If you know me well, you know i’m a sports fanatic. It’s in my blood. It’s tattooed on my body. I love to watch it. I love to talk about it. I love to read about it. I love to write about it. I really love to write about it. Almost nobody read me last year, but that didn’t mean I didn’t write tens of thousands of words each week across a couple websites. It gave me an excuse to watch football every week and espouse my football virtures on the internets. Then it almost didn’t happen this year.
It started in late July. I’m not totally sure what happened. I just couldn’t think. It happens. It happens a lot to me, actually. My brain gets hazy. I can function, but it’s hard to be human. But usually, I snap out of it in a day or so. I never really wanted to overthink it. Late last year, I started suffering from panic attacks. The medication I took for awhile for that was about all the brain wrangling medication I could imagine taking.
It didn’t get better as the days went on. Then the days turned into weeks. The weeks turned into a month and a half. I was becoming less and less functional as a person. I was regressing into myself, growing more and more unable to express myself in anything other than emotionally lashing out. More than anything else, I wasn’t writing. I care about this website a lot. I care about writing for it, and trying to live up to the ridiculous standards that the other writers have set. But I couldn’t do it. I had to step away.
I wasn’t planning on writing about football. I wasn’t planning to write at all. When I stepped away from the site, I genuinely didn’t know if I would ever come back to it. I desperately needed to get better. For the sake of myself, my family, my friends, I needed to try to figure out why my brain doesn’t want to work. It’s a horrible feeling, not knowing what hell my brain is going to put me through. I go days at a time on 1-2 hours of sleep. I express myself by yelling. I am miserable. I am genuinely unhappy. It’s hard to miss. I wear it on my face.
Then I got to watch football on Sunday. I got some sleep. I woke up, went to the store, made chili. Watched the games. Went out, hung out with some people to watch the late afternoon slate. For a few hours, it felt normal. I felt like a regular human being, again. It felt pretty good.
There are always going to be people who belittle sports. They will scream things like sportsball or whatever, thinking they are being clever and hip because they don’t buy into the concept. That’s fine, that’s their prerogative. It’s my prerogative to think these people are virgins and the closest touch they have ever felt to a human is when they get their genitals stuck in a toaster they are spending their Friday night trying to fuck.
Even if it was just for a day, it felt good to be normal. It’s going to be a long time before I feel like that every day. Hell, I may never feel normal consistently ever again. But for the first time in life, i’m seeking help. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with me and what can be done to fix it. For now though, I have sports.
1: Kansas City Chiefs
Deep down, I really hope that the enduring picture of this season is Andy Reid in that mask, steaming it out, rain pouring on it, standing stoic on the Chiefs bench. He didn’t even really need to see the game. He knew they were going to win. The Chiefs are a steamroller that can only be derailed by injuries. It’s incredibly hard to repeat in the NFL, but the offense is rolling and the defense looks good enough for another playoff run. Also, after the Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins, the NFL should have had the ability to flex the Texans right the hell off opening night. That team barely looked worth watching on regular Thursday Night Football.
2: New Orleans Saints
Embarrassing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on opening day on the national game should allow the Saints to go directly to the playoffs. That being said, Mike Thomas was a non factor during the game and something looked slightly off about Drew Brees. It might be because he is 71 years old. If the Saints had to play in a difficult division like the NFC West, then they might have issues this year. But with the Panthers being a total non-factor this year, and the Bucs and Falcons being ass, this is going to be a fairly easy division for them to win again.
3: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens didn’t just beat the Browns, they tore their hearts out of their chest, Mortal Kombat style.
4: Green Bay Packers
Remember how, in everyone’s fantasy league, everyone was picking quarterbacks early and often. The expected top quarterbacks came off the board. Lamar, Mahomes, Deshaun. Russ. Then a bunch of other quarterbacks came off the board. Matt Stafford. Josh Allen. Kyler Murray. Dak Prescott. Who had the best fantasy day on Sunday? Aaron Rodgers, the guy who you were staring at, wondering if you should draft Jimmy Garropolo instead.
5: Buffalo Bills
The final score of the game doesn’t do justice to how badly the Bills went and dick slapped the Jets. Players kept getting injured for the Bills and finally they called off the dogs and the only then did the Jets pretend to make the game look competitive. The offense is dangerous with as many weapons as they have. The defense can punch teams in the teeth and dare them to respond. This feels like a team that is only going to get better as the season goes along. The AFC East appears to be the Bills division to lose for the foreseeable future.
6: Seattle Seahawks
I’m aware that the Falcons defense is the football equivalent of a Goodwill discount rack. But when so many teams struggled to get their offense into a rhythm on the opening week of the football season, the Seahawks looked like they were ready to take on the world. Russell Wilson looks like he is every bit the quarterback that can lead a team to the Super Bowl, and with Jamal Adams now wrecking lives in the secondary, this looks like a team with serious aspirations of unseating the 49ers in the West this year.
7: Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff is still suspect as hell. He spent the first drive of the game slicing up the Cowboys defense. He looked like the Rams offense were going to be unstoppable all night. Then he just kind of stopped. He seemed exclusively interested in dump off passes to his running backs, rather than stretch the field with his armada of wide receivers. They seemed content to just kind of hold on to a victory. That isn’t super convincing. This offense has to be more than mediocre to survive the toughest division in football.
8: Arizona Cardinals
I still think this defense has a genuine black hole potential to it, which it could spiral into one week when they randomly give up 49 points and then follow that up by giving up 52 points. But for this week, that offense is good enough to carry the day. They have too many weapons through the air and it looks like Kyler Murray is more likely to thrive than look like the smoldering porta john that Baker Mayfield has. DeAndre Hopkins has to wake up every day floating over his mattress with excitement knowing he got out of that nightmare situation in Houston for the big dog role in Arizona.
9: New England Patriots
Bill Belichick is proof that either he is god and he’s the old testament style god. You know, the one that smites everyone. Or there is no god because no true and loving god would let Bill continue to have reign over the NFL like he has.
10: San Francisco 49ers
I’m willing to let a big week one game slide to a very good team while playing in a forest fire that gives the entire state the hue of an apocalypse film directed by Michael Bay. That being said, the Super Bowl runner up hangover is no joke. There is always going to be a level of difficulty to get back into the big game. The Chiefs have the good fortune of playing in a division that could best be described as mediocre. The 49ers play in a division in which i’ve already ranked all four teams, and we are on team 10. They have very little room for error this season.
11: Pittsburgh Steelers
The defense looks amazing. They are attacking in waves, as if their only job is to try to kill the opposing quarterback. Their linebacking crew is among the best in the NFL. That said, there is zero chance Ben Roethlisberger survives the entire season. He was limping four minutes into their game on Monday Night.
12: Tennessee Titans
I’m not sure if Mike Vrabel accidentally ran over Morton Anderson’s gypsy grandmother with his car, but it has to feel like he is cursed at the position right now.
13: Chicago Bears
For more on my thoughts about Mitch Trubisky, check out our weekly mailbag, which goes live at 11 am today. The Bears have a genuine opportunity to use a game like this to build their entire season. Their offensive line looked fantastic and David Montgomery averaged six yards per carry all day into what was generally considered a pretty good Lions defensive line. They absolutely got lucky, but Jaylen Johnson looks like a starting cornerback in the NFL, and the defense should be better if Robert Quinn returns next week.
14: Las Vegas Raiders
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Raiders won on Sunday. They were supposed to win. But there is real reason to be concerned about this team’s defense. Josh Jacobs is going to be really good this year, and i’m super optimistic that Henry Ruggs is going to be a game breaker this season. But is there anyone along the defense that is going to be able to start on a top defense in the NFL? Jon Gruden is a really good coach if the league jumps into a time machine to two decades ago. That said, he might not have any grasp on what a successful defense looks like in current day NFL and might not even know what day it is in Margaritaville, his preferred time zone. The Raiders have to beat a good team to make the top ten. Also, they need to not completely shit their silver pants like they did at the end of last season.
15: Jacksonville Jaguars
GARDNER. FUCKING. MINSHEW.
16: Washington Professional Football
There are very few joys in life than watching a stupid bet you made come through because your hatred for one team somehow supercedes your hatred for another team. Now that they are changing their names, I can officially go back to hating the Eagles more. It was a satisfying win, and they might only need to win 8 games to win this division, so they don’t even have to go .500 the rest of the way. The NFC is the anti-West. Nobody wants to win it, so it might as well be Washington.
17: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have the most inexperienced secondary in football. They also might have the worst secondary in football. If Aaron Rodgers gets another shot at these guys, he might throw eight touchdowns. God help this defense if Mitch Trubisky plays them in the 4th quarter of any game.
18: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady is going full Joe Namath on the Rams mode, which is absolutely thrilling. I, for one, am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of watching this team limp to a 7-9 record as this entire godforesaken state gives eachother Coronavirus at a Florida Georgia Line/Molly Hatchet concert and their entire wang shaped state sinks into the ocean so it can continue on as White Trash Atlantis.
19: Dallas Cowboys
No offense with that many weapons should put up 17 points in an entire football game while being collectively bent over by Aaron Donald and getting spanked relentlessly on national TV. The upside for this team is that they play in a division with all the competition of a four square game at a retirement home.
20: Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz is overrated and losing by 30 points is all you deserve by drafting him in your fantasy league. He’s going to be injured by week 7 and this team will probably dredge up one of the McCown brothers to get their heads pounded in as this team limps to an 8-8 finish for the fourteenth year in a row.
21: Houston Texans
Oh no, it was totally a great idea to think you could replace DeAndre Hopkins with Randall Cobb. Nobody thinks you are brain dead for believing that was a smart move, Bill O’Brien. There used to be a generation of General Managers, mostly in the NBA, who were essentially rubes that every smart team took advantage of at every opportunity. As the years went on, these guys all got run out of sports. Teams got smarter. They brought in guys who took the reigns and hired smart people to work for them.
Then the Texans said “fuck that” and brought in the worst person possible to be their personnel guy. When you get shaken down by the Cardinals, then you are officially the glory hole of the NFL. Everyone is going to use you and nobody is going to stop it.
22: Indianapolis Colts
Philip Rivers throws a crushing interception at the end of the game…
Radio: “Meet the new bossss, same as the old bosss…..”
23: Denver Broncos
There is some kind of disconnect between how good Drew Lock throws a ball and the offensive results. Everything he throws is crisp and on the money. He throws with confidence and has a strong arm. And the Broncos offense put up a grand total of 14 points.
24: New York Giants
They came out with a game plan. Then the Steelers figured out that game plan and they spent the next three quarters getting the absolute piss kicked out of them. At one point, Saquon Barkley had 8 carries for -8 yards. That’s brutal. The Steelers were living in the Giants backfield which is not a good sign for a team that have had offensive line questions since Phil Simms was quarterback.
25: Los Angeles Chargers
Congratulations. You beat the worst team in the NFL on a terrible call at the end of the game. Enjoy that victory as if it was special and real. That outta keep you guys warm and happy while you go 3-12 the rest of the way.
26: Atlanta Falcons
A brief reminder that everyone thought that Dan Quinn was going to be the first coach fired last year when this team was trash. Then he didn’t get fired after this team beat up a murderers row of mediocrity late last year. Now he’s back, sucking again, ruining this team’s season before it even started. The desperation points the Falcons scored was cute. Anyone who watched that game knows that the team was completely incompetent until the Seahawks quit caring.
27: Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield makes Johnny Manziel look like Tim Couch.
28: Carolina Panthers
This defense is baaaaaad. Like, Cats the Musical bad. Christian McCaffrey is going to be the running back version of Calvin Johnson, who is just the wide receiver version of Barry Sanders. Which reminds me….
29: Detroit Lions
Oh man, that was beautiful. Matt Patricia looks like he is trying to smuggle animals out of a zoo in his poncho. He is a terrible coach and only continues to have his job because there is still a glow to guys who once coached under Bill Belichick. There isn’t. None of them have any talent. They are perpetually the Andrew Ridgley to Belichick’s George Michael. Patricia might not be the worst, but he is pretty damn close. His ability to lose games in the 4th quarter are unprecedented. You have to be so bad at your job to physically lose in the ways the Lions continue to lose. But hey, thank god they keep signing Patriots free agents every season to build a defense so good that it watched Mitch “Kissin Titties” Trubisky morph into Joe Montana.
30: Cincinnati Bengals
This team deserves a nice “At Least You Tried” sticker and take solace in the fact that you will get to play the Browns twice this season. There are XFL teams i’m not confident the Browns could beat. Joe Burrow got screwed out of a win in his first game, but honestly, this is the Bengals. The ghost of David Klingler still haunts everyone who steps onto this field.
31: Miami Dolphins
It doesn’t appear there is much Fitzmagic left in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tua Tagliavoa is going to start for this team just in time for his hip to disintegrate, which is fine, honestly. Half of Miami still thinks that Dan Marino is the starting quarterback, and the other half are drug dealers who still think Dan Marino is the starting quarterback.
174: Your dog dying
210: New York Jets
ADAM GASE FACE FOR LIFE!