If you are reading these predictions, please note that each division has been picked separately over the course of several days. Red used to do this in one giant post, but people don’t read big giant posts anymore – except for devoted followers of Alex Jones and those folks probably aren’t among Red’s loyal fan base.
Kansas City Chiefs – Red has bet heavily on the Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill 60 yard touchdown pass combo in his big money fantasy football team. Add to that mix, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins and there is no question that the Chiefs could have the most explosive offense in the NFL this year – if Mahomes is all he appears cracked up to be. That’s a lot to put on a second year player, but Red thinks Mahomes is the real deal and not the latest retread of previously failed Texas Tech wunderkinds (tell Red you don’t remember the glorious pro careers of Kliff Kingsbury and Sonny Cumbee?). In the immortal words of HC Andy Reid “I’m fired up!” Which is the only way Red can ever use the first person in these musings. Kansas City dominates at 14-2.
San Diego (er – Los Angeles) Chargers – Red would like to attend a Chargers game this season – mostly because he likes peace and quiet and prefers being alone. Here are some keys you can blankon for a successful Chargers season. Rivers needs to empty the backfield on third down and throw cleardown the unfilled. And a hearty hollow, to undrafted rookie speedster J.J. Jones who may help on those bombs – he deserted his place on this roster. His speed may open up devoid in the middle. When they get in the dead zone, Rivers can rely more on Melvin Gordon to bare down opposing defenses. The offense is good, but vacant do it alone. The defense must desert itself and get uninhabitof making some third down plays. It may come down to the Week 15 matchup with the Chiefs, a tough game to win desolate in the season. Some help getting the missing faithful involved wouldn’t hurt – for example abandon the sidelines could pump up the fan. Barren in the hunt for the playoffs all the way this season. Red thinks they make it barely at 10-6.
Oakland Raiders – The emaciated ghost of Al Davis still stalks the cavernous corridors of the Coliseum (or whatever they call they rusting decrepit heap they play in) waiting for another Raiders championship. Dead Al continues his nightly rambles all season in vain. The Raiders’ gamble on bringing back the perfidious Jon Gruden doesn’t pay off this season. Walk Dead Al! Walk! Walk across the desert to the shining oasis in the sun – for there your spectral dreams will still go unfulfilled. Oakland 8-8.
Denver Broncos – Red also likes Case Keenum but he may just have squeezed all the juice out of that lime last season in Minnesota. This franchise seems lost in the woods right now and John Elway’s job is probably on the line if something doesn’t turn around soon. Let Red be the first to say, “Adios Juan!” Denver is 6-10.
The division of “so what.” Red still has to pick ’em.
Pittsburgh Stealers – Ben “Big Ben” Rothlessburger may be tired but he isn’t old just yet. This season may change that assessment and if so, the Stealers are in for a cold December – well make that a colder December. BB should be helped by the presence of Antone “Big Time” Brown and the debut of the JuJu “No Need for a Nick Name” Smith-Schuster. The big ? – is Le’Veon “Will he Answer the” Bell. If not, then maybe James “Hey I Don’t Suck” Conner is the answer – or maybe not. The Stealers defense is always there and probably improves with the emergence of T.J. “Yeah He’s my Big Brother” Watt. It all rests in the reasonably capable hands of Mike “Can You Believe I’m Still Here” Tomlin. Red likes Mike and Pittsburgh does more than enough to win this division at 12-4.
Cleveland Browns – You read it here first, the Browns are going to the playoffs. Red just had to choke back a spoonful of delicious Grazier’s whole milk, grass-fed yogurt when he wrote that and is now seriously contemplating the function of the back key – but the moving hand writes and when it is written moves on. Sort of like Red’s bowels. This could be the greatest prediction of Red’s life or . . . Happy times in Cleveland at 10-6.
Cincinnati Bengals – Red really likes the Bengals. He also likes Neapolitan ice cream even though he knows it’s just vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and the vanilla is always left at the end. Sort of like the end of your typical Bengals season where there either challenge for a playoff spot or make the playoffs and lose to the Texans – an even worse fate. This has to be the year for Marvin “Can You Believe I’m Still Here When I’m not Half as Good as Mike Tomlin” Lewis. He cannot hang on any longer without at least one playoff win. Marvin lets go of the rope. Cincinnati comes close but not close enough 9-7.
Baltimore Ravens – Flacco Joe, Flaco Joe, Flaco Joe. Can Red just say no? Okay then. Baltimore 2-14.
Finally we get to a division that Red pays attention to – not that it matters. This is the division of “Why do these towns have NFL teams anyway?”
Houston Texans – Red was shocked to witness in person the offensive onslaught that Deshaun Watson led against the Titans in October. That 57-14 ass whipping was as impressive an offensive show that Red has ever seen in a regular season NFL game. It made Red a believer. Red was also sadly present the next week when JJ Watt and Red favorite Whitney Mercilus went down in the space of about 57 seconds. Losing Watson, Watt and Mercilus was the death knell for the Texans season. Barring similarly crippling injuries this season, the Texans should be good enough to secure a playoff spot this year. A lot rides on that first game in New England. A win or even a credible loss will put this team on the right track. Texans are 10-6 and in.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Lots of pundits are writing off the Jaguars as one-hit wonders and shitting on journeyman QB Blake Bortles. BB may be mediocre but the rest of this team has enough talent to cover up the cracks. Jaguars are also 10-6 and lose tiebreaker to the Texans.
Tennesee Titans – Red wants to believe. Red also wants a job where you don’t have to show up and the money just sort of rolls in. Titans are 8-8 material.
Indianapolis Colts – The Colts are just an Andrew Luck away from mediocrity. They have no offensive line, one decent receiver, running backs???, defense???, coaching???. Colts are 6-10.
New England Patriots – This is where every year Red writes that it is spineless and weak to continue to pick the Patriots but that he will continue to do so until proven wrong. Red has yet to be proven wrong. Pats are a bit down but still finish atop a weak division even with a relatively weak schedule. Red is looking forward to week 15 matchup with Stealers. New England sits at 11-5
Buffalo Bills – Red kind of likes Josh Allen who seems to have a bit of Carson Wentz – QB out of nowhere feel to him and will not be surprised if he moves in to the lineup at some point. Sorry all you AJ McCarron fans out there – both of you. It’s just too bad there is so little else to like about this team. There is a good secondary on defense, but lack of offensive weapons is very troublesome. Buffalo (Orchard Park) is 8-8 material
Miami Dolphins – Red swears there are rumor that there is still an NFL team in the greater Miami region. Beyond that Red is clueless. Miami at 6-10.
New York Jets – Meet the Jets, Greet the Jets, Step right up and beat the Jets. Red still remembers an older fraternity brother singing that one at breakfast one bright shining morning. Funny what you remember. Funny what is still true. Led by tired old Josh McCown (Sam Houston State for the Texas reference), the Jets are likely to be featured in at least half a dozen Shit Bowls this year. Jets are 3-13.
The NFC West looks to be very competitive but ultimately mediocre.
Los Angeles Rams – Amazing what getting rid of a coach like Jeff “Enormous Stick up his Butt” Fischer can do for a team. And just in case you were wondering, Red will still be piling on Fischer long after the expiration date on that one. Rams are loaded for bear despite getting ass-waxed in the last pre-season game by the Saints. That game also answered the question of what a team quarterbacked by Texas A&M Commerce rookie Luis Perez would look like. Answer: muy mal. So while its still VamosRams time in LA, Rams fans should say a little prayer each morning for the health of Goff and Gurley and especially all-world left tackle Andrew Whitworth – the most underated player in the league. Los Angeles enjoys their last season in the Coliseum at 13-3.
San (Somewhere in California) 49ers – Red is not jumping on the Jimmy Garopolo bandwagon simply because if that was his name he would make sure everyone pronounced it garoPOLO. Red admires the faith the front office has in “The Faithful” as Niners fans are termed – as the Niners have a giveaway promotion for every single home game this year starting with a garoPOLO bobblehead in Week 2. Red is especially (a word Red uses way too much) sad that he won’t be there for the “Faithful Then – Faithful Now” wall flag banner giveaway in week 5. Not that the Niners fans have had much to be faithful to for say – oh the last couple of decades. Time change. The Faithful are almost rewarded as the Niners make it to 10-6 based on a relatively easy schedule.
Arizona Cardinals – Bobby Layne aint got nothing on Sam Bradford when it comes to curses. The poor guy does seem cursed when it comes to playing more than a handful of games per season and why teams keep banking on him perplexes poor Red – who is too easily perplexed anyway. The Cards would seem to have enough talent to score lots of points if they could keep a team on the field – even with tired old Larry Fitzgerald still starting – but that is a BIG IF! Don’t get Red started on what David Johnson did to his fantasy football hopes last year. If Red were in the black comfortable coaching shoes of new head Coach Steve Wilks he would be looking for a truckload of grisgris to ward off the evil spirits. And the once vaunted Cardinal defense – is officially “once vaunted” now. Red sees no reason to think this team will be going anywhere but Mayan Riviera in January. Arizona struggles to 7-9 record.
Seattle Seahawks – The window of opportunity has closed for Pete the Cheat. Nuff said. Except that Red would like to take a moment here to comment on the pathetic quality of NFL team official websites. They now all have seem to have the same format and the same boring approach. The Seahawks however have chosent to enliven their homepage with interesting tidbits about some of the Sea Gals – and if you want to learn more about innovative uses of duct tape – Red suggests you check it out. Seattle 6-10.
Still embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has reached another low point in his quest to dismantle the very low ethical standards Texas imposes on its political class. Paxton is refusing to defend the Texas Ethics Commission in a lawsuit filed against it by one of Paxton’s major campaign contributors. Empower Texas an Astroturf organization funded and chaired Tim Dunn, a Midland based oil and gas developer, is seeking to strip the TEC of its powers to regulate and monitor campaign spending and financing in Texas. The TEC requires candidates to report their campaign contributions, loans and expenditures on a regular basis in order for the public to know who is greasing the political wheels in Texas. The AG’s office is typically required to defend state agencies when they are sued but has some discretion to decline to do so. Why would Paxton not defend the TEC? Other than his own well-reported ethical problems, it turns out that Dunn and Empower Texas are Paxton’s biggest source of campaign cash. According to the Houston Chronicle:
Since 2014, Paxton’s campaign has received $377,000 from the Empower Texans PAC, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the commission. Empower Texans also secured a $1 million loan for Paxton’s campaign in 2014, and Dunn is Paxton’s largest donor, shelling out $405,000 since 2014, records show.
Well, perhaps it is a good thing that an attorney as apparently ethically challenged as Paxton is not defending the case as he might just botch the effort by accident. The result, however, is that the taxpayers will be out about $600,000 for outside counsel hired by the TEC which is a huge hit for the agency and detracts from their mission. The Houston Chronicle has the full story here.