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Old 07-18-2003, 04:56 AM   #1
Anthony
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Thumbs down Flop Teams

Which NFL team will suffer the greatest drop-off in 2003 from where they finished in 2002? Likely candidates include, but are not limited to, the following:

Philadelphia Eagles: Wide receiver is to this team what third base was to the New York Mets for about the first 20 years of their existence: No matter what they do, they just can't seem to find the answer at the position. With no deterrent for opponents to blitz, this leaves Donovan McNabb far more vulnerable to injury than he would be otherwise. Could last November's scare against Arizona prove to be only a mild foretaste of what's to come? Plus their front seven on defense remains profoundly undersized, and could get more so if middle linebacker Levon Kirkland is not retained; not only that, the Eagles have also lost Hugh Douglas, and it remains to be seen how adequately top draft pick Jerome McDougle performs in his spot. Finally, Philadelphia's 2003 schedule is 72 percentage points more difficult than last year's - this is the steepest jump in strength of schedule in the NFL this season. And even if the Eagles do manage to overcome all of the above, here's one final fact: Their loss to Tampa Bay at home in last year's NFC championship game made them the 26th team in the Super Bowl era to lose at home in the round immediately before the Super Bowl - and not one of the first 25 won the Super Bowl the following year.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Tommy Maddox could very well be a one-year flash in the pan - and if that does turn out to be the case, the mediocre (to be charitable) Charlie Batch would have to step in because Kordell Stewart has left for Chicago. Jerome Bettis may be at the end of his rope as well. The defense remains a strong point, but how many times can a team win 7-3 or 10-7 in one season?

Denver Broncos: Is Jake Plummer really any upgrade over Brian Griese? Seven of Denver's 16 games are against teams that had winning records in 2002, and Plummer is 3-28 lifetime against over-.500 opposition. But isn't Mike Shanahan the most brilliant mind in the NFL? Yeah, right.

Will the "honor" fall to one of these three, or perhaps some other team? Your thoughts please.
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