Kill Me, I’m A Seahawks Fan Who Likes This Year’s 49ers

I feel like I need a lot of qualifiers here, or else I’m bound to be strung up and flogged for war crimes.

I don’t remember ever feeling this way before. Maybe in the Joe Montana heyday with Jerry Rice and John Taylor and Roger Craig, but even then it’s not like I ever remember rooting for them in Super Bowls. I was always all about their opponents in those games (mostly because they always destroyed whenever they got that far, at least as long as I’ve been a football fan).

I could safely say I hated them under Jim Harbaugh, as they were our direct rivals and biggest challenger to our throne for a period of time. And even after he went away, and as the Seahawks grew to be more and more mediocre, there was no love lost. We also kind of owned them in this stretch, so it was always fun to knock them around two times a year.

But, I gotta say, they’re winning me over in this 2022 season. I think it started with the ascension of Brock Purdy. It’s not him, necessarily, but the idea of him. A 7th round rookie quarterback – someone we could’ve seen coming, given his career in college, and probably should’ve taken a flier on instead of TWO 7th round wide receivers – making the minimum, stepping into an already-elite roster, and not just keeping the ship afloat, but looking fairly good in the process. I don’t know if he’ll ever be elite, I don’t even know if he’s someone you necessarily want to entrust with a second contract. But, he’s a guy who knows your system, can run your system, and it’s that system – not necessarily the player – that’s what matters most.

Now, you’re out from under the Jimmy G quagmire, you can let Trey Lance recover at his leisure, and even though you’re paying him wages of a high first round draft pick, the two guys combined aren’t making an oppressive amount of money. So, you can continue to pay the rest of the stars on your team at least for the next 2-3 years. Maybe Lance was never the guy, in which case you dodged a bullet by him getting injured. Or, maybe he comes back healthy and plays well in the future – if, for instance, Purdy gets hurt next year. Lance isn’t a burden by any means; this is an ideal scenario!

And, after Purdy’s contract runs out, you can just bring in the next rookie and keep the train rolling by building around him and catering to your offensive scheme.

This is exactly what I want the Seahawks to do. Having a team like the 49ers – an opponent in your very own division – is the best way for this coaching staff to see the light. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a high first round draft pick, and it certainly doesn’t have to be Geno Smith making $30+ million. It can be a diamond in the rough you’ve scouted to death and stolen from the rest of the league in the middle-to-later rounds.

But, it’s more than Brock Purdy. It’s that fucking defense! It’s a brutal, punishing defensive line. It’s having a Predator and a Wolverine at linebacker, stalking their prey and absolutely demolishing them. It’s having some solid talent in the secondary and being just good enough to let your front seven do what they do best: kill the quarterback.

I’ve said it over and over again: I love the Seahawks best when they have a great defense. That goes for the Huskies as well. I’m all about a dominant defense and would take that over a dominant offense 10 times out of 10.

Then, when you factor in the weapons the 49ers have on offense. A Swiss Army Knife in the backfield in CMC (two, if you consider how they incorporate their fullback), two dominant and unique wide receivers, a top 3 tight end when he’s healthy. And, put it all together with a competent offensive line; I mean, I couldn’t cherry-pick a team I’d rather have here in Seattle. They’re it!

Here’s the deal, though. Unless I have money on them, I don’t think I can actually bring myself to root for them. But, unlike in years past, I won’t be upset if they prevail. Hell, if it’s the 49ers and Chiefs in the Super Bowl, I might go out of my way to make bets on the 49ers! Who wants to see Patrick Mahomes year after year after year?! He’s becoming the next Tom Brady and it’s starting to get old.

My top pick to win it all is Cincinnati. But, I gotta say, my second choice is the 49ers. That’s more shocking than you’ll ever know.

Pro Sports Should Get Rid Of Divisions & Conferences

This is a tough argument to make, because almost everyone has taken advantage of this at one point or another. The team that gets not only an automatic playoff berth, but home field/court advantage through the first round, in spite of its VERY mediocre record, only because they took advantage of an even-worse slate of divisional opponents.

Although, I wonder, has this team ever gone on to win it all? No one comes instantly to mind. There have certainly been a number of wild card teams who’ve gotten hot late and rode that wave to the promised land. But, what happens with that crappy division winner? Usually a first-round exit. Once in a while – like the Seahawks in 2010 – they win an exciting first round matchup before succumbing to their rightful fate. But, at this point, in 2022, it’s just silly.

It’s silly that the NFC South winner this year (currently Tampa leads with a 6-7 record) should be a 4-seed and host a first round game, while a team like Dallas or Minnesota (favorites for the 5th seed, currently with identical 10-3 records). That’s a 4-game difference! And Dallas has that record in spite of being in a division where all the teams are currently slated to make the playoffs!

It’s incredibly stupid that a 101-win Mets team should be a lower seeded team than a 93-win Cardinals team, just because they had the good fortune of being in a trash division. You could go on and on with these egregious examples.

Why do we have conferences and divisions? Well, because it’s always made more sense for teams – geographically speaking – to play the bulk of their games together. But, is that really necessary anymore? And is it worth the backlash of penalizing great teams and rewarding inferior teams in the post-season? Why is winning your terrible division more important than winning FOUR MORE NFL GAMES, against better opponents?

Also, who cares about all the travel? Major League Baseball is starting to make moves towards eliminating divisions and conferences. For the first time in the modern era, in 2023 every MLB team will play every other MLB team at least once. As a result, the number of divisional games will decrease from 19 games per opponent, down to 13 games. That’s not nothing. I say why stop there, though? Split it up evenly (or as evenly as possible) across the board, play every team the same number of games, and then take the top 12 teams regardless of “conference” or “division”. Give the top 4 teams first round BYEs, let the other 8 teams fight it out in a wild card round, and go from there.

It’s a little trickier with the NFL, given there are fewer games played than there are teams in the league. But, you could still set it up based on the previous year’s records; they have computers to figure this shit out!

I’m just saying, these teams fly in the lap of luxury. They’re already flying to other countries and whatnot; clearly if the money is there, these guys are going to roll with the punches. It just seems to me that conferences and divisions are antiquated notions from bygone eras.

You’ll hear critics lament the loss of rivalries, but who cares? The Packers and Bears supposedly have the greatest rivalry of all time, but when was the last time these two teams were relevant simultaneously? If one team is great and one team is shitty for 50 years, who cares that they play twice a year?

The Seahawks went from the AFC West to the NFC West in 2002, losing 25 years of history as a “rival” with the Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs, and Chargers. You know what happened? We got lumped in with the 49ers, Rams, and Cardinals and started all new rivalries!

If you want those old traditional rivalries to continue, then that can still happen. You both just have to play at the same-enough level to continue being scheduled against one another! Until then, tough titty for the team that’s vastly inferior; you need to earn the right to continue playing the team that stays great!

Who was the greatest rival of the Patriots for the majority of the Tom Brady era? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t the Bills, Jets, or Dolphins! It was the Colts and Broncos with Peyton Manning. It was the Ravens under John Harbaugh. It was the Steelers with Roethlisberger. Occasionally, it was the Chargers with Rivers. It was the GOOD teams of the AFC, and those teams – year in and year out – weren’t playing with them in the AFC East.

Of course, the easy fix is to just not reward the shitty division winners with home field/court advantages in the playoffs. But, I would also argue that a lot of these division winners have it too easy for too long. Speaking of those Patriots, how many times could they coast to the top seed because their division sucked? How many times recently have the Packers dominated simply because they lucked into the easiest schedule in football? It’s boring! Great teams sometimes only have a small handful of tough games per year, and the rest of the time they’re feasting on the dregs of their own division and conference.

Anyway, thank you for listening to my Hot Take TED Talk.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: I’ve Got Good News & Bad News

Damnedest thing: I won again! That’s three wins in a row, for those keeping track. This time, it was a pretty healthy 161.00 to 136.90 victory over Toot Cannons. That brings my record to 4-7, and my place in the standings ALLLLL the way up to 8th place. I have a one-game lead over the two teams below me, but of course, I have the fewest points in the league, so tying in record with those animals will put me right back in last place where I belong.

I will say that I’m slowly, but surely, creeping up on The Lance Petemans in points. He has less than a 10-point lead, with three weeks to go in the regular season. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we don’t play one another in any of those games; I’ll see him next in the Consolation Bracket (which doesn’t factor into who gets the Toilet Trophy).

The bad news is: my meal ticket might be going away, as Justin Fields injured his non-throwing shoulder. That’s not always the end of the world for a quarterback, but it can be pretty devastating for a quarterback who’s better at running with the football than throwing it.

Fields had another respectable week, getting me over 24 points. Christian Watson kicked off the week strong wth 21. The Jets defense did me proud (a couple weeks after I traded away the Eagles) with 19, and Evan McPherson kicked in 17 points in The Week Of The Kicker (where Tyler Bass got over 20, and Brett Maher tied the single-game record for kickers, all-time, with 29).

The star of my team was Tony Pollard. He’s been thrashing the league during my winning streak, thanks in large part to Ezekiel Elliott being injured. Zeke returned this past week and got 17 points for my bench. But, Pollard’s big-play ability netted me almost 37: 2 touchdowns, 109 receiving yards, and 80 rushing yards to boot. My dream for this offseason is the Cowboys cut Zeke in a cost-cutting measure, and make Pollard the full-time #1 running back. He’ll set NFL records!

My big boner of a move was benching Matthew Stafford in favor of Davis Mills. Stafford got me 20 points for my bench, while Mills needed garbage time to get up to 7.45. Mills had the better matchup, and was projected to out-score Stafford (who is without Cooper Kupp for the foreseeable future), but at some point common sense needs to prevail.

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen, the second place team in our league. I’m just happy I get to play him both times without Deshaun Watson, as he doesn’t need any extra help to lay me to waste. Here are my guys:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYJ
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Det
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NE
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LV
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Ten
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Chi

I might have to start BOTH of my backup quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford had another concussion late in the game last week, which almost guarantees he sees time on the IR. I don’t like Mac Jones, but I’m going to hope he has a little something left in the tank against the Vikings, in what will need to be a high-scoring affair if the Patriots hope to win. If Fields goes down, I’ll have to start Davis Mills against the Dolphins (assuming he’s still starting for the Texans).

It’s a toss-up between Zeke and Pollard as long as both are healthy. When they’re both healthy, they split carries pretty evenly. Pollard gets the advantage of being a bigger factor in the passing game, but Zeke gets the advantage of being the goalline back by and large. Pollard is more boom-or-bust as a result, but also somehow has a higher floor. That isn’t to say Zeke won’t out-score him on the regular, because their offense is very efficient, so he’ll get his opportunities to punch it in. But, I’m sort of resigned to being disappointed whenever my guy isn’t in there.

This might be the last week I play Gabe Davis over Christian Watson. The Lions stink. I know they’ve been a lot better of late, but Davis should have no problem scoring in bunches in this matchup. The concern is that the Bills get Diggs going and forget about Davis, which is a nightmare scenario. I kinda need Davis to be The Guy since I’m going up against Josh Allen (spoiler alert). Taking away his touchdowns would be a big help. On the flipside, Watson is going up against the Eagles’ defense, which is very good against the pass. My hunch is that he comes down to Earth a little bit this week. However, if he puts in a third consecutive humongous week, then it’s time to set him (in my lineup) and forget him.

Here’s the list of players who figure to destroy me:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Det
  • Tom Brady (QB) @ Cle
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) vs. GB
  • Amari Cooper (WR) vs. TB
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Phi
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ Ten
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. LAR
  • Christian Kirk (WR) vs. Bal
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Det
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. LAR

A lot of these guys had big weeks LAST week, so my hope is that they … don’t have big weeks this week.

The Seahawks Lost In Germany To The Bucs

I’m conditioned to not really like these games being played in another country. It seems like undue stress on the two teams who have to go all the way over there, change around their whole body clocks, play on VASTLY inferior fields, and then have to turn right around and play the next week (if you choose to not have your BYE follow it). If every single team in the league had to do it every single year, I guess that’s one thing. But, either it’s on a rotation of teams, or it’s just random selection. Then, there’s the whole thing about losing one of your home games because of a blatant cash grab by the league.

And, I’ll just add – for a team like the Seahawks, who has to travel the most air miles in the league by a considerable margin almost every single year – you’re even further hampering our competitive balance.

That being said, it was kind of fun waking up at 6:30am with my dad and brother, having a big breakfast, and watching a football game before all the other football games of the day got going.

What wasn’t fun was watching how the Seahawks played through three quarters.

I won’t say the defense completely reverted back to the way things were in the first month of the season – they weren’t the worst I’ve ever seen – but this was a clear and obvious step back from our recent efficiency. The Bucs were able to move the ball kinda sorta at will. They rarely hurt themselves with penalties or negative plays (aside from the two big interceptions, obviously), so they were able to stay ahead of the chains and keep their offense moving in one direction. Lots of third downs were converted (10 of 15 in total), thanks mostly to them being in 3rd & short situations.

That meant, obviously, the Bucs were able to run the ball exceedingly well. 44 for 161, which isn’t a great average, but is more than enough when your quarterback (one Tom Brady) goes 22 for 29 for 258. You could argue if it weren’t for a Brady pick thrown right at Cody Barton for some reason, and that asinine trick play where Leonard Fournette tried to toss one to Brady lined up out wide, the Bucs would’ve won in a laugher.

As it stands, the Seahawks pulled it to 21-16, before the Bucs ran the last four minutes off the clock.

All of our points came in the second half, with 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Discounting the two picks by the Bucs, the play of the game was an incredibly stupid Geno Smith fumble on what was apparently a designed quarterback run of some kind on 2nd & goal. If the design of that play was to look like a blackout drunk trying to find a potted plant to piss in, then mission accomplished.

The Bucs defense was exactly what I thought it was: very stout against the run, while potentially beatable through the air. Kenneth Walker was limited to 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. But, when we started throwing to him (mostly in the second half), he came alive for 55 yards on 6 receptions. D.K. Metcalf was able to get his and probably deserved to be targeted more (6 for 71), and Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin both caught TDs late.

It was cool to see Tariq Woolen deke the Bucs into throwing a pass towards Tom Brady, who slipped and fell as the ball was severely underthrown. I’m told that Cody Barton had a good game, even though it seemed like he got swallowed up every time someone went to block him. It was REALLY unfortunate that we spent all week working on stopping the pass, then proceeded to not only get run all over, but also generate zero pressure on Brady whatsoever.

This game feels like a missed opportunity. It’s also pretty galling that we’re 0-3 against the NFC South, considering their record against everyone else. On the one hand, that’s a significant tie-breaker we just cost ourselves, if indeed we proceed to win our division, as the Bucs look like a shoo-in to win theirs. On the other hand, that’s a significant tie-breaker we just earned ourselves in the form of potential draft position for next year. I don’t know what to root for anymore! My brain is broken!

Where that leaves us is we’re 6-4 heading into our BYE week. One can fairly safely assume the 49ers will be 6-4 after they beat the Cardinals next week. That puts us in a dead heat for the division lead with 7 games to play. We come out playing the hapless Raiders, Rams, and Panthers, before that showdown with the 49ers on Thursday night. 5-2 feels like a safe estimate if we play up to our abilities. I would say 4-3 is the absolute minimum, which still puts us at 10-7, and a very good shot at the post-season. But, we could go as high as 7-0 or 6-1 if we catch some breaks.

I’m more than fine with the timing of this BYE week. Let’s rest up and get healthy and come back to sprint towards the finish with everyone else.

Seattle Sports Hell 2022 NFL Power Rankings #3

A little shake-up at the top, a lot of shake-up in the middle, and even a little nudge at the very bottom. It’s a wild and wacky (distracted) power rankings, so let me get it over with get to it.

High Tier

1 – Philadelphia Eagles
2 – Dallas Cowboys
3 – Buffalo Bills
4 – Kansas City Chiefs
5 – Minnesota Vikings

I can’t deny it anymore. I still question how viable the Eagles would be in a potential Super Bowl situation against the likes of the Bills or Chiefs, but they’re undefeated and look pretty great on both sides of the ball. Dallas catches a little boost as well, thanks to their elite defense and their good-enough offense. I still like the Bills over the Chiefs, but it’s unnerving that the Bills are prone to bad games against inferior opponents. And the Vikings just keep winning somehow! At this rate, they’re going to lock up the NFC North by Thanksgiving!

Medium-High Tier

6 – Miami Dolphins
7 – Baltimore Ravens
8 – San Francisco 49ers
9 – Tennessee Titans
10 – L.A. Chargers

I was highly impressed by the Ravens winning on Monday night in spite of most of their offensive weapons being injured. The Titans got dinged, but they also impressed by hanging tough against the Chiefs in spite of playing with a nothing QB. You can’t rate them super high as long as Malik Willis is under center, but everyone around him (including the coaches) is top notch.

Medium Tier

11 – Cincinnati Bengals
12 – Seattle Seahawks
13 – New York Giants
14 – Atlanta Falcons
15 – Tampa Bay Bucs
16 – Washington Commanders

I’m so very close to moving the Bengals and Seahawks up a tier. Any week now! I decided to break up the medium tier, because there were too many teams here, and because these medium teams are greatly differentiated by the next tier down. I think all of these teams are playoff contenders; I think all the teams below them are … not. Real impressed with Washington continuing to play teams tough in spite of all the turmoil around them. The Bucs are real interesting to me as well; I wonder if we’ll see improved play by them now that Tom Brady’s divorce is final.

Medium-Low Tier

17 – New England Patriots
18 – New York Jets
19 – L.A. Rams
20 – Green Bay Packers
21 – New Orleans Saints
22 – Chicago Bears
23 – Arizona Cardinals
24 – Denver Broncos

Mac Jones fucking sucks. Zach Wilson fucking sucks even more. The Rams are an all-around disaster (I think Stafford’s arm issues are limiting him greatly). The Packers are an even-bigger disaster, for all the obvious reasons. The Saints are stupid for continuing to start Andy Dalton over Jameis Winston (my quarterback-needy fantasy teams hate them for this as well). The Bears won’t be good until Fields can do something other than run with the ball (my dynasty league team loves him for this, though). The Cardinals won’t be good until they clean house from the top down. And the Broncos needed that BYE week in the worst way.

Low Tier

25 – Las Vegas Raiders
26 – Cleveland Browns
27 – Detroit Lions
28 – Jacksonville Jaguars
29 – Carolina Panthers
30 – Houston Texans
31 – Indianapolis Colts
32 – Pittsburgh Steelers

What happened to the fucking Raiders?! Nothing is as crazy as the Colts though, who seemingly have talent on defense, but are going with an atrocious quarterback, and just fired their head coach. That’s a team that’s intentionally tanking for a top pick. The problem is, they’re in the mix with a bunch of other teams, and that tie they got is doing them little favors. They might need to lose out to make a dent.

How Good Can The Seahawks Be In 2022?

So much of the discourse about our favorite sports teams has a bent towards the future, for better and for worse. To the point where all too often, the reaction to that discourse is a Stop & Smell The Roses mentality that can feel overly sentimental or old fashioned. I’m as guilty of that as everyone, because duh, I am stopping and smelling the damn roses. I’m watching every week, aren’t I? I’m reading articles and blogs, I’m writing about the games and whatnot, what more do you want from me? I’m invested!

But, that’s just it. I’m so invested that I’m taking a big picture approach to following a team like the Seahawks. I can do both: I can follow along and be entertained in the moment, AND I can think about the future and what this team needs to do to be even better.

What’s only starting to occur to me is: what if the future is now? Maybe we don’t NEED to look ahead a year or two, to see this team compete for Super Bowls. With the trajectory we’re on now, the sky really does feel like the limit!

Maybe it’s the four-game winning streak talking, I dunno. But, when I watch this team, I see a balanced and explosive offense, strong across the board at both the skill positions and the grunt workers. I see a defense that’s clearly improved from where it languished in the first month of the season, and it’s seemingly getting better by the week, as the young guys gain experience and start to mesh with the new scheme.

What’s a little uncertain is how elite this team truly is.

I would say throughout the year, the offense has been ahead of the defense. That’s not going out on any significant limb of hot takes or anything. But, does that make the offense elite? In a lot of ways, the analytics would say yes. Points per game, we’re 4th in the league. But, yards per game we’re down around the 10ish range. That’s good, not great. It also kinda feels like this team hasn’t played its absolute best on offense except against the very worst of defenses. Maybe I should give the Seahawks more credit for the 32 we rung up on the Saints, but there’s also been times we’ve been stymied. It feels like there’s more we can do, like this team could put up 50 on an opponent at any given time.

Then, on the flipside, defensively is this team a championship level unit? Certainly, after that Saints game, things turned around in a hurry. The D-Line shifted in its attack, we stopped relying so much on Cody Barton (in favor of more DBs on the field), and our young secondary has stepped up in a big way. Ours isn’t a traditionally dominant defensive unit like the 49ers, the Jets, the Cowboys, or the Broncos. But, it’s hard to argue with results.

That’s a potentially-explosive Cardinals team. They racked up a relatively easy touchdown-scoring drive when they first had possession of the football, then they proceeded to go punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt before their next touchdown (they did get a pick-six there in the middle of all of that, but that’s no reflection of their offense, now is it?). That’s some serious domination, three weeks after we held them to all of 9 points (3 points on offense, with the other 6 coming on a special teams TD).

To be fair, though, the Cards are kind of a mess. While they do have the potential to be explosive, they’ve also proven to be prone to implosion more often than not. It’s not like we just held the Chiefs, Bills, or Eagles to some miniscule number. But, you play the teams as they’re scheduled, and it’s hard not to be impressed with how the Seahawks have looked in all facets.

What’s not uncertain is the team’s lack of depth.

It’s not quite a Gods N Clods situation, but you could make a good argument that the Seahawks have been pretty lucky with injuries. We lost Jamal Adams, but who’s the other injury on defense that wasn’t an addition by subtraction (a la Sidney Jones or Justin Coleman)? We’ve had nagging injuries on offense, but other than Rashaad Penny, I don’t think we’ve lost anyone of note.

But, clearly, this team wouldn’t be the same if Geno Smith went down for a long period of time. We’d be severely hurting if we lost Kenneth Walker. And if either Lockett or Metcalf go out, we’re pretty bad at receiver behind those guys. Defensively, I think we’d be devastated if we lost Nwosu or Brooks, and the last thing I want is for our secondary guys to get hampered in their development.

Of course, you could make the same depth argument about a lot of teams. We’re seeing it play out in real time with the likes of the Green Bay Packers, for instance. For the most part, the very best teams – the ones competing for and winning Super Bowls – are also the ones who are luckiest with injuries. There’s never a 100% healthy team, but I would argue it’s a pretty high number. All the difference in how you finish lies in how healthy your best players are able to remain throughout the season. The NFL is a rough business; it churns through athletes with the best of ’em.

But, this isn’t a blog post talking about How Healthy Can The Seahawks Be In 2022; that’s a discussion about randomness. We’re talking about how GOOD this team can be, and I’m really starting to believe.

I think the biggest test to date is coming this weekend. I know I say that every week, but every week it remains true.

The Bucs, by and large, have been a colossal disappointment. But, there’s been plenty of extenuating circumstances. They’re still a team led by Tom Brady, with tons of offensive weapons at his disposal. They’ve still got a tremendous defense – especially at stopping the run – and a foundation of quality coaches and coordinators keeping the boat afloat. There’s a ton of experience on that team, and they’re right where they need to be. They play in one of the worst divisions in football, and control their own destiny. They won’t be a top seed in the NFC, but they can easily make the postseason and be a team nobody wants to play.

At this point, I usually talk about “how you beat this team”, but I don’t fully grasp why they’re so bad in the first place, other than guys who are usually great aren’t doing so hot. Obviously, if you get in Tom Brady’s grill with a 4-man pass rush, that’s the best way to slow him down. But, he can still carve up anyone when he’s on. Leonard Fournette can look like one of the best running backs in football at times, but all too often it seems like they go away from him for no reason. They have dynamic receivers, good players at tight end, and when healthy, their O-line has been tough. I don’t know how healthy that line is now, but maybe that’s a weakness we can exploit.

On the flipside, we have to stay on schedule and disciplined on offense. No penalties, no negative plays, and be efficient on third down. I expect this to be relatively low scoring and close to the bitter end, so there will be a few crucial plays that determine this one. Kickers better be on point, is all I have to say about the Special Teams.

There’s a real great opportunity here. If we can gut out a win in Germany, that puts us at 7-3 heading into the BYE. Then, we host 5 of our last 7 games, which at the beginning of the season seemed like a pointless gesture, but now looks like a gift from the heavens. There are still tough games sprinkled in throughout – hosting the 49ers, Jets, and even the Raiders; two games against the hated Rams, and that huge road game against the Chiefs on Christmas Eve – but it’s hard not to like our chances in most of those. Clearly, there’s something wrong with the Rams and Raiders. The Panthers should be pushovers. The Jets stink on offense. The 49ers are banged up and coming to Seattle. Even the Chiefs have shown their warts at times.

I’m not saying the Seahawks are definitely winning out the rest of the way. But, I am saying that it would not surprise me if the Seahawks won this weekend and continued to win the rest of the year. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks earned a top 2 or 3 seed in the NFC. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks made some noise in the playoffs. And, indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks won it all.

Until further notice, I’m not concerning myself with the 2023 version of this team, or beyond. I’m all in on 2022, and from where I’m sitting, the view is pretty great.

The Discourse Around Russell Wilson Makes Me Uncomfortable

Right off the bat, I’d like to point out that I’m as guilty of it as anyone. I’m no scold; I’ll own up to it: I’m delighting in the struggles of Russell Wilson.

This goes beyond rooting against the Broncos because we have their top two picks next year, though that plays a HUGE part in it. But, there’s something about Russell Wilson that rubs me the wrong way. So, I’m sort of relishing in the numbers being thrown around on Twitter, I’m laughing at the mocking of the front he puts on for the media and his weird videos/commercials, and I’m even a little smug about his injury issues (as if I could see it coming and I’m saying to no one “I told you so”).

Russell Wilson is kind of a fascinating character (and I say that intentionally; I think he’s playing a character in front of everyone, at least when it comes to his professional and public self), because there’s so much awkward weird robotic-ness that we can see, there are so many stories bandied about him behind the scenes, there are even more whispers about him that are maybe-rumors/maybe-lies/maybe-truths, and then there’s just so much that we absolutely don’t know. We don’t know what he’s like behind closed doors, with close friends and family (and advisors and agents and lawyers and hangers on). This could just be who he is with everyone, and everyone puts up with it because he makes them a lot of money. Or, he could be a total 180 of a person in his private life.

We also don’t know what it’s like to be in Russell Wilson’s head. He’s had this persona drilled into him from such a young age, it might be impossible to ever know the difference. Maybe there’s a little internal Russ that was proverbially beaten out of him at a young age, to the point where he just doesn’t know how to interact with human beings. He’s seen video of humans interacting. He’s watched others around him. He can sort of emulate human actions, human speech, human emotions. But, the driven part of his personality – the overwhelming majority of the internal Russell Wilson – just absorbs everything.

He sounds insufferable. It also sounds exhausting to be him. Not just from a workout perspective, but from a lifestyle perspective. He can’t just be a regular dude in his down time. He’s gotta be Russell Wilson, Professional Professional.

At the same time, he doesn’t seem like a bad guy. Now, who knows, right? There could be plenty of sinister skeletons in his closet featuring a bevy of alleged crimes. But, really, he seems like an okay person. He visits kids in children’s hospitals. Granted, that’s part of this persona he concocted; he’s not just the wannabe NFL Hall of Famer, but he’s the Children’s Hospital Guy. Nevertheless, he does it! He follows through. To a lot of fanfare at first, and then to little-to-no fanfare after a while. Week-in and week-out. Presumably; I’m not the keeper of Russell Wilson’s schedule. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary though.

He reminds me a lot of Michael Jackson, minus all the alleged diddling. But, we’re talking about guys who never really got to have childhoods, who were conditioned from a very young age to be in front of cameras and to be in front of thousands of adoring fans. We’re talking about people who reached the heights of their professions, who have the drive to be the very best, but at an obvious personal price. Obviously, Michael Jackson came out much more fucked up than Russell Wilson, but I would argue there’s real damage to Wilson’s development. You gotta wonder: does he have childhood friends? Or, was he always more emotionally attuned to being around adults? Was he the kid who was better friends with his coaches and teachers than his fellow players and students? Or worse, did he used to have a bunch of childhood friends and maintained a lot of normal relationships growing up, only to eschew them once he advanced through college and into the pros? I don’t know what’s sadder, but I would give almost any amount of money to get a sit-down with his ex-wife and listen to her tell stories for three hours.

Part of me feels bad for him, but like I keep saying, I don’t know him at all. He could be a colossal dick for all I know! Regardless, he doesn’t seem to be very grounded. There are plenty of mega-celebs out there who can make themselves look very down to earth and “everyman”. Russell Wilson is not one of them.

I don’t hate Russell Wilson. I don’t even dislike him. I’m pretty neutral on the persona he throws out there, and even if he is a phony, he still does enough good things (or, at least, not-bad things) to make himself likable. Okay, so he doesn’t get along or even try to associate with teammates. Okay, so his personality rubs some media people the wrong way. He’s not Opinionated Aaron Rodgers. He’s not Folksy Peyton Manning. He’s not Unfiltered Charles Barkley. Hell, he’s not even Tom Brady (who’s about as guarded as it gets, yet can still be charming as all get-out when he wants to be). That doesn’t make him a villain.

And oh, by the way, he also helped lead the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl championship (and two of their three appearances). Was he the be-all/end-all of quarterbacks? No, but he’s still the best we’ve ever had. Was the single-handedly the reason why those teams were good and we won all those games? Of course not, there were a lot of future Hall of Famers on those teams (and otherwise very good players) who gave us the magic elixir to win at such a high rate. But, I will say that we couldn’t have swapped Russell Wilson out for just anyone. We still needed his very specific magic to pull off what we were able to pull off. I refuse to discount everything he’s ever done to bring the Seahawks to greatness just because he’s been on the downslide of his career for the last few seasons.

I agree wholeheartedly with the decision to trade Russell Wilson. I think the Seahawks are in a much better place now. If I’m being honest, I think the rebuild started maybe a year or two too late. I also – not for nothing – probably would’ve gotten over it if we’d never offered him that third contract. If we had been able to draft a Josh Allen or a Patrick Mahomes, I would’ve gladly moved on way back when. I was worried about Russell Wilson being a potential problem back when he was on his rookie deal. I wish I could pull it, because I remember specifically writing about how all of these guys become me-first divas. They start worrying more about their stats and their legacy than they do about winning. Russell Wilson was never going to be the game manager Pete Carroll wanted him to be. He wasn’t even a game manager back when the Seahawks were competing for Super Bowls, but he was also much more willing to play within the conservative system we’d set up around him. Starting with 2015 and beyond, it became more about his quest for MVP votes. And, unfortunately for him, you can’t buy those, and you can’t win them in a popularity contest. You have to earn them on the field. And, more often than not, it was Russell Wilson’s own failing that prevented him from taking that next step.

That being said, for the most part, I relished every minute that Russell Wilson was a Seattle Seahawk. He was fun as hell to watch! The way he was able to elude pressure and generate huge plays down field will be something I never forget. He might not be an MVP, he might not even make the Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done, but he has a Hall of Fame highlight reel that you could put up against any of the all-time greats. I’m not kidding. There’s never been a Seahawk with a better set of highlights. There might not be anyone else in the NFL today who can top Russ. Maybe Mahomes, but I would argue the variety of plays we’ve seen out of Wilson is unmatched. Not just in blowouts, not just in random Sunday afternoon home games, but in the biggest moments, on the biggest stages, with the whole world watching.

So, why do I have such schadenfreude towards him?

It’s a real primal reaction, I should say that. There’s very little logic to it, given the way I’ve laid it out today. I imagine it’s the way one would feel about an ex who’s moved on. Maybe you didn’t part on the best of terms, but it also wasn’t the messiest divorce either. Nevertheless, there’s an animal inside of you who wants them to be forever suffering with regret for shunning you the way they did.

To be fair, there’s very little logic to being a fan of sports teams period! So, this falls right in line with that. You don’t want to play for the Seahawks anymore? Then fuck you, I hope you’re miserable for the rest of your days.

There’s also part of me that relishes in being right. Everyone has to pick a side in any argument nowadays, and I staked my claim pretty publicly that I think the Seahawks are in the right – sticking with Pete and John – and I’d rather head into a rebuild with those two guys making the calls, over a new front office catering to Russell Wilson’s every whim. I wanted no part in a Russell Wilson contract that saw him earning upwards of $50 million a year. I wanted no part in another protracted negotiating year of back-and-forth leaked sniping to the media ahead of an inevitable contract extension. And I wanted no part of an older, slower, less accurate Russell Wilson in the twilight of his career.

Really, I was done with the whole online discourse. The chicken or the egg argument of who’s at fault, Pete Carroll for holding Russ back, or Russell Wilson for not playing within our offensive system. A system, mind you, that he personally vouched for and approved, in bringing over Shane Waldron from the Rams. Let’s just be done with it and find out once and for all.

And, not to toot my own horn or anything, but at this early juncture it seems like the right moves were made. Get rid of Russell Wilson, acquire lots of draft picks, and use all your draft picks to bolster the rest of this roster ahead of the next great Seahawks quarterback.

The only question that remains is: will that Next Great Seahawks Quarterback be someone who’s been here all along – Geno Smith – or will it be whoever we look to draft next year? I think that’s a legitimate question that will only get murkier in the coming months.

One answer to a question no one asked – who is better, Russell Wilson or Geno Smith – appears to be answered before our very eyes. I’ve seen plenty of Wilson in a Broncos jersey to date this season, and both my eyes and the numbers bear it out: Geno Smith in a landslide. Not that I’m the biggest Geno Believer or anything, but that’s pretty cool to see.

It’s fun to be a Seahawks fan again. I wasn’t able to say that all the time in recent years. And, if you base fun on a team’s ability to compete at a championship level, then this team hasn’t been fun since 2015 (not that we’re a potential championship team this year, but that’s just illustrative of long we’ve been waning in this league). We were always in it for the playoffs and the division (until 2021), but we never felt like a legitimate contender in all those years since. It felt more like we needed an unsustainable amount of Russell Wilson wizardry pulling our asses out of the fire for things to go our way.

Lo and behold, all that time, we never realized how much Russell Wilson was actually putting us INTO those fires he tried so desperately to then pull us out of. Was he doing it intentionally? Was he that psycho mom who poisons her child, just so they have to depend on her nursing them back to health? Maybe not consciously, but I’m sure he didn’t hate being the hero to pull everyone to safety, while at the same time being falsely modest afterwards. I’m willing to believe Russell Wilson is a pretty big narcissist; him being humble is part of the act I just don’t buy. He might not feel comfortable talking himself up, but I bet he loves it when everyone else does.

Well, no one’s talking him up now. Quite the contrary. Everyone’s all too happily digging his grave. At some point, it’ll come around to being sad again. But now? This year? Let’s bury the motherfucker. The Seahawks could use a top 5 draft pick, and they’re sure as shit not going to get there with their own draft placement!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Worst Around

Well, I scored easily the lowest points in our league last week, and I went up against the team who scored the very most. Through two weeks, I’ve scored easily the lowest points in our league, and for good measure I’ve had the most points scored against me. So, that’s fun. That’s a neat little parlor trick.

I don’t really have anything to say about my performance last week, since there was nothing I could do. Besides build a time machine, go back in time, and draft all the players I should’ve drafted in the first place – years ago – to ensure my team wouldn’t be this inept when we finally made it a dynasty league. As I said on Twitter, when you have four quarterbacks (for a 2-QB league), you really have zero quarterbacks, and that adage holds true. If there was a “right” play to be had, I would’ve went with Mac Jones (a measly 15.2) and Davis Mills (8.95). I went with Mills and Winston (the lowest of all – my “safe” bet – at 6.00), while Fields was saddled with 7.5.

I decided to make this my week to shake things up a bit. I had a good-enough waiver priority slot to get one move done. So, I had my choice: I could make a play for Garrett Wilson – rookie receiver from the Jets – or I could get Jared Goff. I made claims for both – prioritizing Wilson – and I already regret it. I don’t necessarily regret waiving Davis Mills for him, because I don’t think his noodle arm is ever going to be a massive fantasy talent (famous last words). But, Goff was probably my one and only chance to find a high-upside fantasy quarterback for nothing, and I let him fall to The Lance Petemans.

Long-term, I don’t know what Goff is. With Amon-Ra St. Brown, he’s certainly found a stud he can ride to big fantasy days. But, is this sustainable? Regardless, he’s better than the nothing I’m getting from Jones and Fields, and he seems to be more steady than the wild fluctuations of Jameis. Is he a quality #2 quarterback going forward, even beyond this season? Maybe!

Ultimately, I went with Wilson because I wanted to cash in on a rookie receiver craze. Will he be the next Justin Jefferson? Will he be this year’s Ja’Marr Chase? Probably not. Did I just blow any opportunity at having fun with this league this season? It’s highly likely. I’m up to five receivers now, and the most you can keep/play is three, so what are we doing?

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen. As you might suspect, he’s got Josh Allen on his team, so look for him to put up 50+ (that’s the trend, first with Mahomes, then with Tua of all people). I, decidedly, do not have Josh Allen, or anyone even close to his calibre, so I’m looking to cruise to an 0-3 record by the time the morning games conclude on Sunday. Here’s the RoundTine roster:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Car
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Hou
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Mia
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ Cle
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. SF
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Min
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Atl
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ NYJ
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ Ari

It is, as always, a useless decision between Fields and Jones. Jones is at home against Baltimore. Baltimore just gave up a billion points to Tua last week. But, clearly, the Pats don’t have the kinds of weapons that the Dolphins have. Houston seems to be a tasty matchup, so I’m hoping to see ANYTHING out of Fields resembling a break out performance.

I’m sitting Wilson for another week, just to make sure he’s not a fluke. I’m playing D.K. because I like him at home against a paltry Falcons defense. I’ll play Gabe Davis if he’s healthy. My ultimate decision comes down to Diontae Johnson and CeeDee Lamb. If Gabe looks hurt, then it’s no decision at all, and I’ll just play them both. But, if Gabe looks on track early in the week (like, today or tomorrow) to return, then I’ll have to make a choice ahead of Thursday’s game. The more I think about it (Steelers offense against a potentially-stout Cleveland defense on the road), the more I think the Steelers will be toast in this one, at least offensively.

As for the running backs, I’m just biding my time until Walker and/or Brian Robinson take over starting duties for their respective teams. T.J. Hockenson – my tight end – is in the running for most disappointing player of 2022, which is really saying something, given the state of my roster.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Mia
  • Tom Brady (QB) vs. GB
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) @ Chi
  • Christian Kirk (WR) @ LAC
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ NYJ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ TB
  • Travis Kelce (TE) @ IND
  • Leonard Fournette (RB) vs. GB
  • Nick Folk (K) vs. Bal
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. Pit

It’s yet another bloodbath waiting to happen.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Dynasty Drafting

There are obvious plusses and minuses to being in a Dynasty League. On the plus side, if you have players you like, you get to keep them forever. If you’re a good team one year, you’re likely to continue being good. The flipside, of course, also is true: if you have players you hate, you might be stuck with them until the next year, when you can drop and replace. If you’re bad one year, you might continue being bad for the foreseeable future. Just like real life!

One thing’s for certain: a lot of pressure is taken off of the draft! We were done well under a half hour, as we only selected five bench spots. With the vast majority of good players already rostered, there was significantly less research to do.

As I noted last week (see the above link), we kept a full roster of starters, so my team going in looked like this:

  • Mac Jones (QB)
  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
  • Javonte Williams (RB)
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Diontae Johnson (WR)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • L.A. Rams (DEF)

I had the third overall draft pick. We do a straight draft – not a snake draft – so I had the third pick in each of the five rounds (except for the fifth round, which I traded for a second 2nd round pick, in a trading away of Justin Tucker last year). It’s not as confusing as I’m making it sound, I promise.

Sadly, I don’t really see a true top-shelf rookie in this class. That doesn’t mean there ISN’T one, but that just means he hasn’t made himself obvious to everyone just yet. There isn’t a Najee Harris or Kyle Pitts in this class, someone who we know is a sure thing right out of the box, sight unseen. That’s unfortunate for someone like me – a bottom feeder, who desperately needs an ace superstar to help bolster my fantasy future – so I was stuck in a pretty shitty spot.

I really wanted Breece Hall. I know he’s no guarantee, but everything I read about him prior to the preseason led me to believe the odds are in his favor on breaking big. He went one pick before me. I’ll just have to hope since he landed on the Jets, they’re going to do everything to Jets it up with him. Travis Etienne was looking to be my second option, but he actually went first overall.

So, I was left between two options I didn’t particularly love: Kenneth Walker III or Dameon Pierce, of the Houston Texans. The upside on Pierce is that he’s the starter from Day 1, and he’s looked pretty good in preseason so far. The downside is that he plays for the Houston Texans; do they even employ offensive linemen? Or are they just stuffed scarecrows spiked on the turf? Who’s to say?! The upside on Walker is that he’s a significant college talent, on a team that loves to run the football, playing behind an injury-prone starter. The downside, however, is that Walker himself is injured, and missed most of the preseason due to a hernia surgery. When will he return? Will he be up to speed? Or, will it be like every other rookie who’s missed significant time in their first preseason, where this is a totally lost year?

I ultimately picked Walker, and I immediately think it was a mistake. Pierce went two spots later in the draft (sandwiching Kenny Pickett, who was a quarterback I was looking at, though not in the first round), and I think he’s going to be a monster.

I hope I made up for it in the second round by taking Tony Pollard. I already have Zeke, but I have failed in the last few years to ever handcuff him. Pollard has been the ultimate handcuff in recent seasons, because not only is he great, but he pretty much splits time on the field and balls out accordingly. One could EASILY make the argument that – right now – Pollard is the better of the two, both in fantasy and in actual NFL games. I’ll be honest, I very nearly considered taking Pollard with my first pick. I have every belief that he’ll take over for Zeke this year, with Zeke being cut before next year. I could very well own the Cowboys’ succession plan at running back! Gotta love it.

With my other second round pick, I was able to nab Gabe Davis, the hotshot #2 receiver for the Bills that everyone is in love with. Wide receiver wasn’t as big of a need for me as, let’s say, QUARTERBACK. But, you gotta have quality depth. And, if Davis pans out like most fantasy experts think he will, I’ve got a real gem on my hands. As it is – SPOILER ALERT – he’ll be starting for me in week 1 against the Rams. So, hopefully we’ll see some immediate dividends.

Then it was time to finally address the quarterback position. I’m now in two leagues where I’m rostering Jameis Winston. What a fucking nightmare.

We’re in a 2-QB league, so clearly there weren’t going to be great options after all the dynasty guys were kept. However, shockingly, Tom Brady was out there. He went 9th overall in the first round (to the team who kept Deshaun Watson, of course). I thought about it, but as I’ve been saying all along, if his O-Line is weak, and his receivers are banged up, Tom Brady is as inept as it gets from a fantasy perspective. I’m not trying to rely on him come playoff time.

Winston was actually the third QB to come off the board. I selected his upside over Matt Ryan’s steady presence (in what’s looking like a run-heavy attack), over Daniel Jones’ incompetence (I still can’t believe he was drafted), over Baker Mayfield’s mediocrity, over Zach Wilson’s atrociousness, and over Jimmy G’s benchwarming. There are a few other guys still out there on waivers, but when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel like I am, do you really want to devote so many bench spots to the scrubs of all scrubs?

With my last pick, I took Brian Robinson, the running back who got shot in a robbery in D.C. I’ve tried to get him in all my leagues, but succeeded in only 2 of 3. His upside looks fantastic if he can return to full health. Between him and Walker, I’ve got two rookies and I just need one of them to pan out. It’s a great hedge against Javonte Williams too, just in case things go FUBAR there. For now, Robinson goes on my IR, so I get an extra roster spot which I’m planning to use on a defense.

I’ve kind of said all along that I like the bulk of my team, sans quarterback. I don’t LOVE my team. I can say something similar to my Splinter League team – good skill guys, crummy QBs – but at least those skill guys are potential game-breakers. These skill guys are … fine.

Between D.K., CeeDee, Diontae, and Gabe, there has to be three guys I can play every week, barring injury. I’m pretty confident – even with the shaky quarterback play D.K. and Diontae have to endure – that I’ll get good numbers from my wide receiver position.

I’m encouraged by my running backs, now that I have both Dallas runners. But, until Javonte assumes the bellcow role he deserves – or until one of my rookies gets healthy and starts playing significant snaps – I’ll always be a little hampered by my running backs. But, unless you have one of the top 6-8 guys, everyone’s more or less in a time share of sorts.

I’m fine with my TE, I love my kicker, and I think most weeks I’ll be happy with the Rams’ defense. But, here we go again with these fakakta quarterbacks.

Just give me one. Jones or Fields, I don’t care who. ONE of them needs to pan out. Then, I can go into next year hopefully getting the best rookie QB available in what’s looking like a loaded draft. You can bet your ass I’ll be researching those guys HARD.

As things stand, Yahoo has me overwhelmingly finishing in last place, with a 2-12 record. That feels about right. Just gotta start playing quality ball in the consolation bracket.

***

Real quick, let’s look at this week’s matchup. I start the season going up against Space Forcin’, who has been a thorn in my side for a generation now. Here’s my lineup:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Mia
  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Atl
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. TB
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. TB
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ Sea
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Phi
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Den
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Pit
  • TBD (DEF)

Pretty easy decisions here. Justin Fields is going up against the stout 49ers defense (it was really a choice between him and Jones, as Jameis has to be a lock against a terrible Falcons team). I opted for those receivers over Diontae since he seems to be dealing with a shoulder injury and is questionable. I opted for Pollard over Zeke because they’re going up against the Bucs, who are terrific against the run (maybe Pollard can bounce some things outside, or otherwise catch some passes). Walker is out, since he’s hurt and might not make it back by Monday. And the Rams are out because the Bills have a tremendous offense and might pop 40 points on ’em. I’ll take my chances with whatever defense I can grab tomorrow when waivers convert to free agents.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ Ari
  • Trey Lance (QB) @ Chi
  • Davante Adams (WR) @ LAC
  • Chris Godwin (WR) @ Dal
  • Alvin Kamara (RB) @ Atl
  • Antonio Gibson (RB) vs. Jax
  • Dalton Schultz (TE) vs. TB
  • Adam Thielen (WR) vs. GB
  • Matt Prater (K) vs. KC
  • Miami (DEF) vs. NE

He’s had Mahomes, Adams, and Kamara for as long as I can remember. Lance sure seems like a safe bet for steady points at the QB spot. Godwin has been a steal for everyone who’s drafted him. Gibson is starting now, and that’s all that matters this week. Schultz looks fantastic, and might be a sleeper guy at tight end (since Dallas lost Amari Cooper). And all Thielen does is produce at a high level when healthy. It’s week 1, I’d say he’s as healthy as he’s going to get.

So, I’m going to lose. Regardless of the defense I end up with, I’m going to lose. I also have the 8th waiver wire spot, which seems like a travesty considering how bad I am. But, whatever.

Predicting The 2022 NFL Season

You know it and love it! The NFL prediction post is back again! Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did pretty damn good last year. I had all of the NFC divisional winners, and 5 of the 7 playoff teams from that conference. I only missed the Eagles and Cardinals (I had WFT and the Seahawks, of course). I wasn’t quite as good with the AFC, picking half of the divisional winners correct. But, I still managed 4 of the 7 playoff participants. I’ll take it!

I even nailed half of the Super Bowl matchup, though the Bills screwed me. If they weren’t so unfathomably shitty on defense against the Chiefs, they might’ve made it!

Anyway, that’s last year. This year, I’ve done even less research than usual. That’s what happens when you pack your summer with trips and activities. That’s also what happens when the Seahawks suck and I just don’t give a fuck. Let’s get into it.

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Guardians
  • New York Football Giants

I know everyone is on the Eagles’ hype train this year, after apparently making every single correct move this offseason. But, I’m not there yet. I need to see it before I’ll believe it. The Cowboys are still really fucking talented, and in spite of their bumbler of a head coach, I think they’ll prevail in the division. I think Washington will probably be middle-of-the-road at best, and I think the Giants will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears

I wanted to put the Vikings in the top seat, but I kept feeling supremely dumb going against the Packers. I’ll say this much: the Packers won’t get to 13 wins again this year. The receivers are GOING to be an issue, that’s just the way it is. But, they should have enough talent to hold everyone else at bay. I do think the Vikings have a good shot to make it as a wild card. I’m not drinking the Lions’ Kool Aid after watching them on Hard Knocks, but I do think they could be a 7-8 win team. I think the Bears will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons

REAL fucking samey in the NFC so far. I like the Bucs even less than I like the Packers, what with their O-Line woes. If the O-Line doesn’t hold up, and if the receivers aren’t back to full health, I think this will be a LONG year for Brady. I predict this is the beginning of the end, and we won’t see Brady in the NFL next year. I’m not as high on the Saints as most people; I think the surprise team will be the Panthers and how competent they are with Baker at the helm. And I think the Falcons will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC West

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Seattle Seahawks

I was going to run it back with all four same division winners, but I could see some Super Bowl Hangover with the Rams. The 49ers are loaded all over the place, and I think Trey Lance will be just dynamic enough to make some plays and not screw things up. He could also be amazing with that Shanahan offense. I like the Cards to take a step back this year. And I HOPE BEYOND HOPE that the Seahawks are among the worst four teams in football.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

Surprise surprise, I love the Bills again! God dammit. I hope they shored up their defense. I don’t like any of the other teams, but that’s also not shocking. I think the Dolphins get one over on the Pats, even though Tua’s Noodle Arm looks like a poor fit for what should be a high-volume passing offense. I’m not hearing great things about the Pats, which is just fucking great, because I’m saddled with Mac Jones in my dynasty league. And the Jets are gonna Jets.

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns

Definite Super Bowl Hangover for the Bengals, but I still like them enough to make the playoffs. I think Lamar Jackson comes out on fire this year, in looking for a new deal. The Ravens might vie for the top seed overall. I think the Browns will STINK under Jacoby Brissett, and I think they will continue to stink under Deshaun Watson. The dude will have missed nearly two full years, there’s no way he’s coming back and being awesome right off the bat. On top of which, he’s pretty much going to be hated everywhere he goes, so he’s definitely going to feel the effects of that on the field. The Steelers won’t be good, but I think they’ll out-perform expectations.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

All right, THIS is the year the Colts put it together and supplant the Titans atop the AFC South. Matt Ryan might not be elite, but he’s good enough, and the pieces will be around him to coast to an easy 10 or 11 wins. This might be the end of the road for Ryan Tannehill; where are his weapons? The loss of A.J. Brown is going to be HUGE, and look for them to over-compensate next offseason by whatever means necessary. I also think Derrick Henry is going to continue breaking down; they might not even be the second-best team in this division. Kill me, I like Davis Mills! I know most people like the Jags to be a sleeper, but I think they’re still a year away. I like the Texans to be a possible sleeper, since really EVERYONE is sleeping on them.

AFC West

  • Denver Broncos
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I kinda want to put them all in the playoffs! But, ultimately, I think the Raiders come up JUST short. The Chiefs are definitely going to be hurt by the loss of Hill; it can’t all fall on Kelce. Defenses are going to double-team him and no one else will be there to step up (you can save the JuJu talk). I like the Broncos here because there’s no way the Seahawks don’t get screwed in this Russell Wilson deal. They’re going to win 12-13 games just to spite me. I do like the Chargers to finally get over the hump and make it as a wild card, though.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Los Angeles Rams
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Minnesota Vikings

AFC Playoffs

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Los Angeles Chargers
  7. Cincinnati Bengals

Wild Card Round

  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Packers over Eagles
  • Rams over Bucs
  • Ravens over Bengals
  • Broncos over Chargers
  • Chiefs over Colts

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over Rams
  • Packers over 49ers
  • Bills over Chiefs
  • Broncos over Ravens

Championship Round

  • Packers over Cowboys
  • Bills over Broncos

Super Bowl

  • Bills over Packers

Now that I have it all laid out, I could not be less enthused by this prediction post. I think I’m going to be LAUGHABLY off-base. None of it is coherent; for some reason I’m skeptical about the Packers up top, but I like them to go all the way to the Super Bowl? I dunno. This is gonna be one of those years where it’s a total crapshoot. Kinda exciting!