THE OTHER 31: Kickoff Week, 2010

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11. Houston Texans: The Colts of the regular season. And ironically, they can’t beat the Colts (1-15 against them, lifetime). “This is their year!” cries everyone. Kubiak shows such flashes of ineptitude at times it makes you wonder how he’s an NFL coach. The Chris Brown HB Pass on the Goal Line last year comes to mind. Thanks Texans, I’ll have another one.

12. San Diego Chargers: I don’t know what A.J. Smith is trying to prove, but the high profile spittin’ contests in San Diego are really going to come back to haunt them I think. Playing hardball with your Pro-Bowl LT and deepball/#1 WR in a vertical offense might not be such a great plan. Antonio Gates becomes an easy focus for opposing Defenses and who’s there to make them pay?

13. Miami Dolphins: I’ll call them the 49ers-lite with a better QB in Chad Henne. Solid defense and a top-flight running game. By now, they’re pretty much entirely Parcells-caliber personnel, which makes them a contender. I wouldn’t call them exciting but they’ll be in the Wild Card hunt til the bitter end…and watching Brandon Marshall try to behave himself in Miami oughta be a hoot.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers: Big Bad Ben, what a hole you’ve dug for your team. The momentum could be completely against the Steelers by the time Roethlisberger is allowed back in the facilities. If only the pros could pay cupcake teams to help them work the kinks out for the first few weeks of the season like college teams. They’d have to leave their female fans at home, of course. I wonder if Willie Colon can still block 20 year old girls with a ruptured Achilles…

15. Philadelphia Eagles: PUT IN VICK! PUT IN VICK! PUT IN VICK! …well, you got your wish, jackals. You finally chased McNabb out of LP Field, but not quite out of the NFC East. I can’t believe they call this “the city of Brotherly love” – what a joke that is. The only good thing you’ve given us is Green Man and Johnny Coltrain. Cheesesteaks are the most overrated food of all time.

16. New York Jets: Haven’t you had enough of these Hard Knocks yet? Rex Ryan is fat and foul-mouthed. Darrell Revis is good. Tannenbaum is shopping for pricey vets like Octomom at Costco. The Jets think they’re going to the Super Bowl. They’re not.  Sanchize will struggle yet be commended for his poise, just like last year.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: It’s what you all came to see. Number 17. Right in the middle. Lots of questions marks, not gonna lie. Garrard will have a good year as the Jags establish themselves as a passing team, setting the stage for Ponder or Luck sometime around 2012 or 2013. The Defense will give up a lot of passing yards. Great special teams play. Lots of offensive weapons emerge. The season starts off with a bang in Denver and the city slowly, but surely falls back in love. Like that girl in high school who you always thought was cute and after dating a bunch of terrible girls, all of a sudden she seems pretty awesome. Yeah, like that.

18. New York Giants:A lot of injuries this offseason. And I refuse to believe in Eli Manning. Just won’t do it. Everyone credits their D-line for winning the Super Bowl for them, but the O-line had a lot to do with it, too and after this season I’m anticipating the Giants to implement a Cash-for-Clunkers plan and rebuild the trenches.

19. Oakland Raiders: I think I would rather be lost in the heart of Oakland than in the stadium known as the Black Hole. Who knows what kind of maligned life one has to live to end up as a Raiders fan. But this is going to be a tough team to beat this year. Somehow the stars have aligned and Al Davis might just have himself the magic combination of track stars and former 1st rounders on their last legs to put a playoff run together. And Jason Campbell will finally have the chance to work out of a manageable playbook without having to learn a new one the next year.

20. Tennessee Titans: Vince Young has a mental breakdown in week 1 of the 2008 season, loses the team to Kerry Collins, and the team goes 13-3 and to the AFC Championship. In 2009, Kerry Collins cannot win any of the first six games,  including a 0-59 loss to New England, and Bud Adams demands that Fischer put inVINCEible back in. He wins 8 out of 10, they finish 8-8 and Chris Johnson gets the yards from scrimmage record. You tell me what’s gonna happen. Do I think Chris Johnson goes back over 2000 yards? No. Do I think Vince Young wins 80% of his games and doesn’t have a mental collapse? No. OK, 20 sounds about right.