Thursday, September 1, 2016

NFL 2016 preview

I haven't watched a lot of pre-season NFL this summer, and with the season opener a week away as I write, I'm just going to take a wild guess at the divisions.

AFC East:

1. New England: The Patriots have not blown people away this summer, unlike past pre-seasons. Tom Brady will miss the 1st 4 games, serving his suspension a year later than we'd have liked, but there's no guarantee the Pats will make a deep run.

2. Miami.
3. Buffalo.

4. Jets: Owner Woody Johnson is committed to Geno Smith for some reason, even though Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, such that last year's QB prospect, Bryce Petty, was rumored to be cut, leaving rookie Christian Hackenburg (Penn State) carrying the clipboard.

AFC North:

1. Cincinnati: Like New England, the division is the Bengals' to lose. 

2. Baltimore.
3. Pittsburgh.

4. Cleveland: Exit Johnny Manchild, enter RGIII (Washington). Doesn't matter. The Browns will still reside in the basement.

AFC South:

1. Houston: The Texans basically swapped running backs with Miami (Arian Foster exits, Lamar Miller replaces him). It's their division by default.

2. Indianapolis: Hopefully Andrew Luck won't be making any stupid commercials this year.

3. Tennessee: The Titans gave up on 2014 draft pick Zach Mettenberger. Big mistake.

3 (tie): Jacksonville.

AFC West:

1. Kansas City: Andy Reid has one monkey off his back with a certain rival QB having retired, so the division is his to lose.

2. Oakland

3. Denver: Peyton Manning's still shillin' for DirecTV, so the Broncos wasted money on Mark Sanchez, and handed the starting job to rookie Trevor Simien. This will not end well for the defending champs.

4. San Diego.

NFC East:

1. Dallas: Dak Prescott is the real deal. Tony Romo might as well retire to the arts & crafts studio.

2. Washington: Can Kirk "Kissin'" Cousins lead the "Americans" to the promised land? Well, a Wild Card would be a good start.

2 (tie). Philadelphia.

4. Giants. "Gentle" Ben McAdoo took almost half of last year before his offense began to click. From what I've seen in pre-season, it's more of the same.

NFC North:

1. Green Bay. Same old, same old. The fact that linebackers Clay Matthews, Jr. & Julius Peppers were dragged through the mud because of long-since-recanted allegations broadcast on Al Jazeera America at the end of last year will be a motivating point.

2. Minnesota.
3. Detroit.
4. Chicago.

NFC South:

1. Carolina: Cam Newton retired the "dab", but he'll find some other way to infuriate opponents.

2. Tampa Bay: Don't laugh.

2 (tie): New Orleans
4. Atlanta.

NFC West: 

1. Seattle: Can the Seahawks make it three Super Bowls in 4 years? Hmmmm.

2. Arizona.

3. Los Angeles: Football is back in La-la land, and the Rams will contend for at least a Wild Card to save Jeff Fisher's job.

4. San Francisco: The drama over Colin Kaepernick is going to be a worse distraction than you think.

Too early to think about Wild Cards and playoffs. Check back with me in December. Of course, I could be wrong.

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