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It’s Time to Start Looking at Contenders vs. Pretenders

Well well well, it’s that time of the year, everyone. Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls, beer, and FOOTBALL. Yes, indeed, today is the greatest day of all time. I love Thanksgiving, but not solely because of the clear intangibles. I love not talking to my family and sneaking off to watch Matt Stafford throw 4 int’s. I love watching my dad (big Cowboys fan) drink himself to a nice slow coma as the Cowboys slowly get dismantled and he complains about how this was supposed to be “the Cowboys’ year.” Most importantly, I love how big of a week this is in the NFL.

Now is right around the time when we start seeing pictures like these:

I know what you’re thinking: What’s so great about a playoff picture chart. The answer: IN THE HUNT. Some of the teams are sometimes legitimately in the hunt. But go ‘head and take a gander at the 6-8 teams… YOU HAVE NO FUCKING CHANCE. You’re not in the hunt, you’re just not mathematically eliminated yet.

That’s why blogs like these are here to set the story straight. I want to separate who’s real and who’s not because it’s about that time of the year when Sam Ponder and co. are going to beat a dead horse for teams like the Packers and Eagles, even though they’re clearly hot garbage this season.

A few dishonorable mentions:

  1. Oakland Raiders (2-8): Are the Raiders really even disappointing at this point? I mean years and years and years of mediocrity have come down to this. They paid Gruden $100 MILLION to coach a team that is incompetent and hates him. He traded away the prize possession in Mack and then a still promising (IMO) Amari Cooper. Let’s also not forget that Derek Carr is quickly heading down the same path as his esteemed brother David  (oh & Derek is a cry baby bitch). Time to pack it in, Oakland, if you haven’t already. At least you have a fantastic draft to look forward to.
  2. San Francisco 49ers (2-8): I’ll admit that I don’t think the 49ers should be in this position. Garoppolo getting hurt was devastating and he was looking like a decent option behind the center. People forget that ACL injuries are pretty fucking serious. Nowadays, though, everyone thinks the recovery is comparable to rehabbing a sprained ankle. Have I ever torn an ACL? Nope. But I can tell you from friends that ACL recovery is no walk in the park. That shit is brutal. So 9ers fans strap up and hope to the heavens that Jimmy G aka the pornstar legend himself can fully recover from this one. On the bright side, another year, another top 5 pick in the first round. They have to put it together at some point right?
  3. Arizona Cardinals (2-8): It’s nice that no time is gonna go winless this year… or is it? If I’m the Arizona Cardinals I may be hoping we go winless the next couple of season to lock in some decently talented draft picks. This team flat out SUCKS. Josh Rosen is horrific and so far he’s proved absolutely nobody wrong . I’ve gotta admit that I also though head coach Steve Wilks would be doing a bit better as well. The Panthers have a history of grooming defensive coordinators into decent head coaches, but he doesn’t seem to be falling in line. Enjoy the Arizona golf in January, CARDS.
  4. New York Jets (3-7): I’m going to be honest for a sec, I really don’t know shit about the Jets other than the fact the Sam Darnold is violently inconsistent (SHOCKER – he was all through college, too) and that somehow Robbie Anderson is still allowed to play football after his absurd arrest this offseason .  Aside from those two things, the Jets are about as irrelevant as it gets these days. Thank Christ himself that they don’t get the prime time visibility that the other team in the big apple gets though, right?
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7): Remember 3 games in, when the Bucs were the most prolific offense ever and Ryan Fitzpatrick was literally the GOAT? Oh yeah, how times have changed. I can’t really blame Fitzmagic, though. He’s literally doing what he’s done his entire career and I’m not really sure why it’s such a big deal all of a sudden. Notice how Jamey’s comes back from suspension and it all goes downhill. I’m telling you, I think that man is a walking cancer to any team. People also blow by the fact that he fucking sucks and he has since the day he stepped foot on an NFL field. But for some odd reason people like to debate another (allegedly) “overrated” QB in the NFC South – Cam Newton. I know I’m a Panthers fan but seriously what the fuck?! I won’t go on too much of a tangent here but all I really need to say is: Has Cam Newton ever been benched for a Harvard QB? NO, THE ANSWER IS NO!
  6. Buffalo Bills (3-7): I’m not really sure what to say about the Bills. They traded Tyrod, which seems reasonable, and drafted Josh Allen, which also seems reasonable. But somehow a team that was in the playoffs last year just got that much worse. I don’t really get what’s going on up in upstate NY. I’m convinced the Bills just don’t like to win. Even when they’re good they just lose the Super Bowl every season. Lesean McCoy clearly doesn’t have it anymore. Bills players hate Sean McDermott. And somehow Nathan Peterman (recently released – RIP) was the starting QB for more than 1 possession. The bills are a mess, and since they hate winning, I see them being a mess for an extended period of time.
  7. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1): Oh the Browns… ACTUALLY AREN’T THAT FUCKING BAD! I love Baker Mayfield, the guy is a winner. You know how I know he’s a winner? He’s already won 3 games for the Browns. We’re talking a feat that would take most QBs about 4 years to accomplish. Pretty, pretty impressive if you ask me. The man has gone to a QB-killing franchise and seems to be killing it. Myles Garrett is also a fucking animal. Seriously, this guy gets overlooked because everyone around him is below average but this dude is gonna be REAL. The Browns need to shoot down the Condalisa Rice bullshit and stay focused because I think they’re only a year or two away from throwing together a decent product.
  8. New York Giants (3-7): Everything you need to know summed up into one picture: Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, though. The Giants aren’t THAT bad. They’ve played good teams pretty close and they’ve won all three games that they probably should’ve won. The problem is that 7 losses this early in the year is no good. What the Giants really need to be worried about us playing themselves into a mediocre draft pick, especially given their mediocre talent on the team already. Saquon and whiny boy Beckham are good pieces to build around. But drafting 12th every year is when you start to fall into some trouble. I like the “winning” attitude they have right now but I can assure you the ownership and fans want this thing to spiral downward again so that they can pick up some talent in the draft. I must admit, though, that the boxing matches with inanimate objects is furiously entertaining and that might be the reason why the Giants keep getting prime time games.
  9. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7): Where to start with this one. The Jags has a pretty good team last year, but I think people set them on a pedestal that they weren’t ready to be on. Yes, they had a good team and made the AFC championship. But altogether, I don’t think they were THAT good. Lemme explain: Blake Bortles is not a good QB, plain and simple. Leonard Fournette is incapable of staying healthy. The wide receiving core is about as bad as it gets. And the defense is a system defense, meaning that once one team figures it out, all teams figure it out. The Jags also somehow, miraculously, have the Pittsburgh Steelers’ number and that’s how they reached the AFC title game. In reality, they’re just not that good. I don’t feel bad for the Jags or Jags fans at all. For one, Jalen Ramsey is a fucking douche. Also, three years ago the Panthers went 15-1 and lost in the SB. The next season? 6-10. SIX AND FUCKING TEN. So to that I say, welcome to the club Jags fans.
  10. Detroit Lions (4-6): I don’t have much to say about the Lions. Are they heading in the right direction? Are they still average? I just don’t know. Matt Stafford is the best of the worst. I like the guy but it’s impossible to predict what the hell you’re going get from him. They added a very very good RB in Kerryon Johnson, and it seemed like the Lions finally found themselves a decent running game. But, for whatever reason fat boy Matt Patricia just doesn’t like to run the ball. Their defense is just a standard NFL defense. They may or may not get a stop here or there but there’s nothing good nor special about them. I feel like people also have no idea when the Lions’ draft pick is every year. Seriously, when’s the last time you were like “Oh, shit, the Lions have the …th pick.” Literally never and it will probably stay the same this year.
  11. Denver Broncos (4-6): The Broncos are much like the Lions: EHHHH. Case Keenum is playing like Case Keenum again. Phillip Lindsay is pretty good, I must admit. He was a solid Fantasy Football pickup for the kid. Oh, and Von Miller is still the coolest human to walk the earth. Aside from that, NOTHING. I don’t like not hate the Broncos. They’re just nothing to me at this point and they play at a stupid field that’s super high in the sky, or whatever.

PRETENDERS

  1. Miami Dolphins (5-5): Ryan Tannehill, simply put, just isn’t the answer. He’s another severely below-average – to – average QB. A better depiction of him would be that he’s like a poor man’s Andrew Luck. He can’t stay healthy. He can’t win football games consistently. And he won’t be a starting QB for much longer, in my healthy opinion. He isn’t the only issue with the Dolphins. Can you honestly name 5 players on the Dolphins right now without looking up the roster? I think not, and that’s a problem. Franchises need to have recognizable faces and names to be successful and the Dolphins just don’t have that. Kenyan Drake…? Yikes? I’m not really sure. He puts up decent numbers but SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING decent. Even bad teams have a guy or two who should be doing okay. The Dolphins are another one of these teams that just won’t throw in the hat. It seems like every year they’re drafting in the middle of the bunch and that’s a recipe for disaster. They need to shut it all down next season, and get themselves a few draft picks in the upcoming years because what they’ve got going now isn’t the answer.
  2. Baltimore Ravens (5-5): I think the Lamar Jackson will be good… for about 2 years. I’m telling you these guys who are predominantly runners just can’t stick around. I know you think I’m stereotyping the man but there’s a reason he was the last pick in the first round and not the first pick in the first round. He’s an inconsistent passer who still misses passes that an NFL QB should be making. BUT HE’S NOT THE STARTING QB!!! Yeah, I fucking know, but he should be because Joe Flacco is so fucking far from elite. It’s funny, ya know, the “Is Joe Flacco elite banter,” but it should be shut down immediately. He’s not. He fucking blows. And now that he’s got an average defense, look what’s happening to him. RAVENS = OUT.
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5): I really just don’t like the Bengals. Marvin Lewis – SUCKS. Andy Dalton – SUCKS. Bengals defensive discipline – SUCKS. Their stupid fucking uniforms and helmets – SUCKS. The Bengals do this thing every year where they fire off to a hot start and then absolutely … you guessed it SUCK for the rest of the season. I’m tired of them and the attention that they always get because they’re much like my Carolina Panthers, in terms of market size and marketability, but for some crazy reason they get so much more attention than the Panthers. Maybe it’s because they have a defense full of serial killers. Who knows? But I do know that they have no fucking shot this year or any year in the near future with their Qb/Coach combo. You wanna know something that people REALLY forget? Joe Mixon punches woman. Yep, I went there. But, FUCK he’s a good RB.
  4. Indianapolis Colts & Tennessee Titans (5-5 & 5-5): Rob, why the FUCK did you put these two together? Because they both suck, they’re both pretenders, and they both have zero fucking chance of doing anything in the playoffs, IF THEY GET THERE. Let me tell you the difference between these two teams. One team has a pretty good QB and a shitty ass everything else. The other team has a GLORY BOY, ass clown QB, and a pretty good everything else. I don’t mean to be angry here, but this division just fucking blows and I’m tired of it existing. One team every year has a chance at 6 free fucking wins and that’s bullshit. “But they always play tight.” Fuck you. If the Saints/Rams/Chiefs/Pats/Steelers/etc. were in this division, they would LITERALLY never lose a division game. I’m not wasting anymore breath on these two FAKERS.
  5. NFC East (Besides the aforementioned Giants – Who cares about records): Yep, I grouped an entire division together in pretenders. You want to know why? These teams have respectable – to unrespectable records because they all just beat each other and then lose to every team outside of their division. YES, there are exceptions. I understand that. I’m not ignorant. But the bottom line is that none of the teams in the NFC East are even close to the top level right now. I don’t know what the fuck happened to the Eagles honestly. How do you win a SB with Nick Foles and then suck balls after your team gets even better in the offseason? That makes no sense at all. Fuck the Redskins, that’s all they get from me. The Cowboys won’t be good as long as Jerry is there, and that’s that. BUT, I do LOVE Zeke Elliot. He’s real as fuck.
  1. Atlanta Falcons (4-6): The Falcons are weird. They’re in a tough division so I understand a team playing below expectations in those circumstances. BUT, the crazy part is that the Falcons play VERY well in the NFC South and then they go and lose to ass wipes like the Browns and Cowboys. I don’t get it, honestly. Matt Ryan is good, but how good? You shouldn’t have to ask that about an MVP-winning QB in his 11th season. On top of that they have arguably the most versatile weapon in Julio Jones… but they never throw him the fucking ball in the red zone. If I was a Falcons fan I’d be just as frustrated as I am as a Panthers fan, if not more. I guess they’re injured? But I fucking hate that argument. Every team is banged up at this point in the season. Maybe toughen up? Pussies?
  2. Green Bay Packers (4-5): Aaron Rodgers is fine, yeah yeah yeah, we get it. But the Packers fucking blow all around him and it’s been like that for awhile. Mike McCarthy… HAHAHA. WOW. He fucking sucks huh? How can you actively hurt your team as a head coach as much as he does? It makes no fucking sense. He does nothing right. His clock management blows. His lack of leadership blows. And THUS, his team blows. He’ll be out of Green Bay, Wiscanson very soon, my friends. By the way, the Aaron Jones kid is fucking GOOD. But guess who won’t run him? If you guessed the soon-to-be-fired Mike McCarthy then you are correct. SHAKE IT UP INTERNALLY PACKERS.
  • Controversial Pretenders
  • Yep. Here’s the part where I really stir it up. If you haven’t seen your team listed yet, all I have to say is don’t get your hopes up too soon. The reason for this separate list is because these teams may, or may not, appear to have a chance; but, THEY DO NOT.
    1. Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1): The Vikings get a pass, but don’t get a pass at the same time. They have a new QB. It’s very hard to win immediately with a new QB unless he’s elite (i.e., Peyton Manning to the Broncos). But when you’re paying a slightly above average QB an elite salary, then the pressure is on. On top of that, they return the exact same defense that was tenacious as fuck last season. They should be good. Some might even say that they should be great. But, for whatever reason, ever since this: they’ve been extremely average and they have no one to blame but themselves and their stupid ass fans who can’t stop doing that dumb skol clap. I don’t know what they need to be better, but I do know they’re one of the most disappointing and underachieving teams of 2018-2019. Welcome to the club, SKOL.
      Seattle Seahawks (5-5): Russell Wilson has kept this team afloat, and that’s the only credit I’ll give the Seahawks. Not only are they pretenders, but they’re a bad team that has miraculously managed to play average all season. Who’s their RB? Who’s their best WR? All of their defense is gone. They. Are. Bad. But, they’re the exact type of team that my beloved Carolina Panthers will lose to this weekend, to somehow stay “in the hunt.” The problem for the Seahawks is that you can’t fake it at the end of the year. At some point their bad players will start playing bad football and they’ll lose games. Plain and simple. At least Russell Wilson can go clap Ciara all offseason while Pete Carroll and co. try to figure out how they can keep lying to the world.
      Carolina Panthers (6-4): I’ll be straight up here. I’m not going to invade your time with Panthers bullshit, because TRUST ME, I can go on forever with these fuckers. Cam Newton is a good QB. You can go fuck yourself if you disagree. The guy has done so much for this team for so many years, without any god damn talent around him. But now he’s got talent around him and they’re STILL playing like an average football team. First round draft pick DJ Moore is the truth… but why play a guy who’s really fucking good at football when you can play 48 year old Torrey Smith. The offensive line is starting to play like the line we all knew (and hated). If they had to protect Can Newton to save their family then their families would be absolutely fucked. Their defense was elite two years ago. TWO YEARS AGO. That’s not an eternity. But now they’re fucking awful. The “best linebackers in football”can’t tackle a soul. Eric Reid is more concerned with murdering every tight end in the NFL than being in the right position. Graham Gano is the GOAT until he needs to make a game-leading extra point. It’s pathetic. They’re pathetic. I’ll go to my grave arguing that the Carolina Panthers are the most frustrating team in football to be a fan of.
      Los Angeles Chargers (7-3): The Chargers have low key beaten the worst teams ever and haven’t beaten one even remotely good team. Yet, for whatever reason, people scream DON’T SLEEP ON PHILLIP RIVERS AND THE CHARGERS. Yeah, you gotta stop screaming that. They can’t beat the Steelers. They can’t beat the Chiefs. They can’t beat the Patriots. And I’m honestly not sure they can beat the Texans. Melvin Gordon = good. Keenan Allen = good. Phillip Rivers = good? The Chargers just aren’t intimidating. When I watch the Chargers, I have the same exact feeling every time… ehhh they’re okay. Okay isn’t good enough and the Chargers won’t win a playoff game from the wild card spot. Thus, PRETENDERS.
      Houston Texans (7-3): tHe TeXaNs HaVe WoN 7 In A rOw. Shut up. Deshaun Watson isn’t good. You know it, I know it, the Texans know it. I believe I also mentioned this earlier: they’re in the worst fucking division in football. The problem here is this – I know nothing about the Texans. I just know enough to be able to tell you that they’re not going to do shit. They, like the Chargers, are going to struggle winning even one playoff game. Therefore, if they play a better team, they’re going to have no fucking shot.
      New England Patriots (7-3): WOAH WHAT THE FUCK?! The Pats?! PRETENDERS??? Yes. Yes, they are and here’s why. Tom Brady is visibly declining. To win the AFC, he will have to win a shootout and I just don’t see him being able to keep up. Bill Belichek is a genius. I get it. You all think he’ll develop some crazy scheme to get past all the fuckery. I think this story is a little played out, however. The Pats can’t keep getting by with such a below average-talent team. Brady is good, but getting old. Edelman and Gordon are great receivers, but Brady is old. Their defense can’t consistently stop the Steelers not the Chiefs, and on top of that, they’d have to beat the Chiefs to win the AFC and I simply don’t think they can beat the Andy Reid crew for a second time. Disadvantage – Patriots. I, like every single football fan whose not a bandwagon or Masshole, am fucking PUMPED for the decline into mediocrity for the Pats, and I’m tellin ya, it’s coming real soon.
  • CONTENDERS
  • Here it is. The moment we’ve all been anxiously waiting for. To some, you may be surprised to see the teams listed as pretenders up to this point. To others, MAYBE YOU ARE A GOD DAMN MIND READER. In case you haven’t been paying attention, their are four teams left (keep up). In my mind, any of these four teams can raise the ole Lombardi trophy. I think it’ll all come down to the stupid fucking saying, “whoever is hot at the right time.”
    1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1): Ahhhh, I really hate this one. Don’t get your hopes up Steeler fans, I’m not putting you first because I think you’re the best. In fact, of the four teams remaining, I think the Steelers are clearly the least talented. But there’s something about that big block of a QB, Big Ben. I don’t how, but the man just keeps getting it done. Antonio Brown is E L I T E. I’m not kidding, that dude is truly a spectacle every time he plays. James Conner has filled in very nicely for system RB Leveon Bell after Bell’s VERY questionable decision to take a year off. But, hey, we all know RBs can play forever so why not? The defense actually isn’t that bad, despite early season struggles. On top of everything I have two overarching points about the Pittsburgh Steelers. First, don’t FUCK with the Steelers in prime time. I don’t know what it is, but those fuckers do not fuck around under the lights on national television, and guess what? PLAYOFF GAMES ARE PRIMETIME. My second point is this; do you ever experience those teams where, for whatever reason, you’re like damn, they’re fucking due to win it all. That’s how the Steelers are. They’re good every fucking year, but unlike the Patriots, they win their Championships with gaps in between. And yes, there’s been a slight gap since their last ‘SHIP. For those reasons, I would not want to fuck with the Pittsburgh Steelers come playoff time.
      Kansas City Chiefs (9-2): These last three are easy. I’ll start with the Chiefs. Kareem Hunt is nasty, Mahomes is clearly the best QB to ever touch grass (kidding… kinda). Tyreek Hill… HOLY FUCK. He’s an electric factory. The Chiefs have all of the weapons to score every time they touch the ball. Honestly, there’s no excuse why they shouldn’t. But, we all see the positives from the Chiefs. They’re obvious. Let me tell you why you should be concerned about your boner Chiefs. First – Andy Reid’s clock management. Second – the Chiefs “defense” (if it’s even fair to call it that). Third – the Chiefs ALWAYS lay an egg in the playoffs. It’s almost like Chiefs & Playoffs and Browns & QB are comparable – hopelessness. BUT, the Browns might have found themselves a QB… so does that mean the Chiefs can find themselves in the SB???
      New Orleans Saints (9-1): Wow. Where to start? Who saw this coming? L M A O!!! Everyone saw this shot coming. The Saints are a walking, talking clap factory. They’re so fucking good. Everyone shit their pants after the first two weeks because they looked horrible, but much like SB hangovers, I think the Saints had a little hangover themselves. Last year was the first year in quite some time that they were really, really good. After those first couple of weeks, though, the Saints HIT THEIR STRIDE. Their defense is fucking GOOD and very underrated. And their offense is so good that I won’t waste energy or words elaborating their effectiveness. At this point, both Vegas and I agree that the Saints are the clear front-runner. They’re the most talented team with the best defense of the remaining four teams. Bet BIG on the New Orleans Saints, folks.
      Los Angeles Rams (10-1): Ohhhh that other LA team. Except this LA team is the real deal. Aaron Donald is so fucking good. People acknowledge that he’s so fucking good. But AD might be se fucking good that he’s somehow still underrated. On top of that, the Rams’ defense is full of talent but they haven’t pulled it together. If anything they’ve done the opposite. IF they can figure out their defense then they’re a clear #2 in the NFL right now. But that’s a big, big if. I personally think Todd Gurley will win MVP. I don’t necessarily think he’s deserving of it (my vote would be Mahomes) but he’s kinda got that effect where everyone is saying it so it’s going to happen. Fair? Fuck no. But it’s not like it would be Shoehei Ohtani winning ROY over Miguel Andujar… yep, baseball reference for you tards. Look, the Rams are good but they’re clearly worse than the Saints. If they “get hot at the right time” then they can beat the Saints. But, I’m not quite sure that’ll happen. Also, keep in mind that it’s very very hard to beat a team in the NFL twice, and the Saints beat the Rams a couple of weeks ago in a pretty damn good game.
  • PREDICTIONS
  • Pittsburgh Steelers – 34 v. Kansas City Chiefs – 27
  • New Orleans Saints – 37 v. Los Angeles Rams – 24
  • And there ya have it. I’m not predicting the Super Bowl score. I’m not in the business of predicting the Super Bowl score. If I was, then I’d be rich as fuck and I wouldn’t share one of my wise ass secrets with you guys. AS OF RIGHT NOW, I’d have to say that no one is beating the Saints.
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