Monday, August 30, 2010

The Attic Fan's Colossal NFL Preview: Part I: The AFC

You know in the movie Kicking and Screaming (the one with Will Ferrell) when in the Championship game, Byong Son and Ambrose team together to make a Mega-person (Which consists of Byong-Son sitting on Ambrose's shoulders)? That is what the NFL is like now, a mega-person. It dominates the sports landscape, and takes up covers of Sports Illustrated every week dating back to mid-July. Baseball may have been our national pastime, but football has lapped it in popularity. The only problem with football is that it does not really translate around the world. I feel like American football to the rest of the world is what cricket is to us.

America: Games that go on for three days? Please. The only thing that can captivate me for that long is well, nothing. Either that or the 12 different kinds of CSI.

Rest of World: A game where you throw an oblong ball around? And you get to have Parkinson's by the time you are 45? What?

That was the politically correct version. Now back to Kicking and Screaming and today's column. Today, the AFC is going to be spotlighted. The AFC is the Ambrose in the mega-person that is football, and the NFC is the short, semi-useless Byong-Son. But even though the AFC seems a lot better, the NFC looks like it will come out on top. In today's AFC preview, there are 8 teams with 10 or more wins. Last year, the top 4 picks in the NFL draft were from the NFC, but the Super Bowl winner was from the NFC. How does this happen? Let us use the Ambrose-Byong Sun theory again. Although Byong-Son is shorter, he is the one that score's the goal in the Megaperson, with his head. The NFC rides the AFC for the first few months, but then ends up winning the main thing, that is the Super Bowl. That happened this year to.

Time to now predict the standings and records. Wish me luck.

AFC East

1. Miami Dolphins (10-6)

Surprise! It is not just the addition of Brandon Marshall that I think puts this team over the top, but I think it helps. They have one of the best running back duos in all of football, with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Chad Henne will have a breakout season this year, with Marshall to now throw to. The big addition here is linebacker Karlos Dansby, a dominate force for the Arizona Cardinals these last couple of years. The youth and athleticism of these Dolphins should overtake the aging and decrepit rest of the division. They also probably have the easiest second half schedule in the NFL.

2. New York Jets (10-6)

I cannot see the hype in the Jets. Really, I just can't. This team is predicted by the Sporting News to win the Super Bowl and they have them ranked as a 95. A 95! I don't even think the 1978 Steelers were ranked as a 95. I think the removal of Thomas Jones hurts them, and was done a year too early. Shonn Greene definitely has a lot to prove. Can we get to Mark Sanchez for a moment? A guy who threw 12 touchdowns to 20 interceptions last season is by no means a Super Bowl quarterback. This is one of the tougher divisions in football, and with this guy as your quarterback, I cannot see you getting past the first round. They are still extremely talented on defense however, and the addition of Santonio Holmes gives them a big-play guy they so desperately needed last season.

And another thing! I do not like the additions of Jason Taylor and Antonio Cromartie and LaDanian Tomlinson. Taylor is about two years past his prime, and same with Tomlinson. Cromartie is one of the NFL's most overrated defense players in recent memory. The reason for those interceptions in San Diego was because quarterbacks did not want to attack Quentin Jammer. Eventually, Cromartie's freak athleticism allowed him to get a few picks, and that will probably happen this year with Revis on the other side and what not. But he will allow more touchdowns than have interceptions, so do not call him an elite defender. Please.

3. New England Patriots (9-7)

A lot of guys just past their prime, and Ty Warren's season ending injury kills them. They do not really have any game breakers on offense anymore. You feel like Randy Moss is eventually going to run out of gas, and Wes Welker's knee seems like a time bomb. The one thing they got going for them is a pissed off Tom Brady. He is angry about the contract situation, and the last time we saw Brady angry, he unleashed a 50 touchdown assault upon the NFL. I have them not making the playoffs, but Brady could surprise some people. Like me.

4. Buffalo Bills (2-14)

Brian Brohm or Ryan Fitzpatrick? Who will lead the Bills to more than two wins? Neither, is the answer to that, and a Top 2 NFL Draft selection seems imminent for Bufallo. C.J. Spiller was the wrong draft choice for this team, as they already had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. The line is atrocious, they have no defense as well. It will be another obscure year for a team people are starting to forget about.

AFC North

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

These team probably scares me the most out of any, and that kills me to say as a diehard Steeler fan. Boldin gives them a legitimate threat now in the passing game. Flacco should have a breakout season in year three. Ray Rice (My #4 Overall Fantasy Pick) is a smaller version of 2000 Marshall Faulk. The defense is disgusting and will be even more vile once Ed Reed aka Young Redd Foxx comes back from his hip surgery. Gah! I hate myself now.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

The Roethlisberger suspension absolutely kills them here. If Ben was playing the first four games, they go a minimum of 3-1. Now it is at best 2-2, likely worst. Once Ben comes back, however, they should be ready to go. I am kind of worried about Rashard Mendenhall for some reason. I feel like he'll be one of those running backs who will have a 3.0 YPC, a Tim Hightower type back. I am begging that he is wrong, because eventually Roethlisberger's luck will run out due to the fact he'll be throwing the ball 40 times a game if their running attack sucks again. The defense really depends on Troy Polamalu, who is one more concussion away from turning into a pile of mush. Their linebackers are as strong as ever, and if they do not give up a kickoff return touchdown a game, they should make it into the playoffs.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)

Poor Carson Palmer. He is going to have to live with Owens and "Ochocinco" constantly complaining about not getting the ball enough. I am not even sure Palmer is good anymore. Let's be honest, did Palmer ever really recover from his injury? I had him on my fantasy team last year and his weekly stats were somewhere along the lines of: 9-20, 155 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT. 6 fantasy points from a QB is not going to cut it. The defense seems a little shaky, and in a top-heavy division, the Bengals are thrown somewhere in the middle.

4. Cleveland Browns (2-14)

Every year, there is one team where you look at their roster and you say: "Hey! This team has a chance to go 0-16!" This year it is the awful Cleveland Browns. Jake Delhomme is a shell of himself. Honestly, I think they would be better if Josh Cribbs spent the entire game as the quarterback in the Wildcat offense. They have no offense and no defense. It will be another long year for Cleveland fans, doing nothing to distract them from LeBron.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts (13-3)

The number one seed in the AFC, and easily too. Even though they play in one of the tougher divisions in football, they will still get it done with little effort/emotion. They have their deepest receiving core in years, with Anthony Gonzalez finally at full health. If Bob Sanders can actually stay healthy for the entire season, the Colts will be scary good. That is asking a lot, because Bob Sanders has played eight games the past two seasons, and played in only two more games than I did last season. Even without Sanders, they are still the team to beat in the AFC.

2. Tennessee Titans (10-6)

I don't really like the Titans. In fact I kind of hate them. Ever since they stomped on the Terrible Towel in 2008 I have really hated them (But the Steelers won the Super Bowl that year so take that! Ha!) Chris Johnson obviously will not have the same season as last year, but he is still a breakout player. I am not really crazy about Vince Young. He is after all, a member of the East Fragile Psyche All-Star Squad. The receiving core is already pretty weak to begin with, and when you have a quarterback with sub par skills, you are asking for trouble. As usual, the defense is solid. They'll be good this year, but I think they'll just miss out on the playoffs.

3. Houston Texans (9-7)

This team has a good chance to make the playoffs, but the loss of running back Ben Tate really hurts them. Now they are forced to have Steve Slaton getting wrecked everytime he runs up the middle. Matt Schaub is a budding star, and Andre Johnson seems to get better and better. DeMeco Ryans is a certified monster at linebacker (He actually has a certificate), and Brian Cushing could be insane if he was not out for the first four games for injecting drugs that would make him into a monster. The Texans are always the team that seems on the verge of the playoffs, but never make it. Remember that old ESPN commercial when the Texans were first formed. Some hick said "The Texans will win a Super Bowl in three years." Oh you don't remember that. Damn it. Anyway, the Texans always seem to have a lot of optimism going into the season, and always fall short. Just as they will this season.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

The forgotten team in the AFC South, and for good reason. Without Maurice Jones-Drew, do you think the Jaguars would ever be mentioned in anything ever? They play in a division with three high-profile teams, and are thrown to the bottom of the barrel. David Garrard (Who plays quarterback, by the way), is years past his prime, whatever that was. This team will compete in some games, but at the end of the day, they will remember that they are the Jaguars.

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers (11-5)

It pains me to say that the Chargers are this good, it really does. For years they have thrived on playing in the worst division in football, and then losing to the Steelers in the 1st Round of the playoffs. This year, however, the look a lot different, as the face of their franchise is now gone (LT will now waste carries in New York). My friend Alec, who somehow is a Chargers fan, will explain in great detail and vocabulary how the Chargers will do this year:

"Slightly better than last year cause we got rid of tomlinson who sucks (expletive), my boy gates is health, the defense can only get better...and we dont have vjax which hurts us but not much cause malcolm floyd and naanee are big as hell...its good we lost cromartie cause all he does is draw flags"

This was sent over a text. Just clearing that up so you don't think Alec has some kind of mental disability. But he's right. The Jackson holdout will kill them, but unlike Alec I am not sure about the rest of the receivers. I do think that rookie running back Ryan Mathews will be worth the Chargers draft pick. What I find weird about the Chargers running attack is the situation where Darren Sproles is the 3rd Down back. Am I the only person on this planet who finds that incredibly dumb? He weighs about 155 pounds, and on 3rd down, it is usual about picking up hard yardage, where you have to knock over defenders and fight through. Sproles will get destroyed trying to take on a defensive line on 3rd & 2. Just saying.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

Surprise number 2! This team is prime for a breakout season. I feel like the addition of Weis and Crennel as coordinators can only help, as those guys are much better suited for coordinators rather than crappy head coaches. They have the best running attack in football with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and you have like Matt Cassel will have a better season this year. The defense has a lot of problems, and the Chiefs will probably find themselves in an absurd amount of shootouts this season. Look for kick returners Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster to really have an impact on games this season. I have to expect this pick will draw the most amount of hate mail directed toward me, so bring it on! Although the Chiefs bandwagon is getting bigger by the day, so maybe bring it off.

3. Oakland Raiders (7-9)

Any team that loses JaMarcus Russel (Level 0 Athlete) is bound to improve. After a 5 win 2009 and stealing wins from a couple high caliber teams, the Raiders should not be atrocious. But not if Al Davis has anything to say about it! I want to say the Raiders will be semi-decent this season, and adding Jason Campbell as their QB really helps. But as long as Al Davis is in charge, I just feel like that franchise is always doomed.

4. Denver Broncos (5-11)

This team has a chance to be really bad this season, as they have no offensive weapons. You kind of have to feel as if their 1st round draft choice could have been better used on somebody other than Tim Tebow. They have one of the tougher schedules in the NFL, and the team just seems like it is filled with players who are either too old or too young to have an impact. Long year in Denver.

There are the standings, as I feel will happen. And they will happen. Now on to the playoffs: (Complete with homer edition and non-homer edition!)

Non-Homer Edition:


Steelers vs. Chargers

Dolphins vs. Jets


Steelers vs. Colts

Jets vs. Ravens


Ravens vs. Colts

Colts back in the Super Bowl. Real risky by me.

Homer Edition:


Chargers vs. Steelers

Dolphins vs. Jets


Steelers vs. Colts

Jets vs. Ravens


Steelers vs. Ravens

The fan in me wants the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl, but the analysis and pure numbers point to the Colts going back. Come back Thursday as we go over the Byong Sun of professional football, the NFC.

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