The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 1
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
The quest for The Dan Henning Trophy – symbolic of NFL Bottom Ten supremacy is on. And with so many teams ending strong in 2016 – perhaps the strongest Bottom Ten home stretch ever – fan(s) everywhere are expecting the tightest race for the Bottom Ten medal stand in history.
This week’s mess, as the nags preen in the paddock:
Editor’s Note: 2016 records and final Bottom Ten ranking are in parenthesis. NR = Not Rated.
1. Cleveland Browns (1-15; 1st) – Defending B-10 champion Browns easy pic for preseason top spot, averaging 4.2 wins/year following last winning season in 2007… With solid B-10 street cred and a rookie quarterback, Browns fan(s) already talking three-peat after 2016’s first B-10 title…Opening Loss: Pittsburgh
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13; 5th) – Worst franchise to never win B-10 title, Jaguars came close in 2016 as only win in finale prevented season ending 11-game skid, first B-10 title…Jaguars need to avoid pesky two-game win streaks that have plagued them the past two seasons…Opening Loss: at Houston
3. Los Angeles Rams (4-12; 3rd) – Knowing they’d need immediate B-10 success to make it in LA, Rams earn B-10 medal stand berth in 2016, solidifying fan base with season-ending seven (7)-game losing skid, best in NFL…Opening Loss: Indianapolis
4. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11; 6th) – In same boat as Rams last year, must impress fickle fans with strong B-10 run in first season in town…Fortunately, current five (5)-game losing streak best in AFC and second-longest in NFL..Nobody in LA really cares about Chargers as local high school playoff games at StubHub Center draw better than Charger preseason games….Opening Loss: at Denver (9/11)
5. NFC West – While mindful of famous B-10 Week 1 Jinx, B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” NFC West can earn repeat Pete Rozelle Award, issued to NFL’s worst division in 2017…Half of division made final 2016 B-10 survey and only one team finished 2016 with winning record.
6. San Francisco 49ers (2-14; 4th) – Showing commitment their fan(s) expect, 49ers fire coach and GM after just missing 2016 B-10 medal stand…49ers have gone from eight (8) to five (5) to two (2) wins the past the three (3) season, leaving fan(s) cautiously optimistic they can run table in 2017…Opening Loss: Carolina
7. Detroit Lions (9-7; NR) – Only 0-16 franchise in NFL history, B-10 Hall of Famers entitled to courtesy Week 1 ranking according to B-10 bylaws…With just four (4) winning seasons this century, veteran B-10 watchers know you ignore the Lions at your peril…Opening Loss: Arizona
8. Chicago Bears (3-13; 2nd) – Bears show strong finishing kick in 2016, losing final (4) games and seven (7) of last (8) to finish in runner-up spot…Defense needs to be as strong as last season, when 11 forced turnovers tied mark for worst ever in NFL…Opening Loss: Atlanta.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9; NR) – Nine (9) losses usually not good enough for preseason ranking, but B-10 pollsters like Eagles pluck, as team managed to scrape out a last place finish with seven (7) win season…Opening Loss: at Washington
10. Carolina Panthers (6-10; NR) – Panthers trending down like few others, going from Super Bowl 50 to last place in 2016 and are looking to be first team ever to go from Super Bowl to last place to B-10 champion…Opening Loss: at San Francisco
10A. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-8; lost to Ottawa 37-18) – NAFTA mandated Canadian entry, TiCats have lost 13 straight dating back to last season and are looking for best season since vaunted 2003 squad went 1-17…Lost a game earlier this season 60-1, which isn’t easy to do, even with current, lousy exchange rate….Next Loss: Toronto (9/4)
Opening Week Clash of the Titans: Carolina at San Francisco
This Is Don Criqui Reporting: Jacksonville at Houston
Jacksonville Jaguars Fiasco of the Week: at Houston