Chris Peters: Let’s start with the easy part. Tampa Bay is a lock, with Los Angeles and Winnipeg not far behind. Tampa is going to run away with the Atlantic, recovering from last year’s injury-plagued disaster to become the darlings of the league once again. The Kings have been streaky, but in an unpredictable Pacific Division, they seem to be on the most solid footing of anybody.
Two years removed from spending a top-10 pick on cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, the Bucs go back to the well in order to replace Brent Grimes. Offensive line is their biggest need, so the Bucs also would like to scoop a top pass-blocker if possible.
Now they need to bulk up their offensive line and defensive interior. Smith can be the star linebacker this defense needs.
The aging curve has always been more general guide than hard-and-fast rule. In the NBA, a player ages at his own pace, one determined by health, work ethic and countless other factors. James can’t break it any more than Karl Malone did by winning his first MVP at age 33 and a second at age 35 or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did by remaining a starter on a championship team well into his 40s.
Before Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger walked off the field following Pittsburgh’s 23-20 comeback victory in Cincinnati on Monday night, he was asked by ESPN’s Lisa Salters what led to the latest violent and ugly mess of a game between the teams.
Even though the Chiefs gave up just one touchdown to the Giants in last week’s loss, the defense has not gotten enough blame for the Kansas City’s recent fade (bottom 10 in yards, yards per play and sacks, middle of the pack in takeaways and points). It won’t matter in this game, though.