Saturday, August 30, 2014

32 Teams, 32 Haiku: My 2014 NFL Preview


I'm still in summer mode, but for a lot of people football season can't come soon enough. With four days until opening kickoff, I present my annual NFL predictions 17 morae at a time.

(NOTE: the asterisks are for wild card picks)

AFC North
1. Bengals. (10-6) Good, but good enough/in humdrum group, ginger snaps/will be sufficient.
2. Ravens*. (9-7) Without Rice cooking/the rush attack starves; Flacco/better earn his pay.
3. Steelers. (6-10) Aluminum in/the Steel Curtain; Big Ben will/get his clocks cleaned, still.
4. Browns. (4-12) Wow, what a train wreck/Johnny Football = Johnny Bench/until he grows up.

AFC East
1. Patriots. (10-6) Northeast no-brainer/aging Brady has enough/for one last great year.
2. Bills. (8-8) QB confusion/if E.J. falters, Orton/is their only hope.
3. Jets. (6-10) Uh, CJ2K?/Fading star is Band-aid on/weak, battered offense.
4. Dolphins. (6-10) Their O-line woes are/no longer Incognito/I doubt improvement.

AFC South
1. Colts. (11-5) With Nicks in the mix/there's no short supply of Luck/for Hoosier faithful.
2. Titans. (8-8) Big game Hunter is/budding star, but tonight's show/is the hurt Locker.
3. Texans. (7-9) Murphy's law, defined/after '13 debacle/with Fitz, hope for best.
4. Jaguars. (5-11) Coach Gus rubs the lamp/expects genies in Bortles/but he'll keep wishing.

AFC West
1. Broncos. (12-4) Denver doubled down/but after playoff woes, can/they get over hump?
2. Chiefs*. (10-6) Cinderella tale/no more; after career years/expect modest goals.
3. Chargers. (9-7) If health and D can/sing the body electic/they might shock again.
4. Raiders. (5-11) Prowlers of the sea/moving rumors will distract/from nondescript play.

NFC North
1. Packers. (10-6) Losing Raji hurts/Aaron will keep carrying/this good, flawed squad.
2. Bears. (9-7) Offense renaissance/fails to hide a flimsy D/games won't be boring.
3. Lions. (7-9) Where's the chemistry?/So much talent, underwhelms/because they don't gel.
4. Vikings. (5-11) New QB Teddy/Bridge (over troubled) water/don't expect wins yet.

NFC East
1. Eagles. (10-6) "Are you friends or Foles?"/spry Iggles ruffle feathers/but who's their safety?
2. Redskins. (8-8) Memo to Chucky:/even with RGIII, wins/are not child's play.
3. Giants. (6-10) Big Blue is fading/aging team, shaky Eli/hey, how 'bout them Jets?
4. Cowboys. (4-12) "Romophobia"/an irrational fear, since/he's not the problem.

NFC South
1. Saints. (11-5) Something unholy/in Crescent City; "Who Dat"/flies into the Brees.
2. Falcons*. (9-7) Unpredictable/dominant one year, crap next/they're still erratic.
3. Panthers. (7-9) Newton needs targets/after '13 title, can/Cam just run the ball?
4. Buccaneers. (5-11) Mr. Smith, new head coach/will ex-Bear presence get Bucs/all Lovie-dovey?

NFC West
1. Seahawks. (13-3) Still unbeatable/Sherman is a motormouth/Wilson lobs and serves.
2. 49ers*. (12-4) A great connection/Kaepernick to Crabtree makes/for dangerous threat.
3. Cardinals. (8-8) Honey Badger runs/everyone loves a dark horse/not unlike this team.
4. Rams. (4-12) Why oh why, last place?/this deep division, no mas/without a QB.

NFL MVP: Drew Brees, Saints
Offensive ROY: Sammy Watkins, Bills
Defensive ROY: Aaron Donald, Rams
First Head Coach Fired: Jason Garrett, Cowboys
Super Bowl XLIX: Seahawks 25, Broncos 20

Omaha! Omaha! I mean, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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