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Five potential NFL sinking ships


Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

It was a voyage that started with promise, but met with tragedy on April 15, 1912, when the celebrated ship struck an iceberg during its journey from Southampton, England, to New York City. Within three hours of the collision, the "unsinkable" Titanic snapped in half, descending into an abyss -- taking 1,500 lives with it.

Granted, the connection between a sinking ship and the National Football League is tenuous at best, and we don't make light of the lives lost.

The Titanic was touted as a sure thing. Nobody saw the iceberg ahead.

From that angle, we are reminded of a few NFL voyages about to set sail into troubled waters:

1. Tebow-Sanchez: Despite the hubris of Captain Rex Ryan, we can't see Mark Sanchez coexisting with Tim Tebow. On paper, it works. Tebow brings a new wrinkle to the offense and coordinator Tony Sparano understands how to roll with the Wildcat, but that doesn't account for Sanchez's fragile mind-set as Tebowmania flowers at MetLife. Every success by Tebow will count against New York's so-called starting quarterback, and the Big Apple fishbowl threatens to pull this team under.

2. The New Orleans Saints: A ship already under siege. What more needs to be said about the Saints? They enter the season minus their head coach, with player suspensions hanging in the air and star quarterback Drew Brees unhappy with his contract situation. It's been a busy offseason for New Orleans, and by busy, we mean disastrous.

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3. Manning and the Broncos: John Elway's aggressive pursuit of Peyton Manning was admirable, but expectations are nudged too high in Denver. We see holes roster-wide. We don't have a full read on how Manning will respond to contact. It's easy in April to talk about Denver unfurling a 12-4 season. They could just as easily be an 8-8 team in disguise. If the Broncos dip below .500, the fallout could be fierce.

4. The Miami Dolphins: People forget how this team played down the stretch in 2011. Matt Moore's performance deserved more notice -- and the team has voiced its support. General manager Jeff Ireland passed on Matt Flynn, but added David Garrard to the mix. Ryan Tannehill is widely seen as a target in this month's draft. Early success is a must for Ireland and Co. The fan base vibes antsy, bordering on revolt. Open with a string of defeats and this could get ugly.

5. Tony Romo: The Dallas Cowboys have one playoff win in 15 seasons. That points to organizational problems beyond the starting quarterback. With that said, we wouldn't be surprised to see Dallas go in another direction under center if Romo fails to deliver a playoff season in 2012. It wouldn't be entirely fair, because Romo is a producer. His knack for big-moment gaffs haunts the team, but when he broke his collarbone in 2010, the Cowboys were lost at sea.


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