A Look Back – The Jim Mora Jr. experiment certainly didn’t last all that long. After just one disgraceful season at 5-11, the Seahawks canned the younger Mora coach. Now, Seattle went to the collegiate ranks to take HC Pete Carroll from the purgatory known as USC. Carroll took over a team that has a pretty bare cupboard though, and a ton of work is there to be done.

Key Addition – RB Leon Washington – … Eventually. Washington showed that he has the spark to be a real threat as a featured back in this league with the New York Jets, and for a running game that ranked 26th in the NFL at 97.9 yards per game, that addition is important. However, there’s a question as to whether or not he’ll be ready for the outset of the year after breaking his leg last season.

Key Loss – OT Walter Jones – The great Walter Jones finally decided to call it a career in the offseason, which prompted the Seahawks to use their first pick in the NFL Draft on OT Russell Okung. The transition from one Hall of Fame caliber tackle to a potential Hall of Fame caliber tackle shouldn’t be a tough one, but that pick could’ve been used for a lot of other positions of need for the Seahawks.

<a href=Seattle Seahawks NFL Cheerleaders” width=”300″ height=”225″ />

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The defense figures out how to get to the quarterback. This was a real problem last season and will likely be a trend once again. Because of the lack of a pass rush, the Seahawks surrendered 245.4 yards per game through the air last year, ranking third to last in the league. That won’t cut it again this season, and Carroll vows to bring a better pass rush to his new home.

The Crucial Game – The home game with San Fran to start the season is paramount. The Niners are the team to beat in the NFC West, and starting the season with a win at home will be crucial, especially with very winnable games coming immediately thereafter. The season badly needs to get off to a good start to get the “12th Man” engaged on a regular basis at Qwest Field.

Predictions – Carroll should improve this team this season, but it isn’t ready to make the jump back to the playoffs by any means. Seattle is still at least two years and a starting quarterback away from making that push again. It seems as though the days of QB Matt Hasselbeck are just about over, though it is clear that the veteran will start the season under center. Either he has to find the Fountain of Youth, or the Seahawks are going to face another disappointing 6-7 win season at best. Their odds to win the NFC are currently +2200.

2010 Seattle Seahawks Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. SF
9/19 @ DEN
9/26 vs. SD
10/3 @ STL
Bye
10/17 @ CHI
10/24 vs. ARI
10/31 @ OAK
11/7 vs. NYG
11/14 @ ARI
11/21 @ NO
11/28 vs. KC
12/5 vs. CAR
12/12 @ SF
12/19 vs. ATL
12/26 @ TB
1/2 vs. STL

 

San Francisco 49ers 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – The San Francisco 49ers have been the team of “what if” for the past few seasons. What if they had started QB Alex Smith all last season? What if Mike Nolan was fired at the outset of the year in 2008? What if the offensive line had kept Smith upright for the second half of the season? This year should be a lot better than “what if,” though, as the 49ers are heavy favorites to win the NFC West.

Key Additions – OLs Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis – We’ve already mentioned a porous offensive line from last season, but that was addressed by the Niners right away in the NFL Draft. With a pair of first rounders, the Niners took both Iupati and Davis, both of which will immediately step in and start on the offensive line. Both of these linemen are big boys that love to run block, and they should help out RB Frank Gore quite a bit in the rushing game. Expect significantly better than 100.0 YPG on the ground this year.

Key Loss – DB Dre Bly – Bly is returning to Detroit, which is going to leave San Fran with a bit of a hole at the defensive back position. Bly had three picks last season, and he played in all 16 games. However, Bly was only a starter for six games last year and could be dispensable. If this is the biggest loss that the team has to deal with this year, the Niners should be in great shape.

San Francisco 49ers NFL Cheerleader

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The offense really starts to kick it up a notch. Averaging just 290.8 YPG was disgraceful for a team that finished .500 last year, meaning if the offense can start to produce just a little more, San Fran could be incredibly dangerous. Just putting two new offensive linemen in the bunch could make a world of difference. Keep an eye on WR Michael Crabtree as well now that he has an entire training camp under his belt.

The Crucial Game – The home opener this year is incredibly important. In order to give the Niners something positive to go off of, beating the defending champs could be a huge boost. More importantly, it is the only game in the first four weeks of the year played at home, so to keep the fans engaged in San Fran, a victory in that game against the Saints in Week 2 could be huge.

Predictions – The schedule sets up so well for San Francisco this season it isn’t even funny. The rest of the NFC West is in shambles, and playing the NFC South and AFC West should make for a ton of easy games. Finishing with less than ten wins is going to be a disappointment. Not only could the NFC West crown be had, but a bye week isn’t totally out of the question in the playoffs as well. The oddsmakers don’t have a lot of faith in the 49ers once they make the playoffs as they pay +3100 in Super Bowl future lines.

2010 San Francisco 49ers Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ SEA
9/20 vs. NO
9/26 @ KC
10/3 @ ATL
10/10 vs. PHI
10/17 vs. OAK
10/24 @ CAR
10/31 vs. DEN
Bye
11/14 vs. STL
11/21 vs. TB
11/29 @ ARI
12/5 @ GB
12/12 vs. SEA
12/16 @ SD
12/26 @ STL
1/2 vs. ARI

 

Arizona Cardinals 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – The Arizona Cardinals proved that their unlikely run to the Super Bowl two years ago wasn’t a fluke. Last year, they finished with a 10-6 record and once again won the NFC West. Though they couldn’t go on the road and win a playoff game again, no one is upset with a first round victory over the Green Bay Packers. The offseason was a tumultuous one though, as the team made a number of moves and gutted the team.

Key Loss – SS Antrel Rolle – Yes, losing QB Kurt Warner hurts, and yes, losing WR Anquan Boldin stings a bit as well, but at least we know that Matt Leinart and Steve Breaston are stepping into those roles respectively. Is there a replacement out there for Rolle? Half of Arizona’s starting secondary from last year was traded at some point during the offseason, which is horrifying news for a team that ranked 20th in the NFL in total defense and 23rd in pass defense.

Arizona Cardinals NFL Cheerleader

Key Addition – LB Joey Porter – HC Ken Whisenhunt renews his ties with an old friend from the Pittsburgh Steelers days by bringing Porter in via free agency. There’s still clearly something left in the tank for the 33 year old, as he racked up 32 sacks in three seasons playing for Miami. There has definitely been some decline, but the prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker will look great in Arizona red. Perhaps his pressure off the end can help mask some of the pains that the secondary will inevitably endure again this year.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Someone can replace Warner effectively. Notice we said “someone” and not “Leinart.” Backup QB Derek Anderson was brought in from Cleveland to be a security blanket in case something happens to Leinart or he proves to be ineffective. Expect fifth round draft choice John Skelton to have his chances, particularly in the preseason as well. Leinart is too old now to be called a franchise quarterback, and he will have a short leash this year from Whisenhunt, who would probably rather have a different signal caller.

The Crucial Game – The only hope that the Cards will have this year is winning the NFC West yet again, and the only way they do that is by holding serve against the 49ers. The home game on Monday Night Football on November 29th is the most important game of the entire season. There are enough winnable games on the slate at the outset of the season to make this one count for keeps. However, if the two teams are on level terms going into January 2nd’s duel in San Fran, that game will clearly take the cake.

Predictions - Though we don’t think much of this team, we know that seven games combined against the Rams, Seahawks, Bucs, Raiders, Chiefs, and Panthers should yield at least six wins or so. Are there any more than that on the slate, though? We tend to think that .500 is a possibility, but it’s hard to put Arizona in the playoffs playing a first place schedule in comparison to San Fran playing a second place one. That’s reflected in their Super Bowl futures which list the Cardinals at +6000.

2010 Arizona Cardinals Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ STL
9/19 @ ATL
9/26 vs. OAK
10/3 @ SD
10/10 vs. NO
Bye
10/24 @ SEA
10/31 vs. TB
11/7 @ MIN
11/14 vs. SEA
11/21 @ KC
11/29 vs. SF
12/5 vs. STL
12/12 vs. DEN
12/19 @ CAR
12/25 vs. DAL
1/2 @ SF

 

St. Louis Rams 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – The Greatest Show on Turf is certainly dead. The 2009 St. Louis Rams were a disgrace to the NFL, as they really couldn’t get anything going either offensively or defensively and were largely overmatched every single week. Expectations weren’t very high last year, and they aren’t all that high this year either. Still, HC Steve Spagnuolo is going to have to get his act together at some point, or he’ll be yet another in the long line of coaches on miserable teams that ultimately find themselves out of work.

Key Addition – QB Sam Bradford – No offense to RB Steven Jackson, but this franchise really needed a fresh new face again. The city of St. Louis really didn’t have anyone to identify with and grow with, and Bradford can be that guy. The University of Oklahoma will sorely miss Bradford, who led the team to one of the top offenses in the land and threw for over 5,000 yards in his Heisman Trophy campaign of 2008. No, he won’t work miracles in the Gateway to the West right away, but just as Matt Stafford has no pressure on him in Detroit, Bradford can grow with this team and the city can stand right behind him in doing so.

<a href=St Louis Rams NFL Cheerleaders” width=”300″ height=”225″ />

Key Loss – QB Marc Bulger – Simply put, Bulger had to go! He was one of the better quarterbacks that this franchise had ever known, but that doesn’t mean he was really capable of leading this team anywhere near the playoffs once again. There’s a reason that Spagnuolo basically put him out of his misery last season and tossed the quarterbacking job around.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Bradford takes some baby steps in the right direction. Not leaps and bounds, but just a few steps. No one thinks the Rams are winning more than 4-5 games all season long, so all eyes will be on Bradford to see how he progresses. The top pick in this year’s NFL Draft will probably throw at least 20 picks, but if he has some moments of brilliance and proves he can be amazing, St. Louis fans should be ecstatic.

The Crucial Game – Any game that is a potential winner for the Rams is important, but that opening game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals is one that should be circled. St. Louis has the potential to win that game, particularly with the Cards going a new direction now that QB Kurt Warner has retired. A victory is paramount to get off on the right foot in the Rams 2010 season opener.

Predictions – This is still going to be a very long year for the Rams. Bradford will take his lumps and the team will lose plenty of games. Finishing with more than one win away from the Edward Jones Dome would be a triumph. Without a doubt, the Rams should ultimately score more than their league worst 10.9 PPG from a year ago, and if that happens, perhaps they will get up to the benchmark of respectability. They are nowhere near making an impact as their very long Super Bowl odds have them at +15,000.

2010 St. Louis Rams Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. ARI
9/19 @ OAK
9/26 vs. WAS
10/3 vs. SEA
10/10 @ DET
10/17 vs. SD
10/24 @ TB
10/31 vs. CAR
Bye
11/14 @ SF
11/21 vs. ATL
11/28 @ DEN
12/5 @ ARI
12/12 @ NO
12/19 vs. KC
12/26 vs. SF
1/2 @ SEA

 

Carolina Panthers 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – Yet another .500 season has really pushed the Carolina Panthers organization to the brink of a slew of changes. There is clearly a philosophy problem with the Panthers that just hasn’t changed from the Super Bowl run several years ago. Is this a product of HC John Fox refusing to change his style to adapt to what he has to work with or a case of the pieces just not being in place? We may find out in 2010.

Key Addition – Subtracting QB Jake Delhomme – Sometimes you have to have addition by subtraction, and that’s exactly what Carolina did when it finally cut ties with Delhomme. The former Ragin’ Cajun threw picks in all but three of his starts last year and had five multi-INT games in his 11 overall starts. He completed 50.0 percent or less of his passes in four starts as well. Simply put, that isn’t going to cut it at the NFL level. The Panthers have to be better without him than they were with him.

Carolina Panthers NFL Cheerleaders

Key Loss – DE Julius Peppers – In the case of Peppers though, this is clearly subtraction by subtraction. Without a doubt, Peppers is one of the best defensive linemen in the entire league, and even though he had fallen out of favor with the front office of the black and blue, he still had a tremendous 2009 season, picking up 10.5 sacks. Peppers is donning Chicago Bears colors now, and unless DE Everett Brown plans on picking up the slack, there is going to be a huge void on the defensive front in Carolina.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Someone can prove to be a competent quarterback for this team. The Panthers don’t need a superstar considering the fact that both RBs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are capable of going off for 100+ yards each in every game they partake in. Both had 1,100+ yards last year and should, at bare minimum, eke their ways towards the 1,000-yard barrier again in ‘10. Still, someone is going to need to be able to at least complete 15-20 passes per game and put some fear into opposing defenses. Whether that man is Matt Moore or rookie QB Jimmy Clausen is still to be determined.

The Crucial Game – Though we are remotely intrigued about the prospects of Delhomme facing off with his former mates in Cleveland, we don’t think that the ex-Panther will have his job still by the end of November. Instead, welcoming back Peppers to Carolina is a far more interesting proposition. If Carolina is making the playoffs, this is going to be one of those games that could make a huge difference by year’s end. Don’t think for one second that Peppers doesn’t already have this one circled as a three sack game, though.

Predictions – The season could fall apart in a hurry for Carolina if it doesn’t get off to a good start. We aren’t much for Fox as a coach right now, and we are fairly certain that he is leaving Carolina one way or the other after the season, as he doesn’t have a contract in place beyond 2010. If Fox becomes a lame duck head coach, the team could react and end up falling flat on its face. Their struggles are reflected in their odds as the Panthers odds to win the NFC are +2300 and their odds to win the Super Bowl are +4500.

2010 Carolina Panthers Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ NYG
9/19 vs. TB
9/26 vs. CIN
10/3 @ NO
10/10 vs. CHI
Bye
10/24 vs. SF
10/31 @ STL
11/7 vs. NO
11/14 @ TB
11/21 vs. BAL
11/28 @ CLE
12/5 @ SEA
12/12 vs. ATL
12/19 vs. ARI
12/23 @ PIT
1/2 @ ATL

 

New Orleans Saints 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – The New Orleans Saints are clearly coming off of the greatest year the franchise has ever had. Not only did the team win 13 games. Not only did it host a playoff game. Not only did it host the NFC Championship Game in the Bayou. Not only did it make it to its first ever Super Bowl, but New Orleans pulled the upset of the Indianapolis Colts as seven-point underdogs to become the victor of Super Bowl XLIV as well.

Key Addition – DB Patrick Robinson – When you’re the defending champs, you probably don’t need a whole heck of a lot to be added to your team. However, when you have a defense which ranked 25th in the league at 357.8 yards per game allowed, you clearly need some help on your defense. Robinson brings a lot of speed, as do most defensive players out of Florida State, but he is considered a bit of a raw talent that needs to be fine tuned.

New Orleans Saints NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – OT Jamaal Brown – Trading OT Jamaal Brown didn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense from New Orleans’ standpoint. Why would you want to remove any of the pieces from a puzzle that had the most yards (403.8 per game) and the most points per game (31.9)? There really aren’t any tremendous viable options to step into Brown’s place, though he didn’t start in the Super Bowl last year.

2010 Will Be a Success if… - The offense keeps up with last year’s torrid pace. QB Drew Brees is rounding into one of the game’s best signal callers, and if he can approach the 4,500 yard mark once again, the Saints are clearly going to be marching on to the playoffs. Somehow, with all of the talented players on this squad, there doesn’t seem to be any complaining about getting the ball. Brees hit seven receivers at least 35 times last season, while RBs Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, and Reggie Bush all had enough carries to keep them happy as a group.

The Crucial Game – There isn’t a game on the schedule the Saints have to be looking forward to more than the Thanksgiving Day duel at Dallas. The Cowboys wrecked New Orleans’ perfect season last year, and there would be no better time to exact some revenge than on Thanksgiving. Plus, this game could legitimately be for the #1 seed in the NFC, as both the Cowboys and Saints are expected to win their divisions.

Predictions – Anything less than at least 11 wins and an NFC South crown would be brutally disappointing for the Saints this season. This schedule is littered with potential landmines, but for the most part, playing an NFC South slate is going to be easy enough to survive without any issues whatsoever. The Saints odds to win the Super Bowl are  a healthy +1100.

2010 New Orleans Saints Regular Season Schedule

9/9 vs. MIN
9/20 @ SF
9/26 vs. ATL
10/3 vs. CAR
10/10 @ ARI
10/17 @ TB
10/24 vs. CLE
10/31 vs. PIT
11/7 @ CAR
Bye
11/21 vs. SEA
11/25 @ DAL
12/5 @ CIN
12/12 vs. STL
12/19 @ BAL
12/27 @ ATL
1/2 vs. TB

 

A Look Back – Things didn’t go so well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, but no one was really expecting much for a team in rebuilding mode. First year HC Raheem Morris wasn’t all that impressive, but at least he had his team playing hard at times. Tampa Bay flirted with a winless season for awhile, but one must remember that this was a team that beat some solid teams, including the New Orleans Saints on the road and the Green Bay Packers at home.

Key Addition – DT Gerald McCoy – The Bucs had the worst defensive line in football last year, and that really wasn’t overly debatable in NFL circles. As a result, Tampa Bay badly needed to add one of the two obvious choices at defensive tackle at the top of the NFL Draft. McCoy probably won’t be the same pro as Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, but he should immediately step in and help out this defense which allowed a league worst 158.2 YPG on the ground.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – WR Antonio Bryant – Bryant was Tampa Bay’s second leading receiver last year, but with just 39 catches and 600 yards, that isn’t saying a whole heck of a lot. QB Josh Freeman already knows that he doesn’t have numerous weapons to work with at wide out, and save for TE Kellen Winslow Jr., there aren’t going to be many consistent targets throughout the season. Bryant was probably the most talented receiver in an otherwise talentless bunch, and he will be missed in the Sunshine State.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The team shows any sort of improvement from Year 1 of the Morris era to Year 2. There are plenty of games on this slate that are winnable for Tampa Bay, and the key is going to be taking advantage of those potential victories to inch closer towards being a respectable team once again. Still, expectations aren’t high at all, particularly on a defense that is going to feature at least seven starters no older than 25 years old.

The Crucial Game – The first two home games of the year are both pivotal for this franchise. Taking on Cleveland in Week 1 is a real chance to get off on the right foot, but the key game will come in Week 3 when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town. That will probably be the only packed house that Raymond James Stadium has all year long, and though black and gold will probably be the colors of choice for the most part in the stands, the Bucs must play well, especially with the Steelers missing QB Ben Roethlisberger for that game as a part of his suspension.

Predictions – The good news for the Bucs is that more than half of their home games are really winnable this year. They shouldn’t be amongst the first 2-3 teams in the NFL Draft once again as a result, though losses to the likes of the Browns, Rams, Panthers, Lions, and Seahawks at home will absolutely cost Morris his job. Expect Tampa Bay to find a way to eke out five or so wins. These low expectations are reflected in their odds to win the Super Bowl which currently sit at +12,500.

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. CLE
9/19 @ CARL
9/26 vs. PIT
Bye
10/10 @ CIN
10/17 vs. NO
10/24 vs. STL
10/31 @ ARI
11/7 @ ATL
11/14 vs. CAR
11/21 @ SF
11/28 @ BAL
12/5 vs. ATL
12/12 @ WAS
12/19 vs. DET
12/26 vs. SEA
1/2 @ NO

 

Atlanta Falcons 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – Even though the 2009 NFL betting campaign didn’t end with the same level of success that the ‘08 season did for the Atlanta Falcons, there is really no shame in the fact that they finished 9-7 and on the verge of the postseason for the second straight year. One must remember that two years ago, this team was the most embarrassing in the NFL coming off of the Michael Vick fiasco that left the franchise in shambles.

Key Addition – DB Dunta Robinson – The Falcons had a woeful pass defense in 2009, allowing 241.9 yards per game. While several other teams were courting DE Julius Peppers and only free agents, the Falcons knew exactly what they wanted when the Houston Texans didn’t resign Robinson in the offseason. Atlanta accomplished its goal, locking up the most notable defensive back that was free right away during the free agency period, and the hope is that the former first round draft pick can shore up this secondary and help improve upon a defense that allowed 20.3 points per game last year.Atlanta Falcons NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – None – Give the Atlanta organization a lot of credit for really keeping together the same exact team that was on the field a year ago. That’s proof that HC Mike Smith really loves this team and thinks that it can grow together. And why not, particularly offensively? A core of WR Roddy White, WR Michael Jenkins, TE Tony Gonzalez, QB Matt Ryan, and RB Michael Turner is something that can be built around.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Turner looks more like the man that ran for 1,700 yards two years ago and less like the one that only ran for 871 last year. In fairness to Turner, he did split a lot of carries last season with Jason Snelling, even before getting injured in the final month of the season. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry last year, but really didn’t feel like he had as many explosive runs as he did in ‘08.

The Crucial Game – These opening three games for the Falcons are going to be the real difference makers to this season. They would really love to come out of blocks at no worse than 2-1 in games at Pittsburgh, vs. Arizona, and at New Orleans. That game at the Superdome is going to be particularly important, as it could be a real sign to the defending champs that they aren’t just going to lie down and accept being tagged the second best team in the division.

Predictions - Considering the fact that this team is largely the same one from a year ago and the Panthers and Bucs aren’t playoff caliber teams, there is no reason to think that a second place finish in the NFC South is unreasonable. Is ten wins too much to ask? Even so, if teams like the Packers, Vikings, Bears, Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles all have as good of seasons as they did last year, even that ten wins won’t be good enough for the second season.

The Falcons are listed at +2800 in odds to win the Super Bowl and +1000 to win the AFC at betED sports betting casino.

2010 Atlanta Falcons Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ PIT
9/19 vs. ARI
9/26 @ NO
10/3 vs. SF
10/10 @ CLE
10/17 @ PHI
10/24 vs. CIN
Bye
11/7 vs. TB
11/11 vs. BAL
11/21 @ STL
11/28 vs. GB
12/5 @ TB
12/12 @ CAR
12/19 @ CLE
12/27 vs. NO
1/2 vs. CAR

 

Chicago Bears 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – Around this time last season, the Chicago Bears had to feel great about their position as legitimate contenders after acquiring QB Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos. Oops. Cutler chucked 26 picks against 27 touchdown passes and was the cause of more defeats than he was the reason for victories. Losing LB Brian Urlacher, the team’s captain and leader on the field, right at the outset of the season really didn’t help matters either. A 7-9 season almost certainly puts everyone in the Windy City on the hot seat, and failing to reach the second season once again will surely see plenty of heads rolling in the offseason.

Key Addition – DE Julius Peppers – When the Bears were at their best in recent years, they found ways to get to the passer and terrorize opposing offenses. There is no one better at that than Peppers is. Considering the fact that Chicago was essentially going through this season without any legitimate draft selections (because they were all traded to Denver for Cutler), making a move in free agency was an absolute must. Now, one of the most feared pass rushers in the game is making his home in the Windy City, where he will team up with a ferocious ‘D’ that should wreck all sorts of havoc.Chicago Bears NFL Cheerleaders

Key Loss – DE Alex Brown – Having Peppers is fantastic, but someone is going to have to line up on his other side. Between the untimely passing of DE Gaines Adams and Brown heading to New Orleans, there could be a major void at defensive end, especially if Adewale Ogunleye continues to slow down as he has over the past few years in his career.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Cutler stops turning the ball over. If you ask any fan of the Bears in the Windy City, they’ll be the first to tell you that this was a 10-6 team last season had Cutler only thrown 12 picks instead of 26. The Vanderbilt product is known as a bit of a drama queen, and if he doesn’t perform better in the biggest spots for Chicago, the media will eat him alive, chew him up, and spit him out. If that happens, it might not just be this season that is wrecked for the Bears, but it might send the entire franchise into turmoil for quite some time.

The Crucial Game – Every game is a crucial game for the Bears, especially with so much pressure to perform. It isn’t often that we say that the Lions are the most important team on anyone’s schedule, but that opening week game at home against Detroit is as big as it gets. Should Chicago lose that game, the year could fall apart before it has even really started.

Predictions – Are you ready to hit the panic button, Bears fans? Chicago just doesn’t have the horses on either side of the ball to keep up with the Vikes or the Packers, especially if Favre comes back to Minnesota. Finishing 9-7 or possibly even 10-6 isn’t totally out of the question, but a third place finish in the division without a playoff berth is incredibly likely whether Da Bears win six games or ten games. Either way, HC Lovie Smith won’t return as Bears head coach.

2010 Chicago Bears Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. DET (+7)
9/19 @ DAL
9/27 vs. GB
10/3 @ NYG
10/10 @ CAR
10/17 vs. SEA
10/24 vs. WAS
Bye
11/7 @ BUF
11/14 vs. MIN
11/18 @ MIA
11/28 vs. PHI
12/5 @ DET
12/12 vs. NE
12/20 @ MIN
12/26 vs. NYJ
1/2 @ GB

 

A Look Back – Apparently, the 2009 NFL betting season just wasn’t good enough in the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Eagles had a fantastic regular season, just narrowly missing out on the NFC East title at 11-5. The offense was the best in the division, scoring 429 total points. However, an early exit from the postseason at the hands of the rival Dallas Cowboys didn’t sit well, and sweeping changes were made from the team.

Key Addition – LB Ernie Sims – From the days of Jim Johnson calling the shots for the defense, speedy linebackers were a must in the City of Brotherly Love. It certainly doesn’t get much faster than Sims. The former Florida State Seminole was a cog in the Detroit Lions defense since being drafted, and now we are going to find out whether this was a product of Sims being inadequate at outside linebacker or whether the rest of the pieces of the puzzle around him were just that weak in the Motor City.

Philadelphia Eagles NFL Cheerleaders

Key Loss – QB Donovan McNabb – Here is where your sweeping changes began for the Eagles. Not only did they think so little of McNabb that they were intent to get rid of him, but they traded him to a divisional rival! With #5 now playing in Washington DC, HC Andy Reid is going to be forced to turn to either QB Michael Vick or QB Kevin Kolb. Kolb is clearly the direction that the franchise would like to go in, but Vick will see plenty of time, and rookie QB Mike Kafka could step in if need be.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Kolb is the real deal. If not, the entire city of Philadelphia might be burning. Philly fans crave success at this level, and if Kolb can’t step in and immediately bring the team back to the postseason, he is going to be destroyed by the media and the crowd in the City of Brotherly Love. The Houston product proved that he could put points on the board last season, throwing for 718 yards in two starts in place of the injured McNabb, but can he do it over the full stretch of a 16 game season?

The Crucial Game – Depending on whether or not QB Brett Favre is playing for the Vikings, the game the day after Christmas at home against Minnesota could be make or break for the Eagles. If that game ends in defeat, the clash against Dallas on January 2nd could also be very, very important.

Predictions – It is pretty clear that the rest of the NFC East has, at very least, stayed just as competitive as it once was. Dallas and New York should be competing for playoff positions, while you know that the Redskins, with a new quarterback and head coach in tote, are going to be a thorn in the side of this Philly team the entire season. It is hard to see how the Eagles are getting back to the playoffs, though it is certainly an expectation.

2010 Philadelphia Eagles Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. GB (Pick)
9/19 @ DET
9/26 @ JAX
10/3 vs. WAS
10/10 @ SF
10/17 vs. ATL
10/24 @ TEN
Bye
11/7 vs. IND
11/15 @ WAS
11/21 vs. NYG
11/28 @ CHI
12/2 vs. HOU
12/12 @ DAL
12/19 @ NYG
12/26 vs. MIN
1/2 vs. DAL