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Training camp competitions have been fierce this summer. Teams are getting ready to break camp in anticipation of regular season gridiron wars. There's been plenty of speculation surrounding many teams. How long before T.O. mouths off in Buffalo? Will Cowboys finally win a playoff game? Is Philadelphia the NFC East team to beat? Can Bears live up to potential with Cutler? Is New England ready to dominate with Brady returning from injury? Who's the best? Who's the worst?
Here's my shot at predicting the final standings for 2009...
New England - Brady's back which means load up your fantasy teams with Patriot players.
Miami - Getting stronger but questions still remain at WR.
Buffalo - Owens brings plenty of baggage but hasn't flipped out yet. Solid team still lacking offensive prowess.
New York - Finally a head coach (Ryan) worth noting for Jets. He'll get this team playing hard every week. It won't be long before Jets become an AFC force.
Pittsburgh - Don't bet against the returning Super Bowl Champs. Roethlisberger injured today (ankle) but hasn't diminished chances of repeating. Hungry talented team might return and repeat.
Baltimore - Impressed in '08 and should be better in '09. Will play tough all season and could win North.
Cincinnati - Distant 3rd. One of NFL's worst organizations. Will score plenty but give up more than they can handle.
Cleveland - Not looking good for these guys. 4 wins could be tough to find.
Indianapolis - Not ready to bet against Manning even if Colts aren't what they once were.
Tennessee - Head Coach Fisher continues to squeeze every ounce of talent from each player. Competitive team even when not matching up player vs player against opponents on paper.
Houston - '09 will prove if these guys are for real. If so, then they'll challenge for wild card.
Jacksonville - Used to be a fun team to watch. Fans might be watching with two hands in front of their faces this year.
San Diego - Hopefully coach Turner has learned from last years early season woes. Chargers should be a run first team. Turner likes to pass. Weak division might cloud playcalling decisions when playoffs roll around.
Denver - Many off season moves trying to correct major flaws. Should be better but not playoff bound.
Kansas City- New look Chiefs will get scalped in '09. Not a bright future for this proud organization.
Oakland - Rowdy fans will litter the field. Raiders haven't been good in years.
New York - Great running game. Punishing defensive line. Maturing QB. WR's a huge question mark but this is one of NFL's best disciplined and hungry teams. Great team chemistry.
Philadelphia - Over hyped? Or, ready to rumble? We'll soon find out. Tough team if they can avoid usual costly injuries.
Dallas - Debut of new $1billion stadium. Haven't won a playoff game in years. Always plenty of headline drama and September collapses.
Washington - The NY Mets of the NFL. Spend, spend, spend and remain uncompetitive in strong division.
Chicago - Bears hoping new QB Cutler is the difference in NFL's most well balanced division. Defense is pumped and ready to inflict pain.
Minnesota - Favre is back and getting ripped on sports pages from Green Bay to New York. He'll be just fine guiding an up and coming team. Minnesota is getting better by the day. Favre will shut up naysayers early and often.
Green Bay - Exposed in '08 will struggle to play .500 ball in '09. Defense needs to step it up for Packers to climb out of 3rd.
Detroit - Must win early on to remove '08 demons. Cash for Clunkers expires Monday. Long year for Lions. Good news is they won't be winless in '09.
Carolina - Running game was unreal last year. My pick to score most points in NFC. Should reach NFC Championship Game.
Atlanta - Had a great '08 when no one expected them to win. Now, many expect them to win. Will they?
New Orleans - Brees challenged Marino's single season passing yardage record. It's a throw first team which means their subpar defense will spend too much time on the field. Expect combined 60+ points weekly from offense/defense.
Tampa Bay - Did I read a prediction claiming TB will be winless? Don't expect much from this team in transition.
Seattle - Injuries and misque's in '08. They'll be much better and win NFC's weakest division.
Arizona - Cards got hot just at the right time last year and shocked the NFL by reaching the Super Bowl. My gut feeling as of now is they'll be lucky to win 7 in '09.
San Francisco - Still a learning process for 49ers. If they get a couple of breaks then they might surprise a few opponents. Not expecting much from them again in '09.
St Louis - Now here's a team with a chance to go winless. Not good in any facet of the game. 3 wins might be considered a good season from this squad.
Wild Card Teams: AFC - Tennessee, Baltimore; NFC - Philadelphia, Minnesota
Super Bowl: Pittsburgh vs Carolina
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