Welcome back, Snarkers!
Rumors of the death of this blog have been greatly exaggerated, although given my total radio silence for the ENTIRE off season, it would not have been unreasonable to think it was O-V-E-R.
But no! I am back, just in time, with my picks for the 2014 playoffs. So fire up your mocking engines, because my biz has been super-busy, which is good but also means I have literally NO idea what's happened in the off-season. You could tell me that they added a new division per conference, went to a 19 game season, and the Washington team FINALLY changed its name, and I'd be all, "Really? That's interesting!" So these are likely to be even more ridiculous than usual.
Patriots. Playing in a division that is teh suck has its advantages. Although the Jets should be at least a little better this year, and not just because they picked up Mike Vick to help teach Geno Smith how to be a quarterback, since Rex Ryan apparently can't be bothered.
Bengals. The Steelers are over the hill, the Ravens are distracted, and the Browns have done yet another terrible job of drafting a QB (see above, RE: Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden). Default pick, but I think a logical one.
Colts. Again with the weak division. Can the Texans get their mojo back? Two words for you: Ryan Fitzpatrick. Titans also look like they might not be terrible this year. The Jaguars? Are they even still a team?
Chargers. They, like my beloved Iggles, perennially underperform. But I can't see the Broncos repeating last year, particularly since the Seahawks showed the key to defeating them in the Super Bowl (Defense: Have One). I expect good things from the Chiefs, too, but the Chargers look solid on both sides of the ball.
Dare I go all West? Broncos and Chiefs. Yes, the Broncos can be beat, and Peyton can't play forever, but they appear to still be capable of putting up a shit ton of points. A lot of people are down on the Chiefs this year, and they did peter out after a strong start last year, but I still believe in Andy Reid.
Eagles. Speaking of benefiting from a weak division, the Washington team, the Giants, and the Cowboys all have SERIOUS flaws (and a lot of aging players). The Eagles are pretty much the consensus pick - and the consensus pick to go down early in the playoffs. I dearly hope the defence continues their improving trend from late last year, otherwise that one-and-done prediction for the playoffs will be a lock.
Packers. Dull pick, but ARodg and what looks, at least on paper, like an outstanding defense also make it the smart pick
Saints. Who, much like the Broncos, can SCORE POINTS. Although I think the Buccaneers are also likely to be quite good, particularly defensively (did I mention I wanted the Eagles to get Lovie?). As are the Panthers, also on the strength of their defense. The Falcons are likely to be odd man out here, with neither a top defense or a top offense.
49ers. Also repeating as maybe the toughest division in football, with three strong teams and one up-and-comer in the Rams, whose progress has been a little slowed down due to Sam Bradford's ACL. And how things have changed on that front!
Seahawks (unless they win the division) and Panthers. Although as I write this, the NFL Network is reporting that Cam Newton is injured (cracked rib), so that might turn out to be a BAD pick.
Team of Destiny
I think I'm going with the Buccaneers. They are DEFINITELY going to be better than 4-12 this year. I even debated picking them for a wildcard spot. Don't let me down, Lovie!
Think I'm full of shit? Check out what the experts have to say:
CBS Sports - John Breech
CBS Sports - Pat Kirwin
ESPN - NFL Nation
ESPN - Colin Cowherd
More Sports Illustrated