I have an update on a previous column, when I was talking about how Mike Vick is a fragile little flower and the Eagles are stupid for keeping him on the team. Well, since that column (which was last week) he’s suffered a rib injury. Nothing season ending, and they are just bruised, but did you see the hit? The hit was about as hard as Ben Rothlesburger wipes his ass. It was nothing. It was a solid core tackle with nothing dirty and no spearing. And he walked off with a rib injury. Eagles – Mike Vick is fucking garbage! Get rid of him now!
In other news, did you hear that LeBron James shoes may cost upwards of $315. Are you kidding me? Are they magic? Do you suddenly get his swagger and prowess with the ladies if you wear them? Nike, fuck you. This is disgusting. I get it, James is a huge star, but he can wither and die in Miami. Nike is up-ticking a pair of shoes that probably cost what, eight bucks to make, to over 300. The thing is, while they wring their hands and cackle, people will be buying those shoes. I guarantee you. What a joke.
Anyway, today I’m taking a look at my favorite division, the AFC North. The reason this is my favorite division is because of course, sadly, I am a member of the Dawg Pound. A card carrying member in fact. Being a Browns fan has its benefits… wait, no it doesn’t. I’m thinking of becoming a Ravens fan by proxy cause I haven’t seriously been able to root for the Browns since… well, ever. Sigh.
I like the addition of Jacoby Jones at WR and Curtis Painter as backup QB. So, that’s all I’m going to say about the Ravens. Ok, seriously, those are good moves but the most important thing for the Ravens is going to be keeping the offensive line going for the whole game. Last year, Flacco had some problems closing games because he was under constant pressure. They still have one of the best secondaries in the league though, with Ed Reed back there still making plays and Ladarius Webb and Jimmy Smith at the corners. Tall, strong secondary players can change the game.
So I guess the Ravens are gonna have to step it up on offense if they expect to win the AFC North. It’s a tough division and frankly, I hate to see them win for obvious reasons. Boldin is probably one of the most explosive receivers in the league, and it was good to see Torrey Smith come alive later in the year. Let’s be clear, this defense wins games. While the Ray Lewis era might be coming to a close, I’m hoping that the Ray Rice era will begin on the other side of the ball. That kid can run.
I’m not going to sugar coat this Ravens fans, Reed and Lewis are getting old. With those two, this year might be the last chance for the Ravens to make it back to the big game. Of course, that was a long, long time ago. So to recap; fix the offensive line problems late in the game, keep the defense healthy, give the ball to Ray Rice.
Projected Finish: 9-7
Hines Ward retired, Wallace is holding out until the season starts and this might be the last year for James Harrison. Add that to Polamalu’s mediocre season last year and you have to wonder if the Steelers losing to the traveling Tebow show last year was the last time we’d see this team in the playoffs for a while. Plus, how much more punishment can Big Ben take before he has to actually take a sick day?
I think the offensive line is looking a lot tougher, so that might help Ben stay healthy. I like the defense, even though it’s getting a little bit on the old side, this is still the cornerstone of this team and has been the mainstay for the Steelers since the 70′s. Here’s the deal with the defense though, the key to it all – Dick LeBeau. No wild defensive pick-ups in the draft, but I guarantee that whomever is waiting in the wings or in the practice squad is a future pro-bowler ready to be made.
Todd Haley comes in at offensive coordinator, which should be interesting. Haley has been around the last couple of years, but he’s one of those guys that is better in a coordinator role. He’s a get in your face kind of coach, and we know that Ben kind of runs the team in a sense, so there might be some conflict there – but in a good way. Since the Steelers are my only real hope for the AFC North, and provided they don’t have to play Tebow again, I’d have to give them the division.
Projected Finish: 10-6
So Carson Palmer had a pretty good year last year… just kidding. How’d that work out for you bro? Andy Dalton and A.J. Greene. Fucking put that tandem in your fantasy draft. Wow. They were fun to watch. Who saw that coming? The Bengals made the playoffs, but overall were 0-8 against playoff teams. Andy is not big game Andy just yet, and frankly he’s not going to be this year. He’s still got some time before he’s really leading a winning team.
And, as good as the no-name defense was last year, they still went 0-4 against the Steelers and Ravens, giving up a shit ton of points. They have to win against those two teams, at least once, but I don’t even see them doing that this year. Marvin Lewis is a coach who really doesn’t take chances, and seems to be complacent to just let whatever happen, happen. Carson Palmer, to do what he did at the pinnacle of his career, had to have seen something going on that we didn’t see.
Cedric Benson is gone, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis replaces him and I think he’ll be a great addition to the team. And here’s your hidden gem in the draft – Dan Herron in the 6th round. The RB out of Ohio State is going to have a chance with this team, better than he’d have with another team thanks to Benson leaving. Also in the draft, 5th round pick Marvin Jones, WR out of Cal. I think another young target for Dalton might be just the trick.
Projected Finish: 9-7
So yesterday, Haden, probably the best secondary player on the team, got booted from practice for being a dick. Basically. Apparently he was over an hour late, claimed he was taking a shit or something, then got into it with Shurmur. Whatever. Shurmur brought in Childress as offensive coordinator and boy, does he have his job cut out for him. Let’s see, rookie Brandon Wheedon is the starting QB, yet Colt McCoy still wants his job back and Seneca Wallace is still hanging around. The offense is terrible, was terrible and will be terrible.
CBS Sports has this team projected to win one game this season, and frankly, I can’t see myself disagreeing too much. There is no way Holmgren, who is 9-23 since taking over as GM, can last the year. He’ll step down. For me, there is a fantasy pick if you have a deep league that rewards special teams and that is Josh Cribbs. This guy plays hard no matter what and is that fun, unpredictable player to watch. But he can’t win every game himself. The defense is crap, the offense is crap… ugh.
So Trent Richardson. Ok. He’s in for a treat. By the time he gets the ball in his hands, the offensive line will have collapsed and he’ll be crushed for a loss. It is really hard being a Browns fan right now. How did they not take a WR in the draft? What the hell? This team isn’t great on the run, proving it last year by under utilizing Hillis. They specialize on moving the chains with short passes… you know what – fuck it.
Projected Finish: 2-14