Sports Blog Movement NFL Preview: Ten Things To Watch For in The 2013 Season

SBM NFL crystal ball

By J-Dub and Ryan Meehan

Over the next few weeks, the group here at Sports Blog Movement will be breaking down the upcoming NFL season from all possible angles, including many that do not involve wearing pants.  Given all of Meehan’s citations for indecent exposure and J-Dubs’ inability to find any pants that actually fit, we’re just the guys to kick this thing off and let you know what we have planned here at SBM over the next couple of weeks.  Here’s what you can expect:

  • August 21st – AFC East – SBM Contributor Patrick Young
  • August 22nd – NFC East – SBM Contributor Ryan Meehan
  • August 23rd – AFC North – SBM Contributor Patrick Young
  • August 24th – NFC North – SBM Contributor Jeremy Wiebe
  • August 25th – AFC South – SBM Contributor Kody Brannon
  • August 26th – NFC South – SBM Contributor Jeremy Wiebe
  • August 27th – AFC West -SBM Contributor Ryan Graham
  • August 28th – NFC West – SBM Contributor Ryan Graham
  • August 29th – SBM Exclusive – The Ex-Kicker’s Round Table on the 2013 NFL Contenders & Pretenders – J-Dub

As far as today’s installment is concerned, J-Dub and Meehan are here to tell you about ten things you may not be expecting, but that you should definitely keep an eye out for, because they are a hell of a lot more likely to happen than you winning your office pool, fantasy football league, or whatever other bullshit in which you wrap your football Sundays .

1) The Impending Collapse of the New England Patriots

God bless Bernard Pollard.

God bless Bernard Pollard.

It may not happen this year, but it’s happening soon.  In general, the Patriots are getting old in front of our very eyes, and specifically, the offensive line sucks, the only way they can move the ball on the ground is to send it FedEx, and right now Tom Brady has fewer targets than the Polish Air Force did in 1939.  This team is a Tom Brady injury away from 5-11 season and we all know it.  When Tom Brady got his ACL and MCL smashed in game one of the 2008 season and Matt Cassel took over, the Patriots finished 11-5, as opposed to winning their first eighteen games of the season the year before.  Brady is the only thing they really have left, because the Patriots have more missing pieces than a garage sale jigsaw puzzle.

2) The On-Going Tim Tebow Saga

If you want to make your brain explode, try to think of an athlete who has garnered more attention while doing less than Tim Tebow. Seriously, how much play in the media can a third-string quarterback get? ESPN is so desperate to make a story out of this guy that the fact that he scored a touchdown in the Patriots’ first meaningless pre-season game against Philadelphia nearly rivaled the coverage of the first moon landing.

3) The On-Going Aaron Hernandez Saga

You didn’t really think we were done talking about the Patriots, did you?  New England may very well be the best fodder for bloggers since we figured out how to cut and paste. Yeah, we get that everybody with a functioning cerebral cortex is completely fucking tired of this story, but we really would be re-miss not saying something about a story in which Bill Belichick actually changed his facial expression. Seriously, the man’s face is like a death mask made of weapons-grade Botox.

4) The Guy Who Will Have a Break-Out Season

J-Dub’s Pick: Kawaan Short, DT, Carolina Panthers

kawaan short star lotulelei panthers

I think this guy was a steal in the second round for Carolina, because he was nothing “Short” of a nightmare for B1G Ten offensive lineman. Star Lotulelei, Short’s new linemate in Carolina, looks to be the guy who will draw all the double-team action, which means Short will get plenty of chances to showcase his wares as a gap-clogging defensive tackle.

Meehan’s Pick: Matt Flynn, QB, Oakland Raiders

If there’s any way possible this could happen to someone wearing a New York Giants uniform that would be fantastic, but I don’t think that will be the case. I’m going to say Matt Flynn from the Oakland Raiders here is poised to have a breakout season, but only as much as somebody on the 2013 Oakland roster CAN have a breakout season. I think Matt Flynn is going to be really good, he’d just been in a couple of situations where would have never known. Hopefully he’ll end up putting up some legit numbers before he ends up as the next Jesse Palmer, and I believe this year could be the start of that.

5) The Guy Who Will Realize The Hard Way His Career Is Over

J-Dub’s Pick: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Am I the only guy who saw this guy can’t throw the ball over 30 yards anymore. Am I the only guy who saw this guy can’t throw the ball in cold weather? Am I the only guy who remembers that 38-year old quarterbacks have the lifespan of a government protestor in North Korea?

Seriously, the slavish idolatry of this guy drives me nuts.  Peyton Manning and his four MVP awards are literally the poster-child for the “fantasy football mentality” in which quarterbacks who amass ridiculous statisitics and choke in the play-offs are deified. What separates him from Tom Brady is his echo-location ability housed in his dolphin-like forehead and the fact that the closest thing to a super-model Manning has ever fucked is Kenny Chesney.

Meehan’s Pick: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Look for Vick to have a lot more of this sort of close, personal contact with opposing linemen.

Look for Vick to have a lot more of this sort of close, personal contact with opposing linemen.

Not surprising to see this piece as another pit stop on J-Dubs’ Peyton Manning “retire already, you bastard” tour. I actually disagree with this, but I will say the following: Much like Tom Brady and the Patriots, Peyton’s time is eventually coming. I don’t believe that it will be this year, but it’s about an Ambien and a half from sticking aluminum foil in the microwave if you know what I mean. But there’s an even better choice than those two geriatrics.

The Eagles’ offensive line struggles were well documented during the middle and the end of last season, and will likely carry over into this year. Much like Dubs saying that an injury at this point could be floating in the pool with all of the “career threatening” toys” for Tom Brady, the same could be said for team dog electrocution and the odds of his getting hit are still really high. A large portion of this whole Chip Kelly experiment is going to be based on a college-style offense, which Vick should have no problem running but I’m not sure the line is quick enough to manage that without Vick ending up in a full body cast.

6) The Team Which Will Be The Biggest Soap Opera

J-Dub’s Pick: The New England Patriots

The fact the the Patriots occupied the first three spots on our list ought to tell you something. The only team that ESPN is more fascinated with than the Patriots is the New York Jets, and the Patriots are really just the Jets with a accused murderer tied to them.

Meehan’s Pick: The New York Football Jet Streams

I have to go with the easy one here because the other night I was on Twitter and I was reading some of Mike Greenberg’s ridiculous tweets about how Mark Sanchez still has the ability to lead a bad team to a championship. I can’t believe that Rex Ryan still has his job. A culture of discipline is a respectable strategy in the NFL, but if it becomes a culture of losing you end up with what the New York Jets have become – An overrated, overprimed group of fools led by a finely combed clown who only made it to two AFC championships because he happened to be on the same team as one of the best defenses over the last twenty years. To be brutally honest with you, even with all of the Hernandez/Tebow/other assorted Patriots-related bullshit swirling around Foxboro, I can say without flinching that I clearly hate the Jets more. I’m so tired of everything Jets related.

7) The 2012 Non-Playoff Team Which Will Make The 2013 Playoffs

J-Dub’s Pick: The Miami Dolphins

Face it, if the Patriots do tank, the only other team in that division that can make the play-offs are the Dolphins. The Jets are a six-win team at best, and if the Bills want to see double-digit victories, there are going to need to get on the CFL schedule. Don’t look now, but the Dolphins have quietly risen to the top levels of mediocrity over the past few years, and the day is coming when they will be the beat team in the AFC East.

Meehan’s Pick: The New Orleans Saints

Although this seems like an easy pick, I would not be the least bit surprised if the New Orleans Saints come out and win their first 7 or 8 games right of the box.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they also only gave up 17 or 20 points per game this year, whereas last year they were prone to giving up any number above 32.  The Saints seem like an angry metal singer right now.

Perhaps they don’t seem “Phil Anselmo-level” pissed off, but that’s just a matter of style. Drew Brees isn’t the sort of guy you’d expect to be putting his Doc Martin’s through your face down in the mosh pit, but you had better believe this team is going to dish out it’s own version of “Fucking Hostile.”

On top of that, there’s a shitload of people who are in love with the Atlanta Falcons, which I don’t really get.  The Falcons played lights out football in the first half of that play-off game against the Seahawks, but came very close to blowing a game that they probably wouldn’t have won had they not been facing a rookie quarterback. The only thing they did to improve that team was to add a 30-year old running who is already a high-mileage guy and isn’t getting any younger. The bottom line is that getting rid of Michael Turner was a smart move, it’s not enough to propel them to the Super Bowl and replacing him with Stephen Jackson isn’t nearly the step up that everybody thinks it is.

Drew Brees: 5,000 passing yards or 500 rounds per minute? Pick one.

Drew Brees: 5,000 passing yards or 500 rounds per minute? Pick one.

So, here’s how it is going to play out. The Falcons look and smell like a team that will buy its own press bullshit about being a Super Bowl contender, then they will run up against the angry-ass Saints who will lay a torch-job on Atlanta not seen since Gone With the Wind.  You can totally see this coming; obviously, the Saints obviously were hamstrung last year by Roger Goodell’s bullshit, and this is their chance to serve up a serious helping of whoop-ass, and the victim is going to be a Falcons’ team that just aren’t as good as people think they are.

8) The 2012 Playoff Team Which Will Miss The 2013 Playoffs

J-Dub’s Pick: The Minnesota Vikings

What’s the difference between Adrian Peterson and Superman? Superman had a better offensive line. Even the biggest Viking fan out there can’t tell me that the Justice League wouldn’t kick ass over the three-quarters of a ton of purple lunchmeat the Vikings call a front five.  Shit, on a rainy day, even Aquaman is a better blocker than Phil Loadholt. If the Vikings ever put an honest-to-goodness line in front of Peterson, keeping the Vikings out of the play-offs would be as easy as keeping cellulite off a Kardashian.  But until then, the Vikings are a team with a solid defense, a superhero running back, and a quarterback whose biggest talent seems to be inseminating sideline reporters (within the bonds of wedlock, of course…)

Meehan’s Pick: The Indianapolis Colts

J-Dub really wanted to take the Colts as his pick, but the fact that he lives in Indiana coupled with his previous comments about the sainted Peyton Manning means he may very well be headed to the Witness Protection Program or in his front yard trading 12-gauge buckshot blasts with “Skeeter” and “Bubba.”  Yet another chalk pick on this end, but the Colts aren’t going to have the same momentum and drive that they had last year. The Horseshoes won 11 games last year, and even the most ardent Colts fan has to admit that they weren’t that good. Four of those wins were by a field goal or less, and another was in overtime. Of the five losses, one was to the Pop Warner team known as the Jacksonville Jaguars and another was a shit-hammering at the hands of the the New York Football Jet Streams.

9) The Team Most Likely To End Up With The First Pick In The Draft

J-Dub’s Pick: The Philadelphia Eagles

For purposes of full disclosure, I’m an Eagles fan pre-dating the Dick Vermeil era. But this team has a college coach, an offensive line that may not be able to block a hat, and a quarterback who by all rights should be turned into a human Liv-a-Snap. I’m setting my Eagles’ fan alarm clock for 2015.  Be warned for the record that if Chip Kelly is still the coach by then, I’m going to have a really good supply of batteries.

Meehan’s Pick: The Jacksonville Jaguars

Look, I know I’ve been hard on the Jaguars up until this point, so I figure: Why stop here? For ownership, it does suck that they have the least attractive sales pitch in the entire league but then again it WAS their decision to put a football team there.  And for the record, I’m tired about being from Florida constantly bitching about how their lives suck. They have three NFL franchises for the love of God, and two of them have won Super Bowls.

Even beyond the NFL, Florida sports fans have had more success than they fucking deserve. How hateable were those University of Miami teams? How much of a hypocritical shitpile was Bobby Bowden? Even beyond football, The Florida Marlins won two World Series based on the fact that they were owned by the guy who owned Blockbuster Video (remember those?), who made enough money to pave a six-lane freeway to Jupiter with a foot-deep layer of $100 bills by not renting porn, which as we all know is really the only reason why the VCR was invented in the self-knuckle-fucking first place.  The fact that a Florida team got to drink from the Stanley Cup some shit they drained out of the radiator of at least three different Ford pick-up trucks is a sports abomination on a level not seen since Kris Humpherys found out Kim Kardashian won’t do anal.  The weirdest part about that is that for the past few years, we’ve done nothing here at SBM but hear about how fellow blogger and Floridian Chris Humpherys had her begging him to knock on door number two.

But specifically to the Jaguars, how the fuck can anybody have any respect for a team owned by a guy who would be the perfect pick to be the Iranian Mr. Peanut?

By the way, we have just been informed by Kim Kardashian’s publicist that anal is not “necessarily off the table,” which we took to mean that it is open for negotiation.   Yeah, like anybody wants to tap that set of 250-pound post-baby set of mudflaps now. I’d rather sit through four quarters of Jaguar football.

10) Coaches Death Watch Pick ‘Em

NFL Coaches get fired. It is a fact of life. Jerry Glanville famously told a referee one time that the NFL stands for “Not For Long” when you make bad calls.  Ironically enough, Glanville No-For-Longed himself by giving away Brett Favre for a bag of magic beans and by doing flaky shit like leaving tickets for Elvis and other quasi-dead celebrities.  If Glanville were still in the NFL today, he’d be leaving tickets for Michael Jackson’s monkey and the second gunman from the “Grassy Knoll.”

Flaky shit not withstanding, NFL coaches get hired to get fired. It has always been  a continuous cycle of life, but nowadays it is fertilized by the galactic amounts of bullshit spouted by the omni-directional manure pumps like ESPN, which gave it a rate of growth not seen since Ron Jeremy’s “business end” post-Viagra.  In any event, let’s look at the coaches most likely to get a Jeremy-style “business end” in their own end.

1) Rex Ryan – New York Jets

rex ryan fired

  • Odds He Gets Fired: Not as good as the odds Meehan makes a foot fetish joke here
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: Better than the odds Meehan makes a foot fetish joke here

Lets face it. If Rex Ryan wants to stay in New York, he’s going to need to get the Jets into the play-offs. To pull of a Jet-based miracle of that scale, Rex should hire Capt. Sullenberger as an assistant. But I think we all know Rex has a sign up next to the dumpster at Jets’ headquarters asking people to save boxes for him.

Here’s the calculus. Owner Woody Johnson hired John Idzik to be the general manager, then forced him to keep Rex as the coach, but then didn’t offer Rex a contract extension. Add to that the fact Izdik traded away the team’s best player in Darrelle Revis. If that weren’t enough, let’ snot forget that Rex is still stuck with a defense held together with scotch tape and happy thoughts, and his best option for a quarterback is still The ButtFumble (Geno Smith is going to suck balls in the NFL…write it down now). Add it all up, and it is looking likely Rex will be filling out some change of address cards at the end of this season.

Regardless of your opinion of Rex Ryan, the guy can coach football. Anybody with any brains can look at the Jets and tell the problems with that team all revolve around management, not coaching. This guy got the Jets into two AFC Championship Games with The ButtFumble as his quarterback. Rexy won’t stay unemployed long.

Even beyond the ButtFumble, Rexy has proved he can handle can handle big market media pressure. That means he could take a few years away and come back to a place like Chicago once they realize that Marc Trestman’s prior NFL experience is essentially janitorial. It also means he can handle “savior” pressure when he gets a job like coaching the Detroit Lions.

2) Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions

  • Odds He Gets Fired: Roughly equal to that of Ndamuakong Suh getting yet another traffic violation
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: About as good as Gary Coleman coming back from the grave and being elected Pope

By all accounts, the Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is “a football guy.” Here’s a guy who played cornerback with the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and won a Super Bowl ring, which means he knows a little something about what it takes to build a winner. Couple that with the fact the Lions ended the 2012 season eight straight losses, and the fact that Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr.has been making Schwartz certainly seem like he is under the sword of Damocles, and all signs point to another last-place finish in the NFC North means Schwartz will be looking for work in January.

Besides, the Lions have 47 defensive linemen on their 53-man roster, which makes this the perfect team to hire Rex Ryan, and they can’t do that until they fire Schwartz.

3) Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys

Garrett: He's no Tom Landry.

Garrett: He’s no Tom Landry.

  • Odds He Gets Fired: Who the fuck really knows what Jerry Jones is ever really thinking?
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: What’s Dave Campo doing these days?

For some reason, Jerry Jones looks at Tony Romo and sees Troy Aikman, and he looks at Jason Garrett and sees a head coach that can make the Cowboys better than a .500 team. Worse yet, the Cowboys have choked in two straight “win-and-in” de facto playoff games. Frankly, Jason Garrett can’t fix this team, and there’s a host of reasons for that.

  1. Having Bill Callahan as the play-caller to improve over Garrett’s bizarre decision-making is a bit like hiring Riley Cooper to be your Cultural Sensitivity Trainer (Yeah, you knew there was a joke like that coming. Or would you rather we said hiring Trayvon Martin as your Bullet Avoidance Coach?” Either way, now that we’ve offended everybody, we can move on...)
  2. The idea behind Callahan calling the plays is to have Garrett focusing on overall game management. This can only mean he can do shit like icing his own kicker again.
  3. Two words: Jerry Jones. Let’s be brutally honest here: J-Dub is an Eagles’ fan, while Meehan bleeds Giants’ blue, but we both love Jerry Jones because he has kept the Cowboys circling the mediocrity drain for 15 years now, through sheer brilliance such as the soon-to-be exposed Callahan mistake, his absolute refusal to hire a legitimate general manager, which has led to the Cowboys being ion the verge of being a Chernobyl-style salary-cap meltdown.

Look for the Cowboys to be no better than 9-7 once again; and look for another inexplicable set of off-season decisions in Dallas. Especially look for Garrett to be gone to the if Cowboys have another epic playoff failure.

4) Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans

  • Odds He Gets Fired: It is all riding on Jake Locker
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: Munchak will be the head coach at Penn State when Bill O’Brien finally goes back to the NFL

There’s good news and bad news in Tennessee for Mike Munchak. On the upside, even though owner Bud Adams has remained largely silent this off-season, the Titans are giving Munchak a legitimate chance. The Titans have a history of sticking with coaches through lean times; look how many bad seasons the Jeff Fisher-led Titans endured in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. The downside is that Adams has made it clear he is willing to let some heads roll, as what happened with ex-general manager Mike Reinfeldt instead. That was the warning shot across Munchak’s bow, 6-10 won’t cut it this season. The worst side is that it is very conceivable the Titans could easily be in the same position as the aforementioned “1st overall pick” Jaguars.

5) Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

  • Odds He Gets Fired: Roughly the same as gravity continuing to work until the end of time
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: Rivera could easily be the next Wade Phillips, meaning he is the next guy who is such a great defensive coordinator that every keeps forgetting what  a shitty head coach he is

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is a former player, and so is Rivera, which means they have a little bit better perspective about on-the-field issues than most. However, that perspective will mean about as much as a Kardashian marriage if the Panthers don’t immediate address two problems. Cam Newton has to step it up and become an every-day, real-deal NFL quarterback, and he showed signs of that at the end of the 2012 season in which the Panthers won 5 out of six games. but it is going to take more than signs, it is going to take consistency. The second thing the Panthers must change is a defense that couldn’t stop a high-school team. The addition of planet-sized defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short should help that.

Having said all that, the odds that Rivera still has a Carolina mailing address a year from now are roughly the same as George Zimmerman presenting a lifetime achievement trophy to Jesse Jackson at the next BET Awards.

6) Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders

  • Odds He Gets Fired: Who the fuck ever really knows what goes on in the NFL’s version of North Korea?
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: Even Wal-Mart isn’t hiring right now

Yes, we know Allen only has been in Oakland for one season, and he’s has a roster with a talent level somewhere Eric Estrada’s acting skills and Bill Belichick’s ability to move his face. The Raiders will field at least 14 new starters in 2013.  Allen’s choices for a starting quarterback are Matt Flynn and Terelle Pryor. Darren McFadden has as much chance being on the field for all 16 games as Ellen DeGeneres has of being featured in “Beaver Hunt.”  The defense gave up 443 points last year and doesn’t look to be much better this season. What it all boils down to is how much patience will owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie have with what is clearly a rebuilding project.

7) Gary Kubiak – Houston Texans

  • Odds He Gets Fired:  Kubiak is in more desperate need of some hardware than a Home Depot after a hijacking of their supply truck.
  • Odds He Gets Another Job:  Roughly the same as Andy Dick showing up on the latest episode of “Cops” being in possession of a whole bunch of shit pharmacists call “Schedule I.” In other words, pretty fucking good.

Houston has a tradition of firing coaches who just can’t get over the hump.   Ask Bum Phillips what we are talking about.  He made the old Houston Oilers into one of the best teams in football in the late 1970’s, but he got fired for not being able do something anybody else could do: beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is yet another example that transcends football. Bill Virdon was one of the best baseball managers of the early 1980’s, and he made the Houston Astros a consistent contender, but his seemingly legislated inability to beat the Dodgers and/or the Mets led to his taking a middle management position with Old Country Buffet.

Either way, Kubiak bring a trophy to Houston, be it an AFC Championship or (gasp!) a Lombardi.

By the way, Bill Virdon never worked for Old Country Buffet. He did however become Kim Kardashian’s publicist.

8) Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals

  • Odds He Gets Fired:  50/50.  But then again, the Bengals are so incompetent, the odds are also 50/50 they forgot how to print out the 1-800-Legal-Zoom forms to fire him.
  • Odds He Gets Another Job: Roughly the same as you being able to purchase your own helicopter within a month from now, and not one of those Soviet military surplus jobs either.

Lewis’ inclusion on this list may come as a surprise, given the fact the Bengals are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. It’s really another example of the aforementioned “Bum Phillips Syndrome.” Granted, the usually and chronically inept Cincinnati Bengals have definitely moved up the NFL food chain since they drafted quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. The problem is that the Bengals revert to being the Bungles in January; they were a non-factor in either wild-card playoff game, and Lewis has never won a playoff game with Cincinnati. It is entirely possible that owner Mike Brown may lose patience with another playoff failure.

How many of these things will actually happen? Who knows, but the odds are at least some of them will.  We can’t have whiffed on everything, not even the jackholes at ESPN do that.   If for no other reason but to find out how wrong we are, you will want to stay tuned to Sports Blog Movement over the next few weeks, as we will be breaking down the entire NFL season division-by-division, team-by-team, and just about any other way we can think of.

It’s just like buying lottery tickets. The more chances you take, the more chances you have to get it right.  In other words, there’s a lot more “wisdom” coming from us, and you won’t want to miss any of it.


Filed under Sports

7 responses to “Sports Blog Movement NFL Preview: Ten Things To Watch For in The 2013 Season

  1. Reblogged this on Dubsism and commented:
    The first installment of what will be an extensive SBM breakdown of the upcoming NFL season.

  2. hdsnake867

    After seeing two things to watch for in the top photo, nothing else seems to matter.

  3. Pingback: 8 Bold Predictions For the 2013 NFL Season | Coach's Rant

  4. Pingback: Coaches Death Watch – The First Rex Ryan Death Rattle Has Been Heard | Dubsism

  5. Pingback: What We Learned From Week 12 of the 2013 NFL Season – Time For You To Vote On Our Poll Questions | Sports Blog Movement

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