When I was running this here site, I tried to do as few predictions as possible, because I have no idea what I'm talking about. That is to say: I know as much as everybody else. Sure, I could say something like, "I was talking to John Fox in practice the other day, and he feels really strongly about his team," but that: a) Wouldn't be true; and b) Wouldn't tell you anything anyway. But you know what? The freaking NFL starts today, Drew's Jamboroo is coming in two hours and I'm awfully excited. So let's go ahead and make some division-by-division predictions, and then let's hear yours. First, of course, remember to join the last-minute Pick 'em pool. And now, let's hit it.
AFC EAST 1. New England Patriots. I kind of love that their schedule is actually easier than last year's. Does anybody really think Tom Brady is hurt? Wes Welker is the David Eckstein of the NFL: Discuss. 2. Buffalo Bills. Hey, a pick to make Luke Russert happy; cute kid, that Luke. 3. Miami Dolphins. Chad Pennington is kind of perfect for them. I'm already waiting for everyone to freak out when the Dolphins beat the Jets in Week 1. 4. New York Jets. I'm as giddy about having Brett Favre around as anybody ... but this whole thing seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Warning: I almost always pick the New York football teams to stink.
AFC NORTH 1. Pittsburgh Steelers. I'm in a keeper fantasy league with a bunch of fellow Illini grads, and people were clawing each other's throats out to draft Mendenhall. Anybody else think Roethlisberger's gonna have a monster year? 2. Cleveland Browns. This division might be a lot worse than everyone thinks. I'm more concerned about Derek Anderson than most people are, and I'm still crossing my fingers for another "Brady Quinn gets in a bar fight because someone thinks he's gay again" incident. 3. Cincinnati Bengals. Whose body is going to explode in a puff of smoke first: Chad Johnson or Shawne Merriman? It's gonna be close. God it's nice having Chris Henry back. 4. Baltimore Ravens. As long as Ray Lewis does his dance again, one more time, for old times sake, it will be a successful season. Flacco! Flac-co. FLACCO!
AFC SOUTH 1. Jacksonville Jaguars. This is the year they finally catch them, right? Somewhere, Byron Leftwich walks back and forth between rooms, flicking lights on and off. Slowly. Very slowly. 2. Indianapolis Colts. Has there ever been a less exciting opening of a new stadium than the Colts'? You went from one lifeless huge warehouse to another one. Woo-hoo. Congrats. 3. Houston Texans. Now that Mario Williams is officially good, I invite you to enjoy, once again, his driving skills 4. Tennessee Titans. Yes, yes, Merrill, you might have been right. Now please get off my porch.
AFC WEST 1. San Diego Chargers. Norv Turner is still the coach, and Philip Rivers is still a douche. All well and good here. 2. Denver Broncos. I kind of like that a team's forecast can be improved so dramatically by the news that a quarterback's diabetes is under control. 3. Oakland Raiders. You know, I bet they still draft a running back next year. 4. Kansas City Chiefs. Herm, baby, Herm. I'd follow that guy into Hell, except that he'd certainly get lost along the way.
NFC EAST 1. Philadelphia Eagles. Daulerio absolutely hates it when I pick the Eagles to win their division. Free Kevin Kolb! 2. Dallas Cowboys. I feel like I'm almost being generous here; something about this team stinks of "three early losses, immediate implosion." Dunno. A hunch. 3. New York Giants. Just finished reading Pro Football Prospectus, and they absolutely sold me on these guys and Eli Manning. Or sold me off them, that is. But my, oh my, I could look at that mag cover of Eli for days. It's hypnotic. 4. Washington Redkins. They might win the NFC West, but then everyone would be really confused about where the stadium was.
NFC NORTH 1. Green Bay Packers. Come on, how can you not root for Aaron Rodgers at this point? Even though every Packers fan I know is still shell-shocked ... and secretly hoping Favre comes back next year. 2. Minnesota Vikings. Were the KSK guys the first to come up with "Purple Jesus?" I feel like I read that there first. I would have gone with chartreuse, myself. 3. Detroit Lions. I really can't come up with anything to say about the Lions anymore. Fire Millen! That'll have to work for the next few years. 4. Chicago Bears.. It's pretty nice having Kyle Orton back, isn't it? It's like if Clinton Portis dressed up as his characters during games.
NFC SOUTH 1. New Orleans Saints. Look out for former Illini Pierre Thomas; we Buzzsaw fans would take one of these running backs, any of them. Remember: Sean Payton was a replacement player. 2. Carolina Panthers. I just talked to John Fox the other day, and he's very excited about his team. 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Doesn't it seem like this team is perpetually one season away from total collapse? This is the year, until next year. 4. Atlanta Falcons. Honestly, they should just sacrifice a basset hound at midfield before the first game. Fuck 'em, ya know?
NFC WEST 1. The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals. I believe! I believe! (Seriously, this division is just awful. If not now, when? And don't say never.) 2. Seattle Seahawks. I don't think Hasselbeck's gonna last the season, and that would pretty much be it. 3. St. Louis Rams. Please, please let Rush Limbaugh buy this team. 4. San Francisco 49ers. Man, I got so drunk at J.T. O'Sullivan's last week. Irish car bombs will kill you. All right, let's hear yours, and get this going tonight. And I hope this keeps you entertained until Drew comes and melts your faces off in a couple of hours.