Once upon a time (ok, two years ago), NYU Brocal had this lovely little series called Gridiron G-chat. The concept was simple: every week, two bros would gather around the warmth of their laptops and chat about that weekend’s games. With Jeremy and Eric doing real, adult things now, Joe Kozlowski and Paul Sondhi will be guiding you through the world of #sports.
Paul Sondhi: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOOTBALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joe Kozlowski: Yes, although not quite that enthusiastically.
PS: CHIP KELLY! NICK FOLES! LESEAN MCCOY! YOOOOOOUR E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES EAGLES EAGLES. (I’m not a homer, I promise.)
JK: I like the Chiefs (thanks dad!), so yeah. We’ve got Peyton Manning in our division and let most of our secondary walk this offseason. But Jamaal Charles and newly rich(er) Alex Smith. Woo
PS: Sad, sad, sad. All I know is, this is going to be the Season of Chip, when he pushes the Belichicks and Harbaughs of the world aside and ascends the throne to become the greatest coach in the entire league, with a little help from his friends on the offense. Are you ready? ‘Cause I’m ready!
JK: I heard Andy Reid tried to ascend to the BBQ eating throne this summer, but lost out. He apparently stopped eating two minutes before the contest was over. Something with that guy and clock management, man…
PS: Rumors have circulated that Philly’s demand for Philly Cheesesteaks decreased by something like half since Reid left town…and that KC BBQ’s has gone up by an equal amount. Coincidence? I think not.
JK: For the record, I’m a Pat’s man myself (wiz with). But anyway, onto the games.
Green Bay at Seattle
PS: What a doozy to open up the season. Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and whatever’s left of Mike McCarthy headline this one. Everything points toward Seattle at home; can you convince me otherwise?
JK: No, because I’ll let Richard Sherman have the glory now before the Madden Curse blows out his knee in week 7-9 (actual dates may vary).
New Orleans at Atlanta
JK: So Julio Jones is back? I guess that counts for something, although whichever team manages to get the first defensive stop will probably take this one.
PS: Is it at all possible that Drew Brees is underrated? Granted, he’s my guy this season because I have him and TE (yes, tight end) Jimmy Graham in two fantasy leagues, but take a look at Brees’ numbers over the past 6-8 seasons and try not to be surprised.
JK: He throws a few too many picks for my taste, but…the touchdowns and yards…
Minnesota at St. Louis
JK: Matt Cassel is starting for the Vikings (or atleast on their roster). That’s all I have to say about this one.
PS: Hey, when Minnesota comes around to starting rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater this team will be a sleeper in the NFC. Remember when Adrian Peterson almost carried them to the playoffs two seasons ago? Imagine what they can do with a real quarterback.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
JK: Over/under 25 mentions of Johnny Manziel during the game. That’s your best shot at entertainment for this matchup.
PS: Over, over, over. Johnny Football is the single greatest thing to happen to Cleveland this summer (suck it, LeBron). He’s taking over this starting QB role by Week 3.
JK: He’s the evil version of Tim Tebow with a better arm. That’s the recipe for something, but I’m not exactly sure what.
Jacksonville at Philadelphia
JK: So I learned that Toby Gerhart is the Jaguars’ starting running back thanks to fantasy football. He’s my back-up flex. Their owner has a sweet mustache and owns Fulham FC. That’s my scouting report.
PS: I’m not a homer (promise), but mark my words: Philly is going over 50 in this game. You heard it here first.
Oakland at NY Jets
JK: The Raiders are coming to a gross New York (technically New Jersey for you sticklers) in black jerseys and are starting a rookie whose name I still do not know. Even the Jets have to be able to handle that, right?
PS: The over/under on paying me to watch this game is set at $40. And I’m taking the over.
Buffalo at Chicago
JK: So this is a game of football this weekend. Buffalo actually has some pieces that could make for a somewhat exciting team, eventhough I’d selfishly like them to move to Tornoto just so Rob Ford could be involved. (NOTE: I have a soft spot for Buffalo, do not take one of their few entertainment sources. Bad hockey and watching snow can only take you so far.)
PS: EJ Manuel could be one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league this year…but he could also be a very nice surprise on a Bills team that has a couple weapons (rookie WR Sammy Watkins and veteran RB CJ Spiller). Chicago, on the other hand, has gotten a lot of love to win the NFC North instead of the Packers. The expectations might be too much for Jay Cutler to handle.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
JK: I miss Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Huit-Cinq as he’s known in Montreal.
PS: Agreed. The days of Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Huit-Cinq, Carson Palmer, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are long gone, but the Bengals are better than ever. Tough matchup between two gritty teams here, and I believe it’ll be one of the best games of this young season.
JK: It’s a divisional matchup so that always helps. I still don’t think Baltimore has enough fire power, though. Also, saying Chad Johnson reminded me of when Terrell Owens did the Ray Lewis dance on Halloween, so that video is our halftime entertainment.
Washington at Houston
JK: Can J.J Watt shut Robert Griffin down like he says in that bad fantasy football commercial?
PS: Have you seen the man box jump? I wouldn’t put it past him. This Texans team is another sleeper pick of mine this year; don’t be shocked if they are still battling for the final wildcard spot come Week 17.
JK: Without Matt Schuab, all your dreams can come true. *Double rainbow appears over Reliant Stadium*
Tennessee at Kansas City
JK: Dwayne Bowe is suspended, but Alex Smith won’t really notice because his vision inexplicably cuts off 7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. This game will either end 7-6 or 35-34. No in between.
PS: I’m pulling for the Chiefs in this one, but just for you Joe. In reality, there is nothing going for the Titans, and Kansas City desperately needs to find the magic it had during its sparkling start to last season.
JK: Mock everything else about K.C, but the ground game is there…until Andy Reid abandons it winning by double digits in the second half of a playoff game. Sorry, had a bit of a moment there.
New England at Miami
JK: Saw the Miami Dophins play in person once. My lasting memory is Dan Marino getting hit in the chest by a paper airplane thrown from the upper deck. Is that symbolic of something? You decide.
PS: I wonder if that was as impressive as this video from earlier this year. Truly a feat of human ingenuity; probably should have won an ESPY. As for this game? Tom Brady is going to kill it.
Carolina at Tampa Bay
JK: Cam Newton is playing football in Florida. Good for you South-eastern United States.
PS: Carolina is widely seen as a team that’s going to regress this year, but I believe in Cam. At his best, there’s no other quarterback in the league quite like him.
JK: If he is Superman, does that make Ron Rivera the old guy who found him in a field as a baby or whoever Superman’s sidekick is? I’m a Marvel Comics guy.
San Francisco at Dallas
JK: I don’t really care for Colin Kaepernick, but I have negative faith in the Dallas defense. They have bigger holes than the roof of their stadium. Zing.
PS: This Cowboy defense is poised to be historically bad, and no underrated Tony Romo performances will prevent this team from finishing with more than six wins. The Niners on the other hand? They will definitely start the season slow for a myriad of reasons, but expect them to be in full-form come playoff time.
Indianapolis at Denver
JK: If both these teams just fell into a sinkhole, I’d kinda be ok with that. But the thing I want to see is how Peyton Manning deals with no Wes Welker and Eric Decker. The guy’s a robot with a laser rocket arm, but something has to throw him off at some point, right?
PS: As long as Demaryius and Julius Thomas still line up for this squad, do not worry about Peyton. When he leads them into a hit that’s sure to concuss them a la Austin Collie and Welker? Then you can be worried…
JK: For the record, I spoke to Von Miller earlier this summer and asked him how he would stop the Denver offense. He said, “Yeah, you’ve got to put me on DT (Demaryius Thomas). If you don’t have Von on DT, DT will be wide open. If you have to double team DT, he’ll [Manning] will go to Julius Thomas; if you double team DT and Julius Thomas, you’ve only got one more safety to worry about Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker, and Montee Ball in the backfield running the ball with our offensive line. So it’d be tough, but as long as you have me one-on-one with DT, I think you might have a chance. You could put two safeties on Wes Welker, give linebackers to Julius, but it’s going to be difficult regardless. “
So yeah, good luck with that.
NY Giants at Detroit
JK: Manning faces in the Motor City. Will they be good or bad?
PS: It’s tough to keep faith in Eli, but there’s two Super Bowl rings on his fingers, so I haven’t given up on him quite yet. As for Matthew Stafford, the Lions will only go as far as he takes them, which could be extremely far if Stafford finds some modicum of accuracy.
JK: Calvin Johnson can catch anything, even without accuracy. Keep it in the building and he’s within reach.
San Diego at Arizona
JK: Ahh, the rarely seen late Monday night game that no one outside of Phoenix and San Diego will actually watch. Arizona has a surprisingly good defense. The Chargers have Philip Rivers and a black magic powered Antonio Gates who somehow manages to remain active on that one vertical seam route he always runs. I think you can figure who has the advantage.
PS: This will definitely be a pretty close game, not that I’m going to stay up and watch it. Rivers had quite the comeback season last year, it’ll be interesting to see if he keeps it up.
JK: And Wes Welker just issued a statement on his suspension:
I, for one, would like to eat a meal with him to see how intensely he focuses. I imagine him chewing with great vigor and intensity. 7 chews per stalk of steamed broccoli. God help you if you exceed that number.
RAPID FIRE ROUND:
PS: It’s prediction time, Joe. MVP? Super Bowl Champ? Bold Prediction of the Year?
JK: Peyton Manning because the guy could regress terribly and still be better than just about anyone else. Super Bowl, I’ll go for none other than Chiefs over Eagles, just so we look smart. Bold prediction? Rex Ryan is humble for a brief period of time, probably due to him not realizing ‘eat a slice of humble pie’ is a figure of speech.
How about you?
PS: I’m liking Aaron Rodgers for a huge bounce-back season. Remember how he used to be the best QB in the entire league? Expect a repeat of his 2011 MVP campaign. As for a Super Bowl prediction, I’m going to be just a bit more realistic than you, Joe, and pick the Denver Broncos to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in the big game. And my bold prediction is…Johnny Manziel will be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. All hail Johnny Football.
JK: If you twist my arm, I’ll say Broncos over Saints in the pure offensive shootout that I’ll despise but the NFL/the rest of the world want. On that note, I’ve betrayed everything I stand for and we’ll see you next week.