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TGIF Thank God It’s Football

It’s finally here!  2011 NFL season kicks off Thursday and what more can you ask than Green Bay vs. New Orleans matchup?  This could be the best game of the season, in the very first game of the year.  Or maybe not, who knows?  We haven’t played a down of regular season football, so really anything can happen.

Peter King at SI has predicted Atlanta vs. San Diego in the Super Bowl this season, so it’s safe to bet that’s going to happen, since the football Buddha successfully predicted a Packers-Steelers matchup in last year’s issue.

With all that being said, and nothing proven quite yet, here is the Sports Minion’s Top 10 NFL teams coming into week one.

TOP 10 NFL TEAMS:  WEEK ONE

Runners up:  Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

T-10.  Houston Texans:  Top Players: Andre Johnson (WR), Arian Foster (RB), Matt Schaub (QB), Mario Williams (DE/LB)

What’s to Love:  Best RB-WR duo in the NFL with Johnson & Foster.  A Chris Berman-esque nickname   awaits.

What sucks:  History.  The Texans have never made it to the post season.

T-10.  Indianapolis Colts:  Peyton Manning (QB), Reggie Wayne (WR), Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis (DEs)

What’s to Love:  10+ wins every season since 2002; Manning threw for 4,700 yards last season

What sucks:  Aside from Manning’s head possibly falling off, his replacement, Kerry Collins, is well…Kerry Collins.    Top players are all in their 30s.  Collins is 57.

9.  San Diego ChargersPhillip Rivers (QB), Antonio Gates (TE), Shaun Phillips (LB), Vincent Jackson (WR)

What’s to Love:  a healthy, non-holding out V-Jax & a presently healthy Gates

What sucks:  RB position is still questionable; two losses to Oakland last season

8.  Baltimore Ravens:  Ray Rice (RB), Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs (LBs), Ed Reed (S), Haloti Ngata (DT)

What’s to Love:  12-4 last season, no significant losses; Aging Lewis led Ravens D with 139 tackles

What sucks:  Not much depth at Receiver or Tight End.  Anquan Boldin had career low production last season.

7.  Atlanta Falcons:  Roddy White (WR), Michael Turner (RB), John Abraham (DE)

What’s to Love:  13-win team still intact, talented rookie Julio Jones added to receiving core that already includes White and Tight End Tony Gonzalez

What sucks:  Getting to the Quarterback/Sack production.  After Abraham’s 13 sack season, Jonathan Babineaux ranks 2nd  among Atlanta Falcons with a mere 4 sacks.

6.  New Orleans Saints:  Drew Brees (QB), Jonathan Vilma (LB), Roman Harper (S)

What’s to Love:  Brees receives added power to already strong offensive line with Olin Kreutz; additions of Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram more than make up for the loss of Reggie Bush.

What sucks:  Will Smith out for the first two games;  secondary: only 9 INTs as a team last season, Baltimore’s Reed had 8.

5.  New York Jets:  Darrelle Revis (CB), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (OT), Nick Mangold (C)

What’s to Love:  Two straight seasons with AFC Championship game appearances; Plaxico Burress signing

What sucks:  Two straight seasons with AFC Championship losses (’09 Colts 30-17; ’10 Steelers 24-19); Plax hasn’t played since 2008

4.  Philadelphia Eagles:  Michael Vick (QB), LeSean McCoy (RB), DeSean Jackson (WR), Nnamdi Asomugha (CB)

What’s to Love:  Big free agent acquisitions bolster an already impressive lineup; 1,000 yard seasons from both “Seans”

What sucks:  Much of the defensive unit is gone, leaving a mostly unproven set of linebackers; will Vick’s body hold up or  shatter like T-1000

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers:  Ben Roethlisberger (QB), Rashard Mendenhall (RB), Troy Polamalu (S), James Harrison (LB)

What’s to Love:  Ridiculously good defense, no suspensions for Big Ben this season (so far)

What sucks:  Depth at Wide Receiver.  Mike Wallace has had one big season and Hines Ward is aging.

2.  Green Bay Packers:  Aaron Rodgers (QB), Greg Jennings (WR), Clay Matthews (LB), Charles Woodson (CB)

What’s to Love:  Super Bowl Champions won it all without star Tight End Jermichael Finley and former 1,000 yrd rusher, Ryan Grant

What sucks:  Repeat.  Back-to-Back Super Bowl victories is a tough feat.  In the past 30 years, only 4 teams have done it.  (Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and New England)

#1  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:  Tom Brady (QB), Jerod Mayo (LB), Wes Welker (WR), Devin McCourty (CB)

What’s to Love:  Chad Ochocinco adds his flavor onto a team that went 14-2 last season; Tom Brady.  Brady had 4 INTs all of last year.  Bill Belichick is a winner.

What sucks:  Not much.  Hate ‘em all you want, but the Patriots machine is tough to beat.  Running back is still not where it could be.

SUPER BOWL PREDICTION:  NEW ENGLAND OVER GREEN BAY (I know, very original)

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  1. September 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | #1

    Like the line-up with the exception of the Steelers and Colts. Steelers probably should be in the top 10, but the Colts, even if Manning was health, are headed towards a disappointing year. Check out what I wrote for 85%: http://www.85percentsports.com/2011/08/29/nfl-preview-indianapolis-colts/

    Cheers!

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