Sunday, August 31, 2008

Football season starts again on Thursday night, which is Friday morning here, or maybe Tuesday afternoon. When we left off, the New York Giants had beaten the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. For a similarly improbable victory, you (or a qualified military historian) have to harken all the way back to Mardonius' campaign against the Greeks in 492 BC, which was stopped when his fleet was destroyed by a massive storm. The Giants, as you might recall, had won only 10 games during the regular season to the Patriots' 16, though it's worth noting that the Giants did not resort to cheating in order to win any of those games. And in the event, the Giants prevailed 17-14, possibly the clearest proof I have seen all year of the existence of God.

At any rate, it's time for me to make the sort of predictions that embarrass me with their absurdity when I read up on them in the playoffs, and anger Bedir because I didn't pick the Seahawks to win every game by about 75 points.

In the AFC, the same four teams remain the class of the AFC: the Patriots, Jaguars, Colts and Chargers. The Patriots will no doubt dominate the AFC after winning 16 games last year, though it's worth noting that they had to resort to cheating in order to win at least one of those games. The Jets have Brett Favre, the Dolphins have Bill Parcells and the Bills will be playing some games in Toronto, which does nothing for me, unfortunately. There was a time when being able to watch AFC East games was a good thing, but for the last ten years, I've been treated to all the Bills-Jets and Bills-Dolphins games I can handle. Watching football in Korea is hard, but at least I don't have to watch the lesser AFC East teams play.

In the AFC North, the Steelers should win the division by default, though they'll need to fix a porous defense to do more than that. Cincinnati sucks, Cleveland sucks and Baltimore sucks.

The AFC South is the toughest division in the league, and I don't understand why Indianapolis, which is farther north than two of the teams in the North division, plays in the South, but that's a topic to be reserved for the gazetteering convention. The Colts are as good as they were last year when they won 13 games, didn't have to cheat in any of them and did it without Marvin Harrison, who is now back. The Jaguars are also on the upswing after putting some pressure on the Patriots in the playoffs. The Titans won 10 games and finished third in the division, but they have Vince Young at quarterback, so it's safe to discount them.

The AFC West will be dominated by Chargers, and I don't even want to dignify the other teams by mentioning them.

Look for the Chargers and Colts to meet in the AFC Championship, with the Chargers winning and going on to win the Super Bowl against over...

The Cowboys will win the NFC East. I had no faith in the Giants last year, and I still don't think they're that good of a team.

The Packers will win the NFC North because I don't see who else is going to. The Vikings have a very good team except at quarterback, which is unfortunately the most important position in the game.

Similarly, someone also has to win the NFC South on a technicality (the team with the most wins; if there is a tie, the team with the better record against the other; if they split those two meetings, then the team with the better division record; failing that, the team with the best record against common opponents...). I don't want to talk about who, however.

The Seahawks will win the West. Clearly, the more interesting things in the NFL are happening in the AFC.

The Cowboys and Seahawks will play in the NFC Championship game. The winner will lose to San Diego in the Super Bowl, extending New England's Super Bowl-less streak to four seasons.

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