Let the predictions continue…and the selection of upsets in the playoffs intensify!
1. San Diego (10-6) – May as well hand them the crown now. The Chargers aren’t the powerhouse team of a few years ago, but they’re still quite a bit better than all of their ‘rivals’ in the division. The receivers are a question mark, with Vincent Jackson out the first 3 games and wanting himself some money.
2. Oakland (7-9) – First they draft well, now they’re the 2nd best team in the West? Hold your loved ones dear, for the apocalypse draws close. The defense looks like a group that can flip flop between 4-3 and 3-4 and keep the other team guessing. The offense isn’t exceptional, but it also isn’t headed by Jamarcus “I like me some donuts” Russell. The removal of that fat fuck gives them 2 wins just through karma. Oh, and Darren McFadden might want to start producing now that all the “Is he a bust?” focus is aimed squarely at him.
3. Denver (6-10) – You moved back in to the first round…for TIM TEBOW?! REALLY? Your wideouts aren’t very good, your interior o-line is a bit questionable, you don’t have enough pass rushers and your secondary is ancient…but sure. You needed a third string passer that badly, especially one who will do nothing as a pro. Also, the loss of Elvis Dumervil means they now have NO pass rushers.
4. Kansas City (6-10) – Holes all over the team, but you used a 2nd rounder on your own version of Darren Sproles? Huh? It’s like the Raiders drafting well cursed their division mates or something. Still rebuilding, and they still have a long way to go, especially since most of their additions aren’t exactly in their prime.
1. Baltimore (12-4) – Wait a minute here…the Baltimore Ravens have assembled the components of a good passing game? The Ravens? Really? I didn’t think they realized as a franchise that they were allowed to throw the ball downfield! Well goddamn. Mix that with everything they already had, and this team looks pretty fucking good.
2. Cincinnati (10-6) – HUGE caveat on this pick. This happens IF their locker room doesn’t completely explode. Adding Pacman Jones, Terrell Owens and Antonio Bryant to Chad Ochocinco means that is far from a sure thing. Everyone seems to have ignored the fact that their defense is actually really good now…not sure if that or the Ravens looking to throw the ball is weirder.
3. Pittsburgh (8-8) – Say hello to turmoil! Their quarterback doesn’t seem to understand what the word ‘no’ means. Their offensive line wasn’t very good BEFORE Willie Colon (probably the best guy on that line) went down for the year. The defensive line is getting old. They couldn’t cover a brick wall last year. And I don’t really think bringing back older versions of Antwaan Randle El and Larry Foote helps the situation that much.
4. Cleveland (3-13) – Do they still suck? Yep. Is Jake Delhomme their QB now? Yep. Is every other skill position player on offense a question mark to some extent? Pretty much. Do they have a pass rush? Nope. Is Eric Mangini still the coach? Yep. 3 wins it is.
1. Indianapolis (12-4) – Hello kinda crappy division, we are your overlords! There are vicious dictators who haven’t had the kind of run on top that the Colts have had. And they might actually be better, IF they can block for the run. Scary fact…one of the three of Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez will be a #4 receiver.
2. Houston (9-7) – Here’s my problem with this team…are they really better than last year’s version? They MIGHT be able to run the ball a bit better than they could last season, but then Owen Daniels might not be full speed until a ways in to the year. And I still don’t see a group of defensive tackles that can hold against the run.
3. Tennessee (7-9) – Our star running back is complaining about his contract! Our star quarterback is really a pretty average passer! Our defense is the epitome of absolutely average!
4. Jacksonville (6-10) – The defensive line was completely blown up and re-stocked with new guys, most of whom are rookies…chemistry is going to take awhile. They added nobody to a group of safeties who would perhaps be capable of making a play against the pass if equipped with rocket packs or a working brain (hello, Reggie Nelson!). The offense is MJD and that’s about it. Frankly, they overachieved with 7 wins last year.
1. New York Jets (10-6) – I like the Jets. I think they’re a pretty solid team. I do NOT buy in to the predictions of a powerhouse. How many passes are those receivers going to drop? Is Mark Sanchez really going to take the massive step people are just expecting with all those dropped passes by the Butterfingers Corps (possible marketing opportunity, Rex!)? Is Antonio Cromartie going to bounce back after 2 weak seasons? And I get very nervous about teams with absolutely no depth on either line. Also, you’ve built a team to play and win close games, and you cheap out and go with Nick Folk as the kicker…a dude who had the yips BEFORE being dropped in to New York???
2. Miami (10-6) – Yep, I think it’s that close. They also have a young QB learning as he plays. They also have a running back tandem expected to share the load. They also have a lot of receivers who have done some damage…they aren’t as big of playmakers, but they actually tend to catch that football thing more frequently. Their defense isn’t quite as good, but they also have something NY doesn’t…depth.
3. New England (9-7) – So…you really didn’t add a single pass rusher to your roster? Really? No improvements on the corner? Nobody but an old Torry Holt at receiver? Your running backs look like a group of greybeards on their way to an AARP meeting. Are you fucking kidding me? Tom Brady is a great quarterback. He isn’t Jesus. He cannot make miracles happen. Say goodbye to the playoffs, Pats.
4. Buffalo (4-12) – I could mention the fact they didn’t improve the situation at offensive tackle. Or that their receivers suck. That they used the 9th pick in the draft on yet another running back. That they don’t really have too many defensive lineman who have a position in a 3-4. I could mention all of that, but this is really all that’s necessary : Trent Edwards is still the starting quarterback. Yeah.
First round – Miami over New York (Oh fuck yeah, I DID make that pick. Here’s what I see…close game. However, New York has lost a lineman or two by this point of the year, and their backups suck. That makes the difference), Cincinnati over San Diego (if the players haven’t lit each other on fire yet).
Second round – Indianapolis over Miami, Baltimore over Cincinnati
AFC Championship – Indianapolis over Baltimore.
SUPER BOWL XLV
Indianapolis 31 Green Bay 24