Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

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by Bryan Harvey

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by Bryan Harvey

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To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
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2010 AFC North Preview

August 3, 2010

Baltimore Ravens (9-7 last year)
Psychological Report: In his rookie year, Joe Flacco threw 14 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.  In his second year, that ratio improved when he threw 21 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.  His coach, John Harbaugh, marked his growth, in pencil, on the doorframe of his bedroom, and receivers around the League began to take notice of more than just his eyebrows.  Derrick Mason, who contemplated retirement last offseason, rushed back just to hang with Joe, and Anquan Boldin decided that for the next four years it would be a good idea to go steady with Joe; and Joe still has classes with Michael Clayton and Todd Heap and has been spotted flirting with Donte Stallworth.  Aside from the occasional cracking of his voice, life is good for Joe.

Diagnosis: Everyone goes through puberty, and it can be awkward; but it does not last forever.  There comes a time when a boy must become a man.  This transition can be daunting, but for it to occur, it is important that an individual such as Joe to move beyond imprinting as a way to target receivers and that in cluctch situations he move beyond impulsive aggression.

Treatment: While one can easily become enamored with girlfriends and wide receivers, it is important to remain grounded.  During puberty an individual's relationships with peers and siblings can be critical to one's development, which is why Joe must maintain a steady grip upon his id and continue to develop his friendship with Ray Rice, his best friend, who was drafted in the same year and was second in the League last year in yards from scrimmage.

Offensive Rating: A Mississippi riverboat, efficient in its elegance, whose lifespan could be derailed by the locomotive.

Defensive Rating: The Great Wall of China because it is still the only manmade landmark visible from space despite the fact that local farms pillage its raw materials. 

Cincinnati Bengals (11-5 last year)
Psychological Report: The voices started innocent enough.  First there was Chad Johnson saying, "Hey, Carson, wanna see me dance?" and Carson was okay with that.  The other voice was Rudi, and he was barely noticeable.  TJ hung out for a little while, but then he skipped town, while Chad developed a secret identity.  Then Cedric showed up, and Rudi was dead.  Then T.O. showed up and the secret identity, Ochocinco, developed secret identities of his own: Batman and Robin, Siskel and Ebert, Bonnie and Clyde.  All the while, other voices kept calling out Hey, Carson! and Carson began to worry.

Diagnosis: One of schizophrenia's early symptoms is hearing one's name being called, and at first, that's how Carson Palmer's case was diagnosed, but then he admitted that Ochocinco and T.O. were both plotting to become the quarterback in order to throw touchdowns to themselves, which suggests a hostile take over of the offense's brain, or in other words, multiple personality disorder.

Treatment: The personalities and voices are here to stay; each one has a contract, but what Carson can do is establish the reciprocity norm within the locker room in order to confront any self-serving biases.

Offensive Rating: A juggling clown that hops a unicycle through flaming hoops

Defensive Rating: A rattlesnake

Cleveland Browns (5-11 last year)
Psychological Report: At what point does everything that has happened to the city of Cleveland just boil down to self-fulfilling prophecy?  Do they not seem to predict their own misfortune?  In 2009, this team began the season 1-11.  In seven of those losses, they lost by at least nine points.  They then won four games in a row, but against four non-Playoff teams.   Pull up any other statistic from the 2009 season and it will show the masochistic tendencies of this organization, which only appear to have slowed down with the hiring of Mike Holmgren.  

Diagnosis: When the Cleveland Browns left for Baltimore, the team might have been slightly sociopathic, but what's returned in its place displays none of the hostilities towards the city's hopes dreams and none of the tendencies to torture the city with horrifying Playoff moments.  No, what returned in its place is a mere, lifeless replica of what once was.  In other words, Cleveland is now home to the lobotomized Browns, stumbling, drooling, and utterly zombie-like.

Treatment: For the time being, primary reinforcers, such as food and water, are all that can be offered, but at some point, desperation will call for electroshock therapy.

Offensive Rating: A penny at the bottom of a well.

Defensive Rating: Swiss cheese left in a hot car.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7 last year)
Psychological Report: Ben Roethlisberger has more Super Bowl rings than either Brett Favre or Peyton Manning.  Ben Roethlisberger has crashed a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.  Ben Roethlisberger plays quarterback courageously, without regard to his own safety.  Ben Roethlisberger's teammates question his toughness and dedication.  Ben Roethlisberger is a good ol' boy.  Ben Roethlisberger might be a rapist.  Ben Roethlisberger has the confidence to conduct game winning drives.  Ben Roethlisberger  makes himself feel better by buying shots for everyone in the bar just so they know he's important.  Ben Roethlisberger has never been to Disney World because he has never been Super Bowl MVP, both Peyton Manning and Brett Favre have.  If Ben Roethlisberger did go to Disney World, he would hit on Daisy Duck, not Minnie.

Diagnosis: Who does Big Ben think he is?  Who does he want to be?  The way he lives life is like he does not even realize that his nickname is derived from a clock, that there is a moment when time runs out on all the people one could have been and one is who he is.  Ben Roethlisberger, at the moment, is not his ideal self, but he is one of his possible selves; and that possible self is far from any true manifestation of self-actualization.

Treatment: Ben Roethlisberger needs to take a backseat to Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.  Even more so, he needs to take a back seat to Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore because Ben Roethlisberger is currently a mediocre man lost amongst his own potential greatness.

Offensive Rating: An albatross in the Disney sense, meaning flight is quite possible, but landings remain difficult.

Defensive Rating: A brick wall, that with Polamalu back gets an addition of barbed wire.

Feel free to add any opinions, predictions, or actual analysis in our comments section.


Anonymous said...

Don't waste your time with NFL previews. If Brett Favre really is retiring, then does this football season even matter?

August 3, 2010 at 10:58 PM
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Russ said...

1) Steelers 10-6
2) Ravens 9-7
3) Bengals 9-7
4) Browns 4-12

Everybody is picking the Bengals or Ravens, so I am going against the grain. I think Roethlisberger comes back after 4 games and the Steelers go 2-2 in those games. Defense will be healthy and much better than last season, and the Steelers end the season strong with Roethlisberger back. Ravens aging defense and lack of depth in the secondary will hurt their chances this year. Bengals have a tough schedule: playing at New England, at Indy, at NYJ, at Atlanta, and New Orleans, along with 4 games against the Steelers/Ravens, who will be gunning for them after the Bengals swept all 4 games last season. They come back to earth.

August 8, 2010 at 10:10 PM
Teach said...

Russ, I admire your boldness in making actual predictions.

I'm gonna go Bengals by a game over the Ravens. I'm gonna say the Steelers finish about a game or two behind the Ravens. Browns finish last. I guess I'm just hoping for the OchoCinco/TO experiment to work for entertainment purposes and I like Marvin Lewis. With the Ravens, I guess I'm betting on Boldin making Ray Rice's life easier, and with the Steelers, I'll admit it's because I find Big Ben sad and I want the Chancellor faculty to cry.

August 10, 2010 at 7:58 PM
Teach said...

Just want to say that I'm secretly hoping Byron Leftwich's career gets revamped from Big Ben's suspension

August 18, 2010 at 11:46 PM

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