Mike Langston and Bryan Harvey discuss the AFC West:
|"So Peyton's looking a little slow, maybe a little fat, right guys?"|
Bryan Harvey: There’s really one name to start with here. He’s football’s favorite son and perhaps the most uncontroversial figure in a League that continues to become ever more steeped in controversy.
Mike Langston: Having rooted for Peyton since he took the reins as a freshman at UT, the last quarter of the 2014 season was brutal to watch. I felt like I was watching the series finale of a Western, where the hero who was victorious time and time again only had one way to end the story: death at the hands of some no-name vandal. It’s fitting his nickname is now The Sheriff.
Bryan Harvey: So, if he’s old and in a Western, we’re pretty much left wondering if this is going to be High Noon, Ride the High Country, or Tommy Lee Jones rambling at a breakfast table.
Mike Langston: Oh, he’s going to end up with a knife to the back from some small-time crook who is just trying to make a name for himself by taking out the biggest hero in the west.
Bryan Harvey: The question, does Brock Osweiler have what it takes, just became much more sinister. All jokes aside, what would happen if Manning couldn’t finish the season, though?
Mike Langston: Let’s deal with what we know.
Bryan Harvey: Okay, sure, but is Peyton Manning even Peyton Manning anymore? He’s 39 right now. Brett Favre is 45. Aaron Rodgers is 31. He’s closer in age to the retired, and the gap between him and the guys in their primes is what geologists refer to as unconformity. In other words, it can’t even be measured because at this point it’s nonexistent.
Mike Langston: He doesn’t need to be the Petyon of old. The Broncos can win with him just being old. The AFC West is so weak Denver can still win with the old Sheriff on one leg and his arm in a sling.
Bryan Harvey: Remember Brett Favre’s year with the Jets. His arm was in a sling. Remember his last year with the Vikings. He was laid out flat and didn’t get up. That moment is on the horizon. So, does Brock Osweiler have what it takes?
Kansas City Chiefs
ML: They have the best pass rusher in football not named J.J., a world class safety who has beaten cancer in Eric Berry, a running back who has averaged 5.5 yards per carry over his career and one of the best corners in football in Sean Smith.
BH: I have a hard time reading this team. Part of me wants to say they’ve underachieved, but that’s not entirely true. As recently as 2012, they finished 2-14. Considering the proximity of that fiasco, part of me wants to say they’ve overachieved, but that’s not true either. The team has a stockpile of talent. Then again, Philly fans would probably say this state of ambiguity is a staple of any franchise with Andy Reid at the helm.
ML: This team will probably struggle to win more than 8 games.
BH: You think so?
ML: Alex Smith is still their QB. He won't lose games on his own, but he isn't good enough to overcome Andy Reid blowing time-outs, challenges and forgetting he has a running back who averages 5.5 yards per carry.
BH: I want to believe in Alex Smith the way I watch Hook and root for Rufio not to die. I want Rufio to saddle up and stab Captain Hook through the effing heart.
ML: Give it up, Bryan. Rufio’s dead.
BH: But Alex Smith lives. And, at age 31, he’s ready for his breakout year. Ru-fi-oh?
ML: As a Raider fan, I find myself starting to believe every year.
BH: As someone who’s not a Raider fan, I freak out whenever I see them on TV. Wait, they still exist? No way. This must be some alternative timeline in the Goodell universe.
ML: Seriously, though, every year I believe this is the year they turn the corner and become good again. Or even just a mediocre franchise again.
BH: Your team should just hire Andy Reid. He’s a master of mediocrity.
ML: Not only has the team built a real practice/performance facility, they have a QB, a true #1 WR, an actual offensive line and Khalil Mack- destroyer of quarterbacks. However, their secondary is a disaster, they are relying on Michael Crabtree to be a leader, Charles Woodson will probably still be their best player (38 YEARS OLD!) and they still have to play on a baseball field.
BH: The fact that Peyton and Woodson are finishing their careers in the same division seems almost too contrived, but it’s also perfect. Pretty much every flaw written into the Manning mythology, Woodson had a hand in writing. You really think the Raiders will be good?
ML: The idea of 8 wins might seem possible as a homer, but that kind of optimism is difficult to fathom after a decade-plus of futility.
BH: Yeah, I really thought the team no longer existed.
ML: In some ways it doesn’t. After a decade of mismanagement, the Raiders are still at least a year away from being mentioned as a potential sleeper. Maybe, the mindset coach should be used on us fans.
ML: Have they opened any Chic Fil A's near you recently?
BH: Don’t think so. Then again, I haven’t gone to a Chic Fil A since the Raiders ceased to exist.
ML: I need to order a cease and desist until they’re at least .500. Anyway, in Norfolk last summer, the line was wrapped around the building. It was amazing that this fast food was so sought after that people were willing to wait for 30 minutes just to order it, when you can drive another 5 minutes and get it down the street.
BH: The Chipotle in Woodbridge is like that, and it’s been open for a decade.
ML: Same thing when the Cook Out opened here. But that I understand—Cook Out is the truth.
BH: Are we even going to talk about the Chargers?
ML: Yeah, they’re the Taco Bell of the NFL.
BH: Last time I had Taco Bell, I woke up in the night screaming. Turned out it was heartburn, but I thought I was dying.
ML: That’s my point. Since the 90s, has anyone cared that a new Taco Bell opened?
Mike Langston tweets @LangstonLCB. Bryan Harvey tweets @LawnChairBoys. For a conversation about the AFC East, click here.