Your Reality Season Preview
So it begins.
Every year the so-called “experts” come out with their NFL predictions, while the edgy, trendy folks at Deadspin, and their impersonators, come up with a list of why you should hate every team. Well, in the interest of doing nothing original but still having fun, here are my picks, along with a reason to hate every team. Full disclosure: I am a Steelers fan, and I will be hating on them too. You’re welcome world.
1. New England Patriots- As a person living in Boston, I feel that giving any reason to hate the Patriots is simply stating the obvious. That being said.. imagine a fat, drunk Pats fan(who has no knowledge of the NFL before 2001, mind you) saying the following to you every freaking Sunday. ” Waaht you Steelahs fans don’t get is dat mah boy Tahm owns you guys. He’s dating that Victooooohria’s Secret Maahdel yaaah knoow? It’s wicked awesome!!!”
I get it. You guys beat the Steelers every regular season. Enjoy that while you revel in the fact that you haven’t won a playoff game in three years or a title in six, giving you the longest championship drought in your city. Have fun winning the division but losing in the playoffs to a team you should destroy come January “ya faahkin cawk suckaawz!”
2. New York Jets- Someone needs to tell Rex Ryan that when you guarantee a Super Bowl every year, it isn’t legendary if you eventually win it. And please, enjoy watching your 23rd best quarterback in the NFL throwing to two receivers the Steelers let walk out-of-town because their IQ’s are barely in the double digits. Oh, and they will not win the Super Bowl this year. Mark Sanchez is no championship quarterback. If Marky Mark is good enough to win a Super Bowl, Kordell Stewart would have won three or four.
3. Miami Dolphins- Where to begin? I actually believed in Chad Henne before last season because, oddly enough. I’m a Big Ten guy, and I remember Henne being pretty good during his healthy time at Michigan. But, once I saw him play in the NFL… Ew. His throwing motion, while proper, is slower than Albert Haynesworth after an Easter Brunch. He telegraphs throws and makes his great weapons at receiver, namely Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess, absolutely worthless.
On a side note, I am thrilled the Dolphins are finally giving Reggie Bush a chance at being THE featured back in their offense. Finally, a coach other than the one of Helix High School realizes this guy can carry an offense. Or… he’ll be hurt by week 4 and hoping for another Kardashian to fall in his lap.
4. Buffalo Bills- As bad as things have been for the Bills lately, their loyal fans will always bring you back to the good ‘ole days… when ripping their fans’ hearts out was an annual tradition for four beautiful seasons in the early 90’s, or when selling a breakfast cereal for autism research brought the team more pride than its play on the field. Lets’ go, Buffalo!
1. San Diego Chargers- I always wait with great anticipation for the week that the Chargers start playing football. Most teams(I dare say all other teams) begin in week 1, but the Chargers think that’s too easy. No, no. Let’s wait until like week 7 to make getting into the playoffs a real challenge. And who could blame them? With these three other teams in the AFC West, I’d take the first six weeks off too.
2. Kansas City Chiefs- Last year the Chiefs shocked everyone by winning the AFC West. They did it by running the ball extremely well with one-year-wonder Jamaal Charles, while having high school standout Matt Cassel throw to one-dimensional wide out Dwayne Bowe. Yes Tamba Hali is a stud pass rusher, but the rest of this team is just the product of some semi-savvy coaching and the fact that this division blows.
3. Denver Broncos- Once Tim Tebow develops a proper throwing motion and learns how to read defenses, this team is gonna be salty! So, I’ll put them down for a division title in “Never gonna happen, if he wasn’t white and Christian people would be quitting on him like Vince Young.” As a side note, Vince Young was better in college than he was, as was Cam Newton. As another side note, I went to Purdue and get no greater pleasure than seeing my Boiler boy Kyle Orton starting over two “chosen ones.” One from Notre Dame- Brady Quinn. And one from Florida- Tebow. So sweet.
4. Oakland Raiders- The Raiders actually took some steps forward in 2010… then Al Davis fired head coach Tom Cable and let Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery walk in free agency while inexplicably giving Stanford Routt $31.5 million. But, the Raiders made an incredibly savvy signing in grabbing former Ohio St. quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft. You see, once Pryor fails at quarterback, he is big and athletic enough to play all three of those vacated positions. That’s what I call a bargain.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers- On the plus side, Ben Roethlisberger has become a franchise quarterback and the defense continues to excel. On the negative side, Ben Roethlisberger has become their franchise quarterback and the defense continues to wilt against elite quarterbacks. As a bit of fashion advice, when this team inevitably ages and fades from championship contention, it will no longer be cool to wear Steelers jerseys to weddings and other formal events in Western Pennsylvania, even if it’s a sweet, stitched “Mean” Joe Greene throwback. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course it will.
2. Baltimore Ravens- Oh, the Ravens are soooo scary!! They wear big purple shirts, and their 60 year-old linebacker dances really well before kickoff. Quote Not Fantasy Football, the Ravens’ window is about to close, and if Flacco and his incredibly intimidating eyebrows don’t step it up big time, Baltimore may be a year or two away from re-building and becoming-oh no- Cleveland. Circle of life baby. It’s ok Baltimore, you can keep telling yourself that you hate Pittsburgh because you’re so similar, and not because you’re mad that the Steelers beat you in every meaningful game and have far more history and tradition. You know, since Pittsburgh is now America’s center for bio-medical research and you’re the murder capital of the East Coast, same thing.
3. Cleveland Browns- Well, Peyton Hillis is on the cover of Madden, so that’s something, right? Ok, so it means he’s gonna blow his knee out 3 weeks in and Cleveland is going to have to rely on Colt McCoy(who I, honest to God, think is a young Drew Brees) and Joshua Cribbs, who will be completely neutralized by the new kickoff rule. Still, I like the moves that Mike Holmgren is making in Cleveland’s front office, I’m sure it will usher in a new golden age of Browns football where they lose to less talented teams at home in the playoffs(not unlike the 90’s and early 2000’s Steelers).
4. Cincinnati Bengals- Too easy.
1. Houston Texans- Seriously, this is the year!! I feel like I say that every year around this time, but Peyton Manning’s injury troubles give me super extra confidence this time! So, naturally, they will finish 8-8 while Matt Schaub throws for 4,500 yard, Andre Johnson leads the league in receiving and Arian Foster rips his hamstring off the bone, triggering a wave of fantasy football related suicides.
2. Tennessee Titans- The Titans were smart to pay Chris Johnson his ridiculous demands. I mean, I need my top fantasy running back in week 1. But, from a reality football standpoint, the guy is going to decline in 3-4 years, so it was pretty dumb. Especially dumb when you consider that this team is nowhere near contending, but once again they will be really tough to beat in Madden because, DAMN CHRIS JOHNSON IS FAST!!!
3. Indianapolis Colts- I covered the entire college career of Curtis Painter at Purdue… better hope Kerry Collins is in rare form Indy 🙂
4. The Jags have parted ways with starting quarterback David Garrard, officially moving them down to the AFC South’s basement. They also got rid of Mike Sims-Walker and will see Maurice Jones-Drew take on a heavier load after years of carrying a sizeable burden and knee problems. It could be a long year in the ‘Ville, but don’t sweat it, the team will soon be in Los Angeles with Tim Tebow as its starting quarterback.
PS. Luke McCown is not an NFL starter, just throw Blaine Gabbert in there and hope for the best.
1. Philadelphia Eagles- The “Dream Team” takes this consistently overrated division because they won it last year and I don’t see the Giants or Cowboys getting that much better. But seriously, a division title is more than the fans in Philly deserve. We get it, you’re “super hardcore and really mean.” Whatever. What you really are is incredibly frustrated by the fact that your city has been irrelevant since the 1700’s and that nobody cares that your team won the World Series like 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or, however many years ago. Seriously, does anyone watch baseball anymore?
2. New York Giants- Any shot they had at contending in the NFC went out the window in the pre-season with numerous injuries to their linebacking corps and secondary, but their pass rush and offensive balance give them enough fire power to land them in second place in the division. By offensive balance I mean, of course, the ability of Eli Manning to throw interceptions and Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw to fumble.
3. Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys cut every veteran lineman they had on both sides of the ball this off-season. Jason Garrett is clearly waving the white flag for this year, but I’m sure Jerry Jones will make a last-minute signing of a legally troubled, but talented, veteran past his prime and make 2011 a Super Bowl or bust campaign. And they wonder why no one wants this job anymore.
4. Washington Redskins- Rex Grossman gets the opening day start over John Beck. That’s like saying Terminator Salvation was better than Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, nobody wins. And if Mike Shannahan really believes he can win with one of these guys, he’s almost as crazy as Dan Snyder.
1. St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford is everyone’s darling right now and Steven Jackson is a workhorse. Honestly, two players is all it takes to win this division so I’ll leave it at that. Oh, and St. Louis has a really sweet Mardi Gras celebration.. if you like fat girls showing their boobs in sub-freezing temperatures.
2. Arizona Cardinals- Every Steelers fan knows that the Cardinals are Pittsburgh West. Except for the fact that living in Glendale is way more enjoyable than living in Pittsburgh, and that the Cardinals have to wait until someone sucks with the Steelers to get a shot at developing them. It’s called the draft guys, you can try it on your own.
3. Seattle Seahawks- The Seahawks became the first team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record. The good news: They upset the Saints. The bad news: They still ended up with a losing record. The worse news: No one in Seattle knew about it because they were too busy drinking coffee and slitting their wrists in the torrential downpour of shame that is their city. Nirvana!!
4. San Francisco 49ers- The 49ers have been epically bad ever since making the brilliant move of taking Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Well, to be fair, they were pretty bad before that too since, you know, they took him with the first overall pick. But, new coach Jim Harbaugh is going to bring a tough-minded attitude and attention to detail to this team and turn them around. You know, because every other team is coached by weak-minded patsies that play “Words with Friends” with each other instead of obsessing over game film.
1. Green Bay Packers- The defending champs want you to be scared because they’re bringing back 15 opening day starters that were injured during their Super Bowl run. I, however, like to call them 15 bums that clearly needed to be replaced. That’s just me. The town of Green Bay is a lovely place though. You know, if you like morbidly obese hilljacks that are so stuffed with cheese they sweat Wisconsin cheddar.
2. Detroit Lions- For the first time in what seems like a century, Detroit actually has talent on both sides of the ball!! So, naturally, the Lions will return to the days of the 90’s where they hang around until the end and then fold, either in the last few weeks or fantastically in the first round of the playoffs. That, or Matthew Stafford will get knocked out again and the Lions’ defensive line will dominate while the team goes 7-9.
3. Chicago Bears- Jay Cutler is my favorite quarterback to hate. Seriously, is there another guy with this much raw talent and absolutely no mental aptitude in the game today? I can’t think of one. And, with his offensive line being this bad, things are likely to get ugly in 2011. I’m sure one year Mike Martz will remember that the tight end is an eligible receiver and Bears fans will stop blaming “East Coast Bias’ for the fact that they suck, but this will not be the year.
4. Minnesota Vikings- Wow, how far has this team fallen in two years? Before last season experts were touting them as a Super Bowl favorite with a 40 year-old quarterback. Now, the Vikes will be lucky to sniff .500 in a strong division, despite the fact that they have gotten significantly younger at quarterback. And by younger, I mean they brought in a 35 year-old Donovan McNabb that lost his starting job to Rex Grossman last year in Washington. I’m beginning to think the caving in of the Metrodome was a bit symbolic.
1. New Orleans Saints- Everyone loved the Saints two years ago when they won the Super Bowl. This was a city recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, led by a new coach and a castaway quarterback. This year, America remembers that “The Big Easy” is the place all of our parents go to get wasted to the point that they vomit out their neon yellow hand grenade drinks all over Bourbon Street. Now that the entire east coast has gotten a hurricane(or, at least, thinks it has gotten a hurricane), New Orleans is going to have to come up with a slightly better sob story. Oh no! Drunk college girls and emotionally distant housewives didn’t show you their boobs for two weeks? You poor soul!
2. Atlanta Falcons- Seriously, it just kills everyone in Atlanta that Mike Vick isn’t their franchise quarterback, doesn’t it? The large African-American community in Atlanta clearly identified with Vick, and then felt abandoned when he went to jail and the Falcons subsequently dumped him. Then, Atlanta saw Matt Ryan rise to prominence, only to watch Vick once again rise to prominence, this time in Philly. I’m sure people in Atlanta really care about their dirty birds, but I just get the feeling that, when they are trapped in four hours of toxic, acid rain ridden traffic, all they can think about is how they wish Vick was back in town fightin’ dogs and runnin’ the ‘ole boot leg.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Josh Freeman, Mike Williams and LaGarrette Blount are all very good, and Tampa has done a great job re-building its defensive line over the past two years with Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers. That’s about it. Aside from the fact that so many people in this town are over the age of 70, there is one more reason not to care about Tampa Bay. The Bucs, coming off a 10-6 season, with one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, have yet to sell out Sunday’s game against the up-and-coming Lions, forcing a black-out. Florida sports rock.
4. Carolina Panthers- After a 2-14 season, Carolina was thrilled to find the pro-ready Andrew Luck waiting for them with the first pick. He was the perfect quarterback to build them back up and lift them out of obscurity, not to mention that he was a well spoken “face of the franchise” type of player. Oh, wait, Luck stayed in school? The Panthers had to take the criminal that got kicked out of Florida for theft, was linked the rampant cheating at Auburn, and, on top of it all, lacks accuracy on his intermediate passes(for shame)? Have fun cutting him in a few years Carolina.
AFC Title Game
Pittsburgh over San Diego: Hey, somebody’s gotta beat New England for the Steelers. Thanks San Diego!
NFC Title Game
New Orleans over Green Bay: Drew Brees Boilers up all over the cheese heads in a re-match of the game Green Bay just won.
Pittsburgh over New Orleans: So, I’m being a homer, right? Actually, I’m usually very pessimistic about Pittsburgh’s chances, but I just see the AFC slipping a bit this year and I believe that Roehtlisberger will be able to propel Pittsburgh to wins in almost any one-game scenario. You know, just not against New England. That’s where somebody else in the AFC comes along and gives the Steelers a big assist.