In my business, sports talk radio, I am paid to have opinions.
They might not all be good opinions, but I've got to have them. I can't just say: "Well, let's just wait and see how this all works out."
With that in mind, here's a quick opinion on every NFC team as training camps have opened across the land. I've even conveniently sorted them by division (and I'm not paid to do that):
Green Bay Packers: I actually think the Pack can challenge for the division title this year. Greg Jennings needs to stay healthy and give Favre that opposite threat to Donald Driver. Can Justin Harrell make an impact on defense? Ted Thompson better hope so, since that pick was his baby. Are you ready for the Vernand Morency era at tailback? Woo hoo.
Chicago Bears: A team that could to take a step back after last year's Super Bowl run. I see more horrific outings from Rex Grossman. I see Cedric Benson failing to run as productively week after week as Thomas Jones. I see a big fat bulls-eye on their backs.
Minnesota Vikings: Tavaris Jackson? Brooks Bollinger? Drew Henson? God, could they have a more scuffling crew of QB's in ya-hay-der Minne-SOTA? Let's just say the Vikes at least have the right expectations this year: None.
Detroit Lions: Go ahead, proclaim the Lions your "sleeper" team. I dare you. It's an annual rite of summer. NFL people look at the Lions on paper, and start thinking: "Hey, this might actually be a good team." Wrong. It's the Lions; the most consistent losers in the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys: This should be their division this year. Everybody wants to know if Romo was a fluky flash or the real deal. I'm thinking real. Watch T.O. have a monster year with a healthy wrist and fat man Tuna off his back.
Philadelphia Eagles: It's insane to think that Donovan McNabb has to fight off some nobody named Kevin Kolb. It's more insane to think that as soon as McNabb has a bad game, Philly fans will start chanting Kolb's name. (Can you actually "chant" that one?)
Washington Redskins: Expectations have been properly deflated this year coming off a 5-11 flop in 2006. Problem is, they'll likely meet those meager expectations. Todd Wade as a converted LG? Dicey. Santana Moss staying healthy all year? Dicey. Jason Campbell not having a mini-second year slump? Dicey.
New York Giants: How come so many people seem to think that Brandon Jacobs can be an every-down tailback? A feature runner that big and tall hasn't been seen since Christian Okoye, and even he was more of a gimmick than anything. Eli, show us something.
New Orleans Saints: With any other "surprise" team that has a history of losing, I would predict a massive crash back to earth the next year. I am not doing that here, for only one reason: Sean Payton.
Carolina Panthers: Everybody's summer darling of 2006 turned out to be a total bust. Steve Smith had a sub-stud season (although not a total waste) and Jake Delhomme looked simply lost for large stretches last year.
Atlanta Falcons: Here's a really nutty thought. Joey Harrington leads the Falcons to the playoffs. Okay, when you are done laughing, just think for a minute: doesn't it always happen this way in sports? When a team is dealt a seemingly mortal blow, they end up actually getting better.
Tampa Bay Bucs: Hey Gruden? Your ass getting warm right now? It doesn't matter who plays QB, the Bucs won't be good again until that O-line gets its act together.
San Francisco 49ers: I cannot believe I am actually drinking the Niners' Kool-Aid this year, but I am. Everybody is on them like everybody was on the Dolphins last year. Offensively, they could be sick if Vernon Davis gets healthy and starts producing. They just need to move the needle a bit on defense.
Seattle Seahawks: I never like it when a stud RB starts hiding hairline fractures in his foot from us Fantasy Football dorks. Watching Mike Holmgren get very, very mad is a lot of fun. If the ‘Hawks don't have to hire a rent-a-DB out of a mortgage company again this year, they should be right there in the end.
St. Louis Rams: Marc Bulger finally got paid. Good for him. Stephen Jackson has emerged as a devastating power back. And guess what? The Rams actually balance run and pass better now. What's not to like? The defense, that's what.
Arizona Cardinals: Yes, I like what Leinart showed last year, despite missing much of camp. Yes, I think their corps of WRs is a Fantasy warehouse of numbers. Yes, I think Wisenhunt can do a better job of Denny Green. But no, I am not yet ready to drink that Cardinals cherry red Kool-Aid. Sorry.
Next week: A look at the AFC.
Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.
A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.