Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yo, Meathead!

Ahhh…some time in Hawaii was just what I needed. I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of regular-season baseball, the playoffs, and the heart of the NFL season. (I saw that hockey training camps open this week—please! Does anyone even get Versus, the network that shows national NHL games?)

There are already some trends in the NFL after two weekends of play, and someone bolder than me might start making Super Bowl predictions. But I’ll tell you what I think…for what it’s worth!

The best teams in the league, in no particular order, are Indianapolis, New England, and San Diego. Even though the Chargers were blown away by the Pats Sunday night, they will recover and finish strong. There is too much talent there to crumble, even with Norv “Spine Like a Wet Noodle” Turner as coach. And even though the Patriots will have to deal with the fallout from the Bill Belichick videotaping scandal, they will shake off any distractions and likely go deep into the postseason.

Other teams that have a chance to contend with these three include Pittsburgh and Denver. I know the Texans are undefeated, but I need more evidence before I say the franchise will be able to shake the “expansion” label and make its first true playoff run. Cleveland made a statement by scoring 51 points against the Bengals this past weekend, but since the defense gave up 45 points, it was nothing to be proud of!

Now, let’s get this out on the table (as if you didn’t know already)—there is no team in the NFC that can compete with the class of the AFC. Though it galls me mightily to admit it, the best team in the NFC might just be the Cowboys. But even if Dallas somehow succeeds under cream-puff coach Wade Phillips and makes it to the Big Dance, the team will be crushed by whomever represents the AFC.

It’s hard to say who will play into January from the NFC. Just because Detroit, Washington, and San Francisco are 2–0 doesn’t mean these teams have finally turned around their miserable fortunes of late. The 2–0 Packers might have a good season, but is the team really going to have great success in the playoffs? The Saints’ 0–2 start is most surprising, but of all the 0–2 teams, I’d say New Orleans has the best chance of righting its ship.

Really bad teams this year will probably include the Dolphins, Raiders, Chiefs, Giants, and Falcons. In the AFC East, I know the Jets and Bills are 0–2, along with Miami, but I think New York and Buffalo have a better chance of winning some games in a lousy division and at least playing .500 ball. I am a little shocked at how badly Herm Edwards’s Chiefs have been outplayed so far and don’t think they will recover. The Raiders—well, what can I say? The Falcons are dealing with the Michael Vick fallout and will just have a down year. As for the Giants, I will bet that this season will be a long, slow death march for Tom Coughlin as head coach. Coughlin has proven that he is out of touch with today’s game, and the Giants, who plainly won’t play their top game for him, definitely need a new approach.

In baseball, we’re down to the last two weeks before the playoffs! The only divisions that seem to be wrapped up are the AL Central and West. In the Central, Cleveland has quickly stretched its division lead to 7.5 games over Detroit, while out west, the Mariners took a nosedive while I was away to basically squander what had been a very promising campaign and give the division to Anaheim without a fight. Boston’s division lead is down to only 2.5 games! In the National League, all three division races are tight, with the Mets barely clinging to a 1.5-game lead over the Phillies, the Brewers and Cubbies tied at the top of the Central, and Arizona just a game over San Diego. Both wild cards are too close to call! Hold on to your hats, baseball fans…!

1 comment:

Outsider said...

I'm reeling from that Mets loss tonight. After they went ahead on the Anderson triple, I had it set in my head that the lead would hold steady at 2 1/2 and another day was gone from the calendar. Then I find out that Wagner isn't available and Feliciano/Sosa/Wright blow it. I'll give Wright a break. But, ugh, what a depressing loss.