OK, game on. The 4th of July has passed. Baseball’s all-star break is almost over. I now own fantasy football magazines. It is time to start season previews. I debated whether to start with the NFC East because this is a Skins blog or save it for last. I decided to save it for last. I start instead in the AFC East because our first opponent is the Dolphins. in order of expected finish:
New York– It wouldn’t be impossible that the Jets go into their week 15 matchup with the Patriots undefeated. This was a very good team last year even though they couldn’t run the ball worth a darn. Add Tomas Jones, more experience for the young line, a healthy off season for Pennington and the fact that unlike the Pats, they don’t have to play San Diego or Indy and this looks like a team destined for a division title. The schedule is easy: 2 games against Buffalo, 2 against Miami, dates with the Cleveland, KC, and a weaker NFC east. I figure they will lose one of their 2 with New England, and probably another random game. Look for them to go 14-2.
New England– I don’t actually buy the offseason spending spree. We’ve seen it backfire too much in DC to think you can just plug in an entire receiving corps, a couple of defensive guys, and the entire cast of Riverdance and expect the team to gel right away. The O-line has always been a spit and bailing wire operation and the short passes that have protected it over the years (the Patriots threw more balls under 10 yards in the air than any team in the NFL last year) won’t sit well with Randy Moss. The defense is a funny combo of old and young, and Asante Samuel’s holdout is for real. I don’t think they are any better than they were last year, but the schedule is easy. They play not quite ready for primetime Buffalo twice, hapless Miami twice, Cleveland, Dallas (what a surprise that I think they won’t be any good), and Philly (again, no shock I think they suck). As much as I’d like to think we’ll be good, they’re probably better and they play us, too. I think 12-4 is nearly a lock with losses to Indy, San Diego, the Jets (once), and probably a loss to either Pittsburgh or Cincy rounding out the season.
Buffalo– I’m a big fan of the buffalo offense. I think JP Losman is coming along. Lee Evans is a stud stuck on a team that no one sees on TV. Marshawn Lynch is only a slight downgrade at RB. The problem is on defense. The loss of London Fletcher and Nate Clements will probably offset the offensive gains. Plus the schedule is tough with 4 games against the Pats and Jets, Baltimore, and Jax. Even if they beat Cleveland and the pathetic Dolphins twice, I don’t see them claiming more than three wins from their games in the NFC East and AFC central. Look for 6-10.
Miami– With all do respect from our friends over at PhinPhanatic this team has no chance of any real success. Trent Green is done, done, done. Chris Chambers drops balls like Britney Spears drops her underwear for the paparazzi. The defense is all old enough to remember when Don Shula wa snot only coaching the Dolphins but was actually kinda good at it. The Ronnie Brown show will be good enough to win games against Oakland, Houston, and maybe Cleveland. And Trent will find the magic for a surprise game or two. Look for 5-11. Oh, and there is no freakin’ way they’re beating us opening week.
Tomorrow, we cover the AFC South. Tune in and watch me make fun of more teams you don’t like.