01 September 2008

2008 Divisional Picks

I missed watching our practice squad lose to the Jets' practice squad on Thursday because, thanks to Cool Web Dude and Hottie Web Chick, I was at FedEx field watching the Redskins lose to the Jags and reflecting on the differences between Skins fans and Eagles fans. The Skins win two preseason games and their fans are all, "We're going to win the Super Bowl this year!" Eagles fans, ever alert for signs of bad luck, get nervous when we win two preseason games. AR has never cared about the preseason. Winning games can only be a harbinger of impending doom.

After their awful outing against the Panthers, New Skins head coach Jim Zorn made the first team offense play the first quarter of their final preseason game in punishment. Not that it mattered. I don't think we have much to worry about from the Skins this year. (Zorn agrees with me. He made his own season predictions in the September issue of Washingtonian and picked the Skins to lose both their games with us. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Coach!)

Anyway, it's time for my annual Post That Will Cause a Walk of Shame in January, aka my divisional picks.

AFC East: Patriots
I'm finally picking the Pats to win the East, after trying pretty much every other possible team in the past several years. Yes, I know the Pats just lost the Super Bowl and should suffer The Curse, and Rocks Brady has been on the injury list and didn't play at all in the preseason. But seriously, who else is going to win this division? The Jets, with Methuselah at QB and little else to recommend them? The Dolphins? That would be the biggest turn around in history. The Bills? Don't make me laugh. Even if the Pats do suffer the Super Bowl Losers' Curse, it shouldn't matter, because they play in the worst division in football. They could probably take the division at 8-8.

AFC North: Browns
Have I mentioned that I have a LOT of friends that are Steelers fans? And so picking against them comes at not-inconsequential personal risk? But the Browns are one of only 3 non-expansion teams that's never been to the Super Bowl, the rest of the once fearsome AFC North is, um, not so much any more (no offense, Ocho Cinco), and I just have a hunch that it's the Browns turn.

AFC South: Jaguars
Another wild pick, I know, but Peyton's also been injured for the first time in his career and with a ring in his dresser, he just doesn't seem as hungry anymore. The Jags have been solid for the last several years (2007: 11-5 2006: 8-8 2005: 12-4), and again, I think that, under Jack DelRio's leadership, this just might be their year. Although I am a little worried that, at least at the moment, they only have Cleo Lemon backing up David Garrard. That could be a mistake. Maybe they're hoping to pick up someone else now that the final roster cuts have been made? There are some decent number twos available now.

AFC West: Chargers
As long as Phillip Rivers can keep it together and LT has another hot season, this could be the year that the Chargers get over the hump and win it all. Also? Another weak division.

NFC East: Eagles
The only team I don't think we have to worry about at all is the Skins (see above), but I still think we can take the Giants, because it's really hard to repeat and I think last year's playoff run took a lot out of the team, and the Cowboys, because Tonyboy is arrogant and mentally weak, and the rest of the team takes its cues from him.

NFC North: Vikings
This pick is more about why the other teams WON'T win. The Packers have a new QB for the first time in 16 years. Aaron Rodgers could be the second coming of Dan Marino, but this is still his rookie year for all intents and purposes. And the hapless Bears still have no QB to speak of. Devin Hester can't win enough games single-handedly to get them the division. And the Lions? Don't make me laugh. The Lions are the Dolphins of the NFC North.

NFC South: Saints
Last year was an aberration. I believe. I also don't believe any of the other teams are any good. Well, OK, the Panthers aren't bad. And the Bucs did win the division last year. Of course, I can't remember the last time an NFC South team repeated as divisional winner, so they're out. And the Falcons are barely a team at this point. SI thinks they're going to win two games. I think that's really optimistic.

NFC West: Seahawks
Mostly because this is the worst division in football. The Seahawks wouldn't even be competitive in NFC East or most of the AFC. And yet they, like the Pats, win their division year after year on the strength of craptacular opponents. Unlike the Pats, though, that's pretty much the end of it for them. As it will be this year.

Tired of my dumb ideas yet? Check out what the experts have to say:
  • SI official picks: Shit, man, all I have to say is that if we face the damn Pats in the Super Bowl again, we better win this time.
  • Additional SI picks. Hey! We agree on 3 of the AFC and 3 of the NFC picks. Sorry you're going to end up being so very, very wrong SI.
  • ESPN picks. Nice chart that lines 'em all up. ESPN thinks the Super Bowl is going to come down to Chargers/Cowboys.
  • My Secret Sportswriter Boyfried King Kaufman is on vacation and won't be posting his picks until later this week.
So sports fans, what do you think? Who will we see in January this year?

Edited Tuesday, September 2 to add: Chef Spouse reminded me that I should've included my wildcard picks. AFC: Colts and Steelers (and/or Colts and Steelers win their respective divisions and the Jags and Browns are the AFC Wildcards). NFC: Cowboys and Panthers (and/or the Panthers win their division and the Saints are the other NFC Wildcard. Because there's no way the 'Boys get past us this year. No way.)





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