Sunday, September 11, 2005

Are you ready for some football?

This may be the latest preseason predictions column anywhere.

Of course, since the season started Thursday, that won't be hard.

But I've always viewed the Thursday night game as something like Major League Baseball's overseas openers - yeah, it's the first game that actually counts in the standings, but it's not Opening Day. That doesn't come until the first full slate of games is played. That first September Sunday when grown men in plastic armor start beating on each other while cheerleaders bounce and tailgaters toast every first down...that's Opening Day.

And it can't be football season without Andy Griffith. Because What It Was, Was Football.

And now, the Inner Columnist predicts:

AFC East
New England 12-4
N.Y. Jets 10-6
Buffalo 8-8
Miami 4-12

Are we allowed to hate the Patriots yet? It's bad enough when a team like the Yankees buys title after title, but there's something downright creepy about an organization that can build a salary-cap dynasty.

AFC North
Pittsburgh 10-6
Baltimore 10-6
Cincinnati 8-8
Cleveland 6-10

This division will score fewer touchdowns and more safeties than any other in the league.

AFC South
Indianapolis 13-3
Jacksonville 9-7
Houston 7-9
Tennessee 6-10

Vroom! Vroom! The Indy 500? Close, very close.

AFC West
San Diego 12-4
Denver 9-7
Kansas City 7-9
Oakland 5-11

It should be a Brees for San Diego to take the division again.

AFC Playoffs
Round One
Byes: Indianapolis, San Diego
New England over Baltimore
Pittsburgh over N.Y. Jets
Round Two
New England over San Diego
Indianapolis over Pittsburgh
AFC Championship
New England over Indianapolis

NFC East
Philadelphia 11-5
Washington 9-7
N.Y. Giants 8-8
Dallas 5-11

Somebody explain to me again why Dallas is in the East? This makes less sense than when the Atlanta Braves were in the NL West.

NFC North
Minnesota 9-7
Green Bay 8-8
Detroit 7-9
Chicago 6-10

Every team in this division could finish 8-8 and shock absolutely no one.

NFC South
Carolina 10-6
Atlanta 9-7
Tampa Bay 6-10
New Orleans 4-12

I can't help but think that if not for all the hype, Michael Vick would have followed many college quarterbacks into the ranks of professional wide receivers. And been a good one.

NFC West
St. Louis 11-5
Arizona 8-8
Seattle 8-8
San Francisco 3-13

The 49ers have the potential to be very, very bad.

NFC Playoffs
Round One
Byes: Philadelphia, St. Louis
Carolina over Washington
Atlanta over Minnesota
Round Two
Carolina over Philadelphia
St. Louis over Atlanta
NFC Championship
Carolina over St. Louis

Super Bowl XL
New England 31, Carolina 17

***

Inspired by the abysmal record of the New York Times (among others) at predicting final scores - as detailed at length by my favorite football columnist, Gregg Easterbrook - Inner Columnist will this year attempt to predict the final score of every NFL game. Check back every week for the latest on this exercise in futility.

Week 1
New England 23, Oakland 14
Washington 17, Chicago 10
Cincinnati 20, Cleveland 14
Denver 30, Miami 10
Houston 24, Buffalo 13
Carolina 20, New Orleans 14
N.Y. Jets 27, Kansas City 21
Jacksonville 24, Seattle 14
Minnesota 27, Tampa Bay 10
Pittsburgh 17, Tennessee 10
N.Y. Giants 24, Arizona 17
San Diego 31, Dallas 14
Green Bay 21, Detroit 10
St. Louis 38, San Francisco 7
Indianapolis 14, Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 24

***

The Inner Columnist is also playing ESPN's Eliminator Challenge, wherein you pick one team to win every week. Simple enough, no? Ah, but you have to pick a different team each week. Meaning that to run the table, seventeen teams have to come through for you over the course of the season. I don't think it's going to be as simple as it looks. Predicted record for the Inner Columnist: 11-5.

This week, the Inner Columnist selects Denver. The Inner Columnist had originally selected the New York Giants, but then realized that picking one likely 8-8 team over another likely 8-8 team is probably not a winning strategy. The Inner Columnist has no great faith in Denver over the long haul, but believes that picking whoever plays Miami is probably a safe bet.

***

Now...are you ready for some football?

3 Comments:

Blogger Anon_e_mouse said...

Denver, huh?

10:54 AM  
Anonymous SunniBrook said...

Well, I'm annoyed that you didn't pick my Broncos to be winners (even though they lost) of the AFC West, although pleasantly pleased that you put them over my husband's dippy Chiefs.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Theodore said...

I am not happy with your Broncos. Used them as my Week 1 pick and they lost!Ë

9:58 PM  

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