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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ravings of a madman

Certain things in life are important. Family, whānau, friends…FOOTBALL!

And not any prissy fall-over-clutching-your-face-if-some-one-comes-near-you round-ball football (also called soccer). This is smash-mouth American Football! A sport so tough they were forced to wear helmets by the President of the USA because PEOPLE WERE DYING! That’s how hardcore it is.

Well the Hall of Fame inductions are out of the way and we are now into the preseason. This means we’ve got five months of hits, interceptions, touchdowns, blitzes, first downs, 5 step drops, celebrations and hype. (But with roughly 30 secs between each play so you’ve got time to talk and drink beer).

The first football that kiwis get to see on live TV is:

Date: Tue 15 Aug 2006 12:00PM
Duration: 180 Minutes
Channel: ESPN
Genre: Sports
Censorship: G
Synopsis: NFL Pre-Season Football:
Minnesota Vikings v Oakland Raiders, LIVE from Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome,
Minneapolis, MN, USA.
The Raider Nation is already psyched up after a meaningless preseason win over the Eagles in the Hall of Fame game, so this could be another big one. Especially as it sees WR Randy Moss facing his old team.

Those regular readers amongst you know that I support two teams: The Eagles and the NY Jets (mainly the Jets). The Jets will start their pre-season in the stinking heat of Florida where they take on the Buccaneers, but I’ll have to watch highlights of that one on the net as New Zealand only gets (at most) two games a week.

For those of you are keen as beans Microsoft has a bunch of excel templates for your fantasy leagues as well as a pivot table for last year that can be easily altered to be current.

But what kind of preseason blog post would this be without a fistful of crazy predictions, so here we go, by division…

NFC North: Yeah, I’m starting with, perhaps, the crappiest division. Brett Favre said that this year’s Green Bay Packers are the greatest team he has played with. He can say this with certainty because he is high on some crazy-ass smack. The Bears win this division on defence alone while the other fight for the first pick in next year’s draft.

NFC East: From the worst to, possibly, the hardest division. This division fuels itself on hatred. PURE HATRED. The Giants took LaVar Arrington from the Redskins. T.O. went from the Eagles to the team that hates him so much that they injured him two seasons ago. I predict the Giants to win this one with the Eagles taking a wildcard slot. I know, you’re thinking “now, who’s on smack?” T.O. will not be able to stand Drew Bledsoe’s inability to get him the ball and will throw a tanty that will get him kicked off the team by Bill Parcells. And in Washington, they will suffer a QB injury that even the amazing Clinton Portis can’t get them out of.

(You know, I thought if I wrote it down it might sound like the truth. It didn’t. The Eagles are my first “crazy prediction”)

NFC West: Only a coked-up gambling fool wouldn’t bet on the Seahawks ruling this division. So I’m picking the Cardinals. I expect Seattle to go through a “Superbowl slump” on the scale of the Oakland Raiders (13 wins in three years since losing to Tampa in SBXXXVII). The Cards have got a new stadium, one of the best running backs in the game, and a great WR crew. People keep forgetting, the Cards were the only team in the top ten for offence AND defence last season. At best I give the Seahawks the other wildcard (a better prediction is Seahawks=Divisional winner, Cards=wildcard). The 49ers will beat all of the teams in the NFC North in the race for next year’s #1 pick.

NFC South: Usually this is a tightly contested division. That normally coughs up a wild card. Not this season. The Panthers will win. They are a strong team with good depth at most positions (as long as they don’t lose all their RBs again). Their opposition will come from the Buccaneers. But the Buccs aren’t strong enough this season to compete for the top spot. The Falcons are a team in the edge of a precipice. It’s a bad sign when your offence and defence brawl on the field not once but twice at a practice. It’s an even worse one when the players don’t realise that they are all wearing pads and helmets so the punches are useless. The Saints are only playing hard enough to get selected to be moved to LA.

AFC North: I like Chad Johnson of the Bengals. He might be my favourite WR. But the Bengals won’t win this division. I like Willie McGinest of the Browns (especially now he’s not a Patriot). The Browns also have their tight end back in service. But they won’t win (not even close). The Ravens have got a new QB. They’re still full of criminals. They won’t win. The Steelers will win.

AFC East: This hurts to say. The Dolphins will win this division. It will be a tight division but not because the teams will win a lot of games. The Bills suck. The Jets suck but will get better. The Pats are always a threat but the Dolphins should do it.

AFC West: My mate Jase likes the Raiders. His sad devotion to that ancient religion will not let him celebrate this season. I just can’t see the Raiders getting better with ex-Saints QB Aaron Brooks. The Raiders are a mean team though and you need to be in the AFC West. This is the division that rivals the NFC East for hatred. This division will contain a wildcard team. At the moment I believe that the Chargers will be that team, just edging out the Chiefs. The Broncos new, undrafted, unheard-of running back will get 2000yds (so what else is new) and they will win the division (and suck in the play-offs).

AFC South: Colts. Jaguars get the wildcard. Houston’s #1 pick, Mario Williams, gets injured early in the season. The Titans suck but not as bad as people think they will, even after Vince Young does something stupid. By the way, if the Colts do not make the play-offs they may find themselves moving to LA.

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