This is the sixth time I've done one of these posts. The first five times were prior to the 2016 season, the middle of the 2016 season, the end of the 2016 season, the beginning of the 2020 season, and the beginning of the 2021 season. Why so random and sporadic? Because, as regular readers of this blog know, random and sporadic are how we do things around here.
Atlanta Falcons: Not much to say here.
Baltimore Ravens: That backup quarterback of theirs looks pretty good? I guess?
Buffalo Bills: Note to selves: don't start celebrating until the game is actually over.
Carolina Panthers: Maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?
Chicago Bears: Honestly, I had never heard of Matt Eberflus before now.
Cincinnati Bengals: In my pre-2020 post, I said "Joe Burrow? Well, I guess he won a national championship." Then in my pre-2021 post, I said about Joe Burrow, "I'm sure they're glad he's back." Just how glad they would end up being, I had no idea. Honestly, even now, Joe Burrow is the only guy on this team I can name. But look, I was rooting for you guys throughout the playoffs, and now I'll be rooting for you in the last game of the year (see "Super Bowl Prediction" below).
Cleveland Browns: In my pre-2021 post, I said "could maybe, finally, be starting to turn the corner." Um, well... hey, at least those Baker Mayfield commercials are pretty hilarious.
Dallas Cowboys: I swear, I have sworn off schadenfreude. It's not good for the soul.
Denver Broncos: Will Hank Scorpio buy the team and give it to Homer Simpson? And then try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?
Detroit Lions: So I guess Matthew Stafford wasn't the problem...?
Green Bay Packers: Look, I know you all are saying that you want Aaron Rodgers back next year, but I mean, c'mon, you're eleventy billion dollars over the salary cap, you have another quarterback that you traded up to draft in the first round entering the third year of his rookie contract, and, well, what has Mr. Rodgers really done for you lately? I know, it's probably just good P.R., since it seems like he'll be the one to decide that he wants to leave or retire. Then again, maybe this is all just overblown quarterback drama (trust me, I know all about that).
Houston Texans: Eeeyeah...
Indianapolis Colts: I can feel your pain. From here. Still.
Jacksonville Jaguars: At least you have the number one overall pick in the draft. Again.
Kansas City Chiefs: Apologies, Chiefs fans, but I was actively rooting against your team in the playoffs. Only because I'm jealous of how good that Mahomes guy is.
Las Vegas Raiders: It's funny, because I've been talking about the Seahawks trying to get Gus Bradley to come back for years now. Could this be the year? Probably not.
Los Angeles Chargers: See what happens when you move from San Diego? Now you're like the younger kid brother to the most popular guy in school (see Los Angeles Rams, below).
Los Angeles Rams: I called them a "JUGGERNAUT" (yes, in all caps) in the beginning-of-2021 post, and, well, looks like I was right. No jinx there...yet (see "Super Bowl Prediction" below). But seriously, this team is stacked. They're like the Los Angeles Dodgers of football, or something. I mean, Cooper Kupp AND Odell Beckham Jr.? Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, AND Von Miller? Ugh.
Miami Dolphins: Did you know that dolphins can go without sleep for up to five days?
Minnesota Vikings: Maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers? Although, I guess Kirk Cousins got selected as a Pro Bowl alternate, so whatever.
New England Patriots: Now you know how that whole getting-blown-out-by-a-team-that-is-running-up-the-score thing feels.
New Orleans Saints: I couldn't believe that Sean Payton had been there for 16 years. I still remember when he was an assistant at Dallas.
New York Giants: Honestly, I had never heard of Brian Daboll before now.
New York Jets: I guess the extra first round pick from the Seahawks last year didn't help that much? Honestly, I don't even know who you guys used it on. Jets fans, can you tell me? Oh, and as far as this year's first round pick goes - you're welcome. Use it wisely.
Philadelphia Eagles: Hey, at least you guys made the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers: So, Ben Roethlisberger has finally retired. Maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?
San Francisco 49ers: I called them a "JUGGERNAUT" (yes, in all caps) in the beginning-of-2021 post, and, well, they made it to the NFC championship, didn't they?
Seattle Seahawks: Well, now, THAT didn't quite work out, did it? Really, though, even with the whole Russell Wilson injury thing, they lost five games by only three points or less. Turn those five around, and suddenly you have a 12-5 record instead of 7-10. Anyway, I've heard a lot of talk about how the team needs more "stars" and that maybe they should follow the Rams' model and trade all their first round picks for the rest of eternity for said "stars." But! In my post-2016 season post, I said that the team has become "too star-dependent." Yes, I really said that! And it's not like they DON'T trade high draft picks for "stars" - see: Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, Jamal Adams. I actually think this team works best when they take "non-stars" who have been overlooked and thus have chips on their shoulders, and then let them unleash their vengeance on an unsuspecting league (also, the Rams actually have more "homegrown" players than you would think). Anyway, I think that if you can get the late-season version of Rashaad Penny to play like that all year next year (FINGERS CROSSED, KNOCK ON WOOD, LIGHT SOME INCENSE, ETC.), and you hire a defensive coordinator who knows how to get the best out of Jamal Adams, then things should be okay. I hope.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: FINALLY. So... maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?
Tennessee Titans: Not much to say here.
Washington...Commanders? Okay, then.
BONUS SUPER BOWL PREDICTION: I really want the Bengals to win, not only because it's a cool story, but also because there's usually a Super Bowl hangover for the loser of the big game and I would looooove it if the Rams were not as annoyingly good next year. That said, like I mentioned above, the Rams are stacked. So, I'm conflicted here. Do I go with what seems like conventional wisdom (the Rams are currently favored by something like 4.5 points, it fluctuates) and say Rams 23, Bengals 19? Or do I go with my feelings and hope that the positive thinking vibes will help propel an underdog team of unknowns to their franchise's first title? I say... the latter: BENGALS 28, RAMS 27 (I'm not betting any money anyway, so who cares)