Quickest AFC Preview in Town

“It’s football time, it’s football time” sang the children from the rooftops. Ok, fine, there were no children. There was only me. But I have good reason. Each year, I’m finding myself more and more disdainful of the NFL offseason. I just can’t watch ESPN after basketball season ends. I’d rather be a Syrian refugee than watch Stephen A. and Skip Bayless debate total nonsense on First Take. The incessant speculation is too much to handle for a seven-month offseason, and I’m so glad it’s over. With that, I’d like to offer up some incessant and unwarranted speculation of my own! Muahahaha! Wait, don’t click that X just yet. I’ll keep each team to 5 sentences or less in this ADD-ridden era. Short and sweet, baby girl. As a huge homer, I’ll start with my beloved Chargers and allow you to share in my misery.

San Diego Chargers — Coming off a 4–12 season, in a year where they badly need voter support for a new stadium deal, the Chargers STILL can’t find a way to sign number 3 overall pick Joey Bosa. Cleveland has officially passed us the torch for “most pathetic sports city.”In related news, I put $100 to win $10,000 on the Chargers to win it all this year. This bandwagon is starting to look real empty right now. Sad face emoji.

Jacksonville Jaguars — Ding ding ding — this is my surprise playoff team of the year. Blake Bortles to the Allens (Robinson/Hurns) was one of the deadliest combos of 2015 (over 2,400 yards and 24 TDs between them). The defense should improve with the pickup of Jalen Ramsey, arguably the best player in the draft. Fuck, it’s been a long time since Mark Brunell and this team were any good.

NY Jetty Jets — You know things are bad when fans are celebrating the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Poor Geno Smith lost so much with that one ill-timed sucker punch to the face. They royally screwed things up last year, and I still can’t believe they won 10 games. I’m predicting a regression to 8 wins and a strange, retro Brandon Marshall story.

Denver Broncos — If the man masquerading as Peyton Manning last season could win a Super Bowl with this team, anything goes. You know the running game will be strong, the defense is perhaps the best in the league, and Papa John and his life partner Peyton will be the team’s number one sponsor. Can a team with such a God-awful passing attack really continue to win in this day and age?

Oakland Raiders — They’re finally starting to look respectable again, after years of torturing this fan base, and now they want to move to Vegas. Will the practice facility be behind the Spearmint Rhino or on the roof of Caesars? Meanwhile, Derek Carr is slowly redeeming the Carr name after his brother David so wretchedly besmirched it in Houston. Oh, and you already know Amari Cooper is a bonafide superstar in the making.

Kansas City Chiefs — It’s a strange phenomenon when your head coach is beefier than your offensive linemen. Seriously, considering all the moving he does daily, Andy Reid must eat more than Michael Phelps to keep that Super-Size-Me Bod. The Chiefs had a monster defense last year, a fact that went largely under the radar. I for one still can’t believe they won’t start Chase Daniels over Alex Smith at QB — he’s put a whooping on my Chargers in his only two starts.

Cleveland Browns — I know the Cavs won the championship this year, but still. Syrians don’t even want to move to Cleveland (Ok, ok no more Syrian jokes). I’ll be rooting for RG3 to come to life under Hue Jackson, and can’t wait for the Josh Gordon half-baked comeback tour this year. Only the NFL could ruin the prime of an all-pro star over smoking some pot while willfully turning a blind eye to rampant HGH use across the league.

Indianapolis Colts — The Colts have more questions than answers headed into this season. Is Andrew Luck finally going to make the leap into superstardom and make a playoff run? Can the immortal Frank Gore survive another year? Has their owner kicked his debilitating addiction to painkillers? Time will tell.

Tennessee Titans — Marcus Marriota is the only thing keeping me from boycotting this team entirely this year. God help Titans fans.

Houston Texans — Can Jadeveon Clowney please FINALLY stay healthy and bless us with the dominant force he and J.J. Watt would create? Don’t count me as a believer in Brock Osweiler as the solution to their quarterback woes. He was second banana to Peyton’s noodle arm last year, for God’s sake. Still, the Texans defense could propel them to a Wild Card spot this year. It’s J.J. Watt’s world and we’re all just hoping to never ever make eye contact with him.

New England Patriots — It’s the Jimmy Goroppolo show now! Well, for four games at least. Bill Beeeeelichiiiiiiik just does not allow this team to have a bad season. Tom Brady will likely come back from his questionable suspension with a fire in his eye, and the Gronk-Bennett tight end duo is going to be murderous. I can’t stand the Pats, but have a spurs-like respect for the longevity of their cheating greatness.

Cincinnati Bengals — Soulless fire crotch Andy Dalton returns for yet another season of the hit gameshow “disappoint your fans.” Luckily, A.J. Green and their dynamic running back duo provide this team with some of the best weaponry around. Unluckily, this team gets another year of Marvin Lewis A.K.A the worst playoff coach in NFL history. Could anyone really see this team winning the Super Bowl this year?

Buffalo Bills — The Ryan coaching combination should provide endless entertainment. Tyrod Taylor showed some flashes last year, and LeSean McCoy is still smoother than a fresh stick of butter. They’ve lost several pieces on defense to injury, PED suspensions, and free agency, and I don’t see them making the playoffs. Sorry Bills fans, I don’t think this is the year you’ll end your Super Bowl drought.

Miami Dolphins — Ryan Tannehill’s wife still holds the crown of “hottest NFL wife” in my book, with strong consideration to Christian Ponder. The offense will be a snore, but the Suh-Williams-Wake combo on the defensive line is going to be unreal. If only “Ballers” was real and they could get Dwayne The Rock Johnson to strap up his pads…

Baltimore Ravens — “Woo, Joe Flacco’s back,” said no one. This will likely be my least favorite team to watch this year. Just no interest, whatsoever.

Pittsburgh Steelers — I love Antonio Brown. If there’s one skill player in the league I could move to my Chargers, it would be him. Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell will do their thing, and Mike Tomlin may be the second best coach after Belichick. Year after year, it just feels like the Steelers are a good, solid team. In a related story, James Harrison is being investigated for PED allegations in what may be the most obvious case in NFL history.

Predictions:

AFC West — Kansas City Chiefs

AFC South — Indianapolis Colts

AFC North — Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC East — New England Patriots

Wildcards — Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers (Fine, I’m a huge homer. I have a lot of money riding on this and I don’t appreciate your judgement.)

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Originally published at sportysportstuff.com on August 26, 2016.