Volume 95, Issue 5

Friday, September 7, 2001
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If only multiple choice exams were this good...

Like gypsies? Our editors peer into their crystal football

Bucs will make the rest of the NFC walk the plank

A look into the OUA

Mustangs to beef up on offence

Diehards drool over Western athletics

One day lacrosse could be boss

Keep off the frosh 15: Staying fit in junk food heaven

Soccer team to work on their offensive firepower

In the stands or on the field, Mustangs never die

Bucs will make the rest of the NFC walk the plank

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

NFC Preview

East Division

If Philly running-back Duce Staley remains healthy this year and Veteran Stadium doesn't collapse, the Eagles should soar over their rivals in the East.

Quarterback Donavan McNabb had an outstanding breakthrough season in 2000-2001 – he's young, he's quick, he can run, he excels at passing outside of the pocket and the scary thing is he can only get better.

The unlikely defending NFC champion New York Giants should give the Eagles a run for their money for the division and are more or less guaranteed one of the conference wild-card spots. Giants quarterback Kerry Collins and many of his band of merry-men came off career years last season. The Giants are good, but it will be an up-hill battle for them to repeat their improbable success.

Central Division

Anything short of a Super Bowl appearance will be a failure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in this coming season; there may not be a more well-rounded team in the NFC. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp still leads a remarkably efficient defense and the Bucs have one of the most innovative and effective coaches in the game in Tony Dungy.

Their biggest obstacle: Brad Johnson has been plagued by injuries in almost every year of his NFL career and last year's second-year starting quarterback Sean King just isn't ready to a deliver.

The Bucs fiercest competition will come from The Minnesota Vikings, motivated emotionally by the training camp death of offensive linemen Korey Stringer and the Green Bay Packers. Despite the unlimited potential of receiver Randy Moss and the aging magic of Cris Carter, expect quarterback Dante Culpepper to come down to earth after a stunning second-year performance last season. A spotty defence and one of the tougher schedules in the conference may leave room for the hot-finishing Packers to replace the Vikings in this years NFC play-offs.

West Division

The Saints won their division convincingly last year, despite key injuries to their starting quarterback Jeff Blake, running back Ricky Williams and receiver Joe Horn. Even more positive was the surprising emergence of young quarterback Aaron Brooks into one of the most exciting and proficient passers in the entire league. The Saints have added receiver Albert Connell and they have the best defense in the division.

The St. Louis Rams undeniably have the best offence in the game – with a healthy Kurt Warner at quarterback, Marshall Faulk at running back and Isaac Bruce at wide receiver there's no question they will put numbers up on the board in record-breaking droves. Rams management has tried to patch up the defense and retool with a number of off-season additions. Despite this, it won't be enough to steal the division.

East WInner

Philadelphia Eagles

Central Winner

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

West Winner

New Orlean Saints

Wild Cards

New York Giants

Green Bay Packers

St. Louis Rams

NFC Conference Champion

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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