Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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The last time the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs, I didn't have my driver's license, I was still trying to figure out girls and Bill Clinton was president.
Unfortunately, today I am still a Bills fan, I've had my driver's license for almost 10 years, am still trying to figure out girls and am in my second term with George W. Bush.
Cheering for the Bills - who have the second-longest playoff drought in the NFL, behind only the Arizona Cardinals - is like taking the plots of "Groundhog Day" and "Falling Down" and intertwining them together.
Every year, we stink, then we just wake up and do it all over again.
Why do I put myself through the pain of being a Bills fan?
Because this is the NFL.
The gridiron, no crying allowed (unless you're Dick Vermeil), 60 minutes of controlled violence, beer, grilling, wins, losses (especially if you're a Bills fan) and the budding hope this year might be "the year" for your team.
So, without further ado, here are Luke's lock 'em up, head to Caesar's Palace, mortgage the house picks for the 2007-08 year.
New England, 11-5
New York Jets, 9-7
Buffalo Bills, 5-11
Miami Dolphins, 3-13
Two-team battle for the top spot, but New England's too good not to win the division. A couple more super models, though, and Tom Brady will join the all-Travis Henry team for promiscuity. Don't worry, Bills fans - hockey training camp starts in a month. Miami fans? Enjoy the sun, I guess.
San Diego, 12-4
Kansas City, 7-9
Everybody rags on Norv Turner because he's essentially stunk as a head coach. But he's a good offensive mind, and the Chargers have four of the top players at their positions in the league - LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Shawne Merriman and Jamal Williams. Heads up Broncos fans, this is a transition year. Cutler's essentially still a rookie (never bet on a quarterback who has only started five games), you have one proven wide receiver (Rod Smith's hip is in question) and a defense that's solid at corner and two linebacker spots but has questions everywhere else.
After watching the Colts take apart the Saints, I truly believe Peyton Manning could lead any team to the playoffs. He's that good. Tennessee will surprise people. In fact, they're my surprise team. Despite nobody around him, Vince Young refuses to lose. The Titans will win several games this year where people will go, "how in the world did they win that game?" Easy. Vince Young won't let his teammates lose.
The toughest division in football. The top three teams could win it, but I go with the best defense and best running back. Cincinnati doesn't have the defense and Pittsburgh may be the biggest enigma coming into the season.
New York, 9-7
I'm on the Philadelphia bandwagon and I'm not sure why. The defense always plays well, but the offense doesn't have a go-to wide receiver. Donovan McNabb can't stay healthy and he's coming off an ACL injury that takes two years to fully heal. That said, the Eagles will beat up on the NFC East.
St. Louis, 11-5
San Francisco, 6-10
Steven Jackson, Torry Holt and Marc Bulger are the three best weapons outside of Indianapolis. Jackson is a stud and the defense will slow down people enough to let the offense win.
New Orleans, 11-5
Tampa Bay, 2-14
New Orleans kind of wins this division by default, as the other three teams are horrendous. The Saints will have a little fall off from last year, but they're better than the team that played the Colts on Thursday.
Green Bay, 9-7
Rex Grossman will be better and the defense is great. Brett Favre will lead the Packers to the playoffs one more time. The Lions will be exciting on offense, horrid on defense and the Vikings - Tavaris Jackson anyone? - are the worst team in football.
Wild Card playoffs
New England over Pittsburgh
Baltimore over Tennessee
Seattle over Chicago
New Orleans over Green Bay
Baltimore over Indianapolis
San Diego over New England
Philadelphia over Seattle
St. Louis over New Orleans
Baltimore over San Diego
Philadelphia over St. Louis
Super Bowl XLII
Feb. 3, 2008, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix:
Baltimore over Philadelphia