By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The football season has begun. Fall has sprung. Winter is coming. Football’s back and everybody is feeling positive about everything.
It’s time we change that.
For as much as every organization (except the Dolphins) is full of hopes and dreams of winning Super Bowl LIV (terrible Roman numeral, by the way), the reality is that 31 of them are going to come up short in that endeavor. Some will fail spectacularly. Some will have their dreams dashed by October. Others will come close, only to get smacked in the face by a football reality in January or the exact evening of Feb. 2, 2020. Thirty-one of 32 teams — 96.88 percent — will end up losing.
It’s going to be awesome. Who doesn’t love a good loss?
So now, before we get into picks for Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season, let’s run through a quick explanation of what will prevent every team from winning the Super Bowl this year. I know that I’ll be correct on 97 percent of them, which is more than I can ever say about my actual picks.
Arizona Cardinals: They are the Cardinals. Need we say any more?
Atlanta Falcons: It’s impossible to look at the Falcons as anything but emotionally fractured after the events of Feb. 5, 2017. It will take decades for the stain of that collapse to be permanently fumigated from the organization.
Baltimore Ravens: We’re not sure their quarterback can throw the football. Based on his postseason performance, we’re not even sure if he can hold a football.
Buffalo Bills: They have exactly one playoff appearance since the year “The Sopranos” and “Family Guy” debuted on television. They lost that one game 10-3.
Carolina Panthers: The Cam Newton/Ron Rivera-era Panthers define the term “good enough.” They’re always good enough to win on any given week. But they’re never good enough to win it all — even when they go 15-1 in a regular season.
Chicago Bears: It’s hard to get past a double-doink finish to your best season in a dozen years. Having the hardest schedule in the NFL won’t help.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are hoping that bringing back almost the same roster of a team that went 6-10 will lead to success. Not even the removal of Marvin Lewis can make that magic happen.
Cleveland Browns: Too much hype. So much hype. An impossible-to-live-up-to-all-the-stupid-hype level of hype. Watching this story crash and burn may be the most dramatic of all.
Dallas Cowboys: Keeping your star player in Mexico all summer seems like a strange way to prepare for a season.
Denver Broncos: It’s awesome that Vic Fangio is getting his first head coaching opportunity after a lifetime in coaching. Truly. That being said, most head coaches are bad at being head coaches, so it feels safe to assume that list just got longer.
Detroit Lions: Detroit’s plan to solve offensive issues? Hire Darrell Bevell. Suuuuuuuuuuure.
Green Bay Packers: People forget that the Packers only won six games last year. And seven games the year before that.
Houston Texans: They added a lot of talent but it just feeeeeels like maybe elevating a former character coach to an assistant GM role doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Indianapolis Colts: Remember when the Colts acquired Jacoby Brissett prior to the 2017 season and boasted in their press release that Brissett was coming off “perhaps one of the greatest preseason performances by a quarterback in NFL history”? The hype and praise thrust upon him since Andrew Luck retired has been almost as over the top. He’s Jacoby Brissett, people.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Well, I mean, they probably are going to win the Super Bowl, if we’re being honest with one another. But I suppose Doug Marrone’s big-game turtling two years ago in Foxboro is difficult to just forget.
Kansas City Chiefs: Andrew Walter Reid. Do people forget this man is the head coach of the presumed Super Bowl favorites/co-favorites? Do people forget his typical mishandling of crunch time in the AFC Championship Game at home last January? Do people expect this to radically and magically change overnight for the 61-year-old? Cue the crazy pills clip.
Los Angeles Chargers: They were the best team in the AFC last year. They still got their doors blown off in Foxboro. They won’t be the best team in the AFC again.
Los Angels Rams: The last time the Rams lost a Super Bowl to the Patriots, they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs the following year. The ’04 Panthers did the same thing. The ’05 Eagles went 6-10. The ’15 Seahawks technically won a playoff game (thanks to Blair Walsh) but then promptly lost the next week. The ’17 Falcons likewise lost in the divisional round after losing a Super Bowl to New England. Long story short: No team loses a Super Bowl to the Patriots and manages to survive. Can’t be done. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick wreck you for years to come.
Miami Dolphins: They don’t have enough good NFL players. Definitely seems like a potential snag.
Minnesota Vikings: I could write my own explanation or I could just share this tweet:
My buddy sent me this could this be true?
Kirk Cousin Career Stats
Record In Primetime Games: 5-13🙈
Record vs Winning Teams: 4-24 🙈
Record vs Winning Teams This Year: 0-5 🙈
Career Road Record: 12-23-2 🙈
Career Record On Monday Night Football: 0-7 🙈
— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) December 11, 2018
And one more:
Kirk Cousins is now 4-24 against teams that are above .500 in his career.#MINvsSEA
— 247Sports (@247Sports) December 11, 2018
New England Patriots: I don’t know, man. Just, odds? Numbers? You can’t go to five Super Bowls in six years, probably. You definitely can’t win four of them, either. Seems too difficult. At a certain point, you’re bound to have a bad day in January, right?
New Orleans Saints: I saw exactly one quote from a Saints player saying how the players on the roster aren’t and won’t be affected by the bogus ending to last year’s NFL title game. Denial is not a river in Lousiana.
New York Giants: They *are* kind of overdue for a random Super Bowl win … but I also think they’ve gotten a little too much pep in their step after a good preseason from Daniel Jones. There’s no way that turns out well.
New York Jets: Did you read that story about how psychotic Adam Gase is about his job? How he dedicated 25 hours a day to coaching and 0 hours a day to sleeping? How he ran out of the hospital after the birth of his child so that he could make a meeting with Peyton Manning? Very cool! Awesome. That article forgot to mention that he’s 23-25 as a head coach.
Oakland Raiders: After dedicating $100 million to Jon Gruden, the Raiders went out and acquired a player who forced his way out of a winning organization with his endless shenanigans, only for that player to immediately begin new shenanigans on his new losing organization. And the shenanigans continue. This team also had far too much interest in Nathan Peterman this summer. Immediate red flag.
Philadelphia Eagles: The sports gods determine that Philadelphia only gets to be happy once per decade. They already had their fun for the 2010s. Sorry but I don’t make the rules.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Has the team that sputtered with a 1-4 record from Thanksgiving to Christmas last year really made enough changes in the offseason? For as much as you hear about “addition by subtraction,” that’s not actually addition.
San Francisco 49ers: Turns out, dedicating $800 billion to a quarterback with no proven track record might have been a premature franchise decision.
Seattle Seahawks: Congrats to the 12s on being everywhere. So loud. So cool. (That’s it. Just wanted to congratulate the 12s. It’s been too long.)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Some kids were born in the Tampa area during the Bucs’ Super Bowl-winning season. Those kids are now entering their final years in high school. They haven’t seen the Bucs win a playoff game since their birth years. They haven’t seen them even play in a playoff game since 2007. The Bucs STINK.
Tennessee Titans: Any time your starting quarterback is potentially at risk of losing his job to Ryan Tannehill, you’re going to have yourself a bad time.
Washington Redskins: Please.
That felt nice.
(Making picks for Week 1 is nearly impossible. You have nothing to go on. Last year is almost entirely meaningless. It’s the second-hardest week to make picks, outside of Week 2, when you still have nothing to go on so you rely too much on the happenings of Week 1. What I’m trying to say is … let’s pray for 8-8, baby.)
(Wednesday lines; home team in CAPS)
Green Bay (+3) over CHICAGO
America is not tuning in on opening night to watch Aaron Rodgers lose. The folks love Aaron Rodgers. Or maybe .. they are? Does America love Rodgers or has he made the full turn to bad guy? I can’t tell, honestly. Anyways. I won’t pretend to know too much about Matt The Flower at this point in time, but I’ll give him some credit and assume he’s had a few things planned for this here football game for quite some time.
JACKSONVILLE (+3.5) over Kansas City
After spending an offseason hearing about how UNFAIR it was that they DIDN’T EVEN GET A CHANCE to possess the ball in overtime, after being christened as the darlings of the AFC all summer, the Chiefs now have to walk into Jacksonville, where it’s going to be 3,000 degrees and swampy, and where Nick Foles provides some much-needed adequacy for a team that was a play or two away from making a Super Bowl in 2017.
The Jaguars still maintained that top-five defense last year, when they ranked fifth in yards allowed, fourth in points allowed, and sixth in opponents’ passer rating. The problem was their quarterback, who ranked fourth-to-last in the NFL in passer rating.
Heck, putting all that down on paper, the Jags might go undefeated.
NEW YORK JETS (-3) over Buffalo
Imagine waiting eight full months for football to return, and then this is the game that you have to watch? Woof.
PHILADELPHIA (-9.5) over Washington
Jay Gruden was asked this week if Trent Williams would return, and he said, “I’m numb to the fact.” I don’t even know what he means.
Redskins look pretty bad, though.
Baltimore (-7) over MIAMI
Poor Brian Flores. I don’t think this is what he signed up for.
CLEVELAND (-5.5) over Tennessee
I do foresee the Browns Hype Train getting derailed this year, but not until after they start the season 4-1 against the Titans, Jets, Rams, Ravens and 49ers. That’s when the crash can begin.
Atlanta (+4) over MINNESOTA
CAROLINA (+2.5) over Los Angeles Rams
Let’s take a couple of NFC South underdogs. It’s Week 1, Claire. Anything can happen.
Indianapolis (+6.5) over LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
My patented “Super Dumbo Pick Of The Week.” Everyone’s favorite.
I know, it’s ludicrous, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that stupid things happen. And Jacoby Brissett walking into that tiny soccer stadium and randomly lighting it up for a few hours would qualify as such.
SEATTLE (-9.5) over Cincinnati
Is Seattle going to win the Super Bowl this year? Hey, maybe. They’re definitely going to beat the Bengals, though.
Detroit (-2.5) over ARIZONA
Remember when Kyler Murray went 3-for-8 for 12 yards and also got penalized twice for clapping while in the shotgun, and then he and Kliff Kingsbury played it off like it was no big problem because they were just running vanilla stuff, insinuating that they had some super-cool super-special stuff planned for the regular season?
I don’t believe them.
San Francisco (pick ’em) over TAMPA BAY
Remember last year, when the 2018 49ers were the 2019 Browns? Everyone was picking them as a sleeper to go to the Super Bowl, which obviously made them no longer sleepers and instead made them over-hyped. Losing James G. didn’t help, but still, that whole thing was destined to crash and burn regardless of the health of the handsome quarterback.
Maybe they’ll be decent this year, though.
DALLAS (-7) over New York Giants
It will be a big day for Jerry Jones, who is sure to wind up smiling and gently high-fiving on camera every time Ezekiel Elliott does something good, as if the owner did anything other than waste everyone’s time all summer long before giving the running back the money he wanted.
NEW ENGLAND (-5.5) over Pittsburgh
I recognize that the Steelers beat the Patriots during a New England low point last December, but 5.5 points? Are we not familiar with Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger in Foxboro against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? It’s … a bloodbath.
NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Houston
There was a stretch where I would occasionally pick against the Saints in prime time, only to be smashed over the head with the reminder that they literally dominated every prime-time game they played in for a decade. So then I succumbed to the pressure of history and started picking the Saints for every prime-time game, and then they would randomly lose sometimes in prime time, thus sending me into a mental tailspin.
What I’m trying to tell you is that I am broken with regard to this particular pick. I don’t know. I am sorry.
Denver (-1) over OAKLAND
Every year when the season opens with two Monday Night Football games, we all say, “Hey! They should do this every week! Two games! So good!” Then all of us on the East Coast invariably end up desperately trying to stay awake until halftime. It’s also difficult enough for Monday Night Football to present one enticing matchup every week. Demanding that output to double, while limiting the potential field to games taking place west of Texas? Ratings might suffer.
All of that being said, I simply cannot wait to watch the first 23 minutes of this football game before passing out. There’s no surer sign that football season has returned than that beautiful moment.
2018 Regular Season: 134-113-9
2018 Total: 142-116-9