By Mac Moore
One weekend down and 20 more to go (21 if we count the Pro Bowl). All the preseason predictions have either been blown up or initially validated by one week’s worth of games.
Apparently Peyton Manning will throw for 121 TDs this season on his way to a Elway 2.0 senior citizen Super Bowl run and Colin Kaepernick will put up the greatest season ever by a… drop-back QB. Once we get the football fever coursing through our veins, we get bold with our predictions. Yes, if we use our skull sponges, we know that the NFL landscape will be vastly different a few games in and will be an unrecognizable league by week 17. That will not stop us (me) from putting in our (my) two cents on how we (I) think the season will go down.
First prediction: The Chiefs will make the playoffs. Haha, but no really. Read any preseason prediction and you will see that the Chiefs are the “sleeper” pick to make the playoffs. Of course if everybody picks them, they’re kind of a favorite. Most people see the potential; they were an oddly talented 2-14 team that didn’t have a capable quarterback or head coach. In Alex Smith and Andy Reid, they should have both. The key to a unanimous sleeper though, is that if the team finishes with a 5-11 record, everybody will still tell you that they knew the Chiefs would suck. Brilliant.
Second prediction: Defenses fair much better against the read-option this season than last. That’s not saying that scrambling quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson won’t have a solid seasons, but if you give NFL defenses the full offseason to watch tape and create a defensive set to challenge it, they can slow down this daunting scheme.
Third prediction: My fantasy football team will bring me to tears, in victory and in defeat. My league, the Pigs of Pigskin, is made up of one friend who talks mad trash just because he hates the sound of silence, one friend who dedicated his life to fantasy football, one friend who I’ve never talked to outside of football season, one friend who I think is picking his lineup ironically, one guy that I met while doing something at some point in time for some reason or another and my brother. I better win this thing.
Fourth prediction: There will be Papa John’s commercials where Peyton Manning refers to the titular owner as “Papa” and they will continue to creep me out.
Fifth prediction: One game will get my friends and I overly pumped. I will attempt to play one game of pick-up football. I will play like I’m still playing high school football even though my body can’t keep up. My final stat line will be one passing touchdown, two receiving touchdowns once my receivers make me so angry that I switch positions, and throwing up two McChickens before we call it a day.
Sixth prediction: You will wonder why you should care at all about the last three predictions.
Seventh prediction: Tom Brady will raise up the value of two to three unknown receivers that will get large contracts on different teams next year, where they will do nothing without Brady.
Super Bowl prediction: Super Bowl XLVIII Atlanta Falcons vs. the Denver Broncos. To open the season, Peyton throws seven TDs, tying the record for most in one game, against the defending Super Bowl champs. So yeah, maybe he won’t keep up that pace, but this is the best team Peyton has ever had, the Patriots are hurting and the AFC is weak. If Peyton doesn’t make it to the big game this year, it’s all but curtains closed for the greatest regular season quarterback.
As for the Falcons, this is purely off the fact that I have picked the Falcons the last two seasons and they had it both years… then they blew it. Last season, they had the Niners down 17-0 in the NFC championship game and subsequently forgot how to play football. Part of it was the fact that they couldn’t run the ball after creating that lead, but now they have Steven Jackson. He might help the run game, might not.
The other is the defense, which hasn’t been overhauled but with key additions like Osi Umenyiora and Asante Samuel, they are better than last year if they remain healthy. Normally you give up on a team when they let you down over and over again. That impulse is wrong, because then they will win and make you look like an idiot. I would rather jinx them every season then let them make me feel like the way the Eagles did by getting to Super Bowl XXXIX.
Contact Mac Moore, sports editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.