Cheers to me for threading the Needle of Procrastination and getting this out between the first game of the year and the rest of them. First of all, congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on attaining their first World Championship in franchise history.
I was going to write a bunch of clever analysis contrasting what the NFL as an organization wants to be (whitewashed, drug-free, respectable) through public relations efforts versus the whole calamity of what actually happens in real life, on the field, on the side of the road when pulled over, that makes this game more human in a way. I think buying into the former version is one reason why it took me so long to become a fan. But anyway, no time for that shit cause I'm moving to Long Island City in 2 weeks, gotta write a speech for my brother's wedding, and there are experiments to be run. Onward!
Your coveted season outlook, in alphabetical order by division/proper team name (Las Vegas game wins over/under in parentheses):
New England Pats (10.5): Everyone besides Tom Brady is a Tight End on this team anyway, so why spend big money in the off-season when you're just going to retrain them yourselves. Bill Belichick is a fahhhhhking genius! The Pats will once again coast into the playoffs due to the supreme mediocrity of the AFC, and especially their own divisions' ineptitude. This won't net Tom Brady any high fives, however. And now he's not even the Dreamboat of his own team.
NY J-E-S-T (7): Coach Rex Ryan is coachin' on borrowed time, since he should've been fired last season and all. But now he has Geno Smith, CJ2K, and Michael Vick as the in-flight entertainment on this squadron that is sure to draw more than a few comparisons to Malaysian Airlines' recent flight record. The J-E-T-S are jest the more entertaining of two NY football teams that will suck this year.
Buffalo Wills (6.5): It's a good thing their cheerleaders are instructed on proper vagina hygiene, cause Buffalo couldn't afford anything else stinking up their franchise. Their owner died, prompting Bon Jovi and others to try to buy them up and move the team elsewhere. They still have EJ Manuel under center and CJ Spiller should be able to put up some yards. But none of this matters because all the fans are blackout drunk.
Miami Dolphins (7.5): Miami was more of a bullying PSA than a pro football squadron last season. With a new coach and improved o-line, this team might actually do a bit better this season. But then again, no one cares because the city is soon to be swallowed by the ocean. But hey, maybe that'll be an advantage when the NFL hosts the Super Bowl on a lake.
Bodymore Ravens (8.5): My beloved Ravens won the off-season with most mugshots (five!). The acquisition of WR Steve "Ice up, son" Smith should result in more punches thrown than a Ray Rice date night. Rice, of course, was doled a suspension of 2 weeks for knocking out his fiancee (now wife for legal concerns), which is: 2 weeks less than Welker for MDMA, 2 weeks less than Prater for pot, 14 weeks less than Gordon for pot, and possibly 4 weeks less than Greg Hardy for domestic abuse. This season has blistering, elite mediocrity written all over it.
Cincinnati Bagels (9): While winning this division last year, the Bagels were immediately eliminated upon entering the playoffs. Let's see if we can make that 25 years without a playoff win! Apparently causing no injury to any parties in the playoffs means Cincinnati is no longer retaining the services of 'The Law Firm,' BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Prop Bet: Now that former Bagels WR Chad Johnson, née Ochocinco, is playing for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, will he change his name to Chad Huitcinq?
Cleveland Browns (6.5): With star WR and choice fantasy keeper Josh Gordon suspended the entireseason for <looks up two teams, shudders, continues writing> smoking the ganja, the Browns season has taken a very Brownsian turn. Along with the excitement of drafting QB Johnnie Rookie Bitch and his Drinking Swan, the Browns have a new dog mascot name "Swagger," although the last thing with any swagger in Cleveland was the Cuyahoga River Fire. Those with children can do no better than purchase the coloring book, "Why Is Daddy Sad on Sunday?" to explain your pain.
Yinzburgh Steelers (8.5): The pre-season lesson of 2014 is that driving while stoned can get you a DUI, a fact at which at some point this season (or next), will result in the decimation of the Steelers running game for a few weeks. Snoop Dogg (Lion) hates your offensive coordinator and we're all just waiting for Big Ben to be the most sacked QB in history. This team is on the way to making it.
Texas Houstons (7.5): What a total and complete collapse last season was! Being the fairweather fans they are, they actually had to go BUY Matt Shaub jerseys before lighting them aflame. The star WR doesn't even want to be there with everyone's favorite Harvard grad throwing to him. This season's goal is another first draft pick. But hey, at least the defense is good.
Indy (9.5): Hahaha... your team own was arrested for Driving While Irsay! This season, the Slobbering Amish look to easily clinch their division again with arguably the best WR core in the league.
Jacksonville Baguars (5):
Tennessee Titans (6.5): In the foothills of the Appalachian mountains lay a mysterious football team only spoken of in legend, located in a fabled city unreachable though the wastelands of southern Kentucky. Some say this team is just the hungover hallucinations of SEC football fans. Others use it as an explanation for the mysterious disappearance of once-viable football players. Wait, Chris 'Cop Speed' Johnson is back in the NFL!? Grab a seat 'round the campfire and I'll tell you the legend of the Tennessee Titans.
Denver Broncos (11.5): The Broncos are the World Champions of Losing Super Bowls, at five total! I also appreciate the symmetry of the first scoring play being a safety, while the last one was in the previous Super Bowl. This team will dominate the AFC yet again in the regular season, only to lose horribly at some point in the playoffs. Prop bet: is dropping clutch passes a side effect of the MDMA?
KC Chiefs (7.5): After rebounding from a pitiful 2-14 season, complete with coach/GM firing and player suicide, the KC Chiefs put together a dominant season only to be decimated in the playoffs by a classic showing of Andy Reid game management. The 28-point lead the Chiefs blew to the Colts Luck-ily outshines the 17-point one my Dirty Birds blew against the Niners the season before.
Oakland Raiders (4.5): The only team ballsy enough to start a rookie QB in Week 1, Oakland has surrounded him entirely with free-agent thirty-somethings, I suppose for the ability to recount days of former Raiders glory. Currently in a spat with the Oakland Athletics baseball team over the future of the stadium they share, the NFL could force the Niners to allow the Raiders to crash at their new place for awhile. Or more likely, hello San Antonio! Or Portland! Or one of 3 new LA stadium sites!
San Diego Superchargers (8.5): Will the FCC's proposed rule to end sports blackouts have any effect on attendance at the Q. The Q, derived from Qualcomm, a vaguely 90's-ish sounding cell phone company, that has the Chargers held hostage until the year 2020, with release earlier if they move to LA. I think this depends on how you define media market. Prop Bet: Will Philip Rivers be able to bring home a win for each of his, now seven, children?
Dallas Cowboys (7.5): The team that everyone finds great schadenfreude in each season looks poised to perform. Tony Romo has all the offensive weapons he could ask for, yet no defense, meaning those soul-crushing last-minute interceptions are already in the mail. And this happened.
NY Football Giants (7.5): Feeling that the offensive play-calling had gotten too conservative, noted old man and NYF Giants coach Tom Coughin hired a new OC to make it too confusing instead. This team is already a steaming pile of disappointment and Tom Coughlin is tired of talking about it. Having lived in NYC for a year now, it's apparent that there are two kinds of teams in this city: those that aresupposed to do well (Yankees/Giants), and those that fans hope just don't embarrass themselves too much (Mets/Jets).
Philadelphia Eagles (9): Wide Receiver and noted N-bomber Riley Cooper will soon be learning the meaning of coverage now that pseudo-gang member/affiliate Deshawn Jackson has been cut by the Iggles. QB Nick Foles might have a tough time maintaining his dominance from last season throwing to Cooper and the oft-injured Maclin, but at least he has 2 shitty former USC quarterbacks as backup. Actually I would rate this team as most likely to emerge from the tire fire that is the NFC East.
DC Fightin' Snyders (7.5): After signing contractual agreements with the US government, these once proud people had their rights revoked and can no longer enforce the trademark on their racist team name. This franchise will continue to ruin RGIII, but at least Deshawn Jackson should be an entertaining addition.
Da Bears (8.5): While technically not as good as last season's backup McCown, Jay Catler is getting paid the big bucks with a contract extension. Haunting the dreams of both children and NFL North rivals, coach Marc Trestman has shown how to run a dynamic offense, while the defense has somewhat languished (but hey, Jared Allen!). Strap in and take this team for a ride!
D'town lions (8.5): The Lions are expected to perform more as a fantasy football team than an actual one that needs to win games, rather than putting up big numbers. Trust me, I've got Stafford as my QB. And when he derps, it is Manning-esque in it's complete lack of grace. But at least you just hired the most boring head coach in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers (10.5): The cheeseheads fans of this team will once again cheer for the offensive production of QB Aaron Rodgers, assuming his collarbone isn't broken, while gorging themselves on all sorts of dairy products and/or beer. Now that the Vikes have been Gulag'd to playing outside for two seasons, will the Packers still claim that they love that cold weather football?
Minnesota Vikings (6.5): While it's easy to compare the implosion of the Metrodome with the Vikes' previous season, it takes some work to get the good people of Minnesota to build you a new stadium. Especially one that looks like the the Sandcrawler from Star Wars, is a death sentence for migratory birds, all while the team owner has actually been convicted of racketeering. Have fun playing in the cold the next two years!
ATL Dirty Birds (8.5): My beloved Dirty Birds went from four yards from the Super Bowl to four total wins ALL season. They fell out of the injury tree and hit every branch on the way down. And now HBO's'Hard Knocks' is here to watch them and Samuel L Jackson #RiseUp.
Carolina Panthers (7.5): Panthers' coach Ron Rivera became Riverboat Ron and then Analytical Ron last season in that he noticed that statistics actually often support going for it on 4th and short, and it might not be so crazy after all. As opposed to losing it in the most conservative way imaginable. Reminds me of Andy Reid's last exit from the playoffs. Anyway, it has been known in the modern era of football that wide receivers as essential elements to the game, so Ron is apparently transmuting to Balls-out Ron given the Panthers' dearth at the position.
NO Aints (10.5): QB Drew Brees could be forgiven for dressing up as Noah from the Old Testament, since he was drafted the year after New Orleans was underwater (and the team nearly moved to San Antonio). Defensive coordinator and sometime parade leader Rob Ryan has promised the NO defensewill get weird. He's probably just confusing ménage à trois with three-safety sets. Yet I have no reason to disbelieve him.
Tampa Bay Bucs (7): While showing no MRSA in their four total wins last season, the Bucs were busily conducting the business of dysfunction: trading your starting QB midseason, firing your coach/GM,firing cannons off randomly, and of course hosting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. On the plus side, theysuper-sized the helmet logo so the old people of Florida might have an easier time rooting for them.
Santa Clara 49ers (10.5): The Niners' new park, the Field of Jeans, opens for the 2014 season in somewhat nearby Silicon Valley. Oakland hasn't even moved in yet and they're already tearing up theturf. With so many fans getting stabbed outside the old stadium, the new security protocols prohibit playing catch and playing loud music at tailgates. No wonder the Seattle trolls these guys so hard. Like that time they convinced BART to paint the trains Seahawks colors.
Seattle Seahawks (11): The World Champion (of Football) Seahawks had a productive offseason, with Richard Sherman getting into a twitter fight with every player in the NFL to Russell Wilson attempting to save us from the impending Entourage movie.
StL Rams (6.5): The pressure is on StL's starting QB to win the job in the final season of his contract... and Sam Bradford is out for the season with a torn ACL! Guess maybe the Rams should've considered that possibility. Oh well, no worries. The StL Cards are division leaders and the Rams are moving back to LA anyway, where they can be neglected by physically more attractive people.
Zony Cards (7.5): After their statistically best season since moving to Arizona, clinching the much-coveted 3rd spot of the NFC East, the Cardinals look to improve by leaving Larry Fitzgerald out there in the metaphorical and physical desert. With Carson Palmer behind the wheel of this offense and everyone else injured or suspended already, the Zony Cards should have no trouble parking in that 3rd spot.
Your first game of the season is a repeat of the Fail Mary game as the Seahawks host, and then proceed to dominate, the GB Packers. Rodgers not once tried throwing to Sherman's side, thinking that might be the only way to shut him up. And the rest... we shall see! As for watching, Hilal and I will be somewhere in the Carroll Garden neighborhood of Brooklyn.
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