It's the first tantalizing note of the NFL returning -- first the schedule, then the draft, mini-camps, camp, pre-season, and then....oh, how I've missed you, football.
1. Sun, Sept. 9 at Buffalo, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS
2. Sun, Sept. 16, OAKLAND, 2:15 p.m. MDT, CBS
3. Sun, Sept. 23, JACKSONVILLE, 2:05 p.m. MDT, CBS
4. Sun, Sept. 30, at Indianapolis, 4:15 p.m. EDT, CBS
5. Sun, Oct. 7, SAN DIEGO, 2:15 p.m. MDT, CBS
7. Sun, Oct. 21, PITTSBURGH, 6:15 p.m. MDT, NBC
8. Mon, Oct. 29, GREEN BAY, 6:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN
9. Sun, Nov. 4, at Detroit, 1 p.m. EST, CBS
10. Sun, Nov. 11, at Kansas City, 12 p.m. CST, CBS
11. Mon, Nov. 19, TENNESSEE, 6:30 p.m. MST, ESPN
12. Sun, Nov. 25, at Chicago, 12 p.m. CST, CBS
13. Sun, Dec. 2, at Oakland, 1:05 p.m. PST, CBS
14. Sun, Dec. 9, KANSAS CITY, 2:15 p.m. MST, CBS
15. Thu, Dec. 13, at Houston, 7:15 p.m. MST, NFLN
16. Mon, Dec. 24, at San Diego, 5 p.m. PST, ESPN
17. Sun, Dec. 30, MINNESOTA, 2:15 p.m. MST, FOX
Three Monday nighters, a Thursday, and one Sunday nighter (and depending on how both teams look come week 12, that Chicago game could be flexed in for NBC.) That's a lot of prime-time exposure.
I say 3-0 to start, possible loss to Indy even with a better secondary with Dre Bly (we can now cover both Harrison and Reggie Wayne), good shot at beating SD at home, now that they're run by the NORV!!! Pitt might be a toughie, but it's at Mile High. Green Bay = pushover. Detroit stinks. Possible loss to KC on the road, but they're aging and not improving. Travis Henry goes monster on his old team; could go either way in Chicago depending on the Sex Cannon and whether the Bears D is OK. Beat the Raiders twice, beat KC at home. Houston will still suck. Another possible loss to the Bolts; Vikings are not exactly a devastating team. Naturally, this all depends on Jay Cutler stepping up. Saw some good things, saw rookie mistakes, but he has a legitimate franchise back in Travis Henry now, and that will help.
I think this could pan out for a 12-4 season, especially if Shanny drafts someone to buck up that defensive line and get the sack numbers the Horseheads have been missing since Trevor Pryce left. Speaking of the draft, Awful Announcing has set up a Sports Bloggers Mock Draft, and I'm drafting for....surprise, the Broncos. Should be fun. If you have any suggestions for draft picks -- of course, I'm leaning towards a D-lineman or LB, leave 'em in the comments.