Friday, September 10, 2004

Tecmo-style NFL Preview, Part 2

For the thousands of you that e-mailed me thanking me for the hard work that went into producing my Tecmo Super Bowl-style AFC preview, thank you. I do it for the fans. And for the millions more who are dying to read my NFC preview, here you are:


1. PHILADELPHIA -- I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about how badly I'd carve up defenses using Donovan McNabb's speed, Terrell Owens' glue-like hands, and Bryant Westbrook's return game. And ohhhh the defense! Jevon Kearse, Hugh Douglas, and a surely-overrated Dhani Jones! Thank you, Lord, for giving us the most perfect Tecmo Super Bowl team since the 1990 Bills. (14-2).

2. WASHINGTON -- Sometimes a good running game is all you need. With Clinton Portis, Washington zig-zags their way to a NFC playoff spot. The Skins lack an established passer, but Mark Brunell could be good on those Tarkenton-esque rollouts. The receivers stink, but hey, after a few Portis runs, a flea flicker might do the job. Use LaVar Arrington on D, probably the only defender worth mentioning. (10-6)

3. GIANTS -- The weapons are there, and the rest means jack squat in Tecmo Super Bowl. With Kurt Warner's arm, Tiki Barber's legs, and Amani Toomer's fingers, the Giants could off-set their miserable offensive line and shaky defense. Jeremy Shockey in 'good' condition would destroy opposing DBs. Michael Strahan is hard-pressed to carry the defense, but he'll make a go of it with TSB's patented five-yard lunges. (9-7)

4. DALLAS -- Defense may be the 'Boys' best weapon, but TSB gamers know it's all about scoring. With Vinny tossing footballs like bagles all over the field, his crummy receivers routinely peeling off routs, and Eddie George bogging down the running game, Dallas looks like a lost cause. Wait for Julius Jones to emerge, get a real quarterback, then try again. (3-13)


1. MINNESOTA -- When I think of Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper, I imagine Warren Moon and Haywood Jefferies, tearing down the field with lightning precision and tremendous 90-yard pass plays. Both WRs and QBs have extraterrestrial talents. The difference? Culpepper can run. Remember that bizarre QB draw from the Oilers' playbook? Doesn't seem so useless when Culpepper runs it, does it? It might be a little tough to get stops on defense, but no one's feeling bad about that after another 48-24 win. (12-4)

2. GREEN BAY -- Green Bay has come a long way since the days of Dan Majkowski and his wretched offense limping the ball all over the field. Now, with Brett Favre running the show, Ahman Green dodging LBs with stunning evasiveness, and a capable defense, the Packers are in the hunt for a playoff spot. Just watch out that KGB doesn't get injured, or your defense might be in trouble. (9-7)

3. DETROIT -- The TSB ratings gurus usually don't think too highly of unestablished rookies and youngsters, so the Lions might have a tough time getting many wins. Joey Harrington has yet to have a breakout season; Charlie Rogers was hurt most of last year, and Harrington's other options (RB Kevin Jones and WR Roy Williams) are unknown quantities. The defense is nothing to get excited over. Maybe they'll get some respect in next year's game. (7-9)

4. CHICAGO -- Brian Urlacher is a dominant force on D, but who's going to score points? Anthony Thomas and Thomas Jones might be good on those fake-draw pitch-outs, but Rex Grossman won't be doing much on offense, other than lobbing a lot of balls 50 yards beyond the closest receiver. I foresee a lot of blitzing (pick-your-plays), and a lot of swearing and joystick smashing. (5-11)


1. SEATTLE -- This team best compares to the 1990 Redskins. It's a solid quarterback (Matt Hasselbeck), a quick running back (Shaun Alexander), and two reliable receiving options (Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson) coming off the line of scrimmage. Seattle's offense should be unpredictable, because they can burn you with a deep pass or a run up the middle as easily as they can with a WR reverse or direct snap. That ridiculous WR-reverse-flea-flicker seems made for this team. (11-5)

2. ST. LOUIS -- I can only imagine how devastating this team would have been three years ago. Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt... (sigh)... Now that's 16-0 material. But now they've been reduced to a sum of working parts. Marshall is slowed, but still runs with his deadly agility. Holt and Bruce still run crisp routs. But mistake-prone Marc Bulger is problematic. Too many INTs and fumbles can ruin even the best offense. (10-6)

3. SAN FRANCISCO -- No defense! None whatsoever! At least they've got Kevan Barlow, Brandon Lloyd, and Tim Rattay, to whom I think TSB's scouts would inexplicably give acceptably high ratings. Seven wins would be a coup. (5-11).

4. ARIZONA -- Some things just never change. An inept quarterback, useless running game, and wholly worthless defense smacks of their 1990 counterparts. The only bright spots are at receiver, where a healthy Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald might be effective if Josh McCown could ever get them the ball. But McCown's frustrating inaccuracy and lob passes will somehow lead to a lot of X's winding up near the bottom of your screen, out of bounds and completely uncatchable. (3-13)


1. ATLANTA -- He's a running back! No, he's a quarterback! No, he's a running back! Roll him Michael Vick out on bootlegs and let the fun begin. If I were ever inclined to use the 'playbook' feature (and I never have been), I would make sure every Falcons down involved some kind of trickery. Fake-draw pitch-outs to Warrick Dunn, playaction dives to T.J. Duckett, WR reverses to Peerless Price; flea-flickers! Chaos! The Falcons offense might not have the most talent, but they will be fun to watch. (11-5)

2. NEW ORLEANS -- Michael Vick be damned, they say. The Saints have Deuce McAllister and they're not about to concede the division title. Although Pat Swilling and Sam Mills don't run the defense any more, they still have good receiving options, a talented, mobile quarterback, and a fitting heir to the dangerous Hilliard-and-Heyward running game. (9-7)

3. CAROLINA -- Sadly, defense just isn't rewarded as much as a the defending AFC champs would like to believe. Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker will do their best to destroy opposing offenses, but it still may be possible to burn them on pass plays. Jake Delhomme is only average, and Stephen Davis won't win any rushing titles. (8-8)

4. TAMPA BAY -- Brad Johnson? No thanks. We'll take Chris Simms for the block. True, Simms has never taken a snap in the NFL. But at least it will FEEL like we're playing with a good team. Just imagine... Simms drops back! Throws to Bavaro -- no, wait, that's Ken Dilger. Ugh, sorry. Handing off to Charlie Garner seems like a slap in the face to powerful '90 Bucs back Reggie Cobb. We'll take Derrick Brooks on defense and hope he can steal the show. (6-10) I added an extra win because they signed original Tecmo Bowler Tim Brown -- that's gotta be worth something.


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