1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
If you’re questioning why the Eagles gave Michael Vick a $100M contract after he botched his last nine-figure deal in Atlanta, consider that Vick virtually covered half of that contract alone in his ability to entice elite free agents to sign with the Eagles at Burlington Coat Factory prices (e.g., Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, etc) and to coerce DeSean Jackson to report to camp despite not receiving the new contract he had been so adamantly demanding. There’s also the fact that prior to his sojourn from football, Vick was the face of the entire league, not just a team. If last season was any indicator (and most importantly, if Vick can stay healthy) this deal will prove to have been a steal for the Eagles.
2. Washington Redskins (9-7)
The Redskins are coming off 10 wins over the past two seasons. Over the off-season, fans’ disillusionment/ Snyder-anathema reached surprise-Justin-Bieber-concert-at-a-Suburban-middle-school levels of hysteria. But, after winning two preseason games and almost winning another (and most importantly exhibiting evidence a dynamic offense), it might as well be January 26, 1992 in Washington.
3. NY Giants (8-8)
The Giants lost to the Panthers in Cam Newton’s first pre-season game. Regardless of the NFL’s current rules, that should adversely affect the Giants’ regular season schedule. (Perhaps they’re first two wins count as ties or something?)
4. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
Supposedly on July 9, 2009 Tony Romo broke-up with then GF Jessica Simpson the night before her birthday. Since then the Cowboys have gone 19-16 and mid-way through last season Romo broke his clavicle. DBSF isn’t one for superstition, but if this isn’t evidence of a break-up-with-Jessica-Simpson curse he, DBSF (and maybe Tony too, who knows?), doesn’t know what is.
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
N.B. Being able to play the Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers a total of 6 times grossly inflates DBSF’s projections for the Cardinals. In most other divisions they’re a 7-9/ 6-10 team. In the NFC North they’re already looking to trade their Andrew Luck pick more multiple first-rounders.
2. St. Louis Rams (8-8)
Probably the team of the future in the NFC West. However, DBSF’s not sold on the WRs and Steven Jackson is just shy of the 2,000 carry mark, which suggests critical RB attributes like ‘explosiveness’ and ‘durability’ become best described as “mercurial” and are often preceded with adjectives like "waning".
3. Seattle Seahawks (5-11)
Tavaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst? Amber or Gary? Some binary questions beg a third/ ‘C’ option.
4. San Francisco 49ers (5-11)
San Fran just inked RB Frank Gore to a 3-year $21 million extension. Since his breakout sophomore season in which he ran almost 1,700 yards and 8 TDs, Gore hasn’t run for 1,200 yards in a season. In fact, last year he averaged his fewest yards per carry and tied for his fewest rushing touchdowns in a season. Another such season should prime Gore for a Mike Shanahan backfield. (Seriously, $21M for a guy coming off an 800 yard/ 3 TD season? Share some of that wealth with Clinton Portis; DBSF has to believe there are some serious bar tabs that’ll need paying.)