It may be a bit early to speculate on how successful (or unsuccessful) teams will be in 2004. After all, who figured the Panthers would go from 1-15 in 2002 to the NFC Championship two years later, or the Raiders and Bucs would go from Super Bowl to sub-.500 in one year. Yet, it's happened. Undaunted, here is VU's early (and subject to change in August) predictions on the NFL for 2004.
PHILADELPHIA – The fourth time will have to be the charm.
DALLAS – If Tuna had grabbed a veteran QB in free agency, they'd be the favorite.
WASHINGTON – Joe Gibbs won't bring them to the playoffs, but they'll improve.
NEW YORK – Kurt Warner collapses, Tom Coughlin screams. What's unusual?
MINNESOTA – Vikings may only need nine wins this year to take title.
GREEN BAY – The Packers are the only team in division that's in decline.
DETROIT – By 2005, their offensive weapons could make them the favorite.
CHICAGO – An ugly team that will improve when Lovie Smith brings the D back.
CAROLINA – Their defense looks a lot like Tampa's used to.
TAMPA BAY – The old crew is gone, so now this is finally Gruden's team.
ATLANTA – Any time you have Mike Vick, you have a chance to win
NEW ORLEANS – Offense is solid, but defense gets you to the playoffs.
SEATTLE – All the stars are still young, which bodes well for the future.
ST. LOUIS – Their best days may be behind them, but they're still good.
ARIZONA – Denny Green may help, but this team needs a lot of help.
SAN FRANCISCO – Already preparing for the first pick in the 2005 draft.
NEW ENGLAND – They went 17-2 without a running game. That's scary.
MIAMI – Wannstedt may be making his last ride if they don't go 10-6 (they won't).
NEW YORK – A healthy Chad Pennington could keep them in playoff contention.
BUFFALO – They've given up two first-rounders for Bledsoe and Losman. Ouch.
BALTIMORE – Until Ray Lewis or Jamal Lewis is gone, they're the favorite.
CINCINNATI – Won't surprise like last year, but still not over the hump.
PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger may start by the end of September.
CLEVELAND – Jeff Garcia may be on I.R. by the end of September.
INDIANAPOLIS – Does Manning finally get to a Super Bowl?
TENNESSEE – They're always close, but McNair is ready to break down.
JACKSONVILLE – Perhaps the sleeper team of the league this year.
HOUSTON – Could finish 8-8 this year…and still finish last.
DENVER – If Broncos can replace Portis, they'll win.
KANSAS CITY – Offense is too good to finish 8-8, D is too bad to finish 11-5.
OAKLAND – The dismantling of the over-the-hill gang begins in earnest.
SAN DIEGO – Get ready for another high draft pick…again!
Let The NFL Predictions Begin
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