Teams to Watch This Year

Football season is almost (officially) here (at last), which means that it’s time for yet another prediction or two. This one has to do with the teams who will most likely surprise us all. Now, I know anything can happen on any given Sunday, but there are some teams that have really high expectations. I’m interested in the ones that don’t. Here are my choices for the teams to watch this year.

Detroit Lions
It’s hard not to feel optimistic about a losing team, or more specifically, a team that sets a record for losses in one year. Why? Because odds are FOR them at least winning something. The last couple years they’ve benefited from their lousy seasons by choosing wisely in the draft. Slowly but surely they are building a new (Millen-less) team, and as a result they will surprise everyone this year with a (close to) winning season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I like what coach Raheem Morris has done with this team, and especially like the newbie QB Freeman. Freeman played his very first game against the Packers last year, and helped his team kick an 11-game losing streak by completing three touchdowns and looking like a seasoned vet. We’ll be seeing much more of Freeman this year.

Cleveland Browns
The Browns need a break. I mean, they have been a joke of an NFL team for several years, which isn’t fair to fans or the players trying to win. I’m not sure coach Eric Mangini is the ultimate answer to this question, but I believe the addition of Mike Holgrem as president will make just the right combination. Where Mangini is rough, Holmgren can smooth things out. The team certainly has a different attitude, booting the longtime old players out who previously had a say-so in how things were done. Will it be enough to make them a winning team? A playoff team? This will be the year to find out.

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