The NFL Preview Extravaganza continues, putting the Chiefs to the side momentarily, and putting the spotlight on their competitors for the coveted Lamar Hunt Trophy. Every team is about a week in to training camp by this point, and we were even got to sit through treated to some awful football last night for the first time this season (the highlight was the Cowboys play to down a punt at the 1 yard line, a play that is oftentimes faltered). So look back to this post when your making your preseason prognostications, as some in-depth analysis is sure to follow...
Denver Broncos- The Donkeys lost their best two players from last year in Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil, along with a host of others (like rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was one of my early favorites for Rookie of the Year before getting hurt). I think McDaniels is a good coach, but not that good. The Broncos are gonna be terrible, unless they drafted Jesus H. Christ or something…
Oakland Raiders- Jason Campbell is their guy now. He's adjusting to a 9th learned system in his quarterbacking career. Or as Ferris Bueller's principal puts it, 'niiiine times'. Seriously though, nine different systems! This leads me to believe he could make for an intriguing option in the future after he's allowed to truly learn one.
San Diego Chargers- They have some serious issues right now with the holdouts of Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill and Entourage star Shawne Merriman (nice cameo, chump. Just because I wanted you in the offseason does not change the fact that I despise you.) All three players are threatening to sit out until Week 10, which is commonly said but rarely followed through upon. However, the bigwigs say it's a bigger possibility this year due to the looming holdout that could be on the way come 2011. On a side note, there was one hilarious admission out of Chargers camp, about how things got awkward when the team had to lessen the role of the self-anointed "Classiest player in the League," LaDainianson. Stay classy, sally. Have fun carrying Shonn Greene's shoulder pads.
Biffalo Buffs- They hired Thigbone architect, Chan Gailey, as head coach. Although not a sexy name, he will make a good coach down the road. Not this year. The Bills should be one of the worst teams in the league. Too much transition with not enough talent. With their bevy of running backs (Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and C.J. Spiller) they should run the wishbone.
Miami Dolphins- Love the Dolphins. I believe they were the team that went through some tough times last year, lost some close games, and was truly better than their record. Then they added Karlos Dansby and Brandon Marshall. Chad Henne is on his way to becoming a good quarterback, he might still be a year away. I'll have the Dolphins in the playoffs this year.
New England Patriots- Interesting how the expectation levels have dropped for the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Tom Brady's hair. Rumor has it they have to eat a roster spot with his ever-growing locks. Good to see I'm not the only one listening to White Flight these days, with all the Boston ladies singing: "I wanna rub my fingers through your mane." These seem to be the conditions the Patriots thrive in. Although, I won't hop on the bandwagon until my boy Dave, the biggest in-the-closet Patriots fan of all time, breaks his streak of nine straight Patriot championship predictions. Nine times. One of the least talked about dynasties of this age. This is the year we find out if the stake has truly been planted in their Beliheart.
New York Jets- The biggest secret in the NFL is that the Jets are gonna suck. Every year there is a majority thinking on the surprise team of the NFL. More often than not, this team gets dragged down by overinflated expectations. The Jets seem to be the consensus this year. Need me remind you that the Jets were 7-7 last year before the Colts and Bengals, teams already in the playoffs, laid down for them, allowing them to sneak in the playoffs where they put together a nice little run? They're still reliant on Mark Sanchez, who threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions last year. I understand the defense, but mark my words, the Jets won't finish over .500. And if you're still slobbin' the Jets knob, check out this noteworthy anecdote, courtesy of the Evil Empire:
***Revis is leaning heavily on his uncle and role model Sean Gilbert, who sat out the entire 1997 season before being traded from the Washington Redskins to the Carolina Panthers, where he landed the seven-year, $46.5 million deal he wanted.***
Houston Texans- The team everybody wants to break out every season since their inception. Wait, was that thought mine? Or somebody else's? Damn you, Leo-Di! Not much has changed which could mean more of the same. In other news, I will be attending my first Chiefs road game in Week 6 at Houston. I'm still not sure if I'm more excited for that or the Monday Night home opener. Turns out there are some cool things about adulthood!
Indianapolis Colts- When is that pesky injury bug going to bite Peyton Manning? Doesn't it seem like it might be time for it? Tom Brady's came after a Super Bowl defeat. Just saying. Nothing is new with the Colts. They'll slumber though the near-meaningless regular season, with all judgment reserved for postseason success. I did love their Jerry Hughes pick, one of my favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and somebody I'd at least consider trading Eric Berry straight up for.
***The Jaguars are the laziest team in the NFL. They try hard in only two scenarios: If they're playing a divisional opponent or if they're a big underdog. Here's last year's proof:
Divisional Games (6): 3-3 (4-2 against the spread), 24.5 ppg, +1.5 point differential.
Non-Divisional Games (10): 4-6 (1-9 against the spread), 14.3 ppg, -9.9 point differential.***
Tennessee Titans- I hear Chris Johnson (who I love) yapping about rushing for 2,500 yards this year, which sounds like the mating call of the infirmary report. Warning to fantasy freaks and geeks, he was overworked last year and has higher aspirations this year. Oh well, he still led Bob Loblaw's Law Blog to a fantasy championship last year. The Titans lost a lot on defense, but don't count on Jeff Fisherstache leading back to back disappointing teams.
Baltimore Ravens- Definitely love the Anquan Boldin acquisition and the Ray Rice emergence. One of my favorites for the Super Bowl, as of right now, although Joe Flacco remains a question mark. Win or lose, Ray Lewis ranks as the best football player in totality of my lifetime. The Ravens have cycled through so much defensively, whether it be coordinators (Marvin, Singletary, Ryan) or players, but have always remained feared throughout his entire career. And he was the main cog in the most dominating unit I have laid eyes on, the Baltimore Ravens defense from 2000. Most people would automatically choose a quarterback, which I believe to be a flawed way of thinking.
Cincinnati Bengals- Hard to believe, but the Bengals transformed into a hard-nosed defensive/pounding the rock team. They won in spite of the pretty boys that remained from their aerial attack. In comes Terrell Owens (along with strip club buddies Pacman Jones and the Coke Zero version of Matt Jones), who I've always quietly been a fan of. He's no more of a diva than any other star receiver, and there's never been a doubt that he's bringing it on Sundays. Dude just wants to win. And maybe a little bit of attention. Now his teammate, his quarterback (cue the water works), Carson Palmer, must step up to give the Bungles a chance against a first place schedule this year (Hello SD, NE, and Indy!).
Cleveland Browns- Is this the year my boy, Seneca Wallace, finally gets his shot? I'm throwing down money on them to win it all if it is. They don't have much else on offense, besides some guy named Jerome Harrison, but surely any decent defense could shut him down. Oh, wait, he had how many yards? 286? That can't be right…Don't' worry Cleveland, there's always basketball season. Oh, wait…Maybe they can just get Delonte West to sleep with Mangini's wife or something…
Pittsburgh Steelers- Playing at least the first four games of the year without Big Ben. I'm pretty sure Lil' Ben has been suspended for the entire year. No telling when we might see the lil' guy again, but keep an eye out if the Steelers visit your hometown. At least he's not sending pictures of it over his phone. Or even worse, a hanging sack in the photo roll. Few people remember the Steelers dropped off last year way before Big Ben's JNCO's. They couldn't even limp into the playoffs. However, the schedule doesn't stiffen until after the refractory period, but expectations could go from six to midnight if the Pocket Rocket, Byron Leftwich, doesn't wilt to premature expectations. No homo.
NFC Preview coming soon!!!!!!