TT: Are You Ready For Some Football??

Yep, it is that time of year again; football season is upon us. Not to mention that we are about to enter the stretch drive in MLB and the long summer break is over in F1. It has been a long week, starting with the IG Report release and ending with services for the Lion, Ted Kennedy. So, take yer shoes off, have a cocktail and let’s have some fun.

NFL: Well, here comes another season, and it looks to be a doozy. Seriously, so many teams have got people back, have added key parts, and gained exciting rookies through the draft; there is simply a lot of excitement all across the league. The following are some random highlights as I see them at this early and somewhat unclear vantage point. Let us start off with the team I predict will win the Super Bowl, and that would be the:

New England Patriots: This pains me a little because of the natural inter-blog rivalry. And hey, my local professional football team was actually in the Super Bowl more recently than the Pats. No matter. Listen, the Pats were 11-5 last year with no Tom Brady all season, no Roidney Harrison and a rushing attack led by Sammy Morris. Oh yeah, and they sported a quarterback that had not started a game since high school. Harrison is gone, but they now have the closest thing to Joe Montana as far as cool (and with a better arm) I have ever seen back in the saddle and raring to go, and they have added Fred Taylor, a back that can still run wild if you don’t run him down with overwork. And I still love the Law Firm. The defense looks healthier too. Oh yeah, and that Bill Belichick guy. and someone named Moss, Randy. The Pats are not the sexy darlings of the moment, but they don’t care. They are the best coached team in the league and they have Brady back. Look out.

Some quick hits on the rest of the AFC: I wonder how the Fish will make use of Pat White; I think the kid is a winner. The Bills have TO, but I just don’t see them going anywhere. The Jets are a tough call. They really could be pretty tough if they run (love rookie pick up Shonn Greene, getting him and Sanchez in the same draft may make them the winners) and protect rookie Mark Sanchez, who is an awesome talent and great kid.

The Stillers are gonna be there at the end. You add up Big Ben, Hines Ward and the defense, plus the Pittsburgh savvy, and you know they will be there. Baltimore Ravens with Flacco and Ray Lewis too. The rest of the AFC North ain’t happening; sorry Cleveland and Cincy (who knew Ochocinco could kick?). Indy and the older Manning look to battle the Titans in the AFC South, although Houston is a real sleeper, watch out for them. The AFC West? Forgetaboutit. The Bolts are the only team worth mentioning, and they still have Norval Turner coaching them. The Rayduhs are the best of the rest (believe it or not).

Cardinals, Packers or Vikings: Yeah, yeah I know, I am homering here. The Cheesers have been my team all my life, the Cards happen to have taken over my town and I love Brett Favrey. So shoot me. I honestly think it will come down to one of those teams. Laugh at the Cards; heck I made a cottage industry out of it for the better part of two decades before I met you all. You know the period since then, and they so deserved it. But attitude and winning are contagious and self perpetuating, and the Cardinals have way more of that than people think. If Kurt Warner, Boldin and Fitzgerald stay healthy (Boldin has issues with this; already has a hammy twinge), and Beanie Wells stays healthy and pounds the ball (he is down some weight and looks awesome except for the ankle sprain), the Cards defense looks like the crew it was down the playoff stretch last year of better. They may not win the NFC, but if not, it won’t be because they aren’t capable.

Same thing with the Vikes. Forget about Favre; Minnesota was loaded for bear under the radar already. It’s the defense silly, and they have what looks like a great one all through the positions. And Adrian Peterson. Percy Harvin is Dave Meggett from the old Parcells Giants’ teams, except faster; watch out. The Packers are very under the radar and very good. Aaron Rodgers had a heck of a year last year and has looked way improved this preseason; receivers too. Defense looks much improved; if their running game returns with Ryan Grant – look out. Da Bears are improved greatly by Cutler, but Mike Brown gone, he was such a presence even when hurt – is bad for the defense and Urlacher is another year older and more battered. The Lions I think will be much better, but that only means 3-4 wins or so I am afraid.

Saints and Falcons will battle it out in the NFC South; slight edge to the Saints I think. Carolina slightly better than the Bucs; but neither amounting to much. In the West, it will be a fight between the 49ers and Seattle behind the Cards (unless Kurt Warner gets taken out) and the Rams still hurting.

Lastly, the NFC East. This conference is loaded for bear and volatile. They are all good teams. The Gents got Eli Manning, and now they have Osi Umenyiora back; that is literally huge. Battering ram running backs return. But they are gonna miss Plaxico. Bad. Philly looks great; and they really picked up some help in the backfield for Brian Westbrook, and their receivers are scary. How Vick fits in with team cohesion is going to determine how far they go. The Skins are also scary; if Jason Campbell plays like a solid NFL quarterback, they will be very good. So will the ‘Boys. Tony Romo ought to be focused with no Simpson and no TO. Dallas defense looks solid as does their running game with the return of Felix Jones to mate with Marion Barber. Recievers are an issue though, I am not sold on Roy Williams and he just got hurt a little. The winner of this division will play, and lose to, the team remaining between Arizona, Minnesota and Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.

College Football: I am tired, Marcy is getting anxious to talk Pats, and there are too many teams to run through. Who ya got and why? Extra prize to anybody that beats Jim White to praise the Gators! After hiring Alberto Gonzales, I dunno how much leeway we can give the new Mrs. RanDiego and Texas Tech…..

F1 Circus: This weekend is the Belgian GP at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Rubens Barricholo won the European GP last weekend and the point race is tightening up with Button still up by 18 but fading and Rubens, Vettel and Webber gaining as a group fast. Spa is a great circuit and this should be a fast and good race.

That is it folks. Hoop it up and tear the place down. Get yer mojo and swerve back on; it’s game time!

48 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    I think you’re slighting the Bolts. Badly. And the Falcons. Oh, did I mention tomorrow’s pre-season game should be a good one?

    And the Ravens.

    And I think Da Bears will win the NFC North.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah. I am watching them (Cards) live right now against the Packers. Cheesers are eating them alive, 31-10. Aaron Rodgers looks incredible. Wow.

      Make that 38-10. Rodgers throws another TD at end of first half after GB picks off Warner.

  2. Mauimom says:

    The Skins are also scary; if Jason Campbell plays like a solid NFL quarterback, they will be very good.

    I did not watch the entire Skins game because of the Kennedy memorial, but from what I saw, Campbell and the Skinnies looked like crap.

  3. PJBurke says:


    More hope — much, much more — than prediction… as always.

    But they are a serious contender again this year.

    Got my Terrible Towel all gassed up, greased up, likker’d up and ready to rock-n-roll.

    Go Steelers.

  4. LabDancer says:

    I don’t quite get how it can be that the Norske can improve their team speed to the point where Usain Bolt might be surplus; the Pack are back so strong, it’s only pre-season & they’ve already dispatched the NFC champs to a taxidermist; des Bears are so grizzly someone as prescient a prognosticatress as fearless leader prognosts them both razing the Norsemen’s dragon ship & unpacking all Green Bay nation;

    yet the Lions are somehow reasonably seen as so greatly improved, they can grab 3 or 4 wins?

    Okay okay, last season was SO bad, they could force the league to schedule in 10 home games against the Raiders; but I think the guy at Deadspin previewing league-wide suckitude seems has it about right;

    i.e. the Lions were so bad last season, so out of every single contest, even exponential improvement would not suffice to get them all the way to the heady heights of yet the loneliest number:…..roit-lions

    [He’s also got the sources down on the low sucking sounds from, so far, the Pack, the Niners, the Iggles & da Bears — presumably the balance is all WIP. Yes, some of the language might shock that octogenerian you’ve got locked up in the basement pending the home call from a death panel — but this is the Toobz, people: it’s not like someone went on MSM cable & said “blow job” or anything.]

  5. dakine01 says:

    OK, as an SEC fan (Go ‘Cats!) I have to admit that though I might not care for them, it is quite likely that the Gators will march through the SEC East without much challenge.

    • JimWhite says:

      Dangit, you got bmaz’s prize, but it’s just not fair taking advantage of someone caught in airline delay hell…

      The Gators have a chance for something very special this year…

      • bmaz says:

        They really do have the opportunity for something special. I do think they will miss Percy Harvin, but still they look top to bottom to be every bit as good as last year and maybe better. That is scary. USC, Texas and those Sooners all look really strong too though. Don’t know when the last time three QBs the quality of Bradford McCoy and Tebow were so lined up yo be in competition like this with each other. I think it is shaping up to be a really special year in football, both college and pro.

        • bmaz says:

          It will be interesting to see who gets a bigger beat down, Kentucky or Tennessee. Cause the Gators are coming for the Vols and Lane Kiffin I think.

  6. mafr says:


    the Lions were so bad last season, so out of every single contest, even exponential improvement would not suffice to get them all the way to the heady heights of yet the loneliest number:

    you could be the new long awaited Howard Cosell.

    Percy Harvin, rookie of the year.

  7. Quebecois says:

    Hey bmaz,

    Fisichella drove his Force India to the pole at Spa, to my eyes, a mind blowing achievement for a team that is struggling to remain in f1. Button is way off the pace once again. Vettel and Webber are surprisingly in eigth and nine place. Rubens Barrichello is starting fourth.

    • bmaz says:

      It is mind blowing. The Speed boys keep saying that Fisichella will leave to go finish the season for Ferrari based on this. Luca Badoer is certainly not cutting it, but to go poach an active driver off of another team would be pretty wild.

      • Quebecois says:

        If not now to replace Badoer, I think Ferrari will fire Raikkonen at the end of this season, even if they’ll owe him about thirty millions, and go for Alonso or Fisi.

  8. bmaz says:

    If there are any F1 folks up and about, Giancarlo Fisichella, in a Force India car no less, has just won pole for the Belgian GP. This is simply astounding as Force India has not so much as scored a single constructor point this year. Jarno Trulli is in P2 for Toyota.

  9. CTMET says:

    Is there any hope in Wolverineland….. or will my UB Bulls be the only team in my household with a chance of having a winning record?

  10. scribe says:

    Stillers: Big Ben looks to have his concentration intact, as that suit against him looks to be falling apart. James “Silverback” Harrison, coming off the Defensive Player of the Yaar, running back a TD to win the Supe, and generally terrorizing offenses, went and started a fight during the final series of the final day of training camp, working over a Stiller O Lineman screaming “I want you to be scared”. If that’s how he treats his own, the rest of the league had better watch out. He’s said he looks to improve on last year.

    As to Mr. Brady – I think God (Shiva, whatever name you use) ain’t done with him and Cheatin’ Bill just yet.

    Favre will break down sometime around week 10 or 12. Count on it. And he might wel take the hopes of Vikings fans down to Davy Jones locker to rest there alongside the remains of Fred Smoot’s party boat.

    The ’skins will have to deal with the Jessica Simpson Curse – she’s involved with one of their QBs and he went and gave her one of his game jerseys to wear. You would think that, in a league which took less than a week to publish a “do over” rule amendment to deal with Jerry Jones and his architect putting their video wall in the punter’s way, the League would have published a Rule prohibiting players from giving Simpson any of their clothes. Everyone knows that, for a spell to be effective, the spell-caster needs something personal – like a game jersey.

    Romo and the Owboys will be no better than last year – Jerry Jones, his meddling and Coach Twinkie will take care of that. That, and getting over the Simpson curse takes longer than a summer.

    The Kitties will improve – winning 3 – and Tim Tebow will go to the CFL rather than suffer the fate of Joey Harrington.

    Vick and the Iggles will work out their kinks and go neck and neck with the Jints all the way down the stretch. Those divisional games ought to be real donnybrooks. Likewise those between the Vikes and Pack.

    Who will we see standing at the end? In no particular order, it’ll be between the Stillers, Patsies, and Colts on the AFC side (Don’t count out the Fish, though), and the Iggles, Jints, Cards and either the Cheeseheads or the Vikes on the NFC side.

    • bmaz says:

      You didn’t see the Cards get smoked by the Pack last night. Brutal. It was the Cards of old, that we all know and did not love in the least. Bleeech. Packers looked legit though and they did pick up Dom Capers as Defensive Coordinator and he could make a real difference.

  11. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Have to agree with you regarding the Pats. Best coached team with the best quarterback. That’s tough to beat.

    Hope you’re right about the Texans but I’m skeptical.

    Maybe we need an over/under on how many times the scoreboard in Jerry Jones’s new palace gets hit, forcing a ‘do-over’ each time, before the league forces him to raise it.

    You’ll know about Texas Tech when they come down to Robertson to play the University of Houston (on national TV) who could be this year’s BCS buster (although they’re probably still a year away). UH has a great quarterback, a ton of fast receivers, Tech’s old offensive coordinator and a young, dynamic, black head coach who’s pulling in a lot of quality, local recruits. From what I understand OU’s Stoops made a lot of calls to UH officials to get them to look at Sumlin and now the locals are glad they listened. Watch these guys, they’re going to put a LOT of points on the board.

    Leach was on the cover of Texas Monthly magazine this month doing his pirate routine (patch over one eye). Love him or hate him, he’s been great for that school. I think the Big 12 goes to OU. Stoops is still the best coach in that league even if he’s fallen short in some bowl games.

    • bmaz says:

      Hey there, where you been? Have missed you. Interesting about UH, I will keep my eye open. The battle between Texas and OU ought to be quite the deal in the Big 12

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        Working a lot – and, after last year, getting everyone ready for hurricane season. Just in case. I’ve been readng when I can.

        UH may still be a year away. Sumlin probably needs another recruiting year to beef up the lines but they WILL score. They go to Okie State the game before Tech comes to them. They had Okie St down last year at the half at Stillwater and if not for a horrendous call right before halftime I think they would have went in three TD’s up. They got worn down in the second half and lost but if they hold they’re own again this year (or pull the upset) then come back and get Tech at home after Tech being in Austin the week before they could get off to a nice start. The QB is a good one – check him out.

        I think I’d give the nod to OU at this point in time. They mostly seem to have the Horns number since Stoops has been around. Not sure if either one could beat Florida though if that’s the wasy it turns out.

        I can’t remember, are you a UA guy or ASU guy? My cousin’s son is supposedly headed to ASU next year as a receiver.

  12. bmaz says:

    ASU Sun Devils! Let me know, I will check him out and keep track. The Devils have a young quarterback named Osweller that may redshirt this year, but looks very good. Big tall kid with a cannon for an arm; kind of looks like Roethlisberger. So there is some future promise there; however, they look probably mediocre this year.

  13. randiego says:

    wow, no love here for the Bolts? Color me shocked.

    That’s cool, I’d rather not have them reading about how great they are and how they’ll tap dance to the playoffs.

    PS – It wasn’t just Gonzales with Texas Tech. They had BOTH Rove and Karen Hughes do commencement addresses back in June. WTF!!

    Ptooi!! I spit on you!

    • bmaz says:

      Jeebus AND crikey! Good thing yer wife is so nice, cause that is grounds for disowning otherwise…..

      GCP @28 – Thanks, I will try to keep track. Remind me as you hear stuff though. Come out and see a game; downtown Tempe and Sun Devil Stadium is beautiful and a whole lot of fun.

      • randiego says:

        dude no kidding! She is totally disgusted. They are constantly sending us fundraising letters too…

        It’s not like she doesn’t understand what being from Texas means, but she is very disappointed.

        • PJEvans says:

          They’ve been bought by the Republican Party of Texas?

          Man, I’m glad my father was dead before he went to Tech.

  14. radiofreewill says:

    Go Gators!

    Thanks, bmaz, and EW, for the Trash Talk! We’re going to find out a lot about Jorjuh next Saturday when they play Oklahoma State.

    It’s great to see everyone ‘in the stands’ for what promises to be a great season of college football – in this, the Year of the Chomp and Stomp!

    But, still, I wonder – how is phred going to beat me out of the Hubcap this time?

      • radiofreewill says:

        Thanks, bmaz! It’s great to be back commenting after focusing on some projects! I’ve been able to lurk a bit – you and EW are doing great work, as usual!

    • john in sacramento says:

      Thanks, bmaz, and EW, for the Trash Talk! We’re going to find out a lot about Jorjuh next Saturday when they play Oklahoma State.

      This reminds me: I think Georgia Tech could be another sleeper team. Tech’s Triple Option is gonna drive other teams crazy

      And I would love to say Miami too but their first four or five games are murder

  15. bmaz says:

    Okay, I been intermittently watching Da Rayduhs versus the Saints from Oakland. Safe to say the Silver & Black still suck.

  16. john in sacramento says:

    And about The. National. Football. League.

    Don’t forget about the Giants: Write this down, Hakeem Nicks is going to have a minimum of 75 receptions (unless he gets hurt) He’s going to be Eli’s bestest friend evah. Plus they drafted Ramses Barden out of Cal Poly SLO that nobody’s heard of, but will make everyone forget about Plaxico. The defense is still full of monsters. And Coughlin is the best coach on the Eastern Seaboard not named Belichik

    The Bears: They’re still going to wind up in second place, even with Cutler – who does he have to throw to? Forte is the second best rusher in the div. not named Adrian Peterson (the Vikings one). The Defense is still a power. The ST is above average. But who does he have to throw to? But the Bears probably have the Defensive Rookie of the Year in Jarron Gilbert (sorry B.J. Raji fans). Still, second place for the Bears behind the Minnesota Favruh’s

    P.S. For all the PAC 10 haters

    The SEC leads the Pac-10 60-38-5 (.607). However, over the past 11 years (1998 – 2008), the Pac-10 actually leads the SEC 10-7 (.588).

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I dunno, you seen the Packers? They are looking VERY good so far. Seriously. I don’t think the Bears finish ahead of the Packers; how the Vikes do depends on how Favre does and holds up, if he is even just decent and holds up, I don’t think the Bears can bet the Vikings either.

  17. john in sacramento says:

    The Packers are set on offense. It’s the defense that’s a question mark.

    Aaron Rodgers is the real deal. The biggest mistake the Niners have made in the draft in the last – since Bill Walsh and John McVay were drafting people – was taking Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers. Had he gone to SC or Notre Dame or LSU or Florida State or … he would have easily been #1. But a franchise QB coming out of Cal goes against the old outdated conventional wisdom that any school West of the Rockies not named USC, sucks. Hands down he’s the best QB in the division. Favre is a savvy old fox. Cutler is talented. Stafford is a rookie. But Rodgers has it all put together

    They’re going to score, but I have doubts about the defense going from 4-3 to 3-4 in one season. I know it’s not rocket science but …

    • bmaz says:

      Agree about the Pack defense; but Dom Capers is a good defensive coach and once they get the kid from BC settled in and up to speed, they should be okay. They are gonna have to rely on the offense to outscore opponents the first half or so of the season though.

  18. 4jkb4ia says:

    No. In fact I am waiting impatiently for them to announce when Devin Britton will be on so I can watch him. He has the right to lose to Federer.

  19. 4jkb4ia says:

    I have cultivated no expectations for the Lambs whatever. If they win 6 games I would have to feel they are going places.

  20. Quebecois says:

    Spa turned out to be a dumbfounding Grand-Prix, to see the India Force able to follow Raikkonen left me looking for my brains under the table. Button had an accident during the first lap, the championship is now reopened. Rumors are going around that Fisi will be loaned to Ferrari. Another is that Rosberg might be driving for Williams next year. I’m going to the market, I’ll drive carefully…

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