I got my Niners preview out of the way on Tuesday, so now, with the Packers and Seabitches set to kick off the season tonight, it’s time to take a look at the rest of the league. Will Seattle repeat? Fuck no! Can the Niners breakthrough? Hopefully, maybe! Will a couple of sucky last place teams from last year bounce back and make the playoffs? Always! Will I get torched in my fantasy leagues and get knocked out of my office suicide pool by Week 3? For sure! Will I be dragging a hangover into the office every Monday morning for the next four months? Puke city! Welcome back, football! Yeah, bitch!!!
On to the picks:
New England, 11-5: Tough schedule, and who knows how long Brady can keep it up, but they’re still the class of this division.
New York Jets, 8-8: Rex Ryan can coach, but he just bugs me. I actually like the Jets, but when I look at their schedule, it sure seems to spell 8-8.
Miami, 6-10: I keep picking Miami to make the playoffs. This is the year I stop. Which of course means they’ll go 10-6 and snag a Wild Card spot.
Buffalo, 4-12: Sammy Watkins is probably gonna be great, but didn’t they go a little overboard? Aren’t there are a ton of other holes on this roster?
Cincinnati, 10-6: They’d be the best team in the AFC if they had a quarterback.
Baltimore, 8-8: The Flacco contract is the gift that keeps on giving. To the rest of the AFC, that is.
Cleveland, 7-9: I had this whole thing written about the Cleveland renaissance and Johnny Football and I was going to predict the Browns would sneak into the playoffs and make a run, but then they decided to start Hoyer and Josh Gordon lost his appeal. I’m gonna go ahead and save my Browns playoff pick for next year.
Pittsburgh, 6-10: The Steelers had a great run, for a very long time. But it’s rebuilding time.
Indianapolis, 12-4 (Homefield Advantage): Andrew Luck continues his ascent to the top of the NFL pyramid.
Houston, 9-7 (Wild Card): Am I really predicting a team with Ryan Fitzpatrick will make the playoffs? Well, Andy Dalton makes the playoffs every year, and Houston has tons of talent elsewhere on the roster. (J.J. Watt AND Jadeveon Clowney? Ye gods.) They’ll also benefit from this horrendous division.
Tennessee, 5-11: Uh … I got nothing. Here’s a picture of a giant cowboy boot with my name on it in Nashville.
Jacksonville 3-13: Blake Bortles=Blaine Gabbert. I have never been more sure of anything.
Denver, 11-5 (First Round Bye): The Broncos will still score a ton of points, and their pass rush will be fearsome, but their schedule is VERY tough.
San Diego, 10-6 (Wild Card): The Chargers are the team that benefits from me not having the balls to pick Cleveland. At least I get to run a picture of their QB wearing a bolo tie.
Kansas City, 6-10: They feel like the classic crash-back-to-earth team, don’t they?
Oakland, 3-13: Everyone knew Matt Schaub wasn’t the answer, but throwing rookie QB Derek Carr to the wolves seems like an even worse idea. They look like the worst team in the league to me.
Washington, 9-7: Their defense is horrid, but I think RG3 will come back strong this season, and I believe they’ll score points. I was going to banish them to the cellar for karmic reasons, but really, what would be more perfect than this team making the playoffs and forcing Daniel Snyder and Roger Goodell to spend Wild Card week answering question after question about their ridiculous racial slur of a team name? Please let this happen.
Philadelphia, 8-8: I think the Eagles are going to come back to earth a bit this year. They’ll miss DeSean, they’ll miss the last-place schedule they played last year, and they’ll miss the crazy season Nick Foles had that isn’t getting repeated. I could also be wrong about all of this and they could go 12-4 and get a bye. Remember: I don’t know shit.
Dallas, 8-8: I mean, 8-8 is the Cowboys’ perpetual destiny at this point, right? As much as I want this entire team to go to hell forever, I suppose I’ll settle for purgatory.
New York Giants, 6-10: They’re depending on 33-year-old interception machine Eli Manning to have a bounceback season. Let’s just say I’m skeptical.
Green Bay, 13-3 (Homefield advantage): I don’t believe in their defense, but Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback alive, and just look at their schedule. As long as Mr. Discount Double Check stays healthy, this season is a cakewalk for the Cheeseheads.
Minnesota, 10-6 (Wild Card): Every year there are one or two last place teams that bounce back and make the playoffs, and the Vikings seem like an obvious choice to me. They got the most NFL-ready QB in this year’s draft, Teddy Bridgewater, and as soon as they wise up and plug him into the lineup, he’ll be handing the ball to Adrian Peterson and throwing it to Cordarrelle Patterson. I just don’t get why he’s not starting right away.
Detroit, 8-8: The Lions fired Jim Schwartz, and everyone assumed they’d get a real coach and suddenly play up to their talent level and make the playoffs. Then they hired Jim Caldwell.
Chicago, 6-10: The Bears are going to lose a lot of shootouts, and then Cutler will get hurt, and then they’ll lose a lot of blowouts.
New Orleans, 10-6: The Saints still have Brees and Graham and Rob Ryan leading the defense. I don’t see how they slip up in this division.
Atlanta, 8-8: Part of me wanted to give the Falcons the division, but I’m scared off by their injuries and defense.
Carolina, 6-10: The Panthers lost talent and they won’t have the luck they did last year. This might get ugly.
Tampa Bay 6-10: This has already gotten ugly.
San Francisco, 12-4 (First Round Bye): See here for my extended thoughts.
Seattle, 12-4 (Wild Card): The Seabitches and Niners are the two best teams in football. Last year Seattle caught every possible break, and the Niners got just a little bit unlucky. That evens out this year.
Arizona, 8-8: I know they were good last year and they have a lot of talent, but Carson Palmer.
St. Louis, 7-9: I had the Rams as a playoff contender, and then Sam Bradford went and tore his ACL again. Their defense is going to be ridiculous, but how are they going to score any points?
AFC WILD CARD ROUND
New England over Houston 35-13: And it might not be that close
San Diego over Cincinnati 27-10: This rematch of last year’s Wild Card game ends with exactly the same score. Man, this isn’t as fun as what I wrote when I was picking the Browns: Andy Dalton throws three picks. Johnny Football leads a fourth quarter rally, throwing a Montana-to-Clark-esque touchdown pass off of a broken play in the final minute to win his first playoff start. JOHNNY FOOTBALL! AMERICA! If that happens, I will be really happy, and fucking furious that I backed off from my pick.
AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Indianapolis over San Diego 35-31: Andrew Luck outduels Phil Rivers in the dome.
Denver over New England 27-14: I don’t see what has changed from last year’s AFC Championship Game.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Indianapolis over Denver, 30-29: Peyton Manning goes back to his old stomping grounds—and passes the torch to Andrew Luck.
NFC WILD CARD ROUND
Seattle over Washington 30-10: Nobody remembers that the Seabitches would have lost their opening playoff game in D.C. (well, Maryland) two years ago if RG3 hadn’t gotten hurt. Does that mean I think the Washington Unnamed Professional Football Team will win this time around? Um, no.
New Orleans over Minnesota 31-17: I think Bridgewater will be good this year, but do I think a rookie QB can go into one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL and win his playoff debut? Um, no.
NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Green Bay over Seattle 24-20: Aaron Rodgers restores order to the universe. Fuck you, Seabitches.
San Francisco over New Orleans 31-20: A rematch not only of the Niners’ epic 2011 Divisional Round victory—still the only game that has received a perfect 12-Anchor rating in my weekly Niners Awards—but also of last year’s ridiculous Ahmad Brooks game that I will go to my grave believing cost San Francisco a Super Bowl Championship. This time there won’t be a bullshit penalty, or a need for Vernon Davis heroics.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
San Francisco over Green Bay 23-20: Because what does Colin Kaepernick always do?
San Francisco over Indianapolis, 30-27: It’s a year early for Niners fans who would love to see the team win a title in their sparkly new stadium 50 miles from San Francisco, but we’ll happily take the first title of the Harbaugh era. Colin Kaepernick takes MVP and Kaepernicks all the way to Disney Land and the White House.