Jesus, I feel like I just wrote the previews yesterday (well I DID....damned Hurricane taking out power for a week), but FINALLY THE NFL IS BACK (and no not from the lockout crap, Sundays ain't the same from February till September...well unless I'm playing hockey all day!)...time to hoard the one side of Sun Tavern and the battle for TV Supremacy is ON!!!!!
Thursday Sept 8
Saints at Packers:
You gotta give the NFL credit...between it's one game a week set-up and being designed to be properly watched on TV and catering itself to the National TV audience....they also at least have the brain capacity to give you epically awesome games to get started and for "big event" games....this is one of those games (though in the same process you'd think they'd schedule bye's by division to make THAT simpler, ok that is the fantasy football owner in me talking too), but damn this is an awesome game.....the champ vs. the former champ in a football game that has everything....big play offense....Brees, A-Rod, Jennings, Colston...I can go on....both these defenses have game-changing playmakers and I'm fascinated to see how good Green Bay is while healthy and to see if Mark Ingram is the missing piece on offense for the Saints, like I think he is....I can sit here and wax poetic about this game all day, but it's hard to go against the Super Bowl Champs in their home opener, regardless of opponent....just sit back and ENJOY this one (don't waste your survivor pick here!)
Game Quality: *****
Sunday Sept 11
Lions at Tampa:
Two teams here with a lot to prove and as week one always offers, this is one of those "we're gonna learn alot about both these teams right out of the box"....one team will win and be on their way to living up to the hype....the other team will likely struggle and be looking at 7-9 or 8-8 and have a not so good year...it always happens, Tampa's a nice team and solid everywhere, but I look at Detroit and I see better at WR (thank you Calvin Johnson)....better on D-Line....Tampa's better at RB, and sometimes just predicting these games comes back to simply...which team do you like better.....I like Detroit to push for a Wild Card (and maybe Stafford stays upright this year, right?)...and thanks to a loud-mouth West Coaster who longs to be back in NJ, I've seen the
Tampa Bay light and dub them "overrated".....CMON LIONS!!!! This is a game worth keeping an eye on if you can....
Game Quality: ***
Titans at Jaguars:
Oh man, not since the first week of January have we been treated to a five star Anti-Football contest like THIS BEAUTY....just look at these teams.....the Garrard-less Jaguars (and why the 49ers haven't sent a row of whores to service Garrard 24/7 to get his ass to San Fran to save their season, yes their QB scenario is THAT bad that a barely average QB would save their season)....M J-D is limping around AND his backup is on IR....Luke McNown?? *chuckles*....even with Chris Johnson in this game, this game REEKS of sweet wonderful anti-football....OH MY OD WELCOME BACK!!!!!! Man I'm so excited for this game I'm hard pressed to pick a winner (and be honest neither one of these teams deserve to be 1-0)....but if you're gonna MAKE ME pick a winner....damn you....I gotta look at the team with Matt Hasselbeck playing against a team with ZERO chance of sacking him....let the ugly begin!!!
Winner: Titans (and anti-football NATION)
Game Quality: ***** of anti-football GOODNESS!!!
Colts at Texicans:
Welcome to the Healthsouth Injured Bowl....no Peyton Manning, Arian Foster limping around cursing out fantasy football owners on Twitter.....Kerry Collins in, all the pressure in the world on the Texans (just imagine they lay THIS egg and loose the game to Kerry Collins, football in one hand, bottle of Jack in the other...yeah you know the Texans too and simply saying it like I DID....you know it could happen)....Wade Phillips offering hugs, warmth and support on defense....pity his job is to bring TURNOVERS...which he won't....it's hard to evaluate the Colts without #18....the man is an offensive coordinator in pads, I'm amazed he's not calling the plays on the sidelines....it's a shame if the Colts had a brain and brought in Drunken Kerry from the get-go and given him the full month to practice and learn Peyton's offense (and make the adjustments needed)....I don't have the faith in the Texans to put the hammer to the Colts and put this game away quick and painlessly....but I still can't pick a team that's had what, 10 days? for Kerry Collins to learn the offense.....
Winner: Texans (they did this last year too, I ain't impressed)
Game Quality: *** (division game and so much intrigue with the injuries)
Browns at Bengals:
Ahhhh, more anti-football!!! The Browns, despite having a QB who has "it", have a divsion III offense in front of him (well except at running back, Peyton Hillis and "Tuxedo Porn" Montario Hardesty (I had to sit on that nickname all year last year) ...that's an acceptable pair)...take on Andy Dalton (who too has been getting lots of pre-season love)....who has some weapons to play with at least....AJ Green, Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, a decent TE in Grisham...and the handcuffs are OFF of Cedric Benson (ahh, prision life....VINTAGE Bengals!)....Colt McCoy is gonna have some serious envy standing on the sideline going "*pout*....if only I had an offense like THAT"....at this point Mohamed Massaquoi would come over and try to smack him in the head to bring him back, but we know how BAD his hands are...he's miss McCoy's head by 10 feet!!! One fun fact on this game....The Bengals are 30-2 under head coach Marvin Lewis in games in which one of his running backs has 25 or more carries. That mark includes a 10-1 record when that back is Cedric Benson.....and it's very likely Benson gets fed this week cause Man can NOT live on prision food alone....this is going to be a nice comedy of errors game but NOT on the level of Jax/Ten, but still worth a hearty chuckle or two....or if you're one of those brave survivor fools who loves to take the awful team on a "gimmie week"...go for it...Shawn Rodgers isn't here to block field goals and make you miserable
Game Quality: **** of anti-football fun!!!
Bills at Chiefs:
Man this is borderline anti-football....man what a week one!!! I don't know how this happened, but I still have this damn man-crush on the Bills...they are fun to watch, better WR's then you think....solid running game and there's ten teams that WISH they had Ryan Fitz at QB to spread the ball....some players on defense, and going into Kansas City to play the number one team on the "overrated and taking a step back" list (ok maybe Tampa is on top too...but the Chiefs are close)...as bad as Matt Cassel is....him not playing is a disaster...and that cracked rib is a blinking neon light bullseye for Steroid Shawne Merriman....you gotta pick a FEW upsets in week one that you go back and look at in November and say "you know...that wasn't as much an upset as I thought it was at the time"....and yes I'm charging up for Bills and Raiders and a 2-0 BUFFALO START....CMOOONNNN!!!!!!!
Game Quality: *** (more here to watch then you'd expect!)
Steelers at Ravens:
Ah the twice a year "body bag game"....always fun to watch, and even more so since it's the MANTA-VISION LASER EYE BEAM FOCUS GAME OF THE WEEK...all the talking and the infighting is done....it's time to actually go put the damn pads on and shut some people up....add in the fact that Ray Rice is the next victim on my "first round draft pick of DOOM list from my money league"...hell if Rice survives the first quarter that's a win for me compared to Ryan Grant and Tom Brady of yester-year....I was convinced this was gonna be business as usual for the Steelers....then I saw on the NFL Network...."Joe Flacco has never beaten the Steelers when Big Ben is the QB"....and crap that's a hex from above I tell you...and it's home cooking and week one...the Super Bowl loser does struggle early historically...this is a "first to 13 wins" type of game....and well I guess they're due, and nothing like an early win over a better team to fuel the delusions (yes I'm looking at YOU in Houston too)...keep the sound on for this game, you will hear some hurtin!!
Winner: Ravens (*grabs purple tinted glasses*)
Game Quality: *****
Falcons at Bears:
Man the Falcons had a LONG time to sit and brood about that Packer ass-kicking....I loved the comment from the Falcons radio guy that "Atlanta hasn't been this destroyed since the Civil War" ....and add in that it's another NFC North team to beat on....and the fact I think the Bears are gonna be awful this year anyway...this has beatdown written all over it....add in some Jay Cutler interceptions and I really see Atlanta rolling and taking out some aggression on this vastly overrated Bears team (hell by half they may go..STOP IT...we lost to the Packers too, show mercy dammit!!!)
Game Quality: ** (I do love me a beatdown on a Mike Martz offense!)
Eagles at Rams:
Another fascinating game here....damn the schedule guy did GOOD this year...what maybe 2 dud games all week? And this ain't one of them....the Eagles have ALL the hype in the multi-verse on them with the players they signed....and this makes this a dangerous game....the Rams are good, under the radar, and a TEAM, while the Eagles....as of right now....are just a bunch of players in the same jersey who have practiced for a month together....on the road....luckily the evil-woman Dome isn't a hostile place to play, but still this will not be an easy
cake walk game for the Eagles....and again this is almost a must-watch football game (damn you US Open for
cramming all these games at 1pm too)....I really REALLY wanna pick the Rams here...it's sooo tempting, maybe if the Rams were a LITTLE more seasoned I would...or in a few weeks...but the hype train rumbles through St Louis this week....it just won't be easy and the panic buttons and fire alarms will STILL go off in Phily
Game Quality: ****
Minnesota at San Diego:
Much like the Bears and Falcons I'm picking a team that had a disappointing end to their season to come out and take it out on an NFC North team and pummel the living sh!t out of them to get going....and look at the Vikings, yes they got AP...but is there a more fragile and mentally weak QB then Donovan McNabb? I think not...on the road, hungry team with lots to prove and ALL the talent in the world....this is gonna get ugly and FAST for the Vikings....and really I can't think of one nice thing to say about the Vikings and I got two jobs this afternoon so I gotta move this along....
Winner: San Diego
Game Quality: DUD (a rare one this week)
Carolina at Arizona:
OH BOY!!!! This is on the 4pm anti-football watch list.....if you took one of the Carolina RBs and put them on Arizona you'd actually have an NFL offense!!! sCam Newton is gonna be ugly this year (I'm not sold on him as a QB and throwing a rookie blind into the mud like this is damn near MEAN)...least Arizona isn't exactly the fearsome foursome on defense...but still it's a functional NFL defense, and they got enough on offense, and Kevin Kolb has something to prove after being tossed to the puppy pound by Vick....and that's enough to beat the Panthers (not to mention throwing the ball to Larry Fitz 10-12 times a week...)...it's just a shame that Arizona is barely good enough to NOT be on the anti-football list...oh well...
Winner: Cardinals (and survivor pick)
Game Quality: * 3/4
Seattle at 49ers:
Oh dear....oh my.....the anti-football Gods smile...and give us the "first to complete a forward pass wins" match!!! Tavares Jackson....and Alex "DUCK AND COVER" Smith...oh boy!!! Least Seattle still has a decent D...but the 49ers have better weapons and a running game....this is gonna be wonderfully ugly...I'd like to think the 49ers remember their awful start last year and you can't piss away home divisional football games if you want to be even average in the NFL...and *sigh*....when diarrhea plays indigestion, you pick the team who's toilets have their colors on them after all.....this will be delightfully brutal
Winner: 49ers (by default)
Game Quality: **** o'anti-football hilarity!
NY Giants at Redskins:
The Redskins haven't been kicked out of the NFL yet?? How sad...yeah the Giants have no one left on defense now, but that's ok....the Redskins don't believe you need an offense to play in the NFL....John Beck? Rex Grossman? CMON!...really? You must be joking! The Giants have the same running game which is decent, and as long as Eli doesn't think DeAngelo Hall is playing WR for him....the Giants will be fine and should win this easily!
Winner: NY Giants
Game Quality: ** (yuck!)
Cowboys at NY Jets:
And here's another one of those "learn about both teams" games....how will the Cowboys offensive line hold up? How will the Jets running game be? (I'm still no solid on that)...who will get the pass rush for the Jets?? Can the Cowboys secondary cover ANYONE one on one? How will Dumbo hold up for his first game in like 10 months?? Can Nacho pass for over 55%? Who would win a Rex vs Rob hot dog eating contest? Hell they could go to Coney Island and do that RIGHT...my money's on Rob....big mouth, bigger belly .....it's still a fitting match-up despite all the 9/11 crap behind this week in football (and yes I'm still pissed the NFL took a week off after that, we needed the damned diversion)....I think these are my top teams in the NFC and AFC I have the most un-sure feelings about on how they will be this season....the best way to learn is to throw them in the fire....but I'll pull the "typical fan" card and show no faith in my team in what will be a fascinating game to watch locked up in my apartment far away from the local bandwagon....least I have that solace
Game Quality: *** 3/4
Monday Sept 12
New England at Miami:
How nice of the NFL to give the Patriots a tune-up game on National TV, right?? Yeah the Miami D is good and at times over the years the Dolphins have given the Pats FITS....and the Miami D is good....and Reggie Bush is at least healthy for week one...that's a plus and he is a pain in the ASS to cover and defend....but still this feels more like a coronation/coming out party for the Pats then an actual competitive football game...plus I wanna see Chad 85 light it up ....and you see Tom Brady....and Chad Henne....and it's pretty easy to pick a winner
Game Quality: ***
Oakland at Denver:
Oh boy...nothing like the ESPN 2nd game stinker to end the week with, hopefully Mike Dikta does this game so he can sit there and bash the Raiders all night like he did a few years ago, that was quite awful (I was waiting for the other guy with him to go "hey Mike aren't you the genius who traded an entire draft for Ricky Williams??")....we have here whatever players were trapped by contract to not run from Oakland (poor bastards)...Jason Campbell who isn't good enough to start in San Fran or even Seattle ....and the rest of the NFL Leftovers known as the Ravens....least Denver has some things going for it....John Fox is a decent coach, they have a running game and Kyle Orton might as well be Joe Montana compared to Campbell....Denver has some pass rush and basically some TALENT (as long as Tim Teebow stays the HELL OFF THE FIELD)....and it's very hard to not see they are better....here's you little survivor pick gems for ya!!
Game Quality: * (not only are you football'ed out by then, but it's on against the good parts of Monday Night Raw....well provided the CM Punk segment is late!)
NFL Pre-Season Power Rankings:
1. New England.... best team....on paper....that's dangerous
2. Pittsburgh....all the talent is there.....
3. San Diego....speaking of talent on paper....
4. Baltimore....better take them before my "first round draft hex" kills Ray Rice
5. NY Jets...nothing like having a frakking snack after the pre-season ends!
1. Green Bay.... "to be the man....."
2. New Orleans ....."you gotta beat the man...."
3. Phily....hype matters in pre-season rankings
4. St. Louis...yes, really...better then you think!!
5. Detroit...more hype, more better!!!!