Welcome back to our 2014 season preview of NFL teams that you love, hate to love, and love to hate. Asinine Analysis is here to give some fans hope and other fans a face mask penalty back into reality.
Sometimes a division seems to take over an entire conference. Sometimes it has to do with talent. Other times it has to do with a soft schedule. It can even be a combination of the two that leads a horrible team to win a handful of games.
Our next targets — the teams of the AFC West — all but took over the AFC playoffs last year. Except the Oakland Raiders; they were terrible.
Record: 13-3. Most points scored within an NFL season with 606. Most touchdowns within a single season with 76. Third team in NFL history to go over 7,000 yards. Peyton Manning takes records for both touchdowns and passing yards. Denver Broncos become AFC Champions.
And they would probably trade it all for a Super Bowl win instead of that horror show last February.
The Good: The gang’s all here! There’s Peyton, and Demaryius, and Little Wes, and Orange Julius, and… Okay, No-Show Moreno and Eric Decker may have gone away to college or however sitcoms usually drop characters, but Montee Ball and Emmanuel Sanders get the star treatment now.
This offense is so good, offensive lineman are getting picked up in fantasy football drafts. I should know. I took Chris Clark in the 12th round.
The Bad: You know the basic premise: when a team is ridiculously amazing on one side of the ball, the other side will probably be the polar opposite.
Whoever said that clearly didn’t expect this year’s Denver Broncos. Champ Bailey may be gone, but he was 100 years old in football years. To pick up the slack, the Broncos signed not quite so old cornerback Aqid Talib.
In other news, kicker Matt Prater was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. No, it’s not because marijuana is legal in Colorado. Prater is in the Kerry Collins’ support group.
The Ugly: One of the biggest knocks against the Broncos last year was that they had an easy schedule. They had the AFC South, which consists of the Indianapolis Colts and a bunch of practice squads, and the NFC East, which consists of a group of turnover-prone teams that Matt Schaub would have a hard time competing against.
To make up for it, the Broncos will have to run the gauntlet of the NFC West.
Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 11-5. What can I say? Any given Sunday. Or 11 of them.
The Good: The offensive line is a little less stout than last season, which means that Alex Smith won’t have quite as much time to dump the ball off to Jamaal Charles.
It’s one of the weirdest but most useful plays ever, especially when you had Charles on your fantasy team like I did. All you need to do is have a tight end that never runs a route to block. Then you have your running back stand around like he forgot he was supposed to get off the field. The quarterback pretends to look for Dwayne Bowe, then all but under-hands it to the running back. Repeat until someone on the defense wakes up.
The Bad: The defense has lost Flowers, who now has a chip on his shoulder and will get a chance to shake it twice this year. The offense has lost their line. Alex Smith is looking to lose his contract because he wants more money.
It’s starting to look like the same old Chiefs.
The Ugly: Andy Reid’s look has gone from car mechanic as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach to Southern Santa Claus in his KC digs. Black pants, red shirt, red hat. He doesn’t have the white beard yet, but give it time. He’s only been coaching the Chiefs for a year so far.
Record: 4-12. The good news is that the Oakland Raiders won the games they were supposed to win: against Jacksonville and Houston. Then they won a couple more so they could be just good enough to fall in the draft ranks.
The Good: Maybe Maurice Jones-Drew has something left in the tank. Maybe James Jones needs a change of scenery. Maybe Darren McFadden won’t get hurt. Maybe Khalil Mack will be the next Lawrence Taylor.
And maybe the ghost of Al Davis roams the field of O.co at night.
The Bad: The scouting process of the Raiders has to be as follows: when the Raiders need a better player at a certain position, which is all the time, Mark Davis goes into his library, opens the mouth of his mummified father Al Davis who is displayed instead of a fireplace, and pushes a secret button. A door to an elevator opens, which leads to a secret underground lair where a pool of sharks reside. Mark Davis then dresses a group of human-sized dummies in the football jerseys of the players he is thinking about, covers them in cow blood, and throws them into the pool. Whatever jersey floats to the surface where a name can be read is signed for an insane contract.
This is the only way that the signing of starting turnover Matt Schaub makes sense.
The Ugly: When you have a fan that calls himself “The Violator,” you have to second guess yourself when thinking about going to a Raiders home game. It’s something that I’ve been struggling with as my friends and I continue our bucket-list adventure of visiting every NFL stadium. Will you survive? Maybe. Will your sanity survive? Probably not.
And everyone wonders why human bowl-cut and Raiders owner Mark Davis is flirting with the idea of moving the team. And not just because the entire plumbing system over-flowed last year, turning the Oakland-Almeda County Penitentiary into a giant sump.
San Diego Chargers
Record: 9-7. And a playoff win on the road? All that was missing was a game against the Cleveland Browns so that Philip Rivers could give Norv Turner the finger.
The Good: I cannot get enough of Philip Rivers. He is the perfect blend of Rich Gannon attitude and Eli Manning facial expressions. My obsession has gotten so bad that I’ve started posting pictures for Philip Rivers Phriday on social media. Forget those Manning Bros. commercials. Philip Rivers needs his own one-hour variety show.
Also, Keenan Allen is a beast, and the Chargers have mini-Antonio Gates waiting in the wings when Senior retires.
The Bad: The Chargers are just in the wrong division at the wrong time right now. If Peyton Manning would have just gone and won the Super Bowl last year and retired in peace, things could be even more beautiful in San Diego than the weather.
Hopefully Rivers has a few more years in him before Hollywood calls.
The Ugly: Manti Te’o’s foot hurts again, so we’ll see if he misses another four games before he can slide onto the field under the radar without fans jeering him for his imaginary girlfriend. Sorry, Te’o. Never forget.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.