Time to start the tournament, baby.
This season certainly hasn’t progressed as many would have guessed. Brady’s knee. LT’s shittyness. The Dolphins. The robot-that-is-Peyton-Manning. My bleeding ulcer. John Madden's still walking the Earth.
The coaching merry-go-round has been set in motion by the firing of Marinelli, Mangini and Crennel. It’ll be interesting to see how it affects the teams below, most are likely to be sorted out in the coming weeks.
We’re doing this as a Two-Parter in reverse order starting with the bottom eight because I fucking LOVE seeing in print just how much better we are than everyone.
“With the Third Overall Pick…”
Kansas City (2-14) – It’s almost not worth stating, but these guys were putrid, their defense at the bottom of nearly every category. Their once impressive win over the Broncos now comes into better focus. Arrowhead is supposed to be one of the toughest places to play, so I’m usually wary of picking against the Chiefs at home, but not this year. Why do people think Herm Edwards can coach? I’ve seen it written elsewhere, but I cannot wait until he’s fired so that Coors Light can incorporate his infamous HREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMk5sMHj58I">press conferences
Cleveland (4-12) – Well, well, well. Looks like some peoples’ sleeper pick to take the AFC North didn’t quite pan out. The Browns do have some useable pieces: D’Qwell Jackson lead the league in tackling. Jamal Lewis obviously still has something left in the tank. If Brady Quinn actually pans out, these guys could be more than a door-mat next year. Then again, their leading receiver can’t catch the ball and they have the worst offense in the league...they could be the Browns again.
Cincinnati (4-11-1) – Edging out Cleveland with a tie. I am absolutely floored Marv Lewis still has a job. This squad was as bad as Detroit for the first half, starting 0-8. But, then the Bungles “roared” into the offseason with three straight wins against teams with a total of nine wins. That being said, Cedric Benson will be an issue next year and Palmer may actually be able to throw the ball. Look for the Bengals to approach .500 next season.
“Down and Out”
Jacksonville (5-11) – I was surprised to see the Jags wind up down this far and annoyed that they couldn’t give the Ravens more of a game Sunday. They started the season 3-3 and then the wheels fell off with losses to both the Bengals and Brownies. Shiiiity O-line. Jones-Drew only topped the 100 yard mark twice and what few highlights of Garrard I gleaned showed him scrambling for his life. Are we looking at the new worst team in the AFC South?
Oakland (5-11) – I guess things are looking tentatively up in the bay area as Tom Cable may have done enough to keep his job as head coach. I still am not buying Russell under center (or McFadden, for that matter), but any team that can travel across the country and keep a playoff-bound team out, at home, with nothing to play for other than pride piques my interest. A serviceable defense, get some receivers (and an owner with real blood) and who knows, you might take the West next year.
Buffalo (7-9) – Whoops. An absolute train-wreck after starting 4-0. A 10-3 loss at home to San Fran was the final straw, as injuries changed the make up of this squad significantly. Going 0-6 against your divisional opponents doesn’t help, either. Too bad, as Edwards looks usable and they have some offensive weapons in Lynch and Evans. The D is adequate too, finishing in the top half of every category.
“Onward and Upward”
Houston (8-8) – Steve Slaton crushed the Bears’ playoff hopes and my fantasy squad this season. He’s likely to nab ROY and deservedly so. Andre Johnson was quietly the leading receiver in football this year, impressive considering Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub were the ones chucking it at him. Mario Williams anchors an extremely young yet improving defense with the likes of Xavier Adibi, Dunta Robinson and Demeco Ryans, one that I think should put them in the Wild Card hunt next year, assuming they can handle that QB issue.
Denver (8-8) – Only team on this list that has a case against Buccaneer fans for the title of Most-Likely-to-Commit-Suicide. I’ll admit: I bought in, figured Cutler’s cyborg arm and the endless carrousel of Denver running backs would be enough to clinch a playoff spot. What really chafes my sack is they DEFINITELY were not a threat to make it to the Super Bowl, but San Diego is. Not saying the Chargers are going to be the odds on favorite, but LT is looking better and Rivers has the highest passer rating in the league. More on that tomorrow. Fuck.