I have said it before and I will say it again.
I hate your favorite football team.
Now with that out of the way, it’s time to ask that age old question that brings thrill & chills to millions across the globe every September…….
“ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL ????”
Last February the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl and the Football Gods atop Mount Lombardi somewhere north of the Frozen Tundra were pleased. Then a darkness fell across the land as the owners locked out the players over who was going to get a bigger piece of the Billionaire Pie. Miraculously, it seemed that all was going to be right in the land when the lockout was lifted just before the Draft in April but those hopes were dashed as soon as the players were divvied up and the lockout was restored. Finally sanity returned from it’s summer vacation on the Hampton’s a little later than planned but just in time to scrap the ridiculous Hall of Fame Game and get training camps open. A collective sigh was heard throughout the land.
And now that we have dispensed with the review of the past seven months, let’s get on with the important stuff – What do I think of your favorite team and Who is going to win the Super Bowl.
- New England Patriots – Do we really need any more reasons to hate this team ? They have the walking talking touchdown tossing ken doll at quarterback and they seem to always find a way to get some former name players to take a salary & ego cut to come play for them. Bill Belichick is easy to hate but I don’t see them not winning the division.
- New York Jets – Rex Ryan does a great job of helping to deflect the media pressure of New York away from his team as he continues to promise the Jets faithful a Super Bowl victory. He has come up just short twice and there is no reason to think that they can’t return to the championship game again this year. Mark Sanchez is in his third year and has been named as a team captain. He certainly looked & acted like a leader during the lockout. The defense, which has been a hallmark for Rex, saw some of last year’s leaders leave but I don’t think they will be missed as much as the press is saying they will be. I do think that come January, they will be “the same ol’jets” and disappointment will reign for Gang Green.
- Miami Dolphins – Chad Henne is the starting quarterback. Again. He will never be Bob Griese. He will never be Dan Marino. He will be lucky to be Don Strock. The only positive about Miami is South beach and even then, you might run into a Kardashian and that would ruin that experience. Sorry Fish fans, you are in for a long season.
- Buffalo Bills – You know you are in for a long season when your starting quarterback is from Harvard and the lead story in the newspaper is his beard. They might as well write about it because nothing else on the team looks as good and I am sorry to say but his beard is Grizzly Addams nasty. At least hockey season starts soon. Oh yeah, that’s right. The Sabres play in Buffalo. Oh well…..
- Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens have been a sexy pick before but this could actually be there year. QB Joe Flacco got another target in speedster Lee Evans so that should wake Anquan Boldin out of his slumber from last year. Having former Rutgers (WooHoo NJ) standout Ray Rice tote the ball is a big plus too. The real questions are whether that criminal Ray Lewis can somehow keep playing and whether the defense can continue to live up to it’s past laurels.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Every time you want to write them off, they somehow seem to stay relevant. Ben Roethlisberger stayed out of the press & out of trouble this offseason and that doesn’t bode well for Steelers fans as the Steelers seem to have better years when Ben is in trouble with the law. Are the Steelers a wild card team ? I would be surprised not to see them playing in January.
- Cleveland Browns – The only reason the Browns are going to finish ahead of the Bengals is because of Peyton Hills – the gift horse that Josh McDaniel ran out of Denver last year. At least the fans get to dress up like ugly dawgs and woof on TV.
- Cincinnati Bengals – No Ochocinco, No T.O. and No Carson Palmer. Is there anyone left in Cincinnati ? Rookie QB Andy Dalton may have run roughshod over the Mountain West the past couple of years but he is going to find out that the Bengals would have trouble beating New Mexico State. This has always been a franchise of futility and there is no reason to think they won’t be again this year.
- Houston Texans – Even without knowing when or if Peyton is going to play in Indy most football fans are picking the Texans to finally break through. Having watched the Texans over the years, you can’t help but think that they will have an unexplained slump and put themselves into another deep hole that they can’t escape. I do think they have a good shot at the playoffs this year but the hamstring injury to Arian Foster could hurt a lot more than first thought and without a killer running threat, teams will be able to load up on the pass & catch combo of Andre Johnson & Matt Schaub.
- Indianapolis Colts – I wonder how many Colts fans fell asleep at night with visions of Brett Favre coming out of retirement again to replace Peyton Manning and his bad neck ? I would have had night shivers & shakes if I were a Colts fan. As it is, you got a different quarterback coming out of retirement in Kerry Collins. He won’t win you a Super Bowl but he won’t kill your team either. If the Colts can stay within a game or two of first place while Peyton is out, they may actually have a chance of stealing the division title when Houston falters.
- Tennessee Titans – The only reason the Titans are here instead of last is due to the bizarre actions in Jacksonville earlier this week. Chris Johnson’s holdout will hurt the Titans and fantasy owners when he gets a tweaking, nagging injury from missing training camp. Matt Hasselbeck is a definite upgrade from Vince Young but he is past his “glory” days as well.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – just like he did to starting quarterback Byron Leftwich a few years back, Coach Jack Del Rio axed starting quarterback David Garrard just days before the opener leaving the team in the hands of a QB nobody knows and a rookie QB. It’s not going to be pretty in northern Florida. Fans may be better off watching re-runs of My Big Redneck Wedding.
- Denver Broncos – okay, as much as I want to say my Donkeys will be 16-0, they won’t be so let me do this right – San Diego Chargers – despite having terrible starts every year, the AFC West always seems to be horrible enough for them to back into the division title. Philip Rivers is a cocky quarterback I love to hate and I think RB Ryan Matthews is overrated. I really do hate the Chargers and this is truly a hard pick for me to make.
- Denver Broncos – I know everyone else in the football world has the Chiefs & Raiders ahead of my Broncos but I will NEVER EVER predict that to happen in one of MY blogs. The broncos got rid of the Wonder Kid who never should have been a head coach and brought in John Elway to run the football operations and John Fox to restore some sanity to the sidelines. The Tebow Distraction will continue to play out all year as Kyle Orton plays the season not only looking over his should at an all out blindside rush but also looking at the media rush too. When he stumbles (and he will), no one will be calling out for Brady Quinn. At least Elvis Dumervil is healthy again on defense so it should be fun to watch both him and rookie Von Miller chase opposing quarterbacks. As for Champ “Burnt Toast” Bailey, don’t get me started on how overrated he is. We don’t have enough ink in the printer.
- Kansas City Chiefs – the Chiefs faithful got struck a blow with the rib injury last week to QB Matt Cassel. It won’t keep him out of the line-up but it’s not going to help. At least they have Buffalo at home in week 1 so that should be a victory. Jamaal Charles is stellar RB and Derrick Bowe is a legitimate threat at WR. The problem is, as I see it, that they are the Chiefs and I have been to a game in Kansas City and I see no reason to ever hope anything good happens to them.
- Oakland Raiders – Is Al Davis dead yet ? Was there any doubt that the Raiders were going to pick that criminal, Terrelle Pryor, in the supplemental draft ? If Oakland fell into San Francisco Bay, would anyone notice ? I hate the raiders. Nuff said.
- Philadelphia Eagles – I like nothing about Philadelphia and I don’t even think their cheesesteaks are all that either. Iggles fans are rejoicing their supposed “dream team” acquisitions but I don’t think it will be enough to get them over the top. They may win the NFC East but come playoff time, the Iggles will fold up and Michael Vick can go back to pretending that he likes dogs.
- Dallas Cowboys – I hate the Cowboys too. I always have. I didn’t like them when Roger Staubach was their quarterback (he went to Navy and we are a West Point family) and I didn’t like them when I lived in Dallas in 1991. The only reason I might consider liking them for even a second is because their coach is a former Princeton quarterback. Tony Romo, however, is a very forgettable quarterback and the cowboys have no running game, mediocre wide receivers and a so-so defense. They do have a nice stadium that looks good from the outside while you wait in the endless lines to get in. Just don’t sit in the temporary stands.
- New York Giants – If I could have justified putting the Giants into last in this division, I would have. They are terrible yet their fans are blind to their shortcomings and they still seem to think that Eli is a good quarterback. He’s not. Let me put this simply for you simple fans. Eli Stinks. Your defense doesn’t look so great anymore either since player after player keeps getting injured. Pretty soon tom Coughlin might be calling Michael Strahan. Nobody is going to call Tiki Barber.
- Washington Redskins – this once proud franchise will never amount to anything as long as Daniel Snyder owns the team. He has no idea what he is doing and too much money to not know what to do with it. Bad trades. Bad signings. Bad players. Bad team. Bad season. Maybe you all should have cheered for the lockout to stay in place.
- Green Bay Packers – Even a Super Bowl Hangover should not keep the Packers from repeating in the usually dreadful NFC North. Aaron Rodgers has long since stepped out of you know who’s shadow and it is his team now. They have a running backs by committee and some burners at wideout but it is the defense that will help clean up this year. Clay Matthews is fun to watch wreak havoc even if he does look like a girl. At least he spells his last name right.
- Detroit Lions – Did I really just type that ? The Lions in second place ? Yep, that’s how bad the NFC North really is in my opinion. Ndamukong Suh is an unstoppable animal on defense just like Calvin Johnson is an unstoppable animal on the offensive side. Now the Lions just have to hope that Matthew Stafford can stay healthy enough to actually start & finish a whole season. They won’t win the division but they will make you forget Matt Millen.
- Minnesota Vikings – I’m only picking the Vikings to finish third because they are owned by some folks from NJ and I really hate Jay Cutler & Da Bears. Donovan McNabb is an upgrade from Tavaris Jackson at QB and his presence alone can stop teams from loading up the defensive line in an effort to stop Adrian Peterson. Of course McNabb is somewhat fragile too and Christian Ponder doesn’t scare anyone as his main back up. Throw in some injuries & suspensions and this is a pretty bad team this year.
- Chicago Bears – Take that Jay Cutler ! I once babysat your ex-fiancé for a few hours when she was baby and now she is going to be on Dancing with the Stars while you watch your latest interception get returned for another touchdown, you crybaby ! (see his Denver exit for the source of my vitriol) Da Bears may have picked up Marion Barber (overrated) and Roy Williams (underperforms) from the Cowboys but Devin Hester’s awesome kick returning potential has been neutered by a league office that hates to see the excitement of a kick runback for a touchdown. They would rather see pushing & shoving after the whistle when the return man takes a knee.
- New Orleans Saints – The Sexy Pick here is the Falcons and they may be the better overall team but the Saints have been through the battles and this team knows what it takes to win. They also have to shake off the embarrassment of Marshawn Lynch’s earthquake inducing touchdown run from the playoffs. Drew Brees has all the tools he needs and Mark Ingram replaces Reggie “I got dumped by a chick that made a sex tape and married a benchwarming basketball player” Bush at RB. The Saints may not be better overall than the surging Falcons but they should win the division.
- Atlanta Falcons – This team is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. They were the flavor of the month going into the playoffs last year when they uncharacteristically folded in the 2nd half of their wild card game. Matt Ryan is the real deal. Roddy White is an elite receiver. Michael Turner could be the next best thing if he can stay healthy. If the defense can live up to half of what is expected of the Falcon’s offense, then they could challenge for the division title.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I think the Bucs are still another year away from challenging for the division. I like Josh Freeman to a point but not enough to draft him as a back up on my fantasy football team. I would draft LeGarrett Blount even if he was the player that suckerpunched a Boise State player after their game 3 years ago. Winning 8 games will be reason to break out the Sarsaparilla at Gasparilla.
- Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton is nothing more than a slightly less bad version of Jamarcus Russell. I have no faith in his ability to carry this team nor do I have any faith in Jimmy Claussen (who couldn’t get it done at Notre Dame) as his back up. Panthers fans may be wishing for Jake Delhomme and his free ranging interceptions to come back. The Panthers don’t have a defensive secondary and the NFC South has quarterbacks that will feast on them once the games are played for real.
- St. Louis Rams – Someone has to win this division and the Rams have the best quarterback in the division and the best chance of backing into first place. Sam Bradford’s only drawbacks are that his quarterback coach is idiot Josh McDaniel and that Torry Holt & Isaac Bruce both left town while he was in college so he has no one to really throw to on his side. Stephen Jackson catches a lot of safety valve passes and seems to thrive on all the extra touches. It’s too bad it is all the Rams really have because it may be enough to win a division but they are first round goner in January.
- Arizona Cardinals – The only reason the Cardinals are going to finish second is because they have Larry Fitzgerald. Kevin Kolb is an upgrade over the no name QB’s that threw to him last year but he isn’t enough for them to make it back to the Super Bowl. That was once in a lifetime for the folks in Arizona.
- San Francisco 49’ers – This once proud franchise is still not back to being even relatively competitive and they won’t be as long as Alex Smith is their starting QB. Colin Kaepernick was a good WAC QB at Nevada and may be more exciting to watch play but he’s not a longterm solution either. Frank Gore is an overrated RB and I cut Michael Crabtree as soon as my Yahoo Public League would let me. New Coach Jim Harbaugh is going to missing “The Farm” by week 3 when they lose to the Bengals. I love the Bay Area but I don’t love this team.
- Seattle Seahawks – The starting quarterback is Tavaris Jackson. Do I need to say anymore than that ? At least Seachicken fans will always have Marshawn Lynch’s Earthquake Inducing Touchdown Run from last year’s playoff win over the Saints. They don’t have anything else.
Jets (6) over Houston (3) – one & done for the Texans
Baltimore (4) over Pittsburgh (5) – Baltimore takes 2 out of 3
New Orleans (3) over Detroit (6) – nice story for Detroit but see ya
Atlanta (5) over St. Louis (4) – The one romp of the wildcard round
AFC Divisional Round
New England (1) over Jets (6) – revenge for last year
San Diego (2) over Baltimore (4) – not sure why
NFC Divisional Round
Atlanta (5) over Green Bay (1) – has to be a last minute field goal
New Orleans (3) over Philadelphia (2) – I hate the Iggles
AFC Conference Championship
San Diego (2) over New England (1) – I love to see the Patriots lose
NFC Conference Championship
Atlanta (5) over New Orleans (3) – easily the game of the playoffs
Atlanta over San Diego – because there is no way I am ever picking an AFC West team other than the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl
So those are my predictions. You can take them to Las Vegas and thank me later.