Wonder’s NFL predictions for 2008 season- Part 1

1) NFC WEST: Seattle a lock over +8.5. This division is putrid. SEA under the gun with suspensions at beginning of season but will still get 9+ wins.

2) NFC SOUTH: Vilma will fit in with the Saints and have a good year. So will the Saints, who will “hands down” win their division. Only the Panthers are a real threat. Panthers have a very good running tandem in Williams and Stewart but they only have one WR, and he is out the first two games with a suspension. Play 8 in the box and they are done. If Carolina’s defense can show up and play well they might challenge the Saints, but more likely they are on the outside looking in for winning their division AND also coming up short for a wild card.

3) NFC NORTH: Pack is still back. 37-1 (Super Bowl XLIII) is a big overlay on them. Minnesota wild card? Can Adrian Peterson stay healthy? Peterson was injured in college and injured as a rookie, so this is a continuing question. Why oh why did Minnesota not get help for 2nd year starter Tavaris Jackson? As this kid goes, so goes the Vikings, a big bet Wonder does not make… why didn’t they get another QB to help the team and to help Jackson, Wonder asks.

4) NFC EAST: Dallas is winning the division and going to the Super Bowl. The only question is whether PHL and NYG both go to the playoffs as wild cards. The toughest division in football right now. Philadelphia’s schedule is so easy, it is very hard to see how they are NOT in the playoffs. Dallas will get derailed if they lose TO or Romo. The achilles heal is that Dallas only has one WR, so if TO is lost the entire team collapses. The Giants still have a shot, but Osi’s loss was horrible… if the Giants get another big injury they are done. Most teams cannot survive a big injury like Osi, but the Giants can… they just cannot afford another one. Burress and Smith need to stay healthy. McDougle was a reasonable signing. Because the Giants play SEA at home, they will sweep the NFC West. The Eagles get CLE/PIT at home and CINC/BAL on road, which Wonder thinks is a much easier path to 3-1 or 4-0 than the way the Giants have it, which is the exact opposite. Wonder saw 9.5 games for the Giants before Osi went down, still sees 9, maybe 10 wins now. Says the Giants better/will KILL the Skins in Week 1 or else they are in trouble. Skins awful. Giants have huge advantage in 10 day layover after week 1 to get kinks out and be even stronger. Back to the wild card, PHL (Westbrook?), MINN and NYG all one injury away from disaster.

AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh. Cleveland is a good team but Crennel is a lousy coach.

AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis. They are the most balanced, play tough at home, tough in the dome. Jax? Tenn? Wild cards?

AFC EAST: Patriots. NE has huge problems. If you want to beat the Patriots throw against them 30-40 times. Their defense is slow, aging, Samuel loss hurts their secondary, make their LBers play in space, the LBers cannot cover. Bet ‘over’ in every game that the Patriots play. Jets can fight for a wild card. Just like the Giants must kick serious butt in week 1 vs the Skins, he sees same imperative of the Jets kicking serious butt on the Dolphins. The Jets cannot afford to lose to the teams that they are expected to beat. If they beat those teams they are 10-6 and a wild card. If they lose to 1 or 2 of those teams they are out. Sleeper of the NFL resides in this division- Buffalo. Buffalo will steamroll SEA on opening day. If they do not then they are poorly coached. Buffalo will be better than people think. Can defense gel? Trent Edwards?

AFC WEST: Chargers. KC had good draft but they stink. OAK and DEN nowhere.

SUPER BOWL XLIII- Dallas vs. Indianapolis with a tight 3 point spread for either one.

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