Wednesday, September 06, 2006

 

Week 1 AFC East Preview (Complete with Nostalgia and Non-Analysis!)

There once was a year in NFL lore when the AFC East was the second-best division in football. Maybe their records didn’t reflect it, but that was largely a product of them beating themselves up.

Team Record vs. Div
Jets 9-7 4-2
Patriots 9-7 4-2
Dolphins 9-7 2-4
Bills 8-8 2-4

And they would have been the best if not for the AFC West, headed up by Oakland and their 11-5 mark. It was quite the year nonetheless, with the Jets discovering Chad Pennington and making the most of him before his unfortunate bout with leprosy. And the division came down to the season’s final week, when the Patriots knocked off the Dolphins, which paved the way for the Jets victory over Green Bay en route to the AFC East title. Had the Dolphins hung on to win that game, they would have won the East before the Jets game had even begun.

But I digress. We’re not here to talk about 2002; we’re here to talk about 2006, or as I like to call it, the year the AFC East totally sucked. And trust me, it could suck a ton worse if Daunte Culpepper plays like v2005 instead of v2004. The spoils fall to the Patriots, who should – sans a monumental failure on their part – have four automatic wins to start the season, courtesy of the Jets and Bills. And you can tack on two more if Joey Harrington ends up taking snaps in Miami.

So what we have is a clusterfuck of ineptitude, which will make my job as the AFC East previewer that much easier. Onward! To the picks!

Dolphins (+4) over Steelers

I’m surely the 100,000th football fan to pick the Dolphins and make the obligatory “Charlie Batch” comment. But just because 100,001 people have said it doesn’t make it any less true.

Titans (-3) over Jets

If the Titans manage to kick a field goal, they’ll win. It’s that simple. I totally expect the Jets offense to score under 100 points this year, and over half of those could come when they play the Texans later in the season.

Patriots (-8.5) over Bills

You could probably put the line as high as 13 and I’d still pick the Patriots. In fact, I’d pick the Pats over every team in the East every single time they play. That is, unless the Dolphins prove to be a juggernaut. And at that point, I’d merely take a closer look at the game before choosing in favor of the Pats.

And, for my non-East non-analysis:

Texans (don’t even bother with the points) over Eagles

Because I HATE THE FUCKIN’ EAGLES – and I’m not even making a Big Lebowski reference.

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