Saturday, October 4, 2008

EU Quarterly Report

With the closing of the NFL’s 2008 first quarter, I present to you an audited report of the league and a ranking of all 32 teams.

Begging for a Bailout
32. Cincinnatti Bengals 0-4
31. St. Louis Rams 0-4
30. Detroit Lions 0-3

These teams have serious ownership problems. Mike Brown of the Bengals is unwilling to make the necessary investment in his team and has engaged in some serious double-speak when it comes to the organization’s attitude toward the troubling off-field behavior of its players. The new Rams owners are feeling their way and the team may still end up back in L.A. The Ford family is finally on the right track after firing Matt Millen, but how long will it take to correct years of incompetence?

29. Oakland Raiders 1-3
28. Kansas City Chiefs 1-3
27. Houston Texans 0-3
26. Miami Dolphins 1-2
25. Cleveland Browns 1-3
24. Minnesota Vikings 1-3

These teams all have potential, especially the Vikings, with their strong defense and running game. They, especially, have no excuse for their poor play. The Texans may be the best of this group and have shown the most improvement, notwithstanding their 0-3 record.

23. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons’ two wins were against Detroit and Kansas City. The organization is improved from last year and appears to be on the upswing, but I don’t expect them to finish the season above .500.

Trying to Turn the Corner
22. Indianapolis Colts 1-2
21. Seattle Seahawks 1-2
20. Arizona Cardinals 2-2
19. San Francisco 49ers 2-2

Is the Colts’ reign as an elite team over? Can the Seahawks turn this 0-2 start into another Super Bowl appearance? Will the Cardinals fade as the season progresses (and tradition dictates)? Can Mike Martz turn J.T. O’Sullivan into Marc Bulger, or even Jon Kitna?

Risky Propositions
18. New England Patriots 2-1
17. New York Jets 2-2
16. Baltimore Ravens 2-1
15. Green Bay Packers 2-2
14. Chicago Bears 2-2
13. Denver Broncos 3-1

The Pats, Ravens, Packers and Bears all have questions at quarterback while the Jets and Broncos have serious defensive issues. Can Matt Cassel lead the Patriots to the playoffs? Can the rookie Joe Flacco keep playing like a seasoned veteran? Can Aaron Rodgers stay healthy? Will Kyle Orton throw three touchdown passes every week? Will the Jets and Broncos give up 35 and 33 points every week?

Strong Buys
12. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-2
11. New Orleans Saints 2-2
10. San Diego Chargers 2-2
9. Philadelphia Eagles 2-2
8. Pittsburgh Steelers 3-1
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-1
6. Washington Redskins 3-1

The potential of each of these teams offsets the question marks that could doom their season. If the Jaguars can get their offensive line to gel, they could be a very balanced team. The Saints have an explosive offense and their defense isn’t quite as bad as the Broncos.

Large Cap Contenders
5. Dallas Cowboys 3-1
4. Carolina Panthers 3-1
3. Tennessee Titans 4-0
2. Buffalo Bills 4-0
1. New York Giants 3-0

Each of these teams has the two things generally necessary to win a Super Bowl: a good quarterback and a strong defense. Trent Edwards and Tony Romo still have a lot to prove—namely, winning a playoff game—but the potential for greatness is there. Kerry Collins may not be a great quarterback, but he has been to a Super Bowl. Plus, with the strength of the Tennessee defense, this team, like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, could one of the exceptions to the general rule.

Week 5 Picks (Home Team in CAPS): TEXANS +3 over Colts, Titans -3 over RAVENS, Chargers -6.5 over DOLPHINS, PANTHERS -9.5 over Chiefs, EAGLES -6 over Redskins, Bears -3.5 over LIONS, PACKERS -3.5 over Falcons, Seahawks +7 over GIANTS, BRONCOS -3 over Buccaneers, Patriots -3 over 49ERS, CARDINALS -1.5 over Bills, COWBOYS -16 over Bengals, Steelers +4.5 over JAGUARS, SAINTS -3 over Vikings (Last week: 7-6, Season 28-31)

Eddie IN THE MONEY Superpicks: Bears -3.5 over LIONS, TEXANS +3 over Colts, CARDINALS -1.5 over Bills, Titans -3 over RAVENS, and Patriots -3 over 49ERS (Last week: 3-1, Season, 8-2)

Bill Simmons: Last Week: 8-5, Season: 31-28-1
Sports Gal: Last Week: 6-7, Season: 30-29-1

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