Posts Tagged ‘nfl preview bonanza’

Unabated to the Quarterback: The NFC East

We’re taking a different route with our NFL preview this season. Eschewing typical predictions—those require some form of legitimate knowledge—we’re asking what each NFL team means. An NFL season is a research paper, and each team enters it with a thesis statement.

New York Giants (11-5)

Why Aren’t the Giants Any Better?

“Virtue is nothing but a just temper between propensities any one of which, if indulged to excess, becomes vice.” —Thomas Babington Macaulay

Our introductory question is perhaps a counterintuitive one, given how, you might remember, the Giants won the Super Bowl last season for the second time in five years. But New York was, by the basic measurements, the worst team to ever do so: Its 9-7 record was the worst by an eventual champion, and no team had ever advanced to the Super Bowl after accumulating a negative point differential during the regular season, let alone win one.

It is hard to reconcile, then, these two different Giants teams — the one that was so thoroughly mediocre during the regular season (they lost to the Redskins! Twice!) and the one that steamrolled the 15-1 Packers and edged the Niners and the Patriots in the playoffs. Which team are the Giants really?

The answer, and this has been true for some time, is frustratingly in the middle. The Giants are a flawed team capable of overcoming those flaws in short bursts but not, it seems, for sustained stretches.* They are the modern sports franchise that thrives when it is counted out: the embodiment of every “Nobody believed in us!” cliché. The us-against-the-world mentality seems particularly powerful in football, a sport so built on emotion and where wanting it more might actually mean something.

*The counter-argument you can make here is the first dozen games of 2008, when New York was 11-1.

On the other hand, the Giants would also be better served if the NFL were like the NBA, where mediocre regular seasons were routinely rewarded with playoff berths, so New York could coast from Weeks 1 to 17 and then do its thing each January.

People believe in the Giants again, which is precisely why they shouldn’t. Continue reading

Unabated to the Quarterback: The Last Judgment in the Preseason, AFC

In case you missed yesterday’s Part I, discussing the NFC, here’s a helping hand.

16. Buffalo Bills (3-13)

If any team is going 0-16 this season, it is the Buffalo Bills. Aside from C.J. Spiller, they have little discernible talent, and they just made arguably the least inspired coaching hire in the history of the NFL.* They play in a division with three strong to quite strong playoff contenders, and they will almost certainly lose five of their six division games. And they still have the ugliest uniforms in football.

*Chan Gailey? Really? I know multiple Bills fans who were more depressed by the Gailey hiring than they are by living in and around Buffalo.

As for Spiller, though, that guy is going to be GOOD.

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Unabated to the Quarterback: The Last Judgment in the Preseason, NFC

“Don’t wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day.”

–Albert Camus

Don’t worry. Over the course of this, the second season of Unabated to the Quarterback, I do plan on expanding our epigraphical purview beyond simple Albert Camus. Eventually.

But why, indeed, shall we wait for the Last Judgment of the NFL postseason and the Super Bowl to level our own indictments and criticisms and praises of the 32 franchises that constitute America’s favorite sport? Why not just start now?

There are so many ways to format a season-opening NFL post. Just last season, I pulled out all the stops in our NFL Preview Bonanza. I’m afraid I shot my wad a bit on that, and there seems to be no real point of me rehashing the same favorite players and the same classic games for all 32 franchises. I thought of following the Bill Simmons route of summing up plotlines with quotes from a film; alas, those are only fun if you’ve seen and admire the film in question.* I could assign correspondences between each team and a character from The Wire, as well, although this would lead to massive stretches, spoilers, and alienation for those who haven’t seen the show.

*We get it, Bill. You REALLY like Rounders.

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