Those not blessed with Short Term Memory Loss will recall from last week’s posts that this site is on a Magic Carpet Tour of the divisions in the NFL outside the 49ers NFC West domain. And we have so far piddled off a week of the awesome remaining time until the opening of Training Camp on August 2nd.
Today the north winds blow us eastward into the AFC East division, the home of the Patriots, Jets, Bills, and Dolphins. Perceptive readers will have noticed that I usually start these brainless evaluations by picking on the worst team in the division. Guess who gets that nod today? Even an illegal Basque immigrant could leap right up and blurt forth, “Buffalo Proiektuak!”
Zuzena dela, sir. That is the winner. The Proiektuak franchise will finish last in the division again this year. They seem to have perfected the art of never being any good, but never being as bad as they seem. As a matter of fact, if they played in the NFC West, they might even be contenders each year. From 2000 through 2009 they have compiled victory totals of 8, 3, 8, 6, 9, 5, 7, 7, 7, and 6. The very essence of mediocrity. These guys are so good at this that they can’t even finish last in the NFL once in a while and snare a #1 draft pick. Mark down another 6 or 7 win season. These guys are practically a sure thing.
The Dolphins are a good team. But not good enough. Good enough to beat you on any given Sunday, and bad enough to lose on any given Sunday, too. In fact, they honked their final three games last year to disappear from the playoff picture.
The big news of their off season was the trade with Denver for WR Brandon Marshall, a superior talent with a Jay Cutler personality. The first thing this fellow did was proclaim himself wonderful and opine that Darrelle Revis was not the best CB in the game. Chad Ochocinco tried this gambit last year, and Revis promptly stuffed his butt to the tune of ZERO receptions. Chad had promised to change his name back to Chad Johnson should he not get the better of Revis Island, but reneged on the deal and got hoo-hawed in the Twitter Universe. Mark down two zero impact performances this coming year from Marshall when Miami plays the Jets.
Chad Henne seems to be the starting QB in Miami, though Tyler Thigpen could give him a run for his money. Hahaha. Just seeing if you were awake. Pat White is also lurking around, but probably as a Wildcat specialist, which would irritate Ronnie Brown and frankly, who gives a crap? This team will not win the division. Plus, did I mention Bill Parcells yet? Just for the heck of it, Boooooo!
The Jets were revitalized last year by the swagger and bombast of their new coach, Rex Ryan, who bullied his way into the New York media scene normally dominated by the Giants. Some will say he was a breath of fresh air in the normal bland-speak landscape of NFL head coaches, and others might say he was a breath of foul air from a southern portion of the human anatomy. Whence ever the air’s source or composition, there’s no denying the team enjoyed playing for him.
The result, however, was much the same as the previous Mangini regime, with the Jets fading down the stretch and all but out of the playoffs. Then, out of the blue, they received a gift horse when two playoff bound teams basked in the sauna rather than play out the final two games of the schedule. And wisely skipping a teeth and gums examination, the Jets instead rode that fickle nag all the way to the AFC title game. In fact, their wisdom was immediately rewarded by the approving football gods who infected Nate Kaeding’s foot so badly it shanked three FGs to help the Jets stun the heavily favored Chargers.
Ah, but the gods giveth, and the gods taketh away. Beware the following season when luck was your lady the previous year. Just ask the 2007 10-6 Cleveland Browns, who ran out of lucky bounces the following year and fell back to the 4-12 earth. The Jets have a solid, hard-nosed team, though, and will be in contention again this year. And once again duking it out with the Dolphins for … 2nd place.
Until the champion is knocked out, he’s still the champion. But that’s our tepid endorsement of the Patriots once again finishing first in a division they have dominated for a decade. This team was thrashed by the Ravens in the playoffs last year. An ugly, wimpy effort. Their stars are aging, their drafts have been poor, and they’ve gone soft in a division with two teams who play tough football.
Wes Welker will be coming back from a torn up knee in 2009. Will he be his same darting self? Randy Moss is coming to the end of the line of jogging through seasons barely giving a shit. Tom Brady has lost his mojo. Logan Mankins is pissed about his contract. The whole blindly loyal team deal fizzed out last year when Richard Seymour was rudely dumped off in Oakland. There’s no OC or DC or GM. It’s the Bill Belichick Show pure and simple. And even he don’t really seem to care that much any more. I mean, now that the quest for absolute and total domination of the world has been relinquished, old sour puss seems to be kind of enjoying himself. Riding the train till it runs out of steam.
The only thing for sure is that nobody will be feeling sorry for these bums when the fat lady rumbles on stage for a mournful rendition of It’s Over.