Looking at my Gucci, it’s about that time!
What time you ask? Time for the NFL season to start! “Thank you Jesussssss!!!!” – Kurt Warner
If you thought last season was exciting, wait until this year kicks off. Too hype.
No need to waste time. Let’s get right into the Straight From The Source NFL Preview.
Here is a glance at the AFC.
NY Jets – Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning…well actually I did mean bad. Porn ‘stache-rocking Mark Sanchez is embedded in a battle for the qb spot with rookie Geno Smith. Doesn’t matter who plays because the offensive weapons are minimal at best. The defense lost the best corner in the league (pre-injury anyway), Darrelle Revis. Best thing going for this squad will be the Rex Ryan post-game interviews. Source says…they battle for the AFC East basement spot. 5-11
Buffalo – Rookie qb EJ Manuel has shown up and shown out so far. Unfortunately, an injury has the kid sidelined early. The other option at qb, Kevin Kolb, suffered another concussion this preseason. Hopefully running back, CJ Spiller, can stay healthy because he is going to get WORK. With a 1st year coach in Doug Marrone, Buffalo gets a break when it comes to expectations. While I don’t expect playoff contention this season from the Bills, look for them to be competitive once Manuel gets back in the lineup…as long as the defense does its part. 6-10
Miami – Adding speedster Mike Wallace to the WR core should help 2nd year qb Ryan Tannehill develop after a decent rookie campaign. After a 7-9 season last year, the Dolphins are probably the biggest threat to knock the perennial division champs off their pedestal. Ummm…yeah. That aint happening. Look for Miami to be right in the same around .500 spot they were last season. 8-8
New England – Let’s see. Gronk is still hurt. Hernandez is locked up. Welker is no longer there. And I can’t name 3 other skill position players on the roster. Well…other than the only one that matters. Thomas Lamar Nguyen Constantine Brady. As long as dude is breathing, the Patriots will be near the top of the AFC. And truth be told, we have seen him do it with less talent multiple times so. I ride with Tommy B. Pats coast through the weak division. 11-5
# ImStillNumberOneOneOneOneOneOn eOneOne
Baltimore – The Super Bowl champs are back to defend their title. But they will have to do it without some key pieces (Ray Lew-retired, Anquan Boldin-traded, Ed Reed-new team, Dennis Pitta-injured). But never fear, the defense actually may be even better this year. If big money Joe Flacco can continue playing how he did late last season, look for the Ravens to still be a key factor in the playoff race. 10-6
Pittsburgh – Well Steelers faithful. The masses have been calling for your demise for the last 3-4 years. But I rode with you because it simply wasn’t true. That being said, this time around I do expect a significant decline in the quality of play shown by the Black and Gold. Big Ben will still be running for his life. The running game is average at best. And well…the defense just aint what it used to be. I am not saying that your boys will be at the bottom looking up. But it is most definitely more likely than being at the top looking down. But you’ll be back. Eventually. 6-10
Cincinnati – I don’t know if they believe it or not but…the Bengals are the team to beat in the North. With one of the best defenses in the league AND one of the best qb/wr tandems in the form of Andy Dalton and AJ Green, the AFC title is not an unreachable goal. 2 solid running backs should be able to carry the load and keep teams honest enough that Dalton should be successful yet again. I know, I know. It’s the Bengals. But these Bengals have been in the playoffs the last 2 seasons. And from my view, they look like the AFC North champs. 11-5
Cleveland – Man listen. I believe the Cleveland defense is good. I believe that quarterback Brandon Weeden will grow. I believe Trent Richardson will tote the rock for a good 1200 yards or so. And I believe the Browns will give teams a run for their money on a weekly basis. But I DON’T believe the Browns win 7 games this season. Dude. It’s Cleveland. But that battle not to be last between you guys and the Steelers will be epic. Sorry Drew Carey but… 5-11
Indianapolis – After a Cinderella regular season and an unexpected appearance in the playoffs last year, Andrew Luck and coach Chuck Pagano return for an encore. While the loss of Dwight Freeney could loom large this season, the growth and leadership of Luck should be enough to keep the Colts near the top of the division. Look for Reggie Wayne to put up numbers as he and Peyton Jr’s chemistry reaches a new level. 10-6
Jacksonville – I mean really. Things can’t get much worse than 2-14. And for Jag fans, that is a positive. Add to that, a new coach (Gus Bradley), a new up-tempo style offense and…well…yeah. That’s about it. 4-12
# StartedFromTheBottomNowWeAreSt illAtTheBottom
Tennessee – It is a make or break season for qb Jake Locker. With a decent core of big targets at WR and Chris Johnson with a full preseason under his belt, this will be Jake’s best chance to breakout. And it might be his last as well if things don’t go well. With Bountygate fall guy, Gregg Williams, in as senior assistant coach for the defense, look for physical play from the Titans. If Locker can be consistently decent, the Titans could be right outside of the playoff race by season’s end. But I look for the offense to be underwhelming with Locker at the helm and the squad to fall short of .500. 7-9
Houston – The addition of veteran Ed Reed to a solid, veteran defense may be the icing on the cake for the Texans. After being one game away from the AFC title game in both of the last 2 seasons, something had to change. Ed Reed, coming off a SB title, may be the ticket. Along with fantasy stud, Arian Foster and a motivated Andre Johnson, the Texans are poised to make that next step closer to the big game. 11-5
Kansas City – Last season the Chiefs won 2 games yet had 6 pro bowlers. This plus the suicide death of one of their players at the team’s facility made for needed change. Enter veteran coach Andy Reid and veteran qb Alex Smith. With an already established running back in Jamaal Charles and a roster made to contend immediately in the flaky AFC West, KC is primed to make a run at a playoff spot. 9-7
Oakland – The Black Hole. It not only describes a part of the Raiders home stadium, it describes the franchise right about now. For some reason, I always want the Raiders to be relevant. But again they won’t be. Whether it’s Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn, the frustration will remain the same. Why can’t we complete a pass? Paging Kenny Stabler. Paging Kenny Stabler. 3-13
San Diego – Mike McCoy takes over the coaching duties of the ever-underachieving San Diego Chargers. The addition of Dwight Freeney could add to the pass rush, but let’s face it. This team will ride and die with the performance of qb Phillip Rivers. And with a nameless crew of receivers, it looks like a rough ride for SD. 6-10
Denver – After a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Ravens in the playoffs, the Broncos have returned with a chip on their proverbial shoulder. Peyton Manning now has Wes Welker to run routes alongside Thomas and Decker. And the defense, even after losing Dumervil (and now Von Miller to suspension), will still be good enough to hold down the fort. Another season, another division title for these guys. But that won’t be enough to erase the memory of last year’s blown opportunity. 12-4
My playoff prediction: I am going with the Denver Broncos over the Houston Texans in the AFC title game. Peyton Manning heads back to the Super Bowl…and faces the NFC representative. Who will that be? Check out my NFC preview and find out.