Friday, September 5, 2008

That Tabor Guy's 2008 NFL Predictions

Just like last Thursday was opening day of college football, this Thursday is opening day of the NFL regular season. Giants vs. Redskins play tonight and it should be a good one. But rather than talk about 1 game, That Tabor Guy is here to lay down his opinions as well as some facts on the entire NFL. This is my favorite time of the year and I'd be happy to debate my opinions with anyone. First, we’ll start with playoff predictions....

AFC Division winners:
East- New England Patriots
North- Pittsburgh Steelers
South- Jacksonville Jaguars
West- San Diego Chargers

Wild Cards- Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills

NFC Division Winners
East- Dallas Cowboys
North- Green Bay Packers
South- New Orleans Saints
West- Seattle Seahawks

Wild Cards: New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals

1. New England is still the class of the AFC East. However the gap is closing and New England’s roster is in their 30’s for the most part. It was starting to show in the secondary and LB corps in the playoffs last year. Luckily for them they've signed some young talent in the offseason so there's still gas in the tank come the 4th quarter.

2. Bills and Jets have massively improved their rosters to help close that gap. Yes, the Jets signed Favre…but honestly he might not even be their biggest acquisition. They also signed Pro-bowlers Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, and Kris Jenkins in free agency as well as landing 2 first round draft picks that will be immediate starters Vernon Gholston and Dustin Keller. The only problem with the Jets is that their Coach Eric Man”gina” is a giant pussy and also a little cry baby bitch. This will filter down causing girlish behavior in all of his players. (It’s true, look it up!!) The Bills however are a tough, hardnosed team that only gets tougher every year. They have had the best drafts of any team in the NFL if you combine the last 3 years together. (Marshawn Lynch, Trent Edwards, Paul Pozluzny, Leodis McKelvin, James Hardy, and Donte Whitner) As well as signing defensive monsters Marcus Stroud and Kawika Mitchell in the offseason. The Dolphins are in rebuild mode and due to their lack of experience on both sides of the ball, I wouldn't expect much more than a 3-13 season out of them this year. However they are making the right moves and expect them to be a legit team in 2 years time.

3. AFC North is a tough pick. Because every team has glaring weaknesses as well as glaring strengths. Pittsburgh has a horrible offensive line but they seem to be the most well rounded everywhere else. Ravens have issues all over the offense (McGahee’s knee, the QB situation, the departure of Ogden, lack of play makers at WR) I love my Ravens, but I’m not holding my breath. Cincinati is in disarray and have been for a while. No defense, egos, and lack of running game will all play roles in leading them to a 4-12 season or lower. Carson Palmer is no longer a premiere QB and Chad Ocho Cinco is no longer a premiere WR. If RB Chris Perry can stay healthy look for him to have a long awaited breakout season. But outside of that, the Bungles are doomed.

And the final team, the Brownies!!
4. DON’T BUY INTO THE BROWNS HYPE!! They have the worst secondary in the entire NFL. There isn’t a single QB in the NFL that couldn’t rattle off a 400 yard passing game on those chumps. The 10-6 record last year was a fluke, expect them to take a back slide this season. Jamal Lewis won’t run like last year, Derek Anderson won’t pass like last year, Kellen Winslow Jr. isn’t as good as people give him credit for. Donte Stallworth isn’t really that big of an acquisition. They didn’t get anyone in the draft. Shaun Rogers is fat, slow, and couldn’t even make the cut in Detroit. Braylan Edwards is amazing!! But he’s about it.

5. Yeah that’s right I picked the Jags over the Colts in the South. Colts top 4 players (Manning, Sanders, Freeney, and Harrison) are all coming off offseason serius surgeries. Their age is beginning to show on both sides of the roster and they are getting cocky drafting 3 centers in their first 4 draft picks. Whereas the jags are young and hungry. Every year they pick up steam and I look for them to have the most devastating pass rush in the entire AFC this year. As well as the most effective ground attack with MJD and F. Taylor pounding the rock. Garrard doesn’t make the critical mistakes and he has matured a lot over the last couple seasons. Expect the Texans and Titans to have brilliant performances on defense but there are way too many question marks on their respective offenses to warrant much of a threat. Most noteably the Texans RB’s and the Titan’s WRs. However the Titans have made the playoffs with worse rosters and I can't count out Jeff Fisher's ability to maximize his talent.

6. San Diego is the obvious pick in a lackluster division. They are solid in all facets of the roster. They seem to have the Colts number, thumping them twice last season and making it to the AFC Championship game. Much depends on the health of Shawne Merriman’s knee and Ladanian Tomlinson’s vagina. I think the Raiders are probably the second best team in this division although it’s a distant second. They have improved everywhere except for O-line (which will once again be their downfall) But their secondary is amazing. With Asomugha and Deangelo Hall at CB they easily have the most dominant secondary in the NFL. Look for them to make the playoffs not this year, but the next year. Broncos have too many issues on defense. Last place in the NFL last year against the run and they didn’t do anything to improve it. Their once great secondary is also lagging. They lost Foxworth and John Lynch and the once feared duo of Champ Bailey and Dre Bly started to show their 30+ age last year.
Cheifs are the other team in here but they aren’t worth mentioning because they are easily the worst team in the AFC

7. The NFC East looks like it belongs to the Cowboys on paper. In fact the Cowboys look more like a pro bowl team than a legit NFL team. However that’s on paper. Will the chemistry be there? Will Romo choke in the clutch as usual? Will TO be as forgiving? Will PacMan stay out of trouble? I think they’ll be fine in the reg. Season but the playoffs are a different story. The Giants looked to be poised to make a run at a repeat championship. But in my opinion their best player is Osi Umenyiura, and he’s out for the season with a knee injury. This is devastating but their roster is deep enough to still make a playoff run. Plus they made some excellent moves in the draft. Adressing all of their key losses. The Redskins are a team in transition. Look for one of the most run-heavy offenses of the past 3 years to take a completely new approach and pass the ball close to 70% of the time. The whole success of the squad rests squarely on the shoulders of QB Jason Campbell who has improved in the past 3 seasons and needs to take that final step under Jim Zorn. They provided him with a plethora of passing targets in the draft, taking 2 WR’s and a TE with their top 3 picks. Defensively they are solid, but not great. Especially if Jason Taylor can’t get healthy. Philly will be the odd men out in this division once again. Injuries plague this team every season and I’m doubtful if this year will be any different. Signing Asante Samuel might have been smart. But we’ll soon see if he truly was a top CB in the NFL or if he was just a polished turd that flourished in New England like so many other mediocre talents. Desean Jackson is the wild card on this team. Selected in the second round at WR and KR this kid has speed on speed. He had a stellar preseason and if he can stay healthy with his tiny 170 lb frame, he could be the game breaker that the Eagles have lacked ever since TO left.

8. NFC North has changed. For the first time in 16 years Brett Favre wont be QB of the Packers. But they are solid everywhere else. Even if Aaron Rogers only averages a 80.0 passer rating (158.3 being perfect) the Pack has enough talent that they could skate through the division. The only competiton will be from the Vikings, and their QB situation right now is shaky at best. Their defense is scary but I’m not sure if it’s enough to make up for 4 INT’s per game. Expect the Lions to start with a 5-3 record but to finish the season around 6-10 because the first half is cream puffs on their schedule but the 2nd half is brutal. They lack defensive consistency however they have improved a bit from last season as far as personal is concerened adding Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly to their weak-ass secondary. Look for the same solid passing ame on offense and a much improved running attack punctuated by rookie Kevin Smith and verteran arrival Rudi Johnson. The Bears are just the opposite. The very definition of stability on defense but perhaps the most sorry offense I’ve ever seen. It was considered a terrible offense when they went to the superbowl 2 years ago, and since then they've lost their top 2 runningbacks and top 3 wide receivers. Hopefully the defense and special teams whiz kid Devin Hester can provide some great moment for the Bears faithful, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a playoff birth.

9. NFC South is a relatively easy pick for me. Saints are definately gonna be the team to beat regardless of what the Panthers and Bucs fans will tell you. Saints have added so much defense to finally compliment that fantastic offense led by Brees. The Saints moved up in the draft to snag Sedrick Ellis, one of the top DT prespects in recent memory as well as CB Tracy Porter early in the second round.. They also added folks like Jonathan Vilma and Randall Gay to give a boost to all 3 facets of their defense. The Panthers could be a scary team if it weren't for Jake Delhomme's constant injuries. Also the once most feared defensive front 4 in the NFL has been completely disbanded. Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker, and that other guy are all gone. Now only Julius Peppers remains, and he's coming off the most piss poor season of his carreer. But luckily for them they have a new leader on defense in second year MLB Jonathan Beason. Beason is just the latest in the long line of dominant Middle Linebackers from the university of Miami. If it weren't for Patrick Willis' unreal rookie season last year, Beason would have snatched defensive rookie of the year honors hands down. Also look out for Rookie RB Jonathan Stewart. The Bucs were lucky to get into the playoffs last year, and they'll be even luckier if they sneak in this year. Good defense, but once again no balance on offense. Falcons don't warrant much mention. They are in full on rebuild mode, new coach, new qb, new dirty birds Expect them to finish near the bottom of the NFL. Matt Ryan may turn out to be good in the long run, but this team has let go of probowlers left and right over the last few years leaving them with no names on defense or offense.

10.NFC West: Seahawks have owned this pitiful piece of NFL real estate ever since they moved from the AFC West. The Rams, 49ers, and Cards seem to be in a permanant slumber with no aspirations to ever reach the playoffs. Hawks are also playing for their coach Mike Holmgren who has already announced he is retiring at the end of this season. Cards could however be a surprise team to many. Most folks don't realize that they were 8-8 last year and that Kurt Warner threw 27 TD's in the 13 games that he started in. With that WR core it would be pretty easy, it's the best in the NFL. What has surprised me is how they've quietly built that defense into something great. The secondary holds 3 first rounders and their defensive line is a rock. Combine that with the fact that they are in the weakest conference in the league, and you've got the recipe for a surprise playoff run. The 49ers and Rams are both in disarray, may god have mercy on their souls. I expect the coaches of these two teams on the hot seat. If Mike Nolan or Scott Linehan can't build upon their pitiful past seasons expect them to get the boot.

It's time for OFFENSIVE ROOKIES OF THE YEAR!! (prospectively)
1. Jonathan Stewart: RB- Carolina Panthers. Size, Speed, Vision and a coach 100% dedicated to the run make Stewart a sure fire factor.

2.Desean Jackson- WR- Philly Eags- Blistering speed, tremendous preseason, returns kicks and punts. Also the Eagles lack of any playmaking WR's already puts Jackson #1 on their depth chart and guarantees plenty of touches.

3.Chris Johnson- RB- Tennessee Titans. Johnson ran the fastest 40 time in the history of the NFL combine (4.22) He doesn't have to be very good to take the starting role away from Lendale White. He also will get extra votes due to returning kicks. Titans have a solid O-line and like to pound the rock. Great vision for a scat back.

4. Darren McFadden-RB-Oakland Raiders- I didn't even really want to put him on this list but his physical attributes force me to. The guy is a physical marvel running one of the fastest 40 times at the combine as well as throwing up quite a few reps on the bench press. But god given abilty isn't enough in football. I'm not sure if he has the head for this game. He doesn't have the best vision, he seems to always run into the backs of his blockers. He's also had the most fumbles in the nation over the past 4 years in the NCAA. He's also going to be splitting carries with Justin Fargas and Michael Bush which will make him seem less valuable to his team in the eyes of voters. Couple that with his poor Offensive line and we might have a "Bust" on our hands. I hope he can be successful, I've always loved him in college. I just don't know if it's gonna be 1st year success.

1. Jerod Mayo- MLB/OLB- New England Patriots- Stud MLB has won rookie of the year past 2 seasons. Will be playing on a great defense, amazing instincts, will be extremely well coached. Great defensive line will take on blockers allowing Mayo to come clean at the ball carrier.

2. Leodis McKelvin- CB- Buffalo Bills- Instant starter, best CB prospect in the deepest CB class in the history of the draft. Also returns kicks and punts. Phenomenal preseason.

3.Derrick Harvey-DE-Jacksonville Jaguars. Great motor, speed in droves, singlehandedly won the national championship for the gators two years ago. Pro-style body already, look for immedite sack increase for Jacksonville.

4. Vernon Gholston- OLB/DE New York Jets-- Gholston is a freak of nature. Stronger than an offensive tackle with the speed of a safety. Absolutely dominated Jake Long the 1st overall pick from Michigan when they lined up across from each other last season. Intimidates anyone when he's in the zone but only downfall is that he sometimes takes plays off. If he isn't a pro bowler at the end of the year it will be due to mental reasons rather than physical.

AFC Championship game
Patriots 23 Jaguars 16

NFC Chamionship game
Saints 31 Cowboys 28

Patriots 40 Saints 14

So there ya go folks feel free to comment right on the bulletin I'll respond.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Deer of my Nightmares

Normally I don't pay much attention to dreams. Sometimes I have a terrible dream about hurting someone I love, but then I wake up and I'm just thankful that it was merely a dream. On the flipside of that coin sometimes I'm having a dream that I won the lottery or that I'm married to Keira Knightley, then waking up is met with disappointment when I look around at my mediocre bedroom, in my mediocre apartment. However last night was an exception. I've never had a dream that felt more real, symbolic, and relevant to me. However there are a few aspects that had me scratching my head until I really got critical with myself.

Here's the dream:
I'm hanging out with my friend Weston, he and I are former friends from work and we don't see each other all that often but he and I are driving down a dirt road near where i grew up. (Bird rd. for all my buddies from Byron) I'm in the passenger seat looking out to the left of the car. I see a open corn field that has already been harvested along with hundreds of deer just standing there looking at us. The day is cloudy and cold. There are also about 5 hunters pointing guns toward the deer with their backs to us. I see one of the hunters shoot a deer right through the heart. The blood is instantly spreading over it's entire chest. As it goes down, myself and Weston walk over to the animal along with the hunter, who I figure out is my friend Scott (who actually grew up on Bird Rd.). As we approach the downed deer it jumps up and starts attacking Gibbs with its hooves and gnashing it's teeth at him. Myself and Weston think it's funny for a while but after Scott gets hit in the head a couple times with the hooves it's obvious that he's in trouble. I run up to the deer and kick it in the side to distract it long enough for Scott to get away. But the Deer now turns on me and begins charging with the same type of attacks. I go into a defensive stance covering my face and head to avoid a skull splitting hoof attack. After I realize nobody is going to come to my aid I lash out blindly and catch the animal with with a right hook to the chops putting the animal down on the ground then I jump on its back and snap the animals neck hard to the right until I feel the bones in its neck crack. I collapse afterward. (I'm not a hunter and I don't hurt animals so I was pretty depressed about having to provide the mercy kill.) Right when I think it's time to leave the deer begins to rise up again groaning all the while and staring into my eyes. I jump on it once more, this time twisting the animals head hard in the opposite direction until I hear the same sickening sound. Myself and Weston get back in the car and decide we're going to the bar....Then I black out within my own dream. I have no recollection of the bar but I wake up in a house. (I think it's supposed to be my parents house, even though it looks nothing like their house) Myself and Weston are asleep in a room in a basement. We are in two seperate beds and when I wake I ask him what happened. He recalls in detail the whole situation with the deer. I'm pretty sad at this point because i was hoping that it was only a dream but unfortunately I still have blood all over me. My dad comes into the room and he says something in a very mean tone, I forget what it was exactly but my mom is also extremely mad at me. (If you know my parents, you realize how uncharacteristic this would be for them) I walk out of the room and into another area of the basement, I'm a little taken aback when I see my parents, aunts and uncles, friends and cousins all sitting in this closed-in room with one window and no doors. It's an intervention and they want me to stop drinking. People cry and tell me how much they love me and whatnot. A few of my friends can't even make it through the inervention because it's too painful for them. Right before my Grandma begins to talk, I hear a scratching at the window behind me. I turn around and it's the deer from the previous day. It's still bloody and mad. It's back legs no longer work and it drags its body through the window and lands on the carpeting it moves in grotesque jerking motions it's face is angry and it's making noises too horrible for words. I look down with pity at this broken animal as it's dead legs trail behind it. I look around for some kind of support but everyone that was in the room is gone. The room has no doors so I am stranded with this animal. I fall to my knees and just begin crying my eyes out. Then my alarm goes off and I wake up for real this time. My pillow is covered with tears and my nose is running.
The End. Pretty weird eh?

For the past 9 months I've done a lot to control my drinking. I rarely get sloshed anymore. It's more of a casual thing to pound some beers while playing Madden online or watching some football. I don't mess with liquor anymore at all!! But after this dream I must still must be harboring alot of guilt over the fact that I still drink at all. It has cost me so much already, friends, jobs, respect, girlfriends. Alcoholism is a "progressive disease" that only grows stronger over time. Maybe I've convinced myself that the worst is over but subconsciously I know it's not true as long as I continue to drink. Just because I haven't had any legal troubles or lost any jobs in the last 3 years I think I have my disease beat. Obviously this dream suggests otherwise. Here's why...

The details that I haven't released yet further prove my thesis.

1. Although Weston and I are far from "best friends" he is a guy that I've always had alot of respect for. The last time I saw him was 2 years ago at a bar in Williamston the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Apparantley he offered me ride back to my parents house that night so I wouldn't have to walk through town hammered. When I tried to get into the car the door was locked but I pulled so hard with my drunken "retard" strength on the door handle that I ripped it off. I had no recollection of this for the last 2 years until he showed up at my mom's bank. He ask her how I was doing and then told the story about his door handle. My mom relayed the message to me later that day. She said he was laughing about it, but it still made me sick to my stomach to do something like that to a friend trying to do me a favor.

2.Scott was always a great friend growing up in Byron. We went to elementary and middle school together and we also met back up in our college years and worked at the same OfficeMax for 3 years or so. However in 2005 the year the shit hit the fan and I went on constant benders and other fun such self-destructive excursions. All my former friends from OfficeMax took notice and started treating me as a distant friend that they might respond to over phone or e-mail but never really wanted alot to do with me in person. Maybe the Deer attacking him was a way of showing my addiction causing harm to a friend. And when I kicked the deer to distract it, was a metaphor for taking the brunt of my addiction on my own shoulders and giving up on the notion that me and Scott were ever gonna be friends again. Letting my addiction hurt me to protect my friends from destructive behavior. That's when I started flying solo on drinking outings and avoiding other people for a few months in that span of time.

3.Bird Road was where Gibbs lived but also another childhood friend named Travis Bogart. Travis died our senior year in a car accident on that very road. I still haven't gotten a 100% true account of whether drinking was involved. Some people say yes, some people say no. Either way I think drinking was once again the central reason that the dream took place here.

4. I've done research online today about what a deer represents in a dream. The "experts" say it has something to do with feminine aspects of ones personality, a representation of grace and beauty, and also that killing a deer in a dream is a way of supressing the feminine aspects of your personality. Well I do alot to put on a tough front with my death metal and football. So I guess I can see some relevance. However the more i think about the central aspect of the dream (drinking) I think it represents my addition to alcohol. Gibbs shooting the deer was the manifestation of him turning his back on me in a sense to try to help me get help. As I said before then I took on the deer solo for a while and tried to squash it. It got in some good shots on me first a couple hooves to the head (Jail, Court, Loss of friends) So I tried to kill it twisting it's neck. (That was when I went to rehab and AA.) But it lived (relapse) so I tried killing it again. I went back to AA and other forms of alcohol couseling. I thought I had it under control so I went back to the bar. After smooth sailing for a while, I made an idiot out of myself at my friend Bob's birthday party last January I was pulled aside and given a quick intervention in his garage by my buddy Andy, his wife Crystal, and Bob himself. I vowed not to drink again and it lasted for a while until my favorite dog Tiber was put down in March due to old age mainly. I relapsed again and never really looked back. The intervention in the dream represented probably all the interventions that I have been given either formally or unformal in the last 5 years. When I turned my back on my loved ones to see the deer scratching at the window I believe that was a metaphor for turning my back on my loved ones and giving in once again to alcohol. The obvious outcome was that all my friends and family will be gone if I continue to give in to this ugly monster. The deer is crippled, shot, beaten. But unkillable. My addiction is something that will always be with me. Although it may be weak right now with my trying to limit my intake of alcohol, I will never be fully rid of this thing. The deer grows stronger the longer I allow it to live inside my room. I will be left with nothing but an empty room and my addiction...And I don't think that deer likes me too much anymore.


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