Lush For Life’s 2007 NFL Preview

NEW YORK – As the forthcoming NFL football season approaches, professional football junkies, fantasy league participants, gambling degenerates, and stats fiends have found themselves in a belligerent frenzy for kickoff weekend spreads, and have become waiting sponges for info on third-string flier backups and their stat lines in all-night ESPN viewing binges. With so much speculation surrounding every team, division, and conference every year, Lush For Life has decided to lend a helping hand to all of those for whom this applies (this writer being one), as we have gone out of our way to detail how the looming season will unfold. Keep this article in your draft kits, fantasy footballers… and to those who don’t participate in such trivial, nonsensical indulgences, simply read and enjoy.
Various transactions over the last week have left the NFC somewhat up for grabs for the bubble teams with Lombardi dreams, and sent a harsh stroke of mediocrity to those who felt their success was a matter of entitlement. In probably the most shocking roster move over the last month, the Philadelphia Eagles released 4-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter for no good logical reason. The 30-year old middle linebacker, who has, according to his agent, applied for a part-time grill man position at The Sizzler will undoubtedly leave a huge hole in the middle of their once-dominant blitz-happy defense – which may end up costing them their playoff glory with an energized Dallas Cowboys team humping their coattails. Then again, with Wade Phillips at the helm, the Cowboys may end up converting their team into a band of Chippendale’s dancers, and Texas Stadium into America’s largest brothel, with Terrell Owens as the venue’s signature performer.
The Atlanta Falcons received inevitable news, Monday, when franchise quarterback Michael Vick announced he will enter a guilty plea in his pending dog-fighting and racketeering case. The hole will present an opportunity for maligned first-round bust Joey Harrington to step into the starting quarterback role, and promptly fall on his face. Their once dominant running game will take a hit without Vick, not to mention the nagging back injury of running back Warrick Dunn. Look for backup running back Jerious Norwood to have a reasonable season as he becomes a bigger part of the Falcons offense, but the Falcons will still end up on the doormat of the NFC South.
The New Orleans Saints, a frontrunner in the NFC, still feel they have the moxie and underdog vibe they rode all the way to the NFC title game last year, which I am pleased to say will not happen. The Saints defense has looked even worse than last year – so horrible, in fact, that head coach Sean Payton has inquired as to the availability of actresses Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty in attempt to shore up their beleaguered secondary.
Our beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not fare much better than their aforementioned NFC South foes. Not everyone can be terrible in the NFC South, however, and I’ll be damned if I ever say anything positive about the Carolina Panthers, so the Bucs could sniff a wildcard spot. With an aging team growing gray in all directions, coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen are doing all they can to avoid getting fired – everything short of drafting good players and pursuing quality free agents with a reasonable upside. The Buccaneers are a Jeff Garcia injury away from another 4-12 season and, even with Garcia, will struggle to win more games than they lose. A 9-7 record is as good as our hometowners can hope for, but that still may be good enough to get into the playoffs in the weak NFC.
The AFC is a different story. These teams will be assaulting each other into beaten slabs of limp flesh sacks to achieve the honor of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. The often-victorious New England Patriots will complete their quest for the Lombardi Trophy once again. Though Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and company are loaded with talent, their victory will come from the sympathy factor over the death of defensive end Marquise Hill. Dramatic storylines will drive the upcoming year in collegiate sports, and the NFL will be no different.
Though the Pats have a significant stake to the claim of the most sympathetic team because of Hill’s drowning, the Denver Broncos have endured two deaths in the off-season, and will get serious consideration for an AFC title. The Broncos lost backup running back Damien Nash after he collapsed at a charity basketball event, and also endured the death of two-year veteran cornerback Darrent Williams, the result of a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Eve. The deaths will be enough push the Broncos past their annual playoff foe, the Indianapolis Colts, to the AFC title game, where they will ultimately fall short to the Patriots, who simply have too much talent for the maligned and grieving Broncos to defeat.
That said, I will not pick an NFC team to go to the Super Bowl, mainly because they are all terrible. No matter who makes it to Arizona for the Super Bowl, no one will match up with the AFC opponent, period.
Belichick will sport the hoodie; Peyton Manning will grow a year uglier; the Rams will once again prove how gay they are (but will not come close to their once dominant gayness because of the absence of Kurt Warner); the Panthers will play even dirtier (with Chris Simms’ spleen strapped to the goalpost in the south endzone); Chad Johnson will entertain once again; Terrell Owens will try, and drop a few passes in between; and John Kitna’s ten-win prediction may come true.



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