Football Is Back!

Woohoo! August 8th has been circled on my calendar all summer, and it’s finally here…football is back, baby! Preseason officially begins in earnest with the Dolphins slapping around the Bears tonight. So, in anticipation of Airman’s annual Steelers thread cropping up shortly, who do ya like this year?

As much as I’d like to see my fantasy season come about (Giants go 19-0 through the Super Bowl! Eagles go 0-16!), I’ll try to keep this a little more grounded in reality.

My Goals For The Giants This Year (in order, with a slider balancing between “how much I’d like to see it happen” and “how likely it is to happen”):

  1. Don’t completely suck.
  2. Have a .500 season.
  3. Beat the Eagles once.
  4. Put up double-digit wins.
  5. Win the NFC East.
  6. Beat the Eagles twice.
  7. Make the Super Bowl
  8. Win the Super Bowl.

As in the previous two seasons, it all comes down to Big Blue staying healthy. They’ve had the weapons to win each year, but the sickening amount of players placed on IR derails 'em every time. They’ve had one of the best offseasons a team can have, so hope is very much alive this year!

Dare I hope that the Eagles follow history? It’s been…what? Five, maybe six years since the Super Bowl loser made the playoffs the following season? As I always say, the only thing that makes me as happy as a Giants win is an Eagles loss.

Random Team Predictions:

Bengals: Now good enough to earn one win apiece over the other teams in the division. Look for 1-1 season records against the Browns, Steelers and Ravens on the way to a 8-8 season.

Panthers: As I Giants fan, I can certainly appreciate the misery of seeing a ton of your key players get banged up. The injuries that kept their stars off the field last year have healed, however, so we’ll be seeing a Carolina team that looks a lot more like the '03 squad than the '04 one. They’ll finish 9-7.

49ers: Still the dregs of the league. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to double their wins this year. Of course, that still leaves them as a 4-12 team.

Raiders: While a little more help on defense would be nice, the Raiders are still back in a big way. I really like their chances this year. Division title? Wrapped up. Conference championship game? See ya there. Super Bowl berth? Distinct possibility.

Some Generalized Predictions (comparing this season to last)
Moving way up: Raiders, Vikings
Climbing the ladder: Giants, Browns, Cardinals, Lions
Starting to slip: Patriots, Eagles, Packers, Seahawks
Plummeting: Steelers, Chargers

[Marvin the Paranoid Android]That does absolutely nothing for me.[/Marvin]


If you look through the last Superbowl thread I picked the Giants to win it this season.

I’m from the UK so I don’t know a lot.

Thank you for your grace and maturity in omitting the game of November 13th, 2005, on your list of goals for the Giants this year.

I wish for my Cowboys and Texans the same elements as in your wish list, not the least of which is the two Eagles losses. Seriously, I get almost as much enjoyment from any Eagles loss as I do when one of my teams wins. Here’s to Owens being a divisive, whiney little bitch all season long.

I’m not sure just how much improvement my teams will see this year though. Cowboys didn’t seem to add much in the draft or trades. If they’re better this years it’ll be because they have RB Jones all year.

Texans improved their speed and defensive secondary but at most I’d expect them just to make the playoffs, not progress through them.

I don’t want the Eagles to lose, just T.O.

Giants/Vikings? Oh, that gets filed under “foregone conclusions”.

So much for grace and maturity. :slight_smile:

I set 'em up, you knock 'em down.

But this year, this year it’s gonna be different. The Vikings are going to lose in a squeaker as opposed to a blowout.

I like the personnel moves the Ravens made during the offseason - specifically, I love the fact that they signed Derrick Mason. He’s (hopefully) the last piece of a complete offense for Kyle Boller, and Boller’s going to have to rise to the occasion. He’s shown flashes of potential during the last two seasons, and he definitely improved last year. He just needs to keep improving.

I’m a little worried about the physically unable to perform list - it currently includes Todd Heap and Musa Smith, and Jamal Lewis is expected to be added after he returns from Georgia. Heap is recovering from offseason surgery, and I don’t know why Smith is on the list. Lewis will be there until he passes a team physical; he’s said to be in excellent shape, but working out in prison has got to be vastly different than a typical NFL offseason regime.

I can’t wait to see the defense in action. I’m glad they’re moving back to the 4-3 base, and I’m excited about the shades of Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense that coordinator Rex Ryan (Buddy’s son) has added. I expect the entire defense to be excellent this year, and the secondary should be one of the best in the league.

The division is changing as well. I agree with Hal that the Steelers will slip, although I don’t think they’ll necessarily plummet. The loss of Burress, Hines Ward’s holdout, and the aging combination of Bettis and Staley are all going to hurt them, though. I disagree with his assessment of the Browns - they’re improving, but I think they’ve got another season of personnel work before they’re realistically ready to compete in the AFC north. I do think the Bengals are doing it right this time, and that they’ll be the Ravens toughest competition this year.

Goals for the Ravens:

  1. Victory over the Colts on opening weekend. Games against the Colts mean more to the Baltimore fans than any other regular season games (I’ve traveled thousands of miles to attend them), and it would be a fantastic way to open the season.
  2. Improved play from Kyle Boller. He’s been thrown out there with a one sided team since he was drafted, and he’s in a better position right now than ever before. Time for him to show what he can do.
  3. Jamal Lewis returning to form. I’m curious to see what spending the offseason in prison does to him, and I think Ray Lewis’ presence will really help him get back into the game.
  4. Double-digit wins. The team should be capable of this.
  5. Playoff slot. I’d like to win the division, but the wildcard would be sufficient (if a little disappointing).
  6. Two victories over the Steelers. Huge, completely one-sided, humiliating victories. Ones that cause all of western Pennsylvania to mope for weeks and weeks on end. I want to see Cowher’s immense jaw quivering as he tries to hold back the tears and rage. That’s healthy, right?
  7. AFC title.
  8. Another Lombardi trophy

Most of all, though, I’m excited to watch an actual football game. Now I just need to find a way to see Ravens games on the west coast…

Well, you’ve got three Monday Nighters, and the late ESPN game on Christmas Day. Other than that, it’s either the satellite TV NFL package or Sundays in the bar for you.

Well, the Monday night games are moving to ESPN this year, and I don’t have cable… Christmas day I’ll most likely be at my parents’ house, so that one’s covered (my dad’s as big a fan as I am). I’ve done Sundays at the bar before, but they get awfully expensive, and there’s the potential issue of getting home afterwards.

We’re moving into a house that has a Dish network dish there already. Anybody know if you can get Sunday Ticket without paying for any other programming?

You’re good for another year of Monday Nighters. MNF doesn’t shift to ESPN until next season.

As for getting only Sunday Ticket, I work with a Steelers fan who has been doing that since the service has been available. The only thing she gets on her satellite is football. We’re on the east coast, but I would imagine it would work that way across the country.

You made my day, Hal. Thanks!

My thoughts on the Niners:

They couldn’t possibly suck as much as last year. I think Nolan needs to establish who’ll be the starting quarterback now rather than later in the pre-season. I wish I could get to one of the fan days to see Alex Smith in action, but according to all the press releases he’s doing a good job. Right now we have 4 quarterbacks, I strongly suspect the perpetually injured Tim Rattay is the first to be cut though.

Hopefully Kevin Barlow is back from his vacation, I thing the addition of two running backs during the draft will give him the kick in the ass he needs to pick his game back up. We also drafted a Guard/center and a Tackle/Guard that should give us some much needed depth on the O-line, which was decimated with injuries last year. This was one of our bigger problems last year leading to a league high in sacks and almost no production fro any back.

Coming back on defense is Julian Peterson. With him in the game, I’d put the Niners linebacking core against any in the league. According to Nolan, the 3-4 is designed to take advantage of his speed. The talk is for Mike Rumph to move to safety, which I think he’d be excellent at. All in all I see signs for hope. I suspect it’ll be at least next year before we can realistically talk about a winning season, but the seed have been laid. I’m going to predict a 6-10 and be ecstatic of they’re better than that.

My Browns are going to suck again this year sigh yet another rebuilding year. I think that we at least have a front office in place to finally go in the right direction.

Just once though, I’d like for them to get built before having to get rebuilt.


Woo hoo!!! I’ve been waiting for tonight’s HOF game for a week!!

Phil Savage will do it right this time. You’ve got a good coach in Crennel, and in a couple of years I think the Browns will be a competitive team.

Holy crap, did you just see Feeley get lit up by Urlacher?
WOO what a hit.

I think everyone is ignoring the Arizona Cardinals. They have a legitimate shot to contend this year if Warner can do anything with the offense.They’ve got real potential in their receiving corps and having Shipp healthy will improve the offense. I think this is the potential surprise of this season.

Giant Fan checking in.
Like your list but I am more greedy, I start at 3 or disappointed.
3. Beat the Eagles once.
4. Put up double-digit wins.
5. Win the NFC East.
6. Beat the Eagles twice.
7. Make the Super Bowl
8. Win the Super Bowl. (I am not even dreaming this one)
I really think the team should be better this year. Manning should show improvent, WR improved as did O Line.
I am looking forward to the Oct 30th Game. My only ticket. Please let us pummel the Skins.