I don’t know about you, but I am itching for the football season to get here. Aching, really. NFL training camps get under way right away, so America’s favorite sport has been on my mind a lot lately. We’ll obviously spend a lot of time talking about the league in the weeks and months to come, but before we get into any specifics I just wanted to reflect on some of the general thoughts that are bouncing through my mind at this point.
Jacksonville – I like this team. A lot. Their division is a bit softer than it has been. Their offense is solid. Their defense is significantly upgraded. Every year there are a couple of teams that I either make or lose a fortune on. I strongly suspect that Jacksonville is one of those teams. They aren’t going to surprise anyone, and the public is going to be aware of them, but I still thin that they will play well enough to make some money.
Seattle – At 10/11, the Seahawks are favored to win the NFC West. This is a sad statement on the state of that division. I guess I don’t dislike Seattle. How can you, really? There is just nothing to like about them, either. They are the vanilla ice cream of the NFL. If they were to fold right before the season started it would take six weeks before anyone would notice. I just wish I had enough faith in the Cardinals (2/1) to believe that they can finally realize their potential and win this division.
New England – The Patriots aren’t going to be as good as they were last year. Perhaps not even close. That being said, I will be more surprised than I have ever been by anything in my life ever (and I am a Michigan fan who was expecting to beat Appalachian State by 30) if the Pats don’t win their division this year. Easily. Incredibly easily. I’m not the only one to hold this bold opinion – the team is 1/10 to win the division.
San Diego – The Chargers might not even have to work as hard as the Pats will to win their division. There isn’t another team there that stands even a chance of being elite in my mind. Not even close
Minnesota – As a general rule I try to avoid hype whenever possible. The problem here, though, is that I am not sure I can. Minnesota has a ton of talent, I don’t respect their division or their conference, and they have a decent schedule. I don’t think that Minnesota is the best team in the conference, but I find it hard to convince myself that they aren’t among the elite.
San Francisco – The last two years at this time of year I have touted the Niners. It worked fabulously for me two years ago. It didn’t last year. I’m not going to do that again this year. I wish I could – they have some things to like. They just can’t get their act together. This team is dead to me.
Oakland – Some people say that the Raiders could be significantly improved this year. Some people also say that Elvis is still alive. I don’t think either is true. Maybe they will win a game or two more, but they still have a long way to go before they are respectable.
Tennessee – Here’s a prediction for you – this is the last year that Vince Young will be a full time starter in the NFL. No single reason, just a collection of little feelings.
Cincinnati – Marvin Lewis deserves to still be the coach of this team just as much as Roger Clemens deserves the benefit of the doubt – not even slightly. The Bungles have been a mess for a couple of years now, and they are going to be a mess again. The offensive talent that Lewis has wasted is almost criminal.
Kansas City – The Chiefs are going to be the worst team in the league. I feel pretty good about the chances of that. What do I like about this team? Pretty much nothing. Maybe Larry Johnson, but he’s fragile, and I really don’t like his chances of holding up without a line to protect him or a quarterback to provide other options to distract the opposing defenses.