I begin “The Most Anticipated Post Of the Year” by noting … that you’re getting not one, not two, not even three. (“super colon blow”* announcer voice) I’ll give you one more guess. Four?
Not even close.
(*: note: I clicked at least 45 pages deep in a Youtube! search for this all-time classic SNL ad parody. If you've never seen it, you have truly missed out on one of Phil Hartman's greatest moments.)
You’re getting AT LEAST nine most anticipated posts! Oh hell yes, I’m breaking this out, one for each division, and then the overall postseason*! I’m telling you, I am GEEKED for this season**!
(*: I honestly am this fired up. I’m actually attending Friday’s crappy scrimmage to boot! The last time I made both preseason games? 2006, the last time I was as fired up for a season as I am for this one. And yes, I still think trading a fourth round pick for Herm Edwards was a smart move, and if I ran the Chiefs, Herm would still be our head coach. Deal with it. Ask yourself this – was Todd Haley better than Herm? (Nope). And I wouldn’t wager even $0.01 on Romeo winding up better than him …)
(**: if you don’t think this is a BLATANT, beyond obvious attempt to speed up the push to 600 posts (this one is 587), then you’re dumber than an Obama economic proposal. (pause.) Vote Romney!!!)
Let’s begin in the NFC East, also known as the only division I believe every team will at least finish .500 in (click picture below for full Excel schedule breakdown):
* Final Order of Finish:
1. Dallas Cowboys (win tiebreaker on divisional record)
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins
* First Read: you win seven in a row to close your season, good things are probably going to happen as a result. I have Dallas opening 3-6 … then rallying to steal the division in the season finale. Also, closing with 5 of 7 at home doesn't hurt either.
* Biggest Game(s): obviously Dallas holding serve at home to open December. That ultimately decided the division champion. Also, the Philly games against the NFC South. Wound up being HUGE in figuring out the abject clusterfuck the final wildcard wound up being. (Cue the “stay tuned …” voice).
* Seems wacky: nothing, honestly. Philly entered the finale simply needing to win (or have Dallas lose) to win the division, or possibly get the six seed as their failsafe. Dallas, the Giants, and Washington all entered the finale very much alive for the final wildcard slot, and in Dallas’ case, very much alive for the division. This almost played out exactly like I expected entering the schedule running ... except Dallas and Philly flipped spots.
* Division (Home) Uniform Rankings: I love this ongoing feature at ESPN.com this week, so I'm blatantly stealing it to get another category in each division's prognostication. (FYI: both the Royals and the Chiefs are in the top 50 … I’m guessing the Royals appear in tomorrow’s 26-50 ranking, and the Chiefs crack the top 25. Also? denver ranked 107 (out of 122). Seems a tad too high, by about 15 spots, to be honest. Even in a damned pointless "rank the pro sports uniform" throw-away feature, I can find a way to hate denver. Admit it: I'm pretty damned talented!!)
Anyways, NFC East (Home) Uni Rankings:
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Washington Redskins
3. New York Giants
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Reason: normally I oppose white jerseys for home games in football … but come on, the Cowboys white look is CLASSIC. They're the only NFL team that can get away with it. I love when the ‘Skins go Indian red with puke yellow, it’s another classic look. Giants and Eagles both rank in the bottom five uniforms in the league, although the lower-case “ny” on their helmets somewhat redeems the Giants. Philly’s unis? Terrible. Beyond atrocious. What in the hell is that wing-like thing on their helmet and shoulder pads? I say wing-like, because I honestly have NO CLUE if the artist has ever seen an eagle’s wing before. It looks like my four year old nephew designed it, and, uum, while he’s “My Special Little Guy”, let’s just say, art is not going to be his strength in life.
* Division MVP: Tony Romo, Cowboys. If Dallas wins this division, it’s because Romo finally elevates his game to a championship caliber-level. I have them winning the division. (u2 voice) el-e-va-tion!
* Division Coach / Year: “Fat” Andy Reid, Eagles. He has to reach the playoffs, and probably win at least once, once he gets there, to keep his job. (Side note to Scott Pioli: if Jeff Lurie is dumb enough to fire “Fat” Andy Reid? The VERY NEXT PHONE CALL Mr. Reid gets had BETTER be from your, sir.)
I predict the Eagles will at least reach the clusterfuck of 10-6 NFC teams desperately brushing up on tie-breaker procedures to figure out who the six seed is. (Trust me – when the full NFC plays out, you’ll be as “wait, what?!?!” when it comes to who the six seed is, as I wound up. And yes, a freaking “fling it against the wall and see if it sticks” projection on STRENGTH OF VICTORY to figure out the second place NFC South team? Actually wound up determining the six seed amongst the three teams tied for it (and I have SIX NFC teams finishing 10-6 … although 3 won their divisions). In the words of Jack Buck, “Go crazy folks! Go crazy!!!”)
* Song From Mixology 2012 To Describe Each Team:
Dallas Cowboys – “The Best of What’s Around” by DMB. Hey, they do project to win the division, albeit through the biggest backdoor playoff berth since the 1995 Lions.
Philadelphia Eagles – “I Want It All” by Queen. It would have been “All Or Nothing” by Theory of a Deadman, but, uum, they didn’t make the initial Mixologist’s cut.
New York Giants – “Dancing On The Ceiling” by Lionel Richie. Defending champs. I can only DREAM of the day I can say that about the Chiefs.
Washington Redskins – “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees. I’d argue they’re the best last place team in football … but just wait until I get to the NFC South projections. I have the ‘Skins three games ahead of the last place NFC South team (with a victory in hand). And on a neutral field? The NFC South loser would be AT LEAST a touchdown favorite today, over the ‘Skins. Also, I just like typing ‘Skins. #callmearacist,kcstar.
* Bottom line: this division ROCKS. No, really – it effing ROCKS. I could watch NFC East teams battle all Sunday long, and again on Monday night, every week. And clearly the powers that be agree with me – no division has more prime time and stand alone national contests, than the NFC East does, with 24 (out of 64 games NFC East teams will play. More than 1 out of every 3 NFC East scheduled game, will be in the national slot. (john davidson voice) That’s incredible!)
* Final Prediction: For the third consecutive offseason, no NFC East team will change its head coach. That HAS to be some kind of record for this division, the most competitive in the NFL for decades running now.
Coming next bat time, same bat channel? The NFC North – the ONLY division so far that went EXACTLY as I thought it would entering the running of the schedules …