BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchshideshow.com writer
As a fan of the New England Patriots, I was heart broken at the conclusion of Sunday’s nailbiting Superbowl.
Fast forward a day later, and just like every NFL fan who is not a New York Giants fan, my mind is on what lies ahead for my team. New England, led by mastermind head coach Bill Belichick and wonder boy Tom Brady, have many holes on this team, as the G-men showed. This loss is sure to sting and last until week one of next season.
But all is not bad in Foxboro, here are a few things Belichick and company have to look toward.
• Free Agency: The Patriots are a team which builds through the draft, but after this season, with all the expiring contracts up, Belichick will have to look to free agency for some upgrades. Wide outs Wes Welker and Deion Branch, running backs Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and pass rushers Shaun Ellis, Rob Ninkovich, Mark Anderson and Andre Carter will all be free agents. Also, they’ll have to replace incumbent centers Dan Koppen and Dan Connolly. Though the Patriots haven’t shelled out good money for a free agent since the signing of defensive linemen/outside linebacker Adailius Thomas, addressing the defensive line, defensive backs and wide receivers needs to be a top priority. The Pats could take a look a wide outs DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Vincent Jackson. I doubt they actually sign any of them, but they need to be talking with their agents.
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
There is always a handful of NFL teams with mediocre records that have high hopes to make the playoffs each season.
Most of the time, it’s teams with a .500 winning percentage (8-8 overall) or with one win over the .500 mark (9-7) that find the final spots in the playoffs. This season, there are 10 teams that could potentially post barely respectable records and still get in. With two weeks left, five squads from the AFC and NFC, respectively, are still in the hunt. It will make for an exciting finale to a season that was almost cancelled because of the lockout. The playoffs are where the excitement is at, but with so many teams on the bubble, the end of the 2011 season should be action packed.
I will be concentrating on the playoff hopes for the two worst teams of the 10 squads that could be playoff bound. With 6-8 records, it doesn’t seem like the Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles will be able to punch their cards into the wildcard round of the NFL postseason. The Chiefs and Eagles should be able to give others searching for that No. 8 spot a run for their money, though.
Here’s a look at what Philadelphia and Kansas City will have to do in order for the squads to make the playoffs: