Football Friday: Episode I

Brian SmithCorrespondent IJune 13, 2008

This is my first foray into the world of the NFL, and it shall be called, "Football Friday". Ok, let me go turn the booming voice off...

I'm not going to lie. I like the Chargers. No, I love the Chargers. I always have, and I always will. They could go 0-16 (almost did not too long ago) and I'll still love 'em.

And yes, I h-a-t-e the Raiders. I've yet to have a coherent conversation regarding Raiders/Chargers with a Raiders fan (except my step-dad) that hasn't devolved into being asked how many Super Bowls have the Chargers won.

That's a great question, had it actually been relevant to the discussion. It's kind of like how conspiracy nuts always seem to go back to the Nazi argument, regardless of what the conversation was about. Ugh!

Enough of that. The one thing I will do is give my honest opinion on the Raiders, the Chargers, and every other team in the NFL.

I'll probably be harsher on the Chargers than any other team. Why? Because that's my team, I want them to be the best, plus it's easy when you can see everything from a TV screen.

Ok, first off, can we stop talking about this Spygate thing? Yawn...I think the only good thing that came out of this whole mess was an extremely funny episode of South Park. Hey Arlen Specter, isn't there some messed up gas prices and a war to worry about?

What a Super Bowl! By not having a horse in that race, and not liking the Patriots to begin with, I thought this was one of the best Super Bowls I've ever seen. It was a highly entertaining game, and if you never saw a Super Bowl before, I can't see how you wouldn't want more.

I didn't care who won the thing; it was a good game, plain and simple. Does anyone else think the hype of the commercials and the commercials themselves have jumped the shark?

So, who has started the Doomsday Clock for when Pacman Jones has another brush with the law at some strip club in Dallas? Or is anyone giving odds on when the next NFL player is arrested for a DUI?

Hey, NFL players, hire a driver. Trust me, you can afford it! Heck, it's probably cheaper than posting your bail.

So, Michael 'the Burner' Turner went to the Falcons and the Bears recently released Cedric Benson. I think the Bears messed up by not trading for Turner last season before the trade deadline.

I'm glad Turner is going to get paid. He is an awesome running back, and if the Atlanta O-line can create some room for him, he should have a great year.

Come on city of San Diego; let's do something about getting the Chargers a new stadium. In today's real-estate market, and Mr. Spanos being a real estate kind of guy, I'm sure there is a compromise out there somewhere if everybody would put their egos back in their cages.

Now that my rants and ravings are over, lets get to the fun stuff. Here's my Episode I analysis (because you probably haven't read any already) of the AFC. I'll do the NFC next week.

AFC East

Patriots—I think they should change the name of that division and just call it The Patriot Division. Seriously, who is going to challenge them this year? They picked up a great linebacker (Mayo) in the draft, re-signed Randy Moss, and are probably a little miffed about that Super Bowl I mentioned earlier. If they don't suffer any major injuries, it's their division to lose.

Jets—At least they play in the same stadium as the Super Bowl champs. So, they got that going for them. How's the arm Chad?

Bills—They showed some heart towards the end of the season last year, but, they still don't have what it takes to push aside the Patriots. Plus, it helps to play the Dolphins twice every year. If they improve this year, it will probably be only by one win.

Dolphins—I just don't think the dancing combination of Taylor and the Tuna will really help this season. I'd be surprised if they win four games. On the Dolphins web site, it says something about breaking the code. How about just winning some games instead?

AFC North

Steelers—They really aren't that bad of a team if some of their players would leave the predictions to Nostradamus. If they stay healthy and can keep from imploding, they should win the division.

Browns—This team is just weird to me. If they can keep Kellen Winslow off of motorcycles and away from microphone, they may have a good year. Then again, they might not have a good year. I just can't figure this team out.

Bengals—This is going to be Chad Johnson's career year...the year his career is no longer with the Bengals. Chad, just shut up and play. The Bengals have a lot of guys named Johnson and Jones, which is funny. I don't think they are going to the playoffs this year unless the Steelers find ways to lose enough games.

Ravens—Bye-bye Billick doesn't mean hello wins. At best, I see this team going 8-8. They picked up Flacco in the draft, but it might be a couple of years for him to develop, so don't expect much this year from Baltimore.

AFC South

Colts—I think they might actually have a shot at NOT winning the division this year, and they may have to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. Having said that, I do think they will win the division again, but they are starting to look extremely mortal. Injuries really hurt (no pun intended) last year and it showed. Now they have their premier wideout allegedly shooting at people. What in the world?

Jaguars—Can Garrard step up his game from last year? I think he will have to in order to get the Jags back in the playoffs this season. I really like their defense, and hopefully their first three draft picks can shore up that shallow defense.

Texans—You had a 5-11 team play like an 8-8 team last year, and hey, they went 8-8. I don't think that's happening this year. Their defense isn't the worst in the league, but they aren't anything to write home about either. If they want to improve on last year's performance, they are going to have to put up some serious points. Good luck.

Titans—Talk about falling backwards into the playoffs. I don't think they are making it back this year, unless Young can get over his interception problem. The offense really isn't much to be scared of, and the other teams know that. Defense? It's a good defense, but when you have to be on the field time after time because your quarterback throws a bunch of interceptions, it will wear you down and make for a long, long season.

AFC West

Broncos—Nope, sorry, they are not going to the playoffs this year either. In the AFC West, you need a solid defense. Something the Broncos don't have. Cutler will have to put some serious points on the board to keep the Broncos in contention this year, but if he is constantly being pressured, that's not going to happen.

Chiefs—No playoffs for the Chiefs either. Their defense doesn't scare anyone and their quarterback is about as old as some of the shirts in my closet. Yes, they play at Arrowhead. The problem is, they only play eight games there. I do think they will win one or two more games than last year.

Raiders—Oh boy. It's kind of funny seeing the senility of Al Davis every offseason, especially the players that he signs. All I can say is, thank you Al Davis. Great pick in McFadden, maybe. Is this Russel's break out year? Nope.

See, you need this thing called an offensive line to protect your quarterback and open up holes for your running backs. Oh, and I don't think Fargas is going to have the year like he had last year. Even after saying all of that, they just might win a game or two more than they did last year.

Chargers—They should win the division this year. Hopefully they won't have the same start like they had last year. They play Carolina, Denver, NYJ, Raiders, Miami, Patriots, Bills, and the Saints for the first eight games of the season. They could easily be 7-1 or 8-0 at the midpoint of the season.

Provided that Rivers has recovered from his knee being ripped to shreds and Gates's toe being fully recovered, and oh, almost forgot, the Chargers get another offensive weapon back that they sorely missed last year by the name of Eric Parker. They should go deep in the playoffs again this year.

So that's it for my Episode I review of the AFC. Things can definitely change in an instant, even before the season starts. There are injuries during training camp and preseason games. Regardless, it should be a fun season, and hopefully there won't be any arrests, rogue camera operators, or tragic deaths that seem to have been running rampant the past few seasons.


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