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11:40 a.m. - September 07, 2005
An NFL Preview - 32 Teams, 32 Ways To Be Wrong.

Since this is a sports essay I thought I’d run my picture at the top, just like the do in the newspapers. Besides, that mug right there wouldn’t lead you astray, would it???

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to buckle up the chinstraps, put on the shoulder pads, and get ready for The NATIONAL…FOOTBALL…LEAGUE (Do-do-do-do!)

I’m here to provide a service to you, gentle readers. I will, with great care, predict where each NFL team will finish. For those of you not into sports, or football, I will do this in a lighthearted, easy to read manner that may elicit a chuckle, tee-hee, or if I’m lucky an occasional guffaw.

For those of you in other locales, our version of football is where insane men wearing body armor ram into each other at full speed in an effort to score a touchdown, while people like me watch this while sitting and drinking beer on their sofas each Sunday. Unlike soccer or Australian Rules, since the players are in helmets and pads, there’s no real eye candy for the ladies during the action, alas. And unlike hurling, hockey, or lacrosse, they don’t have giant sticks to pummel each other with. Pity.

So, without further ado, here is where the teams will finish in 2005, according to me.


1. New England (11-5). Sorry City Mouse, the time has come for the Pats to give up their crown. I’m sure money and taunts will be exchanged soon. Coach Bill Belichek got divorced over the summer, and you know he’s partying with the ladies now. Instead of a full furrow, his eyebrows are now only 5/6th furrowed each game.
2. New York Jets (10-6). After their playoff loss to Pittsburgh, they released their kicker, who missed an important long field goal. Which is fine, but they did that instead of examining their inept time and game management in the fourth quarter. I guess Herm Edwards wants to lead FEMA next. (Did I just say that??)
3. Buffalo (8-8). It’s rare to turn over the offense of a fairly successful team to a young QB with little experience, but turning the Bills over to J. P. Losman is like turning over the keys to a 1992 Taurus station wagon to a 16-year old. Can’t hurt, much.
4. Miami (7-9). The ganja kid, a/k/a Ricky Williams, is back, mon. Groovy. I would pick them third, but once in a while they wear those hideous orange jerseys that burn my retinas, so I need to boot them to fourth.


1. Pittsburgh (10-6). This team is old school baby, from the uniforms, and helmets, to their players, and their coach. The best thing about watching a Steelers game is when the punter screws up (it’s always the punter, it seems), and Coach Bill Cowher chews him out. His jaw juts out and he just covers the poor guy in spittle. It’s like having Neidermeyer as your coach. “A PLEDGE PIN, ON YOUR UNIFORM!!!”
2. Cincinnati (9-7). Ok, you’ve revamped the team and instilled a winning attitude. Now, can you please change your freakin’ uniforms and helmets? This isn’t the late show at the Boom Boom Room – tiger stripes are OUT.
3. Baltimore (9-7). Someone needs to explain to the Ravens that you win by actually scoring points. Your defense doesn’t cause someone to go to the negative side if they intercept a pass or recover a fumble. I think they missed the memo.
4. Cleveland (2-14). Yeah, they wanted their team back! Look what it got them. I would make a crack about their brown and orange color scheme but that’d be like kicking a dead dog at the side of the road.


1. Indianapolis (13-3). Ok, I’m a homer. So sue me. This is THE year. This is THE time. After this year the window will close rapidly. I like the additions they made on defense, and I know they WILL beat the Patriots when it counts, City Mouse. (Actually football-esque discussion, what a concept!!)
2. Jacksonville (9-7). If each NFL team were a foodstuff, the Jags would be rice cakes. They’re bland, boring, dull. So much so, in fact, that the fans are staying away from their games. The team had to close off 10,000 seats so they would ‘sell out’. (No, you’re really not seeing those empty seats up there – it’s all an illusion!)
3. Houston (8-8). Every year the Texans get closer to the playoffs, but it’s still not in the cards for them, though some people are on their bandwagon for a fast rising team. To me, the Texans are like a set-up date that fails. The credentials are there and your friends vouch for her, but there’s nothing of substance, at all, to grab onto, so you just aimlessly chat and go home, unfulfilled and out $50.
4. Tennessee (5-11). The NFL is a reverse meritocracy. If you do well, but not at a superstar level, teams can’t afford you, and you get released. This is what a hard salary cap does for you. There is no truth to the rumor (that I just started) that the Titans are having open tryouts, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did something like that. “I went from Wal-Mart to the NFL in just three days!”


1. San Diego (11-5). All you need to know is that if LaDanian Tomlinson needs something, anything, I’m there for him. I’ll wash his car – clean his house – do his dishes and yardwork. (Yes, he’s on my fantasy team, and NO I won’t trade him!)
2. Kansas City (10-6). The Chiefs have the opposite problem of Baltimore. They don’t get extra points for actually STOPPING someone. Expect a lot of shootouts with KC, yet again. And yes, fans, that is their coach and he is crying. While he’s verklempt, talk amongst yourself.
3. Denver (8-8). They will avoid a third straight pole-axing by the Colts in the playoffs this year. How? They won’t make the playoffs this year. That’s how.
4. Oakland (5-11). So you already have one of the largest egomaniacal loudmouths playing for you (Warren Sapp). Why add another in Randy Moss? How can that possibly work? There’s no truth to the rumor (that I just started) that QB Kerry Collins is secretly 84 years old.


1. Philadelphia (12-4). Normally, a team with this much turmoil and strife would be heading for a fall. Normally, a team that just cut one of their best defensive players would be heading for a losing record. But the Eagles play in a sorry division, and they’ll go 12-4 based on the company they keep.
2. Dallas (8-8). I don’t like this team, that much. But again, they get to play the Giants and Redskins four times. It’s sad when “America’s Team” just makes you yawn, instead of evoking any emotion whatsoever.
3. New York Giants (6-10). Eli’s coming – and he’ll soon be flat on his back a lot this year. I have a fear his career will be like his dear old Dad’s. Lots of frantic passing in losing causes.
4. Washington (5-11). If I had $800 million dollars and wanted to run a sports team, I’d certainly have more of a clue than Daniel Snyder. For one, I wouldn’t spend money like a drunken sailor on old, fat, sloppy guys. (I would spend money like a drunken sailor, but more on what a drunken sailor buys, though!)


1. Minnesota (10-6). When your top running back gets busted for using something called the “Whizzinator” to mask his drug tests, then you really don’t need to write any jokes.
2. Green Bay (9-7). This is Brett Favre’s last hurrah. One more playoff appearance for old time’s sake. It’ll be a cameo, much like Brando in “Columbus, The Discoverer”. And like Brando in that movie, his appearance in the playoffs will be brief and laughable.
3. Detroit (9-7). Memo to the Lions. In theory, you can only play five wide receivers at a time, and usually the most any one ever puts on the field is three at once – four if you are behind and need to catch up. So why do you have 219 on your roster?
4. Chicago (5-11). To the non-sports fans: There are five large men that lineup in front of the quarterback. It’s their job to protect him. If they are not good at their job, the quarterback falls down. A lot. The large men of the Bears are not good.


1. Atlanta (11-5). They used to have sweet helmets and sweet uniforms. Before Indianapolis got a team, they were my favorite team because of their sartorial eloquence. Now, they look like a hack video game designer dressed them. Ick!
2. Carolina (10-6). Since I cut Jake Delhomme from my fantasy team this year, the odds are that he will have a monster season. You can almost make book on it.
3. Tampa Bay (7-9). They call John Gruden “Chucky” because of his resemblance to the doll from the movie. And like Chucky, the more he sticks around, the worse he gets. Like a bad sequel, Tampa Bay is uninspired. Perhaps it’s time to give Chucky the heave-ho.
4. New Orleans (6-10). I have no funny, clever, witty statements. I grieve for the city, and will root for their team. But realistically, they won’t do well this year, and just playing the games will be good enough.


1. Seattle (9-7). Have you ever been in a game of Scrabble where you and your opponent both seem to be bitten by bad luck? One of you HAS to win. Same with Seattle, in this game of Scrabble, their opponents in their division either have tiles like: MHDNBQL or: AAEIUUY
2. St. Louis (7-9). I’m not guaranteeing many of these picks, but I will guarantee this. Mike Martz will make a coaching decision that will be incredibly stupid this year.
3. Arizona (6-10). If each NFL franchise were a sitcom, the Cardinals would be “Just Shoot Me”. You don’t watch it – you barely know it exists – but when you do see it you are flabbergasted by its mediocrity and wonder why the hell its still on, in syndication no less.
4. San Francisco (1-15). I’m not saying that the football team at my school, Wabash College, could beat the 49ers. Not outright. You’d have to give us 7 points.

Well, there you go. 32 teams, 32 predictions, 32 ways for me to be an idiot! Please, do not send your gambling loss bills to me. I beg of you!


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