The NFL is almost is almost here. Wait a minute, the NFL is here. Last night the Pittsburg Steelers proved that things are “Steel the Same” in the good ole’ NFL. The Steelers whipped up on Miami with their #1 QB Big Ben on the bench and the Steelers #2 QB, beat up old Charlie Batch on the field and the end results were still the same. Pittsburg’s defense has been great forever and they will again carry this team. Willie Parker will keep the opposing defenses honest and will carry the ball 25-30 times per game and average around 120 yards per game on the ground. Hines Ward may be the most dependable receiver in the NFL and Heath Miller out of Virginia gives the Steelers a very reliable tight end.
The end of story for the Pittsburg Steelers is the Bob Seagar title played over and over again. They’re “Still the Same, baby, baby, Still the Same”, oh some of the names have changed but the Steelers are “Steel the Same”. And like the other song that most of you don’t remember they are “Still the One”. Remember the tune, “You’re Still the One that can make me miss, still the one that I love to Kiss, We’re still having Fun and You’re Still the One” Did you see that Steeler player kiss Coach Cowher last night?
The Steelers are still doing it and they are doing it with Defense and they will be the ONES in the NFL until someone buries them and I don’t see it happening soon.
Who will the challengers be in the NFL? Seattle should be ready to make another run after winning the NFC title last season. The Seahawks still have their RB Shaun Alexander in the mix and that will be enough to mix up most teams. Watch for the Arizona Cardinals. They have been loading up on talent and now have the experienced QB in Kurt Warner and the rookie in Matt Leinart. Edgerrin James will be a huge boost and then it may just be in the Cards for Arizona to make a run and win out over Seattle.
The Carolina Panthers can roar and cause trouble for many other NFC contenders but the Cats must stay healthy and I think they could be in for some trouble against Atlanta if Steve Smith doesn’t play. He didn’t play in the Pre-Season, but that was exhibition football. Can Keyshawn Johnson pick up all the slack? Drew Carter and Kerry Colbert haven’t proven that they can carry the load and if #1 RB Deshaun Foster goes down with a bad hammy how long will it be before rookie sensation DeAngelo Williams gets beat up and used up?
They say it’s what’s up front that counts and the Panthers will rise and fall based on the Defense and in particular two of the top “D” linemen in the NFL. Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker are the key to the Panthers success. The Panthers have proven that they can get by with a just above average QB in Jake Delhomme but the Panthers must get 16 weeks non-stop from Peppers and Rucker to make it back to the NFC title game.
The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for another break out year from their young phenom at QB Carson Palmer and his receiver Chad Johnson and if Palmer doen’t go down with injury in round one of the playoffs last year, there’s a good chance that the wildcard Steelers don’t surive past week #1 and go on to win the Super Bowl. The Bengals opponet in this week’s season opener the KC Chiefs are another team that has a solid chance to break loose now that they have given the ball to RB Larry Johnson and here’s hoping that QB Trent Green is still around for one more run and that TE Tony Gonzales can jump up and spike the ball on any given Sunday.
It is time for the Indianapolis Colts to put up or shut up. Don’t win all those regular season games unless you are going to do something with it at the end of the season. Peyton Manning has a smooth stroke and Marvin Harrison is one of the best receivers in the league but how will the Colts fill the void in the backfield with James in Arizona? The Colts will face the younger Manning on Sunday night and Eli has an all-purpose back in Kiki Barber. I have never been a big fan of the Barber brothers, but the Barber from C’ville that plays in New York has some impressive numbers that speak for themself.
If the Giants are in the running for a little playoff action then what about our good buddies down in Big “D”? The Cowboys have Bill Parcells and that means they will be ready to play in every game even if TO never suits up. The New England Patriots can thank Parcells for their success because he brought Bill Belichick with him and let Belichick coach and didn’t mess around with him. Belichick was was able to develop his style because Parcells left him alone and let him coach. That means that the Patriots are still out there and Tom Brady is going to the Hall of Fame based on Super Bowl victories and that usually gets you in. The Patriots will be a factor as long as Brady still has his youth and he looks pretty young to me.
The only other team to watch on my sheet is the Chicago Bears. The Bears were in the thick last year and their defense is what makes me think they could be back in the hunt again in 2006. It’s all about the Defense. If they(the offense) don’t score you will never loose a ball game. The Steelers have proven that Defense still Rules and after Big Ben gets healthy Pittsburg will be ready to make a run on the league. Will this be the year that the Colts finally come through? I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.
If I didn’t talk about a team in this preview then I am not looking for them to do much this year in the NFL. Players that I will be watching and I am sure you will be too are Reggie Bush, Vince Young, and I want to know how Levar Arrington does now that he is out of Washington and lest we forget about Phillip Rivers out in San Diego with LaDainian Tomlinson and the brothers Vick, Michael and Marcus. Hey what about Drew Brees and Jeff George, well one things for certain, there is plenty to keep up with in NFL.