It doesn't seem like the NFL season is right around the corner. Its been a tumultuous summer, and perhaps some of us aren't ready yet for the first kickoff. Nevertheless, the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (and Tom Brady, probably in his final season) start the year against Kansas City on September 7th. Controversies still swirl around Colin Kaepernick and Zeke Elliott, and I can think of six or seven teams that are going to be horrendous this year (including my Beloveds). Let me break it down for you, 17 soma at a time:
1. Steelers. (13-3) Young D impresses/O firepower maintained/Pats’ only real foe.
2. Ravens. (8-8) Good but complacent/ground attack needs improvement/for real playoff talk.
3. Bengals. (6-10) Lewis on the hot/seat; another step backwards/could mean the heave-ho.
4. Browns. (3-13) Last year? Rock bottom/nowhere to go but up, if/you don’t mind kneeling.
1. Patriots. (13-3) Of course them again/even without Edelman/the machine rolls on.
2. Dolphins*. (9-7) Cutler, short term fix/receivers alone make this/a playoff sleeper.
3. Bills. (5-11) Still meandering/Tyrod is overrated/rebuilding looms near.
4. Jets. (2-14) Gang Green, no blood flow/abysmal offense puts the/”hack” in “Hackenberg.”
1. Titans. (10-6) Young and ready now/Mariota will dazzle/if he stays healthy.
2. Texans. (8-8) So many “De-” names/but QB play will hinder/and exhaust real D.
3. Colts. (7-9) No O-line? Good Luck/(or good grief); lack of support/after overhaul.
4. Jaguars. (3-13) Free agency whiz/fails to generate results/or score any points.
1. Raiders. (11-5) Vegas move lingers/Carr and Beast Quake fireworks/distract from ill will.
2. Broncos*. (10-6) Without a QB/Geep Chryst’s name, taken in vain/D, though? Dominant.
3. Chiefs. (9-7) Red and yellow blues/same suspect O carried by/sturdy D. Ho-hum.
4. Chargers. (7-9) Welcome to LA/new scenery but same Bolts/I’m not seeing stars.
1. Packers. (11-5) Oh god, them again/near elite but annoying/Rodgers’ neighborhood.
2. Lions. (9-7) Good team with bad coach/a healthy Ameer helps, but/please no Hail Marys.
3. Vikings. (6-10) Skill positions on/O don’t impress; no flukes like/last year, just boring.
4. Bears. (5-11) This is rebuilding/quarterback situation/might prove distracting.
1. Cowboys. (10-6) Dak needs new attack/until Zeke returns; still quite/steady all around.
2. Giants*. (9-7) Expensive defense/overshadows old Eli/and Beckham drama.
3. Redskins. (7-9) Beltway bedlam; a/dysfunctional family/with pissed-off Cousins.
4. Eagles. (6-10) Wentz’ growing pains/numbed by Alshon’s comeback, but/they’re still rebuilding.
1. Falcons. (11-5) Fear of hangover/after Super Bowl collapse/quashed with hot start.
2. Panthers*. (10-6) Jekyll and Hyde squad/secondary woes will be/playoff X-factor.
3. Buccaneers. (8-8) Dangerous youngsters/if Winston keeps smoking, these/pirates will plunder.
4. Saints. (7-9) Surplus of targets/await Brees, but the young D/remains unsettled.
1. Seahawks. (10-6) Their soap opera/is a distraction; O-line/is of great concern.
2. Cardinals. (9-7) A sleeper team if/healthy; don’t doubt Arians/miracle worker.
3. Rams. (6-10) Worse than they look, Goff/must prove he’s not a flop or/the horns will fall off.
4. Niners. (3-13) Very modest goals/new coaches search for gold and/turn up some pyrite.
NFL MVP: Jameis Winston, Bucs
Offensive ROY: Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
Defensive ROY: Myles Garrett, Browns
First Head Coach Fired: Doug Marrone, Jaguars
Super Bowl LI: Patriots 29, Cowboys 10