It's pretty much standard at this point to assume for the NFL playoffs that at least 2-3 teams that made the playoffs per conference will not return the following year. Injuries, retirements, drafts, random time management faux paux's of Herman Edwards ensures an ebb and flow of team's success. Short of Tom Brady leaving the NFL to become a founding member of a gay utopian commune located in the Black Hills of South Dakota or Peyton retiring to take up his one great passion of figuring out how to work his TV remote Indy and New England are playoff bound. So what about the others? In Part I of me practicing the great craft of writing, its of focus on the AFC (or what we in the stock business call not the insane randomness that is the NFC) lets discuss who's falling .
Playoff Teams (in order of LEAST likely to return to the playoffs)
1. Kansas City – Of all of last year's playoff teams KC strikes me as most likely to belly flop their way through the season. Gone are the dominating grinders of Willie Roaf and Will Shields. When you need Kyle Turley to come in unless its for an air guitar competition you know your pulling at straws. Factor in that Bodie Croyle will probably be starting for the first time, Larry Johnson is an unhappy camper and Herm Edwards is still in charge and the chances of making it back to the playoffs seem only slightly hire than Brittney Spears reviving her career.
2. Jets – Don't get we wrong, I never doubt the Mangina. Heck I think the Jets might be a better team now that they have a running back in Thomas Jones. However I'm looking at the schedule. Last year the Jets feasted on the AFC South and the NFC North (arguably the two weakest divisions in each of the respective conferences). This year it's the AFC North and the NFC East. That's a bit tougher. Factor in a tougher New England and Buffalo team and suddenly 9-10 wins seems a lot harder.
3. Baltimore – Baltimore and San Diego seem to have equal chances. Baltimore's suffocating defense is all back except for Adalalius Thomas. Willis Mcgahee gives them far more speed and ability for swing passes compared to Jamal Lewis. However here are two factors going against them. First, Pittsburgh and Cinci will probably be better this year as both Palmer and Rothlisberger are actually starting the season healthy. Second, they need Steve Mcnair to be healthy. McNair somehow escaped injury last year but any bets on if he can do it two year's in a row? And anyone have confidence in Kyle (What me worry) Boller or that state traitor I mean Troy Smith? So The Raven Droppings maybe aren't a sure thing….
4. San Diego – How important is coaching? The team is the same as last year's 14 win won. They have the talent on offense, defense and special teams. So why the pause? Jay Cutler has a season under his belt but more importantly the coaching turnover. San Diego lost its head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, heck they lost their tight ends coach. That's a lot of turnover. And the new regime of Norv Turner and Ted Cattrell don't exactly have a shining resume of previous success. So how much does coaching matter?
5. Indy – the only reason they were ranked here is because Jacksonville has a better shot of winning the division than the Jets do. Also Indy suffered massive losses on their defense.….
6. New England