Mitch Worden

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Last Active 01-01-70 12:00 am
Joined 01-01-70

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MarsBro's NFL Ranking: '23-'24 Preseason Ranking

Hello there! I'm back with my lovingly crafted and lovingly biased takes on where NFL teams stand for this upcoming season, which starts September 7th! I try to offer my thoughts and reasoning on projected placements before disappearing until Week 8/9, where the rankings will begin in earnest. Hope you enjoy! * = indicates a team that was a division winner last season
32100 Gecs
1000 gecs

32. Arizona Cardinals
Last Season: 4-13; finished Rank 29

Many have projected the Cards to be a dumpster fire and the league’s ultimate punching bag this season, and with good reason. Colt McCoy’s release makes the message clear: tank for #1. Considering the team has two 1st round picks, one courtesy of the Texans, it’s a solid strategy to rebuild a roster that is too old, injured, devoid of star power, and top-heavy at its best. The big questions lie in coaching and QB; it would be a big blow to dump Kyler and his massive contract, and Gannon’s last game involved being surgically dismantled by Andy Reid on the biggest stage, but maybe clearing Murray away is necessary. Right now, it’s undeniable that this squad cannot compete, and even a healthy Murray solves nothing. Hard to believe this was such a hot up-and-coming team just two seasons ago…
31Pianos Become the Teeth

31. LA Rams
Last Season: 5-12; finished Rank 27

Similar situation to Arizona: a roster that is top-heavy, lacking in star power, and getting up there in years. Any pieces worth a damn were traded, already retired, or were sold for that sweet sweet ring. The tank rumbles on, commanded by a Stafford whose elbow is likely held together by paperclips. A massive exodus of defensive players means that not even that unit can give the illusion of contention like they could last year, and a lack of 1st round picks means the draft yielded mostly depth players. The only competing that will be done here will be against Arizona for that coveted #1 pick--likely a chance at Caleb Williams.
30Titus Andronicus
Home Alone on Halloween

*30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Season: 8-9; lost WC round; finished Rank 14 (way too generous lol)

Like the teams below them, Tampa has shed a lot of players. A LOT of players. The roster went from SB contenders to a ghost town practically overnight, with that delicious 2020 ring providing salvation. Their efforts to reload resulted mostly in depth pieces, and they hinged their hopes on a QB competition of… current-day Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. They are tanking. An injury-prone offense will ensure that, with Russel Gage and Ryan Jensen already out for the season. Even in a down NFC South, they’re undeniably cooked, unless a defense of young talent and potential playmakers steps up to the plate. When Todd Bowles is still around? I wouldn’t hold your breath.
29Of Mice and Men
Cold World

29. Indianapolis Colts
Last Season: 4-12-1; finished Rank 31

It’s do-or-die for raw prospect Anthony Richardson, who the Colts dramatically selected as their 1st round draft pick. New hire Shane Steichen--the apparent architect of Jalen Hurts’ rise to MVP-caliber play--is tossing him to the wolves, with the hope being he can work magic again on a player that, while flawed in multiple ways, has incredible athletic upside. The problem: they did absolutely nothing to address their horrific offensive line until the 4th round of the draft. Lot of young weapons with plenty of potential, but there are a ton of skill position weaknesses that will ultimately hold this roster back. Why is Chris Ballard still here again? Oh--cap space champion of the year again? Hang the fuckin’ banner…
28Jacob Sartorius
Last Text

28. Las Vegas Raiders
Last Season: 6-11; finished Rank 24

Josh McDaniels is here to tank, too! At the helm is Jimmy Garoppolo, who failed his physical upon joining the team. Masterclass! The Carr era is over, but the disappointment must continue. They maybe got Crosby some help on defense in 1st round pick Tyree Wilson, but he’s a raw, physical prospect that will require good coaching, which is something Vegas does not like to have, and might have a nagging injury of his own. Aidan O’Connell showed promise in preseason, and considering how Jimmy G seasons typically go, he might need to suit up sooner than expected. Not much else to see here; it’s a tame-to-lame roster controlled by an absolute buffoon. Shenanigans and schadenfreude will ensue for the rest of the AFC West.
27Kanye West
Donda 2

27. Believeland Rapists
Last Season: losers; finished Rank 25

26Humble Abode
Manic Mansion

26. New England Patriots
Last Season: 8-9; finished Rank 17

Post-Brady Bill has gotten complacent with the offense, and it’s reached peak concerns this off-season. The line? Injured or, at best, injury-prone. WRs? You lose on the DHop sweepstakes, so here’s a mediocre JuJu as a consolation prize. TE? Don’t expect Gesicki to block. Coordinator? The man who orchestrated a massive 24-point collapse, tanked a franchise, and was run out of Alabama on charges of offensive mismanagement… with Bryce Young at QB. The defense will likely hold strong and was reinforced through the draft, but the organization’s negligence in terms of their offensive attack will again be their downfall. Same story as last year’s squad, but the downfall will be even more painful.
Failure // Control

25. Houston Texans
Last Season: 3-13-1; finished Rank 30

They may be ranked low here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Texans develop beyond how they’re projected; they’ve got the makings of a young squad loaded with potential, from their splash HC hire in DeMeco Ryans to their all-in draft gambit, using their 1st round picks to get a QB of the future and then the arguable top defensive prospect. John Metchie III, now medically cleared to play, is also waiting in the wings as a possible X-Factor for an offense in need of one. There will be growing pains, but this team could make a leap faster than expected--depending on if Stroud comes as-advertised, of course. Defense may be an overall concern, but with Ryans being a defensive-minded coach, it should be a wash.
24The National
First Two Pages of Frankenstein

24. Atlanta Falcons
Last Season: 7-10; finished Rank 21

Another year on the Arthur Smith train. On one hand, his records leave a lot to be desired; on the other, he’s had to draw water from a stone every season. With the unproven Desmond Ridder under center, it seems like another year of the same ol’ Falcons, but there’s at least a decent team on paper. London, Pitts, and newly-acquired Bijan Robinson are a robust offensive attack, and new DC Ryan Nielsen is regarded as a defensive line wizard. Whether they have the pieces to succeed on that front remains uncertain--they were a bottom 10 unit last year and didn’t add too much to it. How much more of this cycle until Falcons fans get impatient? Unless Ridder shows up, I’m not too confident in where this squad will land.
23Sarah and the Safe Word
Good Gracious! Bad People.

23. Carolina Panthers
Last Season: 7-10; finished Rank 19

Sadly, the Carolina QB Carousel has been shut down by the Bryce Young pick. Poor line play could quickly revive it though, or noted genius Frank Reich playing Young behind the backup line in preseason. Poor line play seems to be an epidemic for teams lately, isn’t it? DJ Moore is also gone and with him the offense’s X-Factor, and Reich’s track record is spotty, but let’s talk positives for now! Young should provide stability at QB and be an immediate plug-and-play signal caller, Hurst and Chark are good FA signings--oh, Chark injured their hamstring? And he’s got a history of injuries? But we’ve got D’Onta Foreman! We let him walk? And drafted a WR whose ceiling is widely regarded as ‘average’? At least Reich has wonderful success at developing QBs… I think. Slide the glass, this might be a bumpy ride full of potential and disappointment in equal measure.
22VHS Glitch
Land With No Future

22. Green Bay Packers
Last Season: 8-9; finished Rank 12 (generous, yikes)

The time has come: Rodgers is gone, and the Love Era finally starts. Preseason hype has the NFC North shaking in fear and rage, but whether it translates to legit NFL games remains to be seen. That young offense will rely heavily on Love becoming a quality QB and 2nd-year WR Christian Watson, and that RB duo of Jones-Dillon will need to step up to help--and by that I mean, the team needs to use both instead of randomly sidelining them. Joe Barry is back as defensive coordinator for reasons known only to LaFleur and God, so prepare for another abysmal run-stopping defense and CBs giving up as much ground as possible. Too much shaky ground here; I think the Bay ultimately takes a step back while teams around them improve to varying degrees.
21The World Is Quiet Here

21. Baltimore Ravens
Last Season: 10-7; lost WC round; finished Rank 20

Lamar Jackson, when healthy, is electric. New OC Monken is, in theory, a direct upgrade from the tired schemes the Ravens were running for the past few years. The flipside is this: Jackson has struggled to finish seasons healthy, having missed the end of the last two; Roman, for all his flaws, knew to play to Jackson’s strengths; and the WR corps remains lackluster. OBJ is not who he used to be, nor will he ever regain that level, Agholor has hands of stone, and Mark Andrews is a meltdown away from suspension--which is to say nothing of the fact that the team as a whole is often injury-riddled, from defense to an oft-sidelined RB attack. In a division featuring the Burrow-Chase-Higgins dynamic and the rising Pickett-Pickens combo, it’s a recipe for more disappointment. This team does not have what it takes for a deep push or WC spot.
All Hope Is Gone

20. Chicago Bears
Last Season: 3-13; finished Rank 32

Fields, in theory, is being set up so that the Bears can accurately determine if he’s the guy or not. As flashy as his highlights were, Fields was raw as hell in 2022, but he now has a competent offensive attack to tap more into the passing game, with DJ Moore being the headliner. However, a shaky OLine might disrupt those plans and force Fields to rely more and more on scrambling and bailing on pockets. Beyond that, the defense remains a concern. Look at that roster; there’s either nobody here that grabs headlines, or a bunch of rookies that are forced to carry the load and level up fast. There’s certainly potential here, but it feels as though the end of the rebuild isn’t quite here yet, and I don’t know if the OLine play will allow Fields to be properly evaluated.
Lonely World

19. Denver Broncos
Last Season: 5-12; finished Rank 26

Can only go up from last year, right? Sean Payton should ideally knock some sense into Wilson and pry him away from this cadre of yes-men, but with WRs dropping like flies--Jeudy’s hamstring will likely pester him all season--my hopes are pretty low. A retooled OLine and Payton’s scheming should, in general, be consistently good enough to elevate the roster and revive it from the pits of 2022-23. In that scenario, I am assuming/hoping that Joe Lombardi has absolutely no say in anything regarding the offense and is simply cashing a paycheck. Ask Chargers fans how they feel about him; the results aren’t pretty. Maybe this ranking is too optimistic in hindsight…
18Will Haven

18. Washington Commanders
Last Season: 8-8-1; finished Rank 15

It’s Sam Howell season, baby, and if he turns out to be a solid pick, Washington might shock folks. Their defense has retained its strength, buoyed by the newly-extended Daron Payne, and they received reinforcements via the draft, so it’s expected to again be an upper-level unit at run and pass defense. Scary Terry ideally will have the first QB in his career capable of utilizing his talent, provided his current injury status is as minor as has been reported. I still believe Howell will be relatively raw out of the gate, and there’s not much of a running game to support him; Robinson Jr. and Gibson are both solid but I wouldn’t depend on either. Some bad injuries could also expose a DLine that is powerful but lacking depth. That being said, the Commies could easily prove doubters wrong, especially if the Howell-McLaurin connection turns hot.
17Pat and the Pissers

17. New Orleans Saints
Last Season: 7-10; finished Rank 22

The Saints made one of the bigger moves this offseason by acquiring Derek Carr, but to what extent this moves the needle is uncertain. Andy Dalton actually performed well and was efficient; QB was not the biggest concern of New Orleans. That would belong to a defensive line that is aging rapidly, with any holes being plugged in by role players and unproven rookies, and a head coach that is about as dull as possible. Michael Thomas hopefully being healthy could improve the offensive attack--him and Olave are a deadly 1-2 punch--and the squad sports a sneakily-elite CB unit, so there’s a reason to look towards a possible division title, especially when looking at the NFC South’s fellow teams. For all his flaws and the aforementioned age issue, Allen’s defense HAS remained elite and can support Carr in a way the Raiders couldn’t. Could be interesting to watch this team and see if they grow/manage to stay healthy.
16Plebeian Grandstand
False Highs, True Lows

*16. Minnesota Vikings
Last Season: 13-4; lost WC round; finished Rank 10

Beyond the addition of Brian Flores as DC, the Vikes seem to have maintained their roster from last year. That’s a mixed bag; their roster was capable and still is capable of incredible heights, but it has a terrible problem of crumbling under pressure at random. The offense, especially without Cook, revolves around Justin Jefferson and nothing else. Fair enough when dealing with the top WR in the game currently, but the lack of a proven #2 options could hurt down the stretch. Flores should breathe life into an awful defensive unit, but there’s still an overall lack of playmakers. Feel like inconsistency will bite these guys in the ass once again.
15Lost Horizon
A Flame to the Ground Beneath

15. Miami Dolphins
Last Season: 9-8; lost WC round; finished Rank 18

When healthy, the ‘Fins are formidable. Trouble is that it seems a fully-healthy Dolphins squad never reaches the field, and it’s an issue that’s already struck the defense and offense before games are even played. Tua has been working constantly to improve their pocket presence and ability to take hits/fall properly, which should assist immensely in keeping him safe for a whole season. If he holds up and Hill/Waddle continue to torch defenses, Miami could ascend again like they showed early last year. A lot of ‘if’ plaguing this roster. I’m not confident their defense rebounds much either, but their overall offensive attack is fearsome enough to where it’ll win some games on firepower alone.
14Young Fathers
Heavy Heavy

14. New York Giants
Last Season: 9-7-1; lost NFC Divisional; finished Rank 9

With not much room to maneuver, the Giants made small moves to bolster their roster and retain key pieces. Daniel Jones being THAT valuable remains to be seen--even after a solid, safe-football year, that contract was a surprise--but he began delivering on his potential as a reliable passer and underrated rushing threat. The offense is supported by Andrew Thomas anchoring the line, new acquisition Darren Waller, and a healthy WR corps full of dependable jack-of-all-trades types and a possible trump card in rookie Jalin Hyatt. Barkley remaining in the fold is also a massive win for the squad; his 2022-23 season proved how important he is to the Giants’ offensive attack. Sexy Dexy Lawrence heads a defense that should take a step up in quality. It likely won’t be pretty, but Brian Daboll will get whatever he can from this roster and likely steal a WC slot.
The Crimson Corridor

*13. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Season: 9-8; lost AFC Divisional; finished Rank 8

Pederson’s impact on the Jags was immediate, and the team hopes to keep momentum going--something reflected perhaps by a roster that is largely unchanged. Calvin Ridley is the piece to watch; his explosive potential could morph Jacksonville’s offense into a juggernaut and add even more weapons to T. Law’s arsenal of Etienne, Jones, Kirk, and rejuvenated Engram. The Achilles heel is Lawrence’s inconsistency--something that was evident last year, although it was cleaned up gradually as the season wore on--and a defense that, though possessing playmakers, has yet to realize its upper-end potential. Another possible concern is injuries; the Jags were one of the luckiest teams last season in that regard. This tough AFC demands consistency and a defense that can at least limit damage; the Jags are perhaps on the precipice of that.
12Amia Venera Landscape
The Long Procession

12. Tennessee Titans
Last Season: 7-10; finished Rank 28

In stark contrast, the Titans were possibly the unluckiest team in terms of injuries last year. A new OC marks a change in offensive philosophy (get the FUCK out Todd Downing), Deandre Hopkins gives the team an elite WR again, 2nd-year players are poised to make a leap, and the defense was supported by a slew of low-key FA signings including Arden Key--a defense that’s now 100% healthy, mind. An elite front 7 commanded by Big Jeff Simmons should immediately improve the Titan’s defense, whereas a healthy Tannehill on the opposite side of the ball should rekindle a passing offense that withered without him. The King, of course, is the King, and Mike Vrabel is one of the best coaches active in the league. If not for a horrific collapse, this team was playoff bound, and now they’ve reloaded, retooled, and adjusted their identity for the modern NFL. There’s no reason to write them off at all just yet. Hey, we even got a kicker now!
11White Ward
Futility Report

11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Season: 9-8; finished Rank 13

I have and will continue to criticize Mike Tomlin, but I’ll give credit where credit’s due: the man’s persistence is admirable. Losing records do not happen under his watch--kind of a bullsh*t stat when you look further into it but roll with me--and he managed to right the ship after last season’s dire start. Pickett, Pickens and co. now look to make a highly-anticipated 2nd-year leap, while a restructured and healthy defense hopes to continue the Steelers’ typical reign of dominance on that side of the ball. It remains a bit top-heavy--one Watt injury and it’s bad news bears--and the linebacker corps in general looks lackluster, but it’s never smart to count the Steelers out. While the Ravens and Browns bumble about, I expect Pittsburgh to capitalize and rocket back into playoff contention.

10. Seattle Seahawks
Last Season: 9-8; lost WC round; finished Rank 16

Geno Smith cooled off down the stretch, which is cause for concern. However, Seattle has had a full offseason to address any issues, and they even got reinforcements in the form of JSN. That means an offensive attack of Lockett, Metcalf, JSN, and KWIII, which is frightening on paper. Defensively, Seattle’s attempted to make repairs--snagging Dre’Mont Jones to help with run stopping, for example, as well as drafting Witherspoon to boost an already strong CB unit--to bring their secondary back to their greatest asset and ideally improve overall DLine performance. If Smith can replicate his first half of last season, the Seahawks will be scarily effective all around the field. This is a team that also managed to avoid losing key pieces and has a lot of young up-and-coming talent. Wild card should be an expectation this year, if not division title.
9Chamber (USA)
A Love to Kill For

9. Los Angeles Chargers
Last Season: 10-7; lost WC round; finished Rank 7

Joe Lombardi is gone, praise the gods. Brandon Staley is still here though, so maybe it’s a wash. Joking aside, Kellen Mond is a massive hire for the Bolts and hopefully a significant change in offensive philosophy; Mond isn’t afraid to let it rip, and Herbert--in possession of one of the league’s strongest arms--is more than up to that task. What will get in their way is the same thing that has always gotten in their way: injuries. A healthy trio of Williams, Allen, and newly-drafted Johnston should be a solid trio that can attack defenses in a variety of ways, with TE Everett coming off a career year in yards gained as well. This also assumes that Staley can avoid choking leads and habitually throwing caution to the wind on any given fourth down. Too much to ask? We’ll see. I think Mond will be a big benefit in getting this offense to really be an offense.
8Trophy Scars
Astral Pariah

8. Dallas Cowboys
Last Season: 12-5; lost NFC Divisional; finished Rank 11

Dan Quinn still being here is a score for Dallas; he’s still an upper-level defensive coordinator, and with the likes of rookie Mazi Smith, there should be more for him to work with on the DLine. Ideally, it should also take some pressure off of Parsons, who’s normally forced to wreck shop on his lonesome. McCarthy takes over OC playcalling duties in the wake of Mond’s departure, which isn’t necessarily a death sentence; he was the primary caller during Aaron Rodgers’ early success. That offense has enough strength to overtake most opponents, and as aforementioned, the defense should have more depth than last year and be fiercer as a result. And I mean, by the end of the day, we can’t laugh at another Dallas playoff collapse if they don’t make it there! Make Deuce Vaughn center.

7. New York Jets
Last Season: 7-10; finished Rank 23

What the Jets were missing was painfully obvious: a reliable QB that avoided mistakes and could manage the game. In Aaron Rodgers, they have that at a minimum, and at a maximum, they have an elite passer that can make incredible touch throws. An offense of Wilson, Lazard, a deep RB room, and a hopefully healthy OLine should be the perfect complement to a defense that is on track to be elite once again. Star CB Sauce Gardener of course needs no introduction, but the athletic wonder and 1st round pick Will McDonald IV could be a terror on the DLine. It sounds like the makings of old-fashioned Rex-style Jets football, but instead of Mark Sanchez, you’ve got Aaron fuckin’ Rodgers. Their downfall will be any sort of injury, as key position groups--WR, QB, OLine--lack depth. Fingers crossed the Jets can finally beat their playoff demons.
The Process Of

*6. Buffalo Bills
Last Season: 13-3; lost AFC Divisional; finished Rank 2

It feels like the Bills’ current window is slipping out of their grasp--something magnified by a humiliating blowout at the hands of the Bengals last year. The team has become the new-Age Tarkenton Vikings sans-SB appearances; they never seem to have enough, or they’re snakebit by injuries and sheer bad luck, or victimized by some serious bullsh*t. Allen and Diggs return, wth rookie TE Kincaid hopefully bringing a measure of diversity to the offensive attack. Hard to count Buffalo out due to their regular season rampaging as of late, but the cracks and frustration are showing. McDermott taking over defensive playcalling might help, as well as the defense being healthy in general--specifically in the secondary, which should be a strength. Von Miller being out for extended time hurts a DLine that struggles with generating pressure, but new acquisition Leonard Floyd might be able to provide assistance.
59mm Parabellum Bullet

5. Detroit Lions
Last Season: 9-8; finished Rank 6

For perhaps the first time since Barry Sanders was making magic happen, the Detroit Lions are a hot name in NFL circles. It’s part media-hype, naturally, but it’s also deserved; this is the most complete their roster has looked in decades. Goff has successfully revived his career, St. Brown is the most underrated WR in the league, Gibbs + Monty has terrifying potential as a 1-2 RB onslaught, the OLine is an absolute force, and the defense has been given a much-needed makeover. The likes of CJGJ and Cameron Sutton should vastly improve the secondary, and new additions a la 1st rounder Jack Campbell can augment the LB corps--probably this team’s weakness alongside a relatively unproven TE room. The stage seems to be set for a shockingly strong showing from the Lions, with most of their deficiencies addressed by Brad Holmes in the draft or FA. As long as Ben Johnson controls the offense, I’d set my hopes high.
Teenage Haze

*4. San Francisco 49ers
Last Season: 13-4; lost NFC Championship; finished Rank 1

Shanahan is the Shanaman with the Shanaplan, ready to do his Shanabest to win the Shana-West. Yes, I am again asking you to drink Niner Kool-Aid, because this offense is a cheat code when healthy and an absolute matchup nightmare on every front. The key concern will be QB; all eyes will be on Brock Purdy to see if he can not only avoid injury, but also replicate his underdog run from the previous season. If so, a beastly attack of Deebo, Aiyuk, and Kittle will feast per usual. A deadly DLine, now commanded by Steve Wilks, should help make life hell for opposing offenses. The division should certainly be the objective; short of that would be another disappointment in a long list of them for the Shana-era. You gotta snag that championship soon to make it all worth it, right?

*3. Philadelphia Eagles
Last Season: 14-3; lost Super Bowl; finished Rank 5

After that kind of SB run, it was inevitable that the Eagles would lose key pieces, from coaching to especially defense. That being said, the main strengths--Hurts, Brown, Smith, the elite OLine, and a DLine that’s now made all the more terrifying by Jalen Carter--remain mostly intact. That alone should be enough to carry the Birds to another division title and get them en route to a deep playoff run. Continuity on offensive playcalling will be critical, as Steichen was considered instrumental to Hurts’ development as a QB, but I don’t think Gannon’s absence will have similar concerns; Eagles fans had plenty of complaints and didn’t mind that he ended up leaving. He’s Arizona’s problem now. Bottom line: there’s a lot of talent still here, including the main pieces to last year’s run. They’ll be back barring some kind of disaster.

*2. Cincinnati Bengals
Last Season: 12-4; lost AFC Championship; finished Rank 3

The Bengals have been painfully close to getting that first ring, and last year’s defeat might be the worst yet: a mixture of self-inflicted wounds and highly questionable officiating. For the most part, the gang’s running it back, although the loss of the Bell - Bates safety duo will hurt the secondary. Burrow, Chase, Higgins, and Boyd remain the top offensive attack in the league, and the OLine is projected to finally be up to standard this year, helped by splash FA signing Orlando Brown. While the secondary might be hurting, the defensive front, anchored by Hubbard and Hendrickson, should be even better with the inclusion of Myles Murphy. Lou Anarumo is among the league’s best defensive wizards; I expect any roster setbacks to be managed appropriately. Despite losses, the Bengals have a firm grip on the AFC North, and their offense should always be counted on to make a deep playoff push on its own.
1Icarus the Owl
Rearm Circuits

*1. Kansas City Chiefs
Last Season: 14-3; Super Bowl champs; finished Rank 4

It is predictable and boring to put the defending champs #1, but I’ll say what I’ve always said for a while now: Kelce + Mahomes + Reid = success. Until that dynamic is broken up or hits an age cliff, it’s completely foolish to count them out. A solid supporting cast at WR--even more so if Toney is healthy--and the loveable angry-runner Pacheco will be more than enough to diversify KC’s offensive attack. The biggest concern is the fate of Chris Jones, who as of this write-up has yet to be re-signed. He’s a key piece and the heart of the team’s DLine, and nobody on the roster currently can fill his shoes. Even then, Spagnuolo’s defenses are infamous for their bend-but-somehow-never-break ethos. Hell, not like the AFC West is quite ready to challenge these cats anyways. Calling them #1 for now until proven otherwise.
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