I hate making football predictions. That’s why I do them every week. But the truth is, as yet another NFL season is about to begin, we the experts, after a summer full of furious study, know absolutely nothing.
Therefore, I will not predict who will win or lose this year. I will do something more realistic. I will predict only the best each team in football can hope for — and the worst that could happen.
Ready? 1. DETROIT LIONS.
Best they can hope for: That Herman Moore can catch, Jerry Ball is mean, and those linemen really need the money Barry Sanders promised them.
Worst: That Mouse Davis was right. 2. GREEN BAY PACKERS.
Best they can hope for: That Tony Mandarich was telling the truth when he said steroids had nothing to do with why he suddenly stinks.
Worst: That he was on steroids at the time. 3. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Starring Jerry Burns.
Best they can hope for: That Herschel Walker has run out of things to complain about.
Worst: That Walker has run out of speed. 4. CHICAGO BEARS.
Best: That Mark Carrier is as good as he was last year, and Jim Harbaugh is better.
Worst: That Mike Singletary’s eyes just pop out of his head one day. 5. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS.
Worst: What was their coach’s name again? 6. NEW YORK GIANTS.
Best: Another Super Bowl.
Worst: Phil Simms steals everyone’s playbook. 7. WASHINGTON REDSKINS.
Best: That quarterback Mark (The Ball Just Slipped Out Of My Hand) Rypien gains confidence and control.
Worst: They lose to Detroit on Sunday. A thing like that could embarrass you for a year. 8. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES.
Best: Buddy Ryan’s gone. What more can you ask?
Worst: Randall Cunningham gets mono. 9. DALLAS COWBOYS.
Best: Russell Maryland plays as big as Texas.
Worst: Russell Maryland eats as big as Texas. 10. PHOENIX CARDINALS.
Best: Timm Rosenbach has a speedy recovery.
Worst: Someone says, “Let’s host a Super Bowl!” 11. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers.
Best: They didn’t lose much when Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana’s elbow went south.
Worst: An angry Bubba Paris returns in the middle of the night and eats their stadium. 12. LOS ANGELES RAMS.
Best: They play like two years ago.
Worst: They play like last year. 13. ATLANTA FALCONS.
Best: Andre Rison starts riding buses.
Worst: Baseball is Deion Sanders’ best sport. 14. NEW ORLEANS.
Best: Bobby Hebert, after a yearlong hold out, comes back throwing like a demon.
Worst: Bobby Hebert, after a yearlong holdout, comes back saying, “How do you hold the laces?” 15. LA RAIDERS.
Best: Ronnie Lott returns with a vengeance.
Worst: Bo Jackson is in AA ball come November. 16. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS.
Best: Steve DeBerg forgets he is 72 years old.
Worst: Everyone else remembers. 17. DENVER BRONCOS.
Best: They reach the Super Bowl again.
Worst: They reach the Super Bowl again. 18. HOUSTON OILERS.
Best: They’re undefeated after their first three games against the Raiders, Cincinnati and KC.
Worst: Warren Moon gets mono. 19. PITTSBURGH STEELERS.
Best: They rely on their defense.
Worst: They rely on their offense. 20. CINCINNATI BENGALS.
Best: Ickey Woods has reason to dance again.
Worst: Sam Wyche does another press conference in a towel. 21. BUFFALO BILLS.
Best: They reach the Super Bowl.
Worst: They need a field goal to win it. 22. MIAMI DOLPHINS.
Best: Dan Marino has a record year after signing his new contract.
Worst: Marino breaks wrist carrying his wallet. 23. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS.
Best: It has already happened: Eric Dickerson on the cover of Sports Illustrated under the caption “One Happy Camper.”
Worst: Dickerson says he was misquoted. 24. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.
Best: A woman reporter is assigned to cover the team and is treated with respect and dignity.
Worst: Victor Kiam is elected team captain. 25. SEATTLE, SAN DIEGO, CLEVELAND, NEW YORK JETS.
Best: The NFL says, “Take the year off.”
Worst: It doesn’t.