CHICKS ON FOOTBALL: AFC North predictions

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foxsports admin

Summer is here and we chicks are getting all giddy just thinking about the coming NFL season! Our boys are hard at work getting into football shape so that they can thrill us in their spandex. And we chicks have been busy as well — we are straining our brains to determine which lads will thrill us this season! With a heavy dose of female intuition, we think we have a pretty good idea of what will happen this year when the men hit the gridiron. As always, we are more than willing to share our secrets! So the preview of the 2003 season continues with a look at the AFC North, where the still rule.

Chick Picks:

1. Pittsburgh finally got the opportunity he needed in 2002 and wasted no time bouncing back to the bench (and out of Pittsburgh!). The offense should continue to explode as Tommy Boy has plenty of dazzling scoring partners to pick from. Meanwhile the defense is looking to rebound from a shaky season with the addition of rookie safety and the returned health of linebacker . 2. Baltimore Everyone expected the to fall flat on their faces in 2002 after being shredded by the salary cap. But coach Brian Billick kept them in the playoff hunt for much of the season even though they lost stud linebacker for 11 games. With Ray back in play and rookie rushing the QBs, the Raven defense should be able to make contenders out of Billick's boys once again. 3. Cincinnati The minute that Marvin Lewis was signed as the new head coach, the Bungle jokes came to a screeching halt. Free agents suddenly packed their bags for Cincy and there is a new feeling of hope. A playoff run may be too much to ask for in his first season, but stranger things have happened in this topsy-turvy league! 4. Cleveland The Dawg Pound will be barking with anger as a brewing quarterback controversy and mass exodus of linebackers look to stall Butch Davis' rebuilding project. Davis will need his young linebackers to gel quickly and a leading gunslinger to emerge if he wants to avoid dwelling in the cellar this season.

Other Predictions:

Top Gun — : Was there even a question on this one? and have "future stud" written all over them - but neither will be making a big splash in 2003. Tommy is the only ripe stud in the division and has a titillating trio of receivers to accept his passes in , and . Fresh Meat — SS : With slated for sideline duties and looking a bit sluggish, the most rousing rookie of 2003 looks to be our boy Troy. The USC stud is just what the need to perk up their sleazy secondary. Polamalu has blazing speed and will rock the socks off of any man who dares to stray his way! Hard to Get — WR : While the trio of Steeler receivers steal most of the headlines, this evasive Bengal is quietly becoming one of the toughest men to pin down. Johnson came up huge in the second half of last season averaging over 100 yards per contest in his final eight games. In six of those he averaged at least 19 yards per catch. His third year could be the charm as Chad looks to catapult into the class of the league's hottest receivers. Offensive Crush — TE : No offensive stud is rising faster than this third-year Raven and we chicks cannot wait to watch him mature even further! Defenders will find themselves in a heap of trouble when the get the ball to their virile tight end. Defensive Crush — LB : In his rookie season made quite a splash in Pittsburgh earning Rookie Defensive Player of the Year honors, but his cranky ankle prevented him from blooming further in 2002. This year Bell is feeling well and the coaching staff is devising plans to move him around more, particularly on third down. Look for Kendrell to wreak havoc once again as he teams up with his feisty mates to form one of the most ferocious linebacking corps in the league. High Blood Pressure — Butch Davis: Coach Davis made his competitive in his first two seasons as they actually earned a wild-card playoff spot in 2002. But the honeymoon may be over quickly as Butch faces his toughest challenge yet. Thanks to a salary cap crunch, he must keep his defense competitive without the services of his top three linebackers (Dwayne Rudd, Jamir Miller and ). He also needs to tread carefully or he will have one very ugly quarterback controversy on his hands. If Davis starts over fan-fave , Butch will get butchered in the press and by his fans if Couch flops. Over the Hill — : While 31 may not sound very old, it is ancient for an NFL running back ... especially one who has pounded away as hard as Bettis over the past 10 years. Jerome has been working with track coach Bob Kersee during the off-season, but we chicks predict this Bus will be coming to a halt. Jerome's old bod can longer handle the beatings and frisky is chomping at the bit to get more time on the gridiron.
Tagged: Bears, Bengals, Browns, Lions, Ravens, Steelers, Chad Johnson, Amos Zereoue, Plaxico Burress, Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis, Kordell Stewart, Earl Holmes, Todd Heap, Ray Lewis, Tommy Maddox, Antwaan Randle El, Carson Palmer, Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, Kyle Boller

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