I am going to make 2 predictions:
1) Our offense will continue to improve and get into a groove like it did last year. Jake got his confidence back today, Smitty got his touches, we ran fairly well. I love the offense on this team for the most part. Jake moved the ball around well and passed very efficiently (+60%). This will be the norm for this year.
2) On defense, Chris Harris can't get here soon enough. We need him back and healthy. He won't help our weak pass rush, but he can stop QB's from passing 70+% on us, not to mention how good he tackles and strips the ball. His absence hurt us BAD today.
Chris Gamble needs to pick up his play and in a hurry. I think the way Lucas was picked on last year got Gamble rusty. He needs to shake that off fast.
I'm not sure our pass rush is going to get any better. It's really bad at this point. We blitz but it doesn't matter b/c the Falcon's picked it up perfectly. Maybe with some more tweaking it gets better, but our offense will have to carry the team. All we need to hope is that we can hold teams to about 20PPG. If we do that, I think we can make the playoffs.
We are 0-2 and we know the stats. Is it that crazy to think we could win a Wild Card or even the division? Here is the schedule:
Dallas: They are still this so-so team led by the erratic Tony Romo. Our backs are against the wall and D-Will plays amazing during prime time, not to mention he will have a chip on his shoulder after the game-costing fumble he had today. Obviously we have to win this game and I think we will pull it off in prime time.
That puts us at 1-2 going into the bye week. Luckily for us, the easiest part of our schedule is right after the bye. We play good off momentum so here is my predictions:
I think we come off the bye, get healthy and practice a few more things, get used to the new defense, and have an easy opponent in the Redskins. While their defense is good, they have a terrible QB and a lackluster offense in general. We are at home, and we should win and go 2-2.
We goto Tampa and they are terrible. Should be an easy win as long as we avoid turnovers. 3-2.
We come back and host Buffalo. Even with TO they suck. We are building off some momentum and people are drawing similarities to the 2005 team. 4-2.
We go out to Arizona and we get a rematch. Best believe the team has been looking forward to this game since the schedule was released. We get it done this time and go 5-2.
We goto New Orleans and our Pass Defense, who thought they did good containing the Cards, gets blitzed over by the league MVP in Brees, and we loose a close one. 5-3
We face Atlanta at home. We almost ALWAYS split with Atlanta and I don't think this year is any different. We are at home this time and we have our backs against the wall in terms of division wins. We take this one: 6-3
We host Miami. We have never beaten Miami. Miami is overrated. We take this one because Thomas Davis contains Ronnie Brown. 7-3
We goto New York. They have a stout defense. We struggle to put up points and Kris Jenkins smiles inside knowing how poorly our defense has sucked since he left. Sanchez tears us a new one like Ryan and Flacco seem to do. 7-4.
Ahhh, we get to come home to an easy win against Tampa and the potential 2009 version of the Lions falters yet again. Confidence booster game. 8-4.
We goto Foxborough and take on a surprisingly beatable Patriots team. Tom Brady looks better than he did at the start of the season, but is still not the 2007 Tom Brady. We get it done against a very young defense. 9-4.
We host Minnesota. AP runs all over us, breaks tackles, and causes everyone to scream. We try to run the ball but Jared Allen and the Williamses eat up the run every time. The fans boo and we blow a close game at the end. We look back at this game and cringe on our defensive inability to slow down the run or adapt our own gameplan. 9-5.
We goto New York and danggit this time we win. D-Will runs all over them again and this time we get the job done. The Giants don't pass that well and they don't have Derrick Ward anymore to burn us up the middle. The announcers make epic fail of the 2 Steve Smith's, but ours gets the last laugh. 10-5
We host New Orleans. If you've read the entire post you already know I think Brees will be the league MVP. NO might actually have the defense now to NOT go 8-8. My gut tells me this game is for the division title b/c the Tony Gonzalez experiment fails, Turner doesn't replicate his 2008 numbers, and the Falcons only manage 9-7. I just see us getting picked apart because our defense just doesn't quite have that edge to get out of 3rd and long.
NO takes the division but we take one of the wild cards. 10-6 and we go on the road for the playoffs.
Going 10-4 from here on in really isn't that far-fetched. Yes, the schedule is tough, but the defense WILL get better as the year progresses and they get familiar with the new defensive scheme. Our offense gets a little better each week as well. As long as D-Will, Jake Delhomme, and Steve Smith are healthy, our offense can hang with anyone. If we turn this into a 10-6 year (which will be a WC this year in the NFC), we can make the playoffs and go the route that suites us best: NO BYE WEEK. Jake builds off momentum and we want that extra game to get the snow ball in the right direction.
For anyone who thinks we are going 4-12, just remember that since 2002, we haven't done worse than 7-9. In fact: