The StatMan

From Show #19 on August 9th, here are the previews for the Western Divisions in both the AFC and the NFC.  For the latest episodes and schedules for the next episodes, please visit

AFC West
* Big Question: How will the Brandon Marshall soap opera get resolved?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: QB Kyle Orton, WR Brandon Lloyd, RB Knowshon Moreno (R), S Brian Dawkins, HC Josh McDaniels
  * Going: QB Jay Cutler, RB Selvin Young, HC Mike Shanahan
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 8-8/8-8 (even)
* Analysis: Denver will take a step back with a new coach, new quarterback, and disgruntled wide receiver.

Kansas City
* Big Question: Can Matt Cassel lead the offense without having a couple of years to get acquainted with a new playbook?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: QB Matt Cassel, WR Bobby Engram, DE Tyson Jackson (R), HC Todd Haley
  * Going: HC Herman Edwards
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 2-14/5-11 (+3)
* Analysis: Cassel will help Kansas City improve and will help the franchise get one step closer to respectability.

* Big Question: Is JaMarcus Russell ready to take the next step?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: QB Jeff Garcia, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
  * Going: No notable players
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 5-11/6-10 (+1)
* Analysis: The running game will take some of the pressure off, but Russell and the Raiders will end the season with a lot of question marks.

San Diego
* Big Question: Does LaDainian Tomlinson still have it?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: No notable players
  * Going: No notable players
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 8-8/11-5 (+3)
* Analysis: Darren Sproles ran for 105 yards in the Wild Card round win over Indy last January.  If Sproles effectively spells Sproles, this team will go far.  As it is, they'll win a weak division.

Projected AFC West 2009 Standings
1. San Diego 11-5
2. Denver 8-8
3. Oakland 6-10
4. Kansas City 5-11

NFC West
* Big Question: Can they get back to the Super Bowl and how will Wells fare in the running games?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: RB Chris "Beanie" Wells, CB Ralph Brown, SS Adrian Wilson
  * Going: RB Edgerrin James
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 9-7/9-7 (even)
* Analysis: Kurt Warner will be around for another two years and Anquan Boldin is still on the team, so the offense will be just as good.  The defense needs to improve, but they still win the division and bring their playoff experience and solid coaching into January with a head of steam.

St. Louis
* Big Question: Can the younger offensive line protect Marc Bulger and create room for Steven Jackson?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: HC Steve Spagnuolo, S James Butler, QB Kyle Boller, C Jason Brown, T Jason Smith (R)
  * Going: WR Torry Holt, WR Drew Bennett, T Orlando Pace, QB Trent Green, HC Scott Linehan
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 2-14/6-10 (+4)
* Analysis: A more run-oriented offense will play to the Rams strengths in personnel, but a lot hinges on the revamped offensive line.  New coach is a good defensive schemer, so both sides of the ball will improve.

San Francisco
* Big Question: What will the receiving corps produce?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: WR Brandon Jones, OC Jimmy Raye
  * Going: OC Mike Martz
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change):  7-9/5-11 (-2)
* Analysis: With Brandon Moore out for 8 weeks and first-round pick Michael Crabtree still unsigned, the receiving corps is in disarray.  Add to that an unlikely 7-9 record last year and a run-leaning offensive plan, and expect a step or two backward.

* Big Question: What will life be after Mike Holmgren?
* Notable Comings and Goings:
  * Coming: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, C Grey Ruegamer, DB Travis Fisher
  * Going: WR Bobby Engram, RB Maurice Morris, WR Koren Robinson
* 2008 record/2009 prediction (change): 4-12/6-10 (+2)
* Analysis: Jim Mora has wanted the Hawks job for a while and, now, he has it.  If Hasselbeck can stay healthy, the offense may be okay, but there are holes on both sides of the ball.

Projected NFC South 2009 Standings
1. Arizona 9-7
t2. St. Louis 6-10
t2. Seattle 6-10
4. San Francisco 5-11

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