Random News of the Day: 2010 NFL predictions


Random News of the Day: 2010 NFL predictions

Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
12:27 PM

By Joe Collins

It is said that by the third NFL preseason, you should know a little bit about what you should expect from your favorite NFL team the rest of the season. The fourth game matters a lot less than the others-- look no further than tonight's Bears final preseason game. Jay Cutler won't even take a snap against the Browns. Granted, preseason games aren't completely meaningless, as they serve as slight fodder for wild NFL predictions. NFL predictions have to come from somewhere, right? Here's the bottom line on where each team stands in 2010:

Denotes Playoff Team


Dallas (12-4): It's time for Romo to lead this team deep into the playoffs. Make the EIU fans proud!

N.Y. Giants (9-7): Perry Fewell-led defense the key to turnaround after a monumental letdown in 2009.

Philadelphia (8-8): Solid defense, but questionable offense and a gritty division scream .500 team.

Washington (7-9): Mike Shanahan looks to get the best out of a very average group, all things considered.


Green Bay (12-4): Tecmo Bowl-like offense looks to offset a questionable, sometimes-healthy defense.

Minnesota (10-6): Team AP and AARP, Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre. Can 4 bring it again?

Chicago (6-10): Too many question marks on offense. A tough schedule doesn't help, either.

Detroit (6-10): DT Ndamukong Suh forces other teams not to catnap. A Detroit renaissance: lurking?


Atlanta (11-5): As Hawk would say, "Stretch!" Seriously, Falcons over Saints thanks to their offense and schedule.

New Orleans (11-5): They're the targets now. Look for more 38-35 kind of games. Can pass defense hold?

Carolina (7-9): Great RB tandem in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart try to keep these cats above water.

Tampa Bay (5-11): Swiss cheese run defense looks to improve under Raheem Morris, who turns 34 Friday.


San Francisco (10-6): Time for perpetual trendy pick to shine; ditto Alex Smith. Samurai Mike gets 'em there.

Seattle (8-8): All eyes on Pete Carroll in the Pacific Northwest. Might even challenge 49ers for West title.

Arizona (8-8): No Warner and it's back to mediocrity for the Cards. WR Larry Fitzgerald keeps them going.

St. Louis (3-13): Always been a baseball town. That will not change this year. Check back in Fall 2011.


N.Y. Jets (11-5): RB Shonn Greene and a still-tough defense look to put a hard knock on a tough division.

Miami (10-6): New WR Brandon Marshall adds to the attack. And if the defense makes a splash...look out.

New England (9-7): Less than 20 players remain from magical 18-1 team. Glory days over in New England?

Buffalo (4-12): New defensive scheme under Chan Gailey will need to work quickly. Play Bears in Toronto 117.


Baltimore (12-4): RB Ray Rice and another stout Ravens 'D has spirits high. 4 of first 6 on the road, though.

Cincinnati (10-6): Queen City could spontaneously combust with TO and Ochocinco looking for same spotlight.

Pittsburgh (8-8): If Big Ben can come back with his team still around the .500 mark, that'll be huge.

Cleveland (5-11): Browns, Indians and Cavs could all finish last this year. Cleveland rocks? Lite-rock, maybe.


Indianapolis (13-3): Peyton & Co. still truckin' along in Indy. Until Houston shows up, the South is theirs.

Houston (10-6): '09 passing leader Matt Schaub faces Colts and Cowboys in September. Time to step up.

Tennessee (8-8): RB Chris Johnson is a beast, but QB Vince Young and the defense still have a lot to prove.

Jacksonville (6-10): An average team, a hot-seat coach and a tough division leads to more weak gate numbers.


San Diego (10-6): Chargers still the class of the division. But in the playoffs? We'll see.

Denver (8-8): Every team in this division could finish 8-8. Totally applies to the schizophrenic Broncos.

Oakland (6-10): Al Davis starring in Weekend At Bernies 3. Coming to a half-empty coliseum near you.

Kansas City (5-11): Still too many question marks for a young offense and a shaky defense.

Atlanta 27 Minnesota 24 (Wild-Card Game)

New Orleans 33 San Francisco 19 (Wild-Card Game)

Dallas 24 New Orleans 23 (Divisional Playoff)

Green Bay 24 Atlanta 21 (Divisional Playoff)

Dallas 20 Green Bay 16 (NFC Championship)


Cincinnati 31, New York Jets 27 (Wild-Card Game)

Miami 22, San Diego 20 (Wild-Card Game)

Indianapolis 38, Miami 17 (Divisional Playoff)

Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 14 (Divisional Playoff)

Baltimore 27, Indianapolis 24 (AFC Championship)


Dallas 31, Baltimore 20

That's right-- the first "home" team to win a Super Bowl in their own stadium! As you know, Cowboys Stadium will be the venue for Super Bowl XLV-- February 6, 2011. You're telling me Jerry Jones won't motivate his own organization into that Caesars Palace-like stadium with every eyeball in America watching? Go on now.

It's time for kickoff!

Or something like that.

For Bears QB Jay Cutler, an unwanted second chance – audition? – presents itself

For Bears QB Jay Cutler, an unwanted second chance – audition? – presents itself

Some decisions have ways of simply making themselves. Decisions like, say, who will be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

Regrettably, one aspect of that decision was made for the Bears when Brian Hoyer went down with a broken left arm in the second quarter of Thursday’s 26-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. At that moment the Hoyer-or-Cutler question was rendered moot. As FOX’s Jay Glazer had reported, the No. 1 job was Hoyer’s to lose, and the injury unfortunately took care of that. Coaches never had to make that decision.

This is clearly not the way Cutler would like to have been returned to his job. No player is pleased to have an opportunity made possible by a catastrophic injury to a teammate.

Bigger picture: The 2016 season was always a prove-it year for Jay Cutler, more so than even last year because of guaranteed money, which is now gone. The rest of the 2016 now becomes a condensed prove-it crucible, where Cutler is playing for his job in Chicago or his next team. His price for 2017 ($15 million) is modest by starter standards, but so is his resume.

Without a strong final nine games, assuming his injured thumb is sufficiently recovered after nearly six weeks off, Cutler may find himself as next offseason’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, sort-of wanted by a team but for money nowhere close to the value he and his agent had in mind.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The play of rookies Dak Presott in Dallas and Carson Wentz in Philadelphia will reinforce the message that you can start and win with a rookie right away, which projects to depress any Cutler market. Why pay a marginal veteran, which Cutler has been and certainly is at this point and age (34 next April), when a rookie can be had at a fraction of the cost?

Without a massive contract renegotiation, a scenario of Cutler staying on as a bridge to a young successor is beyond a longshot. Hoyer, far more likely to fit that role, and his price will not approach Cutler’s.

Cutler now has his second chance. Whether he likes it or not, it’s an audition.

Bears Grades: Defense wears down under assault from Aaron Rodgers and Packers

Bears Grades: Defense wears down under assault from Aaron Rodgers and Packers

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — It was a bright spot, a small one on an otherwise dismal night of losing to the Green Bay Packers. But it was at least something.

After struggling for months to stay healthy and gain NFL weight, Leonard Floyd finally played like the ninth-overall pick of an NFL draft.

The rookie outside linebacker collected a sack in the first half, then exploded past Green Bay right tackle Brian Bulaga as part of stunt with fellow linebacker Willie Young on the third play of the second quarter for a second sack of Aaron Rodgers, one that came with a strip of the football and recovery in the end zone.

"We had a great play called,” Floyd said. “Willie came down and picked the guard for me and I looped around and the play was done and I made it. It felt great [to get a touchdown], but at the end of the day I wanted a win."

That was one of the very few bright spots as the Packers piled up 311 yards through three quarters, at times using wide receivers Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery as running backs because of injuries. The drumbeat continued with touchdowns on three straight Green Bay possessions in the late third and early fourth quarters.

The defense has allowed 23 or more points in five of seven games this season, with the Packers rolling off consecutive touchdown drives of 85, 84 and 57 in the second half as the Bears were limited to 2:49 time of possession in the fourth quarter.

“It helps when you’re playing [defense], to actually have a little bit of a break,” head coach John Fox said. “Unfortunately in the second half, I think that probably caught up with us a little bit.”

The defense had its fullest complement of personnel yet this season, with outside linebackers Floyd and Pernell McPhee both active (McPhee for the first time this year following offseason knee surgery), in addition to starting cornerbacks Bryce Callahan and Tracy Porter, both of whom were injured during the Jacksonville game. It was not enough.

[BEARS GRADES: Quarterback woes take offense to new low in loss to Packers]

Defensive line: F

The interior of the line was quiet for most of the game, with wide receivers lining up as running backs averaged more than five yards per carry. Cornelius Washington had the only hit by a defensive lineman on Rodgers as the line rarely collapsed the pocket with center-push or even kept him in the pocket.

Linebacker: B-

Floyd started after two games inactive and a zero stat sheet vs. Detroit. He struggled too often getting disengaged from Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari at the outset before breaking through with second effort for his first career solo sack. That was topped by the strip-sack and recovery for a touchdown in the third quarter. Floyd had a third hit on Rodgers and a tackle for loss.

"It is very tough,” Floyd said. “He gets the ball out pretty quickly. You just have to keep rushing every snap. He is at his best when he is scrambling around playing backyard football."

McPhee was a welcome addition to a slumping defense, even in his limited capacity (19 snaps). McPhee was not credited with any tackles but was surprisingly fast off the ball initially, and got penetration to alter running lanes and some pressure on Rodgers, although he appeared to slow somewhat, not unexpected considering how limited he has been throughout the year because of the surgery.

Sam Acho provided some edge pressure with two hits on Rodgers and a pass deflected. Jerrell Freeman had a quarterback hit and delivered a game-high 13 tackles.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Secondary: D

The secondary was forced to cover long into plays because of absent pressure on Rodgers but the coverage had its own problems with an offense that threw 56 times but was never intercepted. Three Green Bay receivers totaled double-digit receptions: Davante Adams (13), Cobb (11) and Montgomery (10).

Cre’Von LeBlanc started at corner as the Bears opened with six defensive backs, and delivered a goal-line stop in the first quarter, stuffing Montgomery, who was used as a running back because of injuries to the Green Bay backfield. LeBlanc finished with seven tackles and a hit blitzing Rodgers.

Porter matched up with Jordy Nelson and allowed the Green Bay wideout just one catch on four targets through three quarters. But breakdowns were deadly, allowing the Packers to stage their two longest scoring drives of the season in the second half. The second came when Porter and safety Harold Jones-Quartey both covered the same man in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, leaving Adams alone for his second TD catch of the game.

Adrian Amos interfered with Nelson to give the Packers a 44-yard penalty pickup in the first quarter. De’Vante Bausby had a number of solid plays despite a lack of meaningful pressure from the front. But Bausby had two holding penalties on the Packers’ second fourth-quarter scoring drive.

"There were a lot of penalties out there.,” Bausby said. “We had a good scheme and plan, but we just didn't finish in the second half as a group. Facing Rodgers is a challenge, but I felt like our play calling was excellent. We just didn't finish."

Special teams: B

Connor Barth converted from 39 yards to tie the game in the second quarter. It was Barth’s seventh in his last eight attempts. Pat O’Donnell turned in another strong night punting, averaging 43.8 net on five punts. Coverage helped keep three of those inside the 20.