Wednesday, 6 a.m.
It's decided. Everyone is going to win. No one is going to lose.
The NFL will be a 32-team tie this year. Everyone will score 500 points. No one will give up any.
The Patriots will be good. The Panthers will be good. The Seahawks will be good. Heck, even the Browns will be good. The Titans. The Bucs. Even the Rams.
“We know our goal has to be playoffs,” said Rams' defensive lineman Aaron Donald, whose team hasn't made the playoffs since 2004. “We’re thinking about that every day. That’s what you want to do for the fans. We don’t want to wait.”
I read the Bills are a sleeper pick for the post-season. The Chargers are going to make it because they have a chip on their shoulder. I read that Drew Brees makes the playoffs possible for the Saints. The Bears feel "league-wide disrespect'' they aren't getting more picks for the post-season. New Detroit signee Anquan Boldin hopes to lead the "great young Lions'' to the playoffs.
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Every game will go to sudden death, and every quarterback will lead his team down the field in overtime. Every defense will throw a shutout. Every receiver will make highlight reel catches.
I have read the reports from the various camps, and I believe them all. Robert Griffin III is a star again. Tony Romo is in great shape. The Patriots will go 4-0 without Tom Brady, and 12-0 with him. The Falcons will score 30 a game. The Broncos will miss Brock Osweiler, except that they won't. There are those who think the Dolphins will reach the post-season without buying tickets.
This is what the preseason is all about. Every player is going to come back from injury, and from subpar play, except for Trent Richardson. Every rookie will pan out. No one will fumble. No one will hold. Every play call will be the right one. No one will be a bust.
Just you wait and see.
The Giants will win because Jason Pierre-Paul “looks like a beast.” The Jets will be great because they hung onto Ryan Fitzpartrick.
Cam Newton will be even better. No one will cover Julio Jones. Ryan Tannehill will be Dan Marino. Blane Gabbert will be Joe Montana. Khalil Mack will be Lawrence Taylor.
And so forth.
Look, I understand. Reporters are merely feeding the beast when they write glowing pieces about the Eagles and the Rams, who, of course, are going to the playoffs. Heck, you can pick a name out of hat and do a google search, and you'll find someone who thinks that team is going to the playoffs. No one is going 3-13. No one is going to throw an interception.
Drew Brees will be young again. Sam Bradford will be efficient. Teddy Bridgewater will be feared in the deep.
And the next commercial will star Peyton Manning.
Do you ever wish for a dash of reality? It isn't enough to say that Jacksonville will be better a season after giving up 428 points. They've got to be deep into the playoffs. Rex Ryan will bluster his Bills to the post-season. Dallas will make a run at the Super Bowl, even though the Cowboys are too entrenched on the suspended list to get there.
Look, we all expect New England, Carolina, Arizona and Seattle to make the payoffs. They're the NFL's elite. We'd be surprised if Denver, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Green Bay didn't make it. Someone has to win the NFC East. Even Washington might make the playoffs. That leaves 22 teams fighting for two spots. So which four make it? I'd guess Kansas City, Minnesota and two of Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Oakland.
But I could be wrong. (Gasp).
A lot of it is going to depend on the little things. Turnovers. Penalties. Injuries. Winning close games. Dropped passes. Red Zone. Third downs. All of the tiny things that are the difference in losing 20-17 and winning 20-17.
Cleveland isn't going to win. Tennessee isn't going to win. Los Angeles isn't going to win.
Everyone else might.
Isn't that why we watch?