Published January 13, 2015
We're only a little over a month away from the start of the NFL season, so you know what that means?
It's time for another preseason prognostication column in which a so-called expert (in this case, me, I guess) ranks all of the teams and tells you what's going to happen before it happens. Or something like that.
Well, with that disclaimer out of the way, here's what we foresee today with projected overall records (subject to change, of course).
The best team in football will be ...
Nah, let's go in the opposite direction, worst to first, that's more fun.
32. Bringing up the rear, and getting the opportunity to draft first next April, oops, May, will be, the Oakland Raiders (1-15). "The greatness of the Raiders" stuff is just a distant memory. They have to beat somebody to get the one win, I'm just not sure whom that will be.
31. The Arizona Cardinals (2-14). Why do you always get the feeling the players playing for the Cards never want to be there?
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): I had them last originally, so this is a couple of steps up. When are they moving to L.A.?
29. Buffalo Bills (3-13): I like the Bills. I root for the Bills. But they're just not very good.
28. Cleveland Browns (3-13): Maybe if they can get LeBron to come back, you know, and play football, too.
27. Dallas Cowboys (3-13): It's good for football when the Cowboys are good. But they're not.
26. Carolina Panthers 4-12): Cam Newton's all sizzle and not much steak. The Panthers know that now, but are stuck.
25. Tennessee Titans (4-12): Boy, oh, boy, the bottom fourth of the league really stinks. You can put these eight teams into a hat and just pick an order.
24. New York Jets (5-11): Like the Bills, I quietly pull for the Jets. But a QB controversy is never a good thing and they have one.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (6-10): Give Andy Reid a couple of years and he'll turn things around.
22. Miami Dolphins (6-10): The Dolphins are a chic pick to do well (basically because their division stinks), but they'll need to show me first.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (6-10): Will Chip Kelly's high-octane offense be revolutionary or just hocus pocus? I'm leaning toward the latter.
20. Detroit Lions (6-10): Love the offense, but you win with defense - something the Lions are still working on.
19. St. Louis Rams (7-9): Another chic pick, like the Dolphins. The Rams will need to "show me" first.
18. Chicago Bears (7-9): Their division is lackluster (like most of the NFL, it seems), and with a little luck, they could go 9-7 and make the playoffs.
17. New Orleans Saints (8-8): Sean Payton is back to coach, but there are just too many holes.
16. Washington Redskins (8-8): The 'Skins take a sideways step this season and miss the playoffs.
15. Baltimore Ravens (8-8): From Super Bowl champs to missing the playoffs the following season. The Ravens won't be the first team to do that.
14. San Diego Chargers (9-7): Hmm, I foresee a quick start and a dismal finish. Sound familiar?
13. Minnesota Vikings (9-7): Adrian Peterson breaks the single-season rushing record and the Vikes stay home and watch the playoffs. Weird.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6): The Bucs get back in the playoffs after a long drought.
11. Indianapolis Colts (10-6): Andrew Luck keeps the magic going in Indy.
10. PIttsburgh Steelers (10-6): All is well in the world when the Steelers make the playoffs. I'm not sure what world that is, but it will make a lot of folks happy.
9. San Francisco 49ers (10-6): Unlike the Ravens, this Super Bowl participant finds a way back to the playoffs.
8. New England Patriots (10-6): Their division is just awful and the Pats know how to take advantage of it.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5): Have the Bengals finally figured this thing out? It says here they have.
6. New York Giants (11-5): They own New York again as the Jets struggle.
5. Green Bay Packers (12-4): When you have the best QB in football (Aaron Rodgers), you also have one of the best teams.
4. Atlanta Falcons (12-4): Are the Falcons deserving of this spot? They sure are. But they miss the Super Bowl by one step.
3. Seattle Seahawks (13-3): The 'Hawks go to the Super Bowl behind the amazing Russell Wilson and a superb defense. They don't win the Super Bowl, but getting to it is still impressive.
2. Denver Broncos (13-3): Peyton Manning comes up a step short of the big game despite a valiant effort.
1. Houston Texans (14-2): There will be a parade in Houston in February as the Texans hammer the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, 41-13.
Don't fear if I picked your team to struggle because it's only August. Your team won't officially stink for another two months.