Now you know why we can't settle on a name for our weekly letters segment. Here are the fun predictions for the NFL season, the ones that will make you cry, laugh, cry, and stop reading before they're over because Jiminy Christmas is this gonna be a long one.
By the way, all of these predictions, and the ones from the over-unders, will be COMPLETE crap by Week 5. Enjoy.
Jon: I want to pick the beautiful and talented Aaron Rodgers, but I don't think he can put up quite the same numbers as he did last year, and the simple regression will knock him out even if he's still at the top of the list. I'm going with Ben Roethlisberger instead. I expect the Steelers to be high-scoring and offensively dick-swinging*, basically the opposite of their '70s identity, and for Roethlisberger to have a huge year (I hate calling him Ben, but I also hate writing out his name. It's a problem). He's got two great receivers in Wallace and Brown, and if he stays healthy is a great QB. Also, I'm picking them to be really good. That helps.
* I just wanted to write that set-up for a Roethlisberger joke, but now that I'm there it's too easy.
Sean: The MVP is always a QB for a winning team. They also have to not suck. That basically narrows it down to Eli, Schaub, Cutler, Stafford, maybe Rivers, Brees, Matty Ice, Flacco, Big Ben, Rodgers, and Brady. So it narrows it down to Rodgers and Brady. Obviously the more handsome man wins and Rodgers comes home with his second straight award.
Steve: The Saints will have relatively low expectations because of their offseason debacles, but when they turn out to be a very respectable 11-win team, the credit will go to THE MAN in New Orleans: Drew Brees.
Defensive Player of the Year
Jon: I'm going with Jared Allen. I think he breaks the single-season sacks record, and even if the rest of his defense sucks, the writers will feel compelled to give him the award.
Sean: Julius Peppers. He's going to run away with this award in the beginning of the season and then get worn down and the Bears will lose in the first round of the playoffs.
Steve: I'm going with the Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants winning the Super Bowl last year will make him stop being so underrated, and his face mask will give him a brand for people to latch onto. He's also an excellent defensive player.
Rookie of the Year (I know they give out offensive and defensive ROYs, but come on)
Jon: I think the Colts could win 7 or 8 games, especially in their division, so I'm going with Andrew Luck, who happened to run the same 40 time as Cam Newton.
Sean: Luck or RG3? When in doubt don't bet on Daniel Snyder doing anything right. Luck.
Steve: Two hugely touted quarterbacks are going to be starting for their new NFL teams. My pick is based on the fact that one of them has a team that basically consists of poop, whereas the other is working with a 5-win team, which is better than nothing. Robert Griffin III is my pick.
Coach of the Year
Jon: I have a really good feeling about the Steelers this year, what with their division being weaker and getting to play the AFC West. I'm going with Mike Tomlin.
Sean: Is Sean Payton an option when the Saints are terrible without him? I'll go with the new guy in Tampa whatever his name is because they are going to be feisty and people are going to slob on his knob about it.
Editor's Note: The new head coach in Tampa Bay is Greg Schiano, most recently the head coach at Rutgers. He's gonna suck.
Steve: I think that if the Lions can sustain their winning and sneak into the playoffs again, Jim Schwartz will be rewarded with the Coach of the Year award.
First Coach Fired
Jon: After starting 1-2, Rex Ryan benches Sanchez for Tebow, only for the team to continue to suck as God stops giving a shit about football this year, getting Rex fired about 7 weeks in. Rex Ryan disappears for 6 months and resurfaces as a competitive sailor on a ship called the "Chum-Guzzler."
Sean: Rex Ryan. He's going to shoot his mouth off and the Jets' defense isn't that great anymore. The media scrutiny that will come when a team with bloated expectations loses to Buffalo and Miami will be too much and Woody Johnson (this is actually the best name) will fire Rex. Hide your toes, hide your wings: unemployed Rex on the prowl.
Steve: I'd pick the Battle Toad (thanks for the joke, Big Daddy Drew) if KC weren't determined to give Romeo Crennel a full year to watch KC suck. The coach I see most likely to get fired mid-season is the Bills' Chan Gailey. Though I think the Bills are a team to watch this year, if they suck, Gailey's a good guy to blame.
Most Likely Team To Have Red Sox-esque Mutiny
Jon: The Washington Redskins. I have literally no faith in Mike Shanahan and he just seems like a real dick. I know it doesn't take much to piss off LaVarr Arrington publicly, but dicking around Chris Cooley and then just cutting him was not exactly a great way to endear the coach to the team. Also, he's going to want RGIII to play his way, effectively neutering what could be a great weapon, and the team is going to suffer for it. Of course, Dan Snyder is about as accommodating as Red Sox ownership, so none of this will matter because Shanahan's a big, overrated name-brand coach (hey, just like Bobby V).
Sean: The Detroit Lions. We already know their best defensive player is angry, their coach doesn't mind fighting other coaches over handshakes, and Matthew Stafford is a drunk frat boy. The pressure that comes from being expected to win games is going to cause these tucchus clowns to send group texts complaining about how they miss playing cribbage with Teri.
Steve: The Philadelphia Eagles. They hate their coach (as does everyone), and they're just not that good. There are enough big personalities and hugely talented and highly-paid players on this team that, when they start 2-5, the front office's phones will be BLOWING UP with text messages about Andy Reid.
Least Valuable Player (not including, like, long snappers and shit)
Jon: Whoever wins the starting job in Arizona, Cardinals fans lose. So either Kevin Kolb or John Skelton (which would be a great name if he were fronting an indie-rock band - John Skelton and the Pigskin Troubadours, maybe).
Sean: Well this would have been a lot more fun if Chad Johnson and TO hadn't just been released. I'll go with the Steelers offensive line. Block you fat fucks.
Steve: Hahahahahahahahaha Blaine Gabbert. He led the league in sack yards lost AND fumbles last year! He's balls terrible.
MVLP (Most Valuable Little Player)
Jon: I would normally go MJD, but he's holding out. Plan B: I know he's a baseball player, but if Dustin Pedroia played football he'd dominate that shit because he just wants it so much. Until the point that he gets tragically maimed going after a fumble because THE GUY JUST WON'T QUIT.
Sean: Ray Rice.
Steve: It's obviously the player that tries the hardest and has the biggest can-do attitude of any little guy in the NFL. Danny Woodhead, who is an NFL player oddly enough.
Biggest Leap Forward
Jon: Like Sean below, I think Sam Bradford takes a big leap. I also think Julio Jones becomes the second best receiver in football this year next to Calvin Johnson.
Sean: Sam Bradford. His division is still really weak and I think he's still a talented player.
Steve: Last year's lockout-shortened summer training schedule made the start of the season hard for a lot of players, especially incoming rookies. With a full year under their belts and a complete offseason training, certain sophomores are bound to shine this season. One that comes to mind is Cardinals' cornerback Patrick Peterson, who was dynamite in the return game last year, but can certainly take a huge step into being an elite cornerback this year.
Biggest Step Back
Jon: At some point Brian Urlacher will no longer be good. He was great for a while and has been very good for a few years now, but he's injured and getting old and I think he falls off the cliff this year. However, he'll be given the Ray Lewis treatment so everyone will still pretend he's great.
Sean: Charles Woodson. It pains me to say it, but Woodson is going to take another step back. He's a Hall of Famer nearing his end and still has all the right instincts but his physical skills are slipping. He's moving to safety from the slot but either way I see an injuries and decline for him this season. So step the fuck up BJ and Clay.
Steve: Bills' running back Fred Jackson had a career year in many ways last year at the age of 30. He had a Y/C average of 5.5, and he averaged 93.4 rushing yards/game. But he missed six games last year, and is officially on the wrong side of 30. I like him a lot, but I don't see him having a great year.
Jon: Atari Bigby. I always loved Johnny Jolly, because he was a big fat guy but not too jolly, but he's out of the league. Colt McCoy is a great name for a quarterback or a rancher and really nothing else.
Sean: TJ Houshmandzadeh. Go to the 1:22 mark.
Steve: As long as this guy stays in the NFL, it's not a competition. It's Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Most Underrated Player
Jon: LeSean McCoy was probably the best running back in football last year, and he's criminally underrated by both his own coach, walrus-man hybrid Andy Reid, and the football watching public at large. He'll get 15 touchdowns and 2,000 all-purpose yards again this year, and it'll be pretty ho-hum.
Sean: Ray Rice. He's the entire offense for the Ravens and he still produces. He catches passes better than just about anyone, runs hard, and is durable.
Steve: I think a guy that went from a little overrated to very underrated with the Vikings falling off a cliff is Percy Harvin. He can do it all and is an excellent receiver.
Most Overrated Player
Jon: Eli Manning is an interesting choice because while he has 2 Super Bowls, it's more a function of his team getting hot at the right time twice and his being a very good but not great quarterback. He's not in the same league as his older brother, but many want to put him there. Otherwise, Antonio Gates. He's constantly injured and hasn't put up incredible stats in a few years, yet everyone just agrees that he's the third best TE in football. I ain't buyin' it. JERMICHAEL FOR LIFE!
Sean: Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. We get it you used to be good and you yell loudly doesn't mean you aren't too old and slow to cover anyone.
Steve: Obviously I'm gonna pick a Jet. Bart Scott has gotten a lot of credit for being a great linebacker, but he's soooooo overrated. He made a Pro Bowl in 2006, congratulations. As Bill Belichick said after the Patriots' win against the Jets last year, "37 points on the best defense in the league, suck my dick."
Player People Would Love The Most Amount More If He Were White
Jon: Ndamukong Suh basically did the same thing as Kevin Love last year, stomping on a helpless player. If he were white we'd go crazy about how tenacious he is and how he just lost control in the heat of battle, not use coded racist language (or just outright racist language) about how he's a thug. I'm looking at you, Skip Bayless, Jim Rome and Colin Cowherd.
Sean: Michael Vick. Imagine if he were a white guy from Nebraska. He'd be this generation's Fran Tarkenton!
Steve: Do you understand how much more people would love Maurice Jones-Drew if he were white? He'd be a Danny Woodhead except actually just about the best running back in football.
Jon: I wouldn't bet it, but I could see the Seahawks being secretly good. Totally in on the Russell Wilson bandwagon and they have a legit home-field advantage and a crappy division.
Sean: Chargers. They are also in a crappy division and I still think Rivers can be good. I expect them to be the 10-6 division winner that no one wants to play in round 1.
Steve: Arizona Cardinals. Their offense could be decently above average, and their defense could be very good. And that will be enough for the Cardinals to be playoff contenders with two awful teams in their division. You could also make a sleeper argument for every team in the AFC West.
Most Disappointing Team
Jon: Chicago Bears. Brandon Marshall ain't doin' it for me, Cutler and Forte have a hard time staying healthy, Urlacher is old as shit, and LOVIE SMITH IS STILL THEIR COACH. Also, their division is crazy difficult.
Sean: Steelers. They are aging, injury-prone, and their receivers are great at going deep which is impossible if your line is five fat fucks with ACLs that will rip into a million pieces the first time Roethlisberger holds the ball for twelve seconds. Derp I'm a fat quarterback.
Steve: Baltimore Ravens. I still think they'll be good, probably about a 9-win team, but their biggest strength for a decade (linebackers) may not be a strength this year. Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson are gone, and their outside linebackers are going to be some new guys. Ray Lewis is still on this team, and while he's probably okay, he's OLD. Their offense relies very heavily on Ray Rice and bombs from Flacco, and if you live by the bomb, you die by the bomb. This could be a somewhat disappointing year for our friends in Baltimore.
Jon: This will always be won by the legendary Gilbert Brown, no matter how many years he's been out of the league.
Sean: Ndamukong Suh. God damn he must be on HGH.
Steve: Brandon Jacobs. He'll look even bigger in San Fran.
Craziest Thing Roger Goodell Does
Jon: Has James Harrison killed. Blames it on Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder.
Sean: Makes a rational decision and is fair towards the players.
Steve: Reduces Sean Payton's suspension as long as Payton agrees to have Goodell's ginger scrotum wiped all over his face.
Lamest QB Competition
Jon: The poor, poor Arizona Cardinals. I would feel bad for Larry Fitzgerald if he weren't making $130 million to catch footballs.
Sean: The Seahawks. Jesus Christ you signed Matt Flynn after one good game and then drafted Russell Wilson, a good player in college who won't be good in the pros (pretty similar to Flynn actually). The only redeeming quality about the Seahawks is Marshawn Lynch.
Steve: Dolphins, Matt Moore vs. Ryan Tannehill. Both of these guys are terrible (I'm assuming Tannehill is terrible because he's a rookie and who the hell cares about him), and Ryan Tannehill received a National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar Athlete Award. NERD
There it is. All 2,500+ words of it. If you made it through, we salute you. If you have further categories, leave them in the comments and we'll take a crack at 'em.