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Football Predictions: A Second Slice
August 27, 2008
Clint Dempsey Interview
August 1, 2008
NFL Draft Review
April 30, 2008, 2008

Football Predictions: A Second Slice
September 4, 2008            by Richard Gale


8 Predictions For 2008 If You're A Fan Of The...

Dallas Cowboys
1. The backfield will be effective even if Jones or Barber get crocked. Tashard Choice is a superb no.3 and will put up some interesting numbers given a chance.
2. Expect Tony Romo to start drawing comparisons more to Troy Aikman than Brett Favre. Sure, Romo's a slinger, but with the paring of Jones and Barber in the backfield, Romo won't be the only route to big plays, and consistency will become a bigger part of his game.
3. Don't expect tight end Jason Witten to have another 96 catches this season. Rookie Martellus Bennett will steal away more than Anthony Fasano did last year.
4. Now in the shadow of Zach Thomas as well as DeMarcus Ware, Bradie James will be the team leader in tackles again. One of the most underrated LBs in America.
5. Adam Jones may not be ready to take up cornerback duties, but he'll score a touchdown as a returner before September is done.
6. Don't be surprised if the Cowboys don't break away from the NFC East pack immediately. Upset alert for visits to the Browns and Packers in weeks 1 and 3. Don't panic folks: thereafter, the team settles, and they might not lose that many games the rest of the season.
7. Either 12 or 13 wins seems likely, with home field advantage through the playoffs.
8. Expect to win a playoff game this year. Probably two. Maybe even three!

Washington Redskins
1. Dan Snyder is going to look a genius after lucking into Zorn as head coach.
2. Head coach Jim Zorn understands quarterbacks. Jason Campbell is nowhere near being hooked for one of his backups, so everyone can put the tarpaulin over Colt Brennan until next preseason.
3. Clinton Portis continues to look like a product of the Denver Broncos system as a runner, but a a receiver out of the backfield, he could enjoy Jim Zorn too.
4. 2nd round tight end Fred Davis is going to be a lot more relevant than 1st round WR Malcolm Kelly. In fact 1997's undrafted WR James Thrash is more relevant right now.
5. DE was a problem before Jason Taylor arrived, and as the season starts, it's still a problem. But once Taylor's aboard, he'll play with a chip on his shoulder about the way he departed from Miami. Shame the Dolphins aren't on the schedule.
6. Kicker Shaun Suisham will be the difference between 7–9 and 9–7.
7. If they get the right breaks in the division and the conference (see Suisham), the Redskins are playoff–bound.
8. The Giants and Redskins opener could be high–scoring for a season opener, but the November 30 game, with the offense in full coordination, promises to be a classic.

Philadelphia Eagles
1. Donovan McNabb will stay fit for the most part. It will be really apparent just how much he needs a big deep threat.
2. After some fans were frustrated the Eagles didn't draft a big receiver like Malcolm Kelly, the smaller DeSean Jackson is going to make some valuable contributions as a rookie.
3. Despite rumblings about backup Kevin Kolb being the future, McNabb will still be the starter at the end of the season ...and at the start of 2009. Kolb will have to wait.
4. Tony Hunt will run for more yards and scores now he's not a running back. As a fullback, he will get on the field more, and could be the short–yardage default amongst Philly's small backfield.
5. Despite the new contract, Brian Westbrook won't put up the high numbers of last year. Part of that is because the Eagles will find a way to involve Lorenzo Booker that the Miami Dolphins couldn't.
6. Asante Samuel may have arrived, but talent in the secondary has never been the problem. Lito Sheppard is still on the team. At some point this season, that's going to seem like divine providence.
7. With Takeo Spikes gone, linebacker Stewart Bradley rewards the Eagles faith in him.
8. Only a month ago, I was predicting a last place finish in the division. The Eagles could finish as high as second in the division now, and a 9–7 record would be close to the playoffs. Close, but not quite.

New York Giants
1. After his breakout run in the playoffs, Eli Manning is curiously under the radar. The presence of Brett Favre in New York seems to have wiped everyone's minds about last season. Expect Manning to remind people early on that last year was no fluke. His touchdown totals from the past three years (24, 24, 23) could leap to 30+.
2. Tuck & Kiwanuka may not be Strahan & Umenyiora, but Mathias Kiwanuka was an end in college before the Giants converted him to linebacker, and the new pairing will have their moments. The depth behind them is where the problem lies.
3. The lack of depth in the front seven means some tired defenders late in games, and later in the season. Expect the Giants to start strong before a fade, with some fourth quarter shootouts down the stretch.
4. Kevin Boss is no Jeremy Shockey. Neither to the good nor the bad.
5. There should be no doubt about it, left tackle David Diehl is a very important member of this team. If he goes down, the line gets shuffled, and Eli Manning is in danger. It get's worse: David Carr is now the backup quarterback. The third option is a phone call to Jared Lorenzen.
6. The kicking game is going to be an issue. It's 40–somethings right now, and when Lawrence Tynes comes back, concern for his knee may put him off his game.
7. A team that was still a 10–6 wildcard contender when we went to press with our print edition is probably in the 8–8 picture right now. Not only could they miss the playoff cut by a kick here or a catch there, they could fall to last place in the division.
8. After all the past griping about Tom Coughlin, he gets a bye if this season does go belly–up.

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