After a 2003 season that resembled a "Chris LaSiege" hangover from the previous championship run, the Huskers have apparently taken their Chaser™ for fast, effective relief. Kev Sansone figures to be very much part of the playoff picture come December. Chad Pennington will make his first opening day start for Sansone while Priest Holmes and Hines Ward will take their regular spots in the starting lineup. If Quentin Griffin wins the highly coveted Broncos starting RB job, expect him to leap-frog Tiki Barber on the depth chart. Old reliables, Derrick Mason and Olindo Mare, should be the final pieces of the puzzle that get the Husker nation back to the playoffs.
Player to Watch
Quentin Griffin is the definition of "x-factor". The heir apparent to the Broncos RB throne could be the missing link that Sansone is looking for. If Griffin can put up numbers like his predecessors Portis, Anderson, Gary, Davis, [Leonard] Russell, [Gaston] Green, [Bobby] Humphrey, and even [Sammy] Winder, expect the Huskers to contend for their NFC West Title. However, if he turns out just to be a 3rd down back the Huskers may not have the depth to compete in YFFL's best division. When asked about the battleground that is the NFC West, Beans owner Bobby Sansone had this to say, "You will get eaten alive if you can't put up at least 40 points on a consistent basis in this division."
Reason to Bet the Farm on the Huskers
Pennington has the potential to put up big numbers now that he will be playing his first full-season. Holmes is clearly the most valuable player in the YFFL today. Hines Ward and Derrick Mason provide the consistency every owner wants at WR.
Reason to Look Forward to Next Year's Harvest
The Huskers special teams and tight ends are among the worst in the league. In this era of parity, you almost need to have steady contributions from both in order to win close games. If the Huskers slip out of the gates, chances are you can blame Mare and Ricks.
The NFC West is too tough for one team to run away with it like the Huskers did two years ago. The Huskers however, have a little more balance than the Beans and the Brothers which should translate into a few more wins. Look for the Huskers to sneak into the playoffs as the NFC Wild Card.
8-5, 2nd NFC West