Contenders, pretenders and fender-benders

Chris Duprau

As it is a fact of life in the NFL, each year, some teams from which you expect nothing, start off hot, some that everybody thought would be great start off slow and some are a train-wreck waiting to happen.

Let’s see which teams will still be rocking long after week eight and which teams would be better watching from the sidelines.

There has been no team more fun to watch thus far this year than those J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. With Chad Pennington at the helm and Curtis Martin running like he’s been drinking V-8 and Red Bull with every meal, there is reason to believe in the Meadowlands. The Jets have been showing me something good, which is why I’m labeling them a contender.

The 2-0 Detroit Lions have caused more disbelief then a sold-out John Tesh concert. How are the Lions 2-0? I was just about to write Joey Harrington off as a bust, and then he started playing, not necessarily great, but decently, which is a lot better than how he was playing before.

The key to the Lions has been rookies Kevin Jones and Roy Williams. They are a nice surprise and will probably save GM President Matt Millen his job, but you can’t seriously believe they’re going anywhere. At least for this year, the Lions are a pretender.

The cardiac kids known as the Jaguars have also started with a 2-0 opening. In seasons past, the Jags have been one of those on-the-threshold teams that people keep thinking will make a playoff run. I have never been one of those people, and despite the Jags two wins, I’m still not one of those people.

I know they have an impressive defense that has only given up 16 points in two games, but their offense is more boring then an 8:30 a.m. theology class. How you can score 20 points in two games and win them both is mind-boggling. People are calling them this year’s Carolina Panthers, but the Panthers had a decent offense last year. As the Jackson Browne song goes, the Jags are a pretender.

Next to the Eagles, I take no greater pleasure in a seeing a team lose than the Dolphins. Lucky for me, this year I am going to see the Dolphins lose a lot. They’re offense is absolutely horrific.

I once believed that the Giants offensive line from last year was the worst line of all time; then I watched the Dolphins. Their line makes last year’s Giant line look like a bunch of Pro-Bowlers.

Miami has also gone against a statement I’ve made for years and that is that Jay Fiedler is a good quarterback. Instead the Dolphins have decided to go with the untested, unproven A.J. Feely. His only accomplishment last year was beating four teams with under .500 records and losing to the only good team he played, which happened to be the Giants. (Shameless plug: Go Big Blue.)

Miami got a rough deal when Ricky Williams went to chronic instead of the end zone, but this team is going down fast. Watch out, the Dolphins are going to be a huge fender-bender.

Finally, some of you readers may have been surprised by the Seattle Seahawks starting off 2-0, because, well, they’re Seattle. Let me tell you, though – This is not the same old Seahawks. In fact, I was not surprised for a second about them as they are my pick to win the NFC this year.

I know I’m going to get mugged by Eagles fans for that comment, but Seattle is really good. Hasselbeck is turning into a fine quarterback, and Shaun Alexander is a monster running the ball.

The only flaw on this team is that they can be just horrible on the road. They remind me of the band Foreigner. I like listening to them at home, but in concert they are the worst thing you will ever see. (To this day, the only concert out of the more than 70 concerts I’ve been to, the only concert I’ve ever walked out on was the Foreigner’s.)

This season, though, Seattle has started off with two road wins, which already ties them with last year’s total. There is no doubt in my mind that this team is a contender.

Now for this week’s picks. Last week I was 3.5-.5. (The .5 is because I technically didn’t make a prediction on the Giants game, but it could be construed that way, so I reluctantly give myself a half win and half loss.)

There will be no dispute on my Giants prediction this week as I say they will beat the Browns. All the losing streaks are over, and after creating more turnovers than a bakery last week, the Big Blue Wrecking Crew seems to have a little bounce back in their step. Let’s hope it continues.

I’m not sure why, but I like Oakland to beat the Bucs. It is a horrible Sunday night game, and nobody is going to watch it, but the Raiders have showed at least signs of life. The same cannot be said about the Bucs.

It kills me to do this, but with the fact that they are only giving four point on the spread, my bet of the week is the Eagles. (I am hyperventilating as I write this.)

The season has only just begun, and already, it’s shaping up to be another tremendous year of football.