By this time next week, about 1 out of every 2 of you eager football fans will have flipped the switch from HOORAY, FOOTBALL'S BACK! to OH MY GOD THIS SEASON IS GOING TO BE TERRIBLE. All it takes is a loss in Week 1 for the doom and gloom to start setting in, so let's get pre-empt the inevitable and embrace defeat before it blindsides us.
Here's why your favorite team is going to fail in 2013, AFC EAST:
EJ Manuel's gonna suck.
There's hope in Buffalo in the form of EJ Manuel. Boy it feels good to have a new franchise QB, until that "franchise QB" takes the field and shows that despite very much looking the part, he's just not that good (yet).
More than anything else, Manuel was drafted 16th overall because of his potential. He has the charisma, an impressive physical build, and the arm of the man you want leading your football team for the next decade. He could absolutely bloom into the QB they envision in Buffalo, but this season could be one serious growing pain.
To put it into perspective, Christian Ponder threw 20 TDs and 8 INTs in his senior year at Florida State. Manuel, his successor, threw 23 TDs and 10 INTs in almost 90 more attempts. Not exactly "step in as a rookie and steer your team towards victory"-type numbers.
But maybe they'll run a read-option! Manuel's mobility will add a whole new dimension to the offense, making their other weapons in CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson that much more dangerous! Sounds fun, but Manuel averaged just 2.8 yards rushing per attempt in college. To stick with the earlier comparison, Manuel's time in the 40-yard dash was equivalent to that of Christian Ponder. Who was the fastest QB in the draft this year? Geno Smith, and you don't see anybody calling him the next dual-threat under center.
And for good measure, CJ Spiller has just 388 career carries. Adrian Peterson had 348 this year alone. What makes us think Spiller is ready for a full-time role?
Nice shopping spree, now where's your left tackle?
Amidst all the fun the Dolphins were having during their off-season shopping spree, they forgot to sign their pro-bowl left tackle in Jake Long. You know, the guy who protects the blindside of your franchise QB?
The Fins spent big dollars on Mike Wallace, a receiver that runs one route, ("go!") and earned the less-than-flattering nickname of "stonehands" during his years in Pittsburgh. When a buttoned-up, diligent franchise like the Steelers hardly makes an effort to retain a certain player, it may be foolhardy to throw big $'s at that particular player. It's reasonable to think the Dolphins just invested a lot of money in one big headache.
Throw in the fact that Dustin Keller's knee is no more, Dion Jordan (the #3 overall pick the Fins traded up to get) hasn't made much of an impact in the pre-season, and their feature-back in Lamar Miller is nothing but hype at this point, football fans in South Beach may find themselves a bit disappointed this season.
New England Patriots
And I guess your best isn't good enough.
Let's put it this way-- the Patriots aren't going to suck, but by their standards, they certainly will fail. By a show of hands, how many of you Pats fans will be happy with another divisional-round playoff exit? Exactly.
Alright, you may make it all the way to the AFC Championship game again. In fact, it's rather likely. Who's going to stop you? The Texans? But regardless of how far the Patriots make it, they will lose before they hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time since the 2004 season. We're coming up on a decade-long drought here, people.
They will lose to the Broncos. They will lose to the Niners. They will lose to the Seahawks, the Falcons, the Giants again somehow, and the Ravens once Ray Lewis announces that he's double-retiring. The Patriots are pretty damn impressive year in and year out, but as long as they keep trading out of the first round (and cutting a majority of their draft picks) and abstain from going after any big free agents, they will remain perfectly poised to lose when it really matters.
And for good measure, their failed 2-TE venture could set them back a season or two. They spent big important draft picks and big money on Hernandez and Gronkowski, and now one of them seems to be made of glass while we need not even speak of the other.
New York Jets
Because you're the New York Jets
Let's bullet point this, so as to not spend more than a fraction of the time ESPN dedicates to Gang Green every. Single. Day.
The Jets will fail because:
- Your QB competition, which began in July, has somehow managed to extend into the season.
- Rex Ryan's meltdown during a recent press conference was so strange, Coors Light doesn't even know how to use it in a commercial.
- In his ferocious pursuit of not re-enacting a certain infamous play, Geno Smith ran away from his offensive linemen and straight out the back of the endzone against the Giants in the pre-season.
- The hopes of your running game rest on Chris Ivory, who hardly saw the field in the pre-season, Mike Goodson, who was M.I.A. for a month before returning triumphantly to a 4-game suspension, and Bilal Powell.
- Your best offensive player is no one. Your second best offensive player is Jeremy Kerley.
- Between Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, nobody really won the competition for the 2nd safety position, so I guess you're not gonna have a 2nd safety?
- Mark Sanchez is still a threat to play.