Archive for September, 2010

Building a home … figuratively

September 11, 2010 1 comment

So we’ve officially been in SD for a month now, and after some pretty lonely and – let’s face it – boring stretches, I’m starting to feel like SD is sort of becoming my home. Not my home in the sense that it’s where I’m from or necessarily where I’ll spend my life – but home as in I no longer feel like just another visiter in California.

Lydia and I went Ocean Beach yesterday (and if her camera’s batteries hadn’t conveniently died I would have posted a picture below) and it was the first trip to the ocean where I did not feel the urgency of “taking it all in,” lest I never make it to the Pacific Ocean ever again. No, I’m quite positive I’ll be seeing the Pacific Ocean again. Probably this week, even. I still get excited when I see surfers riding the small waves along the shore, but I no longer feel the need to point it out to everyone within earshot. Yup, it’s California, and people surf here. I know I’m here to stay, at least for a while, and I’m at peace with that decision.

Also, I’ve found a job, albeit a temporary (but paying) writing internship. It’s amazing how important finding employment is in terms of bolstering my psyche, even though I haven’t started yet. (That will be Monday.) Tourists don’t visit an area to work, and finally finding employment surely lends itself to feeling a sense of home – and the peace of mind that comes with it.

Categories: Uncategorized

And on to the AFC …

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanks to everyone for your input on my NFC picks … although no one called me anything remotely obscene or deprecating, which was a disappointment. Maybe I can thoroughly piss some of you AFC fans off today. To the predictions …

“Yikes” again — The ‘other’ worst of the worst

16. Buffalo

  • Why they’ll suck: Drafting C.J. Spiller in the first round (Ninth overall) was pretty mind-boggling, considering that the Bills seemed to have a need at every position except running back. And they didn’t release Fred Jackson or Marshawn Lynch. WTF? The only thing more confusing on the Bills side was the decision to bring in the ancient Chan Gailey as Head Coach. Were they more impressed with his past success (which is using the word “success” very loosely – 44-42 record with Georgia Tech) or his wisdom (i.e. age)? Either way, the Bills are going nowhere. Well, except maybe Toronto …
  • Why I could be wrong: I won’t be. The Bills are a lock for a distant last in a very competitive AFC East.

15. Jacksonville

  • Why they’ll suck: Just an unexciting group of players that took several steps backwards last year, and did nothing to improve in the offseason. Yes, Mojo-Drew will get his numbers (relax, fantasy owners) and Garrard will have his usual “meh” season (I’d give him 15 TD’s, 15 INT’s this year … meh), but the AFC South is only getting better as this team continues to get worse.
  • Why I could be wrong: Again, I won’t be. The Jaguars are going nowhere. Well, except maybe Los Angeles … (Thank you, thank you. I will now retire that joke.)

14.) Denver

  • Why they’ll suck: The Broncos season was derailed before it even began this year, with the loss of stud Linebacker Elvis Dumervil leaving them very short on the defensive side. They still have Brian Dawkins, who might go down as my favorite non-Packer player of all-time, but Dawks is a year older and his supporting cast, with the exception of Champ Bailey, will struggle. On offense, they brought into two superstar college quarterbacks that have little to no chance of making it in the Big Leagues. (Tebow looked atrocious in preseason, and, while Quinn doesn’t throw a lot of picks, it’s normally because his passes always seem to find the turf.) Couple that with the loss of Brandon Marshall, and this team looks destined to falter, despite the weak Division.
  • Why I could be wrong: Denver is a perennial over-achiever (see their 6-0 start to last season as evidence), and the Mile High crowd is usually good for a couple victories the home team doesn’t quite deserve. But I don’t see them even sniffing the playoffs this year. Hey, at least Jay Cutler isn’t their problem anymore.

13.) Kansas City

  • Why they’ll suck: Ya’ know, I almost talked myself into the Chiefs being respectable this year, what with them becoming the pseudo-Patriots and all. (Charlie Weiss and Romeo Crennel have been reunited as coordinators with Head Coach Todd Haley.) And while they may improve on offense with Weis at the helm and the emergence of running back Jamal Charles, this team just lacks firepower on Defense. I see an improvement from last year, but not a big enough one to make the playoffs.
  • Why I could be wrong: Just like in the NFC, the AFC West is that bad this year, and it’s possible a team could sneak into the playoffs at 8-8, which this Chiefs team is certainly capable of. If Cassell can have half the year he did in his lone starting season with the Pats, and Dwayne Bowe can transform back into the Dwayne Bowe we knew his rookie year, than they’ll have a shot at the Division. But it’s a longshot.

12.) Cleveland

  • Why they’ll suck: When Jake Delhomme is a clear upgrade from you what you had at Quarterback last year (and he is), that means you must have been truly terrible the year before. And the Browns were. And yet, they managed to pull it together at the end of the year and rip off four straight wins. Seriously, the Browns haven’t lost since December 6, 2009. Kind of amazing. And yet, the Browns still have a TON to improve on, and they’re stuck in an extremely tough Division. So, though I don’t see them improving on their win total from last year dramatically, I do think they will look a lot more competent on the field in 2010.
  • Why I could be wrong: Diehard Cleveland fan Paul Flannery has not cut his hair since declaring that he would SHAVE IT ALL OFF if the Browns won four straight at the end of the season, which, miraculously, they did. Paul sort of went the other way there, but he’s still got the lucky locks, and the Browns do have a pretty cake schedule at the beginning of the season. (At Tampa, vs. KC) Stranger things have happened, I guess …

“It’s doubtful” — The Mediocres

11.) Oakland

  • Why they’ll be mediocre: Quick note – I have six of the NFL’s West teams in the bottom eleven of the League. I think we need a realignment strategy. Anyways, Oakland will be better than last year because they got rid of Jamarcus “Sizzurp” Russell. I like Jason Campbell (though I’m not quite sure why), but he’s already damaged goods and we haven’t played a down yet this season. On the upside, Tom Cable hasn’t punched (allegedly) any Assistant Coaches yet this year, so that’s a solid sign.
  • Why I could be wrong: Again, this Division SUCKS. And the Raiders showed a lot of heart last year, subsequently becoming one of the hardest teams to pick. (How many suicide pools have they killed in the past two years?) If they can manufacture some sort of consistency as an overall group, this team could become as feisty as the emblem on the side of their helmets.

10.) Pittsburgh

  • Why they’ll be mediocre: Big Ben really let his team (and its fan base, and really the reputation of the male race in general, to be fair) down this offseason, and now that back-up Byron Leftwich couldn’t make it through the preseason without getting hurt, Dennis Dixon will be their starting Quarterback for at least the opener, and perhaps the first four games of the year. And this was a team that had a lackluster D last year, and they even lost some offensive firepower by letting Santonio “Super Bowl MVP” Holmes go to the Jets. Bad karma combined with a tough Division leaves me feeling not great about the Steelers this year.
  • Why I could be wrong: I feel like Mike Tomlin won’t allow this team to do worse than 7-9, and if Polomalu can stay healthy, the Defense will be ions better (especially in the Secondary) than it was last year. If Roethlisberger can come back firing in week 5, then the Steelers might have enough time to rescue the season and make a run at the Ravens and Bengals for the Division. Unfortunately, they’ve already got a big hole to deep out of.

“A fighting chance” – Solid, but probably not taking home the trophy.

9.) San Diego

  • Why they’re solid: Tumultuous offseason saw them shred some talented vets (Tomlinson, Cromartie, and more and more likely, Vincent Jackson), but the biggest problem is their ability to get over the hump. This team is good year after year, and yet they can’t seem to make the leap. Their defense is strong, and Philip Rivers (despite his mouth) has emerged into one of the best QB’s in the league. But when are they going to finish the job? This doesn’t feel like the year, especially with the Jets, Ravens, Patriots and (yes, even them) Colts all getting better, while the Chargers just seemed to have gotten worse.
  • Why I could be wrong: I might be short-selling the Chargers this year because, frankly, after a month living here, I’ve found SD fans to be sort of half-hearted and lame, and I’m taking it out on them in my predictions. I just hope none of them read this … (Which, obviously, shouldn’t be an issue.)

8.) Tennessee

  • Why they’re solid: I actually like the Titans this year, but I’m not sure they can become Super Bowl contenders with Vince Young as their Quarterback in this division. The AFC South is high-octane, and the Titans don’t really fit that mold and I can see them getting burnt against the Colts and Texans. That being said, they do have Chris Johnson, who is one of the few remaining running backs in this League that can keep his team alive, no matter the game. (Also, I lucked into CJ despite having the FOURTH pick in my Fantasy Draft. FOURTH! But that’s a whole different story. Sorry Chico.) And everyone knows how well they finished the season last year, which always bodes well for the final season. So we’ll see about these Titans … but going into the season, I have them third in the AFC South.
  • Why I could be wrong: Jeff Fisher is one of the best coaches in the league, and if they can start the way they finished last season, they might be in contention for a wild card spot late in the season.

7.) Miami

  • Why they’ll be solid: The addition of Brandon Marshall will definitely bolster an offense that took a few steps forward with Chad Henne under center. Also, Ronnie Brown is back and (supposedly) healthy, and the Dolphins have big, solid offensive line that can create gaps for whoever is in the backfield, be it Brown or Ricky Williams. Also, Tony Sparano has done a lot with a little in his first two years as head coach, and I think the ‘Fins will be a threat to take the Division crown in a top-heavy AFC East.
  • Why I could be wrong: There is very little room for error in the AFC this year, with not much separating the top eight or nine teams in the Conference. And with a tough schedule that includes trips to NY, NE, GB, Cincy, Minn. and Balt., a few losses may very well be all that separates a first round home game or missing the playoffs altogether.

6.) Houston

  • Why they’ll be solid: Will this be the year we’ve all been waiting for from the Texans? Who knows. But if Matt Schaub can become half the fantasy Quarterback he is in real life (He’s won far more games for his fantasy owners then he has the Texans), then Houston can do some damage. It will be interesting to see how rookie Arian Foster plays, especially with the Artist Formerly Known as Steve Slaton dying to get his starting job back behind him. Can you say “pressure?” Speaking of pressure, it’s now or never for head coach Gary Kubiak – if the Texans don’t make the playoffs again this year, he’s more canned than Bush’s Baked Beans.
  • Why I could be wrong: Everyone seems to be wrong about the Texans every year … why would this year be any exception?

5.) Cincinnati

  • Why they’ll be solid: T.O.cho. The two VH-1 superstars are ready to ball, and despite their ages (T.O. will be 37 by the end of the year, Ocho is 32, respectively), these guys are still two of the most in-shape athletes in the League. But will Carson Palmer be able to get the ball to them? Palmer has free-fallen from elite status every year since 2005, and now that he’s got a new weapon in T.O., it’ll be interesting to see whether he can have the comeback year Cincy has been waiting for. Lucky for the Bengals O, their D is more than solid, and was one of the best teams against the run last year despite lacking any big name players. This team plays well as a collective unit, and if they can improve on last year’s performance, they will be in the hunt come January.
  • Why I could be wrong: Same problems as Miami … tough schedule won’t make it easy to get off to a quick start like they did last year. But their D will keep them in a lot of games, and if T.Ocho can make some plays … well, it could be fun to see how this plays out.

“Watch out for these guys” – The Legitimate Contenders

4.) New England

  • Why they’ve got a shot: Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Randy Moss. With these three guys, the Pats still remain legitimate contenders. Brady is now two years removed from an MCL tear, which he means he (finally) should be at full strength. If Moss can get over all the contract talk (or lack thereof, I should say) and just play ball, we could see more of the record-breaking 2007 Patriot offense. (And let’s hope so, as my fantasy team will live and die by Tom Brady this year.) The Defense was only average last year, which was a shadow of the unit that made the Super Bowl in 2007. (Not even … Vince Wilfork is the only notable Defensive player from that 16-0 team that is still on the roster.) However, the Pats seem to be building something with some talented young players, such as Jerrod Mayo and Brandon “That’s not me in that video” Spikes. Look for an improvement on both sides of the ball for the Pats this year.
  • Why I could be wrong: Moss could tank this season if he gets too sulky about his contract situation, the D, though talented, is unproven, and the Pats, as usual, still have a collective target on their back thanks to their now dwindling dynasty. We’ll see what happens.

3.) N.Y. Jets

  • Why they’ve got a shot: Now that Revis Island is back under contract, there’s really only one reason I can see the Jets faltering this year: Mark Sanchez. The Sanchise threw for 12 TD’s last year and 20 INT’s. This is a throwing league, and in order to get the ball down the field consistently, Sanchez will need to be much better taking care of the ball. That being said, he was a revelation in the playoffs last year, and with a year of experience under his belt (and a new toy to play with in Santonio Holmes … ya’ know, once he gets back from suspension), Sanchez will probably be asked to do just enough to keep his team in the hunt, something he proved he had the talent for last year. Also, the Jets signed a litany of offseason vets thirsty for a ring (Tomlinson, Cromartie and his eight kids, Jayson Taylor and Holmes), basically announcing via free agency that they’re in it to win it this year. They only came up one game short of the Super Bowl last year, and this team, on paper, is markedly better.
  • Why I could be wrong: They do fit the bill of a classically over-hyped team, and there’s a chance they caught lightning in a bottle last postseason. However, their Defense just seems to strong to me to not keep them in the Championship hunt. The Jets should be very, very strong this year.

2.) Indianapolis

  • Why they’ve got a shot: Because they’re the fackin’ Colts and they’ve got Peyton Manning, that’s why.
  • Why I could be wrong: A bad regular season for the Colts would be 10-6, which in all likelihood would still get them in the playoffs. And with this team’s experience (especially under center), you can never count Indy out of the title hunt. Look for them to be (unsurprisingly) a force to be reckoned with once again.

1.) Baltimore

  • Why they’ve got a shot: The Ravens loaded up in the offseason on the one thing they’ve always lacked: offense. The acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and, more recently, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, give third-year QB Joe Flacco some pretty solid new tools to work with. Combine that with their explosive running back Ray Rice and veteran receiver Derrick Mason, and the Ravens offense suddenly looks like one of the best in the League. Their defense is still top-notch, though they will miss Ed Rice tremendously at the beginning of the season. However, with a more balanced overall team, the Ravens will not only take home the AFC North, but are also my pick to take on the Pack in the Super Bowl.
  • Why I could be wrong: The defense was penalty-prone last year, and the offense turned the ball over more than you would hope for last year. But I think these flaws will be improved, and I really like head coach John Harbaugh to lead this team to January and beyond.
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s Labor Day, so let’s preview the NFC!

September 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Taking a break to celebrate all that “labor” I’ve been up to lately by giving you my “expert” opinion on the National Football Conference (I’ll do the AFC later this week). We’ll go from worst to first (or least worst) based on who I believe has the best chance of representing the Senior Circuit in the Super Bowl. Get pumped, everyone – football starts in three days. Uah.

“Yikes” – The worst of the worst …

16.) Seattle

  • Why they’ll suck: Cut a ton of mediocre veterans at the end of training camp, basically announcing that they’re putting all their eggs in the Jake Locker 2011 First Pick basket, despite the fact that the West is terrible this year and 7-9 could realistically take this Division. Also, Mike Williams will be their number one receiver, and Matt Hasselback is (still) their quarterback. Can you tell I’m not excited about the ‘Hawks this year?
  • Why I could be wrong: Always have a strong home crowd (that whole “12th man” gimmick is kind of old though), but that’s really all they got going this year.

15.) Tampa Bay

  • Why they’ll suck: Reheem Morris, Josh Johnson (Or is it Freeman? I get the Tampa Josh’s mixed up.) and Co. didn’t add much in the offseason, which is interesting given the fact that they had so many shortfalls on the roster last year. Very young team that, like Seattle, cut several veterans after the final preseason game.
  • Why I could be wrong: Um, nothing seems to be coming to mind …

14.) St. Louis

  • Why they’ll suck: Starting a rookie with promise at quarterback in Sam Bradford. Good strategy to get fans excited about the team, bad strategy if you want to win games. The Rams will be better than last year (1-15), but not by a ton. And really, that’s not saying much.
  • Why I could be wrong: They are playing in the worst Division in the National Football League (a Division that has held that title for at least three years running now), and with a fairly easy schedule early on (home against a depleted Arizona, at Oakland, vs. Wash., vs. Seattle, at Detroit), the Rams could get off to a hot start and challenge the Niners for the Division. Not likely, but certainly possible.

13.) Detroit

  • Why they’ll suck: Despite adding some weapons in the offseason (Ndamukong Suh, Tully Banta-Cain), Detroit seriously lacks in depth, and to call their secondary “mediocre” would be like calling George Lopez “funny” – it’s one hell of a stretch. Also, while I like his toughness and his arm, Matt Stafford will continue to make a ton of mistakes in his second year under center.
  • Why I could be wrong: Calvin Johnson can ball, they’re rookie running back Jahvid Best has a ton of hype surrounding him (and subsequently was picked far too early in my fantasy draft, and not by me), and with Suh and Banta-Cain on the line, they should be able to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback. They could make a run at the Bears for third in the NFC North, which would be a sign that the team is moving in the right direction.

12.) Arizona

  • Why they’ll suck: Decided to go with Derek Anderson as their starter for the upcoming year. I know Matt Leinart has been a disappointment, but have you seen D.A. play? I watched more Browns games than your average non-Cleveland fan last year (Thanks, Paul) and he was as inaccurate as any quarterback I’ve ever seen. Also, they let Anquan Boldin go, and as was displayed by their performance in the playoffs last year, their defense has bigger holes than Jenna Jameson.
  • Why I could be wrong: As a Packers fan, I may just be bitter about last year and picking on the Cards too much.

“I don’t really see it …” – The Mediocres

11.) Chicago

  • Why they’re mediocre: Cutler gets his team in trouble far too often by turning over the ball, their Defense, though solid, can never seem to stay healthy, and count me as someone who is completely unexcited about their decision to bring in Mike Martz as O-Coordinator. You know where he’s been the last few years? Detroit. And Detroit actually had some receivers. And he still couldn’t get them to score points. So there.
  • Why I could be wrong: Mike Martz. I know, I know, I just spent my last sentence hating on him. But frankly, the Bears are in a Division that features some truly suspect secondaries (GB, Minn., and Detroit), and they’ll certainly be in a position to throw the ball with Martz’s sideshow offense. Whether Cutler will find his teammates or the opponent, however, remains to be seen.

10.) Washington

  • Why they’ll be mediocre: Tough Division, too many Training Camp distractions give me a bad feeling about this team (You can thank Fat Albert, ‘Skins fans.), and they’re a team that just never seems to live up to the hype, despite all the money they dish out to spoiled, over-the-hill veterans. They’re like the New York Mets of football.
  • Why I could be wrong: They have a couple new guys in the organization with massive chips on their shoulders: Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb. Their fire alone will net the ‘Skins a pair of wins, but McNabb is injury-prone and, again, I don’t like the karma of this team. Feels like a 7-9 team to me.

9.) Atlanta

  • Why they’ll be mediocre: Took a step back last year, and unfortunately for them, their two biggest rivals in the South look better than they were last year (Saints, Panthers). I’ve never been excited about Michael Turner, and while Matty Ice seems like a good enough dude, I don’t think he’ll ever be better than a slightly-above average quarterback. He won’t lose the Falcons many games, but he probably won’t win them a ton either.
  • Why I could be wrong: I’ll be honest — I don’t have a great feel for this team. I wouldn’t be shocked if they go 6-10 or 10-6. But I just don’t see them being a contender on par with the Saints, or even the Panthers. Speaking of the Panthers …

8.) Carolina

  • Why they’ll be mediocre: Matt Moore will be a step up from Jake Delhomme this year, but he’s still Matt Moore. Steve Smith seems to be OK after a weird flag-football injury he suffered in the offseason, but he’s got some serious miles on him at this point. Also, they let Julius Peppers loose, and their overall defense lacks the firepower we’re use to from the Blue and Black.
  • Why I could be wrong: Finished last season very strong, and John Fox is one of the best coaches in the league. They’ll turn the ball over less this year, and thus may be in contention to win some more close games that could ultimately decide whether they make the playoffs or not.

“A fighting chance.” – Solid, probably not taking home the trophy.

7.) Philadelphia

  • Why they’ll be (just) solid: A young Kevin Kolb feels like a step-up from an old McNabb, and the offense should remain explosive at times, albeit inconsistent. However, they showed little-to-no heart in their final two weeks of last season (both against Dallas), a huge red flag for a team that looked like a Super Bowl contender for most of the year. Wouldn’t be surprised if they finished first or last in a tough East Division.
  • Why I could be wrong: The influx of Phillies fans into San Diego last weekend (for the Pads-Phils series) reminded me why I can’t stand the Birds or their bro-fan hybrids, and thus my perception of this particular Eagles team could be a bit skewed. (Just dodged a Yuengling thrown at my head as I wrote that last sentence.)

6.) Minnesota

  • Why they’ll be (just) solid: There is NO way —repeat — NO way Brett Favre will play as well as he did last year. All last season, I waited and waited for #4 to kill his team with an interception as he had so many times with my Packers. And finally, when it looked like it might not happen, Brett threw one into the hands of my man Terry Porter, and all was right with the world again. I don’t think Favre even gets the opportunity to kill his team this year. With Sydney Rice out for at least half the season, Percy Harvin battling migraines (much to the chagrin of my fantasy team, by the way) and AP still likely haunted by his epic fumbling performance in last year’s Conference Title game, the offense won’t be nearly as explosive this year. That combined with a shaky secondary leads me to believe (excitedly) that Minnesota will take a major step back this year.
  • Why I could be wrong: Everyone else seems to have the same opinion on this year’s Vikings, which is always a bad sign that we’re all going to be wrong. But I really, REALLY hope I’m not.

5.) San Francisco

  • Why I think they’ll be (just) solid: Terrible division, Alex Smith showed some potential last year (and looked pretty OK in the preseason), the Defense has some studs (Patrick Willis, perennial tackles leader), and Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree make this team a legitimate threat to put some points on the board. If Smith can become even just average, this team is good enough to win ten games and host a first round playoff game. If they can’t do it this year, they can’t do it at all.
  • Why I could be wrong: The 49ers have been a trendy pick to take their Division each of the last five years and still haven’t delivered. We could all be duped again … but I think if they don’t make the playoffs this year it would be a HUGE disappointment, and people (starting with Smith) will lose their jobs.

“Watch out for these guys …” – The Legitimate Contenders

4.) N.Y. Giants

  • Why they’ve got a shot: Bit by the injury bug last year and turned out to be more disappointing then LeBron not choosing the Knicks. (Alright, not true, but you know what I mean.) Enjoyed a nice, quiet offseason despite already losing Hakeem Nicks, and their Defense is ready to return “Elite” status after an abysmal 2009 campaign. I think it comes down to the G-Men and the ‘Boys in the East this season.
  • Why I could be wrong: I really hope I am because, as Timmy Latullippe once quoted in the Burlington Free Press, “I hate Eli Manning.” And I’m still bitter about the 2008 NFC Championship Game. But all signs point to a comeback year for Coughlin’s crew.

3.) Dallas

  • Why they’ve got a shot: Tony Romo finally won a playoff game last year, the offense added another weapon in rookie Dez Bryant, and the Defense, lead by Demarcus Ware plugging the hole and a better-than-average linebacker corps whizzing around the field, the Cowboys should be in a position not just to win the East, but maybe grab a first-round bye as well.
  • Why I could be wrong: It’s hard to imagine Romo making the correct decision when it matters most – remember, he’s interception-prone – and it’s damn near IMPOSSIBLE to imagine Wade Phillips holding up the Vince Lombardi trophy. The Cowboys will be good this year, but whether or not they are a Super Bowl contender is really up to them.

2.) Green Bay

  • Why they’ve got a shot: I know, I know, I’m a Packer fan and you’re probably thinking I only have them this far up because I’m such a homer. (This is only partially true.) But I am incredibly optimistic about the Pack this year, and that’s because Aaron Rodgers is our quarterback. (I use our with the Packers, and if you’re reading this you probably already knew that about me.) I think he’s an MVP front-runner, and if the preseason is any indication (and usually it’s not), Coach Mike McCarthy is ready to let Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood run wild this season. Expect 35 + points a game (I know Rodgers/Jennings fantasy owners are) to make up for a high-risk, high-reward Defense that will certainly give up their share of points as well.
  • Why I could be wrong: The Defense, while forcing a ton of turnovers, can be incredibly frustrating. We’re talking tons of penalties (mostly in the secondary), lots of missed tackles, and more than a few blown assignments. However, this is a young team that has hopefully matured over the past year, and they’ve got a full year of Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme under their belt. So while you can expect some improvements, just know that this team will give up points. However, their defense will likely be good enough to keep the offense on the field a healthy portion  of the game – which is bad news for opponents. Watch out for Green Bay this year.

1.) New Orleans

  • Why they’ve got a shot: The Champions until someone knocks them off. Drew Brees proved he was the best quarterback – and leader – in the league last year, and Sean Payton is one of the most innovative and ballsiest (yup.) coaches on the planet in any sport. New Orleans will be just as good, if not better, than last year, and we all know how that ended up.
  • Why I could be wrong: Incredibly tough to repeat as Super Bowl Champions – only the Patriots managed to pull it off in the past decade. Also, the Defense isn’t quite elite and they will miss Darren Sharper in the beginning of the season. But at the very least, this team will be back in the Playoffs with a very good shot at retaining their belt. (F U Grayson. I’ll see ya’ in January.)

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So, what exactly is different here?

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve lived in SD for a few weeks now, and every time I tell people here that I just moved from from Vermont, I get the same general reaction: “Wow … (eyes forcefully widening, trying to look interested) … That’s quite the change.” I go along with it – normally this type of small talk happens at the store or (my favorite) the local Wells Fargo branch, located in Ralph’s, or basically anywhere someone needs to see my I.D. But the thing is, while it is obviously different out here, it’s amazing how many things are similar, or even basically the same.

OK, I’ll start with the differences. First, everything is really far away from one another. This sort of sprawl is a real pain in the ass, and coupled with the fact that gas is more expensive out here (about $3.15/gallon), it’s really hurting my ever-thinning wallet (see my last post for more of an explanation on this). Say what you want about Burlington, VT, but you could pretty much walk or bike anywhere if you were motivated enough. Second, people can smoke in public places here (not inside, though). In fact, I’ve been fighting the urge to climb off of my pedestal and tell Camel Joe sitting next to me to quit blowing cancer in my direction the entire time I’ve been writing this post. I’m not even sure you’re allowed to smoke in your car in Vermont anymore. Third, diversity! Yup, not everyone is white here. And finally, there’s a much higher percentage of six-pack abs and pools. So overall, some pros and cons in the differences department, but nothing major. Oh yeah … I nearly forgot that there is an ocean 20 minutes away. So, yeah, five differences.

The list of things that are the same, however, seems surprisingly extensive. First off, like Vermont and basically the rest of the country, there aren’t that many great jobs out here (again, see my last post for further commentary). Second, people are for the most part pretty pleasant. (Although the pompous arrogance, unnerving negativity and overall dickishness of my last boss caused me to quit after just one day, but he was mostly an exception to the rule.) People wait for you to cross the road without extensive use of their horns, the bank tellers are incredibly friendly, and every retail cashier seems genuinely interested in how you’re doing that day. I think it has to do with the unwavering consistency of the weather. (75 and sunny … shit, how did I not mention this in the “differences” portion of this blog?)

Third, people out here like sports. And drinking. Upon this revelation, I was highly relieved. And finally, the public transportation system sucks. It’s nice to know that, in some of our most important aspects of life, America is truly unified. Take that, Congress. (And pass a job’s bill for fuck’s sake.)

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