This is the most glorious time of year for NFL fans. All the promise of free agency & the draft have been brewed and tightly bottled. For most of the contributors to IDYFT, the best time to savor the delightful barley pop is before we open it. Because when the season starts, the Summit Extra Pale Ale (for example) we thought we had shall quickly sour to warm Hamm's in a can.
All of our teams were shitty last year and there is little hope for most of us. If one of our teams has a record above .500 next year, all the rest of us are going to have to get drunk on the fumes. It's called Joxygen.
Something delightful about this year's schedule is that almost all of these teams will compete head-to-head. No big whoop for those in the dreadful NFC North, but Oakland and Washington will play everyone but each other. If you want to make a hilariously misguided prediction for your team's chances in the 2007 NFL season, now is the time. The IDYFT contributor(s) whose team finishes with the best record is eligible for a prize: the IDYFT Cup.
Green Bay Packers: the Pack is Whack!
This team is obviously crap, yet some sportjacks are actually talking playoffs for the Whack Pack. Last year, the Packers limped to 8-8 and second place in the dreadful NFC North. Take away their four wins against fudgefests DET and MN and you have a better sense of how competitive the Packers actually were. And they've done absolutely nothing to get better, they've lost key players and Favre is a year older, playing in his seventeenth season. The Packers 2006 campaign, with its "furious finish" to claw up to 8-8 was facilitated by home games against fudgefests SF, DET, MN and CHI in the last game of the season, with the Bears not even pretending to care. Consider: the week before their incredible comeback, they were dominated (at home) by the Jets, 38-10. You're not going to see many people on the bandwagon after their bye week (Week 7): I guarantee it!
OFF: This is the year Favre gets broken and ends his Hall of Fame career being driven out on a cart. Favre did throw for nearly 4,000 yards, but at the expense of an 18-18 TD-INT rating. Much of his yardage was compiled while losing to bad teams. The Pack ranked 23rd in rushing last year, and fixed the problem by letting Ahman Green go to the Houston Tar Pit. Green, breaking down, ran for 1,000 yards behind a creaky line. Green will be replaced by an unknown RB -- none of the others had 100 rushes in 2006. After Driver, the WR corps is wicked lame. The OL is young, and must strive to escape mediocrity. Favre's fading star and Driver's spunk are the only talent, and that won't be enough.
DEF: The Packers D isn't bad, but it isn't good enough to win any games for the Packers. They generated sacks and turnovers, yet ranked 25th in most points allowed. They are fairly strong at DT, and DE Aaron Kampman ranked second in the NFL's sack attack. The LB corps has some promise. The starting DBs are good but the rest of the secondary is very thin and suspicion must abound. Get the Packers in a Nickel and you'll have some mismatches.
ST: The Packers are ranked dead last in overrall special teams for the second year in a row. Every aspect is whack.
Badcock says: Whack it, man!
Detroit Lions: Silver Boners!
The Lions have surpassed the Bucs and Redskins (at last) in front office incompetence. They don't seem to understand that a football team is only as good as its lines. Drafting a WR in the 1st round 76 consecutive times hasn't produced many wins, but maybe #77 will work out. Guess what, boners: WRs are directly involved in plays the least of any position. Detroit will suck, and deservedly so. It is no accident the Lions have been the worst team in the NFL over the last five years (22-68). The Lions start the season with Fudgefests OAK and MN, and will lose both games: I guarantee it!
OFF: Kitna barfed up 22 INTs and 11 fumbles last year, which is a more telling stat than all the yards he threw for when his team was losing by forty points. Kitna is not an NFL starter, but there is no one else. It hardly matters: the OL is a sweatbox of friendly retards. They gave up sixty-three sacks while ranking dead last in rushing. Boof. The WR corps isn't bad on paper, but they won't ever be in a position to win. Street & Smith's voices an opinion which is as widespread as it is absolutely bloody wrong: "This time, everybody agrees they got it right because [G.T. WR] Calvin Johnson was the consensus best player in the draft regardless of position." I do not agree, and they did NOT get it right. Adding Jonson is like buying bullets for a squirt gun.
DEF: This unit was almost as bad as the offense. They ranked 30th in points allowed. They were equally vulnerable to the run and the pass. The D's best player, Pro-Bowl DT Rogers, is coming off knee surgery that ended his 2006 season. Their secondary is going to give up a lot of big plays and the Lion will likely have the worst time of possession in the NFC, again.
ST: The coverage and return teams were decent, but K Hanson's leg strength is failing, even in the dome. The longtime ST coach has retired, which won't do much to help this unit win games for the Lions.
Badcock says: Silver Boners, Away!
Minnesota Vikings: the Flaming Bi-Queens!
Just about everyone is ranking the Vikes below the Lions, which is pretty damn brutal. Childress & his Bi-queens figured out how to have a dominant run D and rank #5 in time of possession while dropping ten games against one of the NFL's easiest schedules. The Vikings are definitely still rebuilding, and won't be good for years. Losing their D coordinator won't help them win any games. The Vikes have an easy schedule but will be embarrassing themselves in public: I guarantee it!
OFF: The Vikes low-wattage offense ranked in the cellar in scoring, efficiency, 1st downs and passing. Bringing in raw prospect QB Jackson or Boobs Bollinger won't do much to improve the unit. The OL isn't terrible, but struggled in pass protection. They should be solid at RB, especially with the addition of Adrian Peterson, but they'll be facing 8-man fronts all the time. The WRs are underachieving douchebags. The Bi-queens are not going to be able to put the ball in the air at all.
DEF: As good as the run D was, the pass D was atrocious. Worst in the league, despite talent on the DL. After CB Winfield, the secondary is an enormous liability. LB is a joke. This unit is going to give up a lot of pass yards and big play TDs, especially with the new D coordinator a CB coach from the Colts -- not a particularly noteworthy unit in their own right.
ST: There is nothing special about this unit whatsoever. K Longwell is not aging well. The return game isn't bad, and they'll definitely be earning their money this year.
Badcock says: Bi-Queens can't handle balls in the air.
Oakland Raiders: the Suckiest Bunch of Sucks who ever Sucked
Man do they suck: 15-49 the last four seasons. They are handing the keys of their rotten jalopy to thirty-one year old Lane (Lane?) Kiffin. They are a very bad team in a very good division, so expect 8 losses right there. Luckily for them, they play against the worst division in the NFL (the dreadful NFC North), so the Oakland Sucks probably won't go winless. Al Davis continues to sacrifice head coaches and team morale sucks. The Nov. 11 clash hosting the Bears will be the lowest-scoring game of the year: I guarantee it!.
OFF: Oh my god, what's that smell? Oh, it's the worst offense in the NFL! Last year, the offense scored twelve TDs. Twelve. They do not have an NFL QB on their team, their RB corps is second-string, their WRs are whiny bitches that suck. But their biggest problem (duh) is that instead of an OL they have a rusted suckbucket. In typical Sucks fashion (also see Lions & Cardinals), they did nothing to address the fact that the OL sucks. They really, really suck. They gave up 72 sacks.
DEF: The Raiders D is not bad, especially considering how bad the offense was. But their #1 ranking against the pass is also a testimony to being behind by thirty points in the first ten minutes. The DL might be past their prime. The LBs are decent but not spectacular, and struggled in run support. The secondary is talented, but are going to be forced into the box early and often.
ST: Seabass sucked some serious suckage, finishing dead last in FG %. Coverage and return teams are bad. It's rather telling that the best player on the Sucks is P Shane Lechler.
Badcock says: Suck on it, Sucks!
Three-Time World Champion Washington Redskins
In the interest of fairness, I'll let the fine lads of IDYFT offer their lame predictions for the Skins before I unveil my moving testimony. One thing is clear, however. The Redskins will have the best record out of this sorry bunch and will claim the IDYFT Cup for 2007: I guarantee it!