2002 NFL Season
The 2002 NFL season starts this week with the addition of the expansion Houston Texans joining the league, creating a new system of eight divisions with four teams each. Barring key injuries, questionable officiating, untimely fumbles, too much bratwurst and global warming, my predictions for the new season are as follows.
NFC East Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) -- A physical offense with a great QB, Donovan McNabb. Nasty defense.
Washington Redskins (10-6) -- Coach Steve Spurrier develops pass attack. Best linebackers in pro ball.
Dallas Cowboys (6-10) -- Still developing in many areas. QB Quincy Carter promising. Need another year.
New York Giants (5-11) -- Lacks team speed. Lost too many key players to free agency. OL needs help.
Green Bay Packes (12-4) -- Top team if QB Bret Farve stays healthy all year. Excellent OL and DL with depth.
Minnesota Vikings (8-8) -- Too many new faces, especially on defense. New coach Mike Tice on right track.
Chicago Bears (8-8) -- Fine power offense but sub par at QB. Back to reality after lucky breaks last year.
Detroit Lions (5-11) -- Rookie QB will take a beating. Good DL and kicking game, but not enough.
NFC SouthTampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6) -- New coach Gruden lights a fire. Great nucleus of players with depth.
New Orleans Saints (9-7) -- Lots of key player turnover. Easy division but needs to re-tool and start over.
Atlanta Falcons (7-9) -- QB Vick gets his chance. Will need time to develop. Rookie RB Duckett a future star.
Carolina Panthers (4-12) -- Average offense and weak defense. Will be a long year. Good draft though.
NFC West St Louis Rams (12-4) -- Great team with depth. No weaknesses. Awesome offense. Could go all the way.
San Francisco 49ers (10-6) -- Still rebuilding after salary cap woes. Solid veteran team with gaps to fill.
Arizona Cardinals (7-9) -- NFC dark horse team. Could be great or could flop. QB Plummer is the key.
Seattle Seahawks (4-12) -- Good running game but expect QB woes. Defense is overrated. Tough division.
AFC East Miami Dolphins (11-5) -- Newly acquired RB Ricky Williams adds to offense. Quality defense.
Buffalo Bills (7-9) -- Newly acquired QB Drew Bledsoe improves offense. Young defense needs experience.
New England Patriots (7-9) -- Lots of player turnover. Offense lacks depth. QB Tom Brady needs backup.
New York Jets (6-10) -- Lost too many players to free agency. Six new starters on defense. Solid OL and LB.
AFC NorthPittsburgh Steelers (10-6) -- Tough, physical team. QB Kordell Stewart is erratic. Solid defensive front seven.
Cleveland Browns (8-8) -- Steadily improving. Decent offense. QB Tim Couch getting better. Excellent DL.
Baltimore Ravens (7-9) -- 14 starters lost to free agency. Must rebuild. Young QB Chris Redman takes over.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) -- Lack good starting QB. RB Corey Dillon could have big year. Good defense.
AFC South Tennessee Titans (11-5) -- QB Steve McNair and RB Eddie George are awesome combo. Excellent defense.
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) -- QB Peyton Manning and RB Edgerin James are great too. Defense needs work.
Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) -- Decent team in tough division. Outstanding OL. Young, quality defense.
Houston Texans (3-13) -- Expansion team will struggle. Rookie QB David Carr has solid OL. No team depth.
AFC West Oakland Raiders (10-6) -- Aging veterans with new coach. WR Jerry Rice and WR Tim Brown near end.
Denver Broncos (9-7) -- QB uncertainty. Balanced offense. Good defense. Superior kicking game.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-8) -- Great OL and TE leads power running game. Average defense needs overhaul.
San Diego Chargers (6-10) -- QB Drew Brees takes over average offense. Quality DE and LB not enough.