In the midway of this our televised life,
I found me on a gloomy couch, astray
Gone from the path direct: and e'en to tell
It were no easy pizza roll, how savage wild
That September, how robust and rough its games,
Which to remember only, my dismay
Renews, in bowls of chips not far from my picks.
They're right here. Sheesh.
AFC East: New England. Why? The All-American All-Pro of Professional Allness is back from horizontally bopping supermodels -- knee injury, right -- the Dolphins are a nothing but a mirage from a genie's bad acid trip, the Jets, even with Snarlin' Bart and the 385th attempt at Broadway Joe II (oh, Kenny O, how close you were), are a work in progress and Let's Go Buffalo are a submediocre collection of has-beens, never-will-bes, role players and The Narcissist.
AFC North: All Pittsburgh has to do is keep Roethlisberger upright -- but please stop calling him Big Ben, a misguided token of esteem, unless you want to ignore his perennially, um, bad, bad decision percentage. Look, Jim Plunkett won two rings as well, just sayin' -- and they'll cruise on the back of their monster defense. Baltimore is Pittsburgh, Jr. (where else but here can you get such stellar insights?), the Bengals are processed chicken with the part of the Colonel played by My Arm's In A Slingin' Carson Palmer. There's a sick rumor making the rounds that Cleveland has an NFL team, but I've seen no proof.
AFC South: Indianapolis, because they have the best quarterback in the division, by far. Watch former THE Ohio State University receiver Anthony Gonzalez blow up. Sure, losing Stampy will hurt, but talk about regressing to the mean; no way the Titans go 13-3 again, too much has to go Jesusy. Jacksonville got blistered by injuries last year (by December, their o-line was gum, rubber bands and MacGyver's mullet) and that won't happen again (noticing a theme? Just playing the odds) and poor, poor Houston, destined to win 7-9 games when they could win 10 or 11 if they played in the shithole known as the NFC West.
AFC West: San Diego in a laughter-filled laugher. The other three teams should be glad the NFL doesn't have relegation.
NFC East: The Giants because they still have the most talented group of 53 in the NFC. The Dog Whisperer will mostly be a non-factor, but even with Jim Johnson's retirement to the cold, cold earth, they'll still blitz like motherfuckers. Sure, Plastic Surgery's Team is playmaking at running back, but they always choke in December on both sides of the ball. Always (at least since 1997, which was an entire century ago). Washington, good job with Five Year Plan no. 3.
NFC North: Green Bay because Aaron Rodgers will throw fewer picks than Favre. If only the Norsemen had the current Packer QB, then I'd be saying enjoy South Beach in February. The Bears? Sure, they have a shot if the receivers can 1)hang on the to ball and 2)put up with Cutler's whining. The Lions are the Lions, but rest easy, Detroit, at least they're not the Browns.
NFC South: Every year one of these fuckers goes from worst to first, but I say this year, dammit, New Orleans shoots that trend [brain note: "they did finish last, you moron."] [ed. note: oops] in the skull with a twelve gauge and finally plays stomach-churning defense (it's been the vomit-up-blood variety, so this is an upgrade) to help out their serial killing offense. Who doesn't want to see Drew Brees flinging it 40 times a game? Atlanta isn't a fluke, but look for Michael Turner to suffer The Curse of 370. Did you see the Panthers' defense down the stretch last year? That's their big problem, not the annual Delhomme meltdown. As for Tampa, when does Freeman start, week seven, eight?
NFC West: Seattle, because some sacrificial lamb has to take the division. Transmuting into such a gooey pile of torn ligaments and cracked bones won't happen again, but neither will the Cardinals' otherworldly run. Talk about an extraterrestrial flukeworm. They gave up four hundred twenty-six points and I'm not seeing LT time traveling to town. En plus, Kurt 3.0 is due for his semiannual deprogramming. The Niners and Rams suck until contrary evidence comes to light.
AFC playoff seeds: San Diego, New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Baltimore and, someone crazy, why not Jacksonville, though don't sleep on the Texans.
NFC playoff seeds: N.Y. Giants, Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Minnesota.
Super Bowl: fuck if I know. New England over, oh, the Giants. Belichick's revenge. He might even shake hands this time unless blinded by basking in his own hoodie hubris.
*especially you, Utah, since it's a sports post. Just remember, suffering builds character. So start building. Don't forget your hardhat, I don't want to get sued.