MY ANALYSIS: The Chargers finished 3rd in their division last year and made the playoffs. They finished 2nd the previous three years, and didn't make the playoffs. Sounds like Middle Child treatment to me. They finished 1st and made the playoffs five of the six seasons before that. The Raiders have built their reputation on being the "Bad Boys" of the league, but lately the only thing bad about them has been their on field performance. They haven't had a winning record in 11 seasons! The 49ers this, the 49ers that. Everyone just loves the 49ers! After eight years of mediocrity, along comes Jim Harbaugh (a Middle Child), and now all they do is win. MY PICK: The 49ers are good, the Raiders are bad, and the Chargers are right in the middle!
MY ANALYSIS: You could say it's been a roller coaster ride for the Bucaneers since joining the league in 1976, but it would be one of those really sucky roller coasters. They did win the Super Bowl in 2002, yet are also the not-so-proud owners of the 2nd worst all-time winning percentage, including an 0-14 record and 26 game losing streak -- the longest ever. By comparison, the Jaguars make the Bucs look like old timers. They really are babies, only playing with the other kids since 1995. No Super Bowls, but they already have 7 winning seasons, which way outpaces the elder Bucs. The Dolphins have quite an NFL resume: the "Perfect Season," multiple Super Bowl appearances, back to back Super Bowl victories, Dan Marino. Did I mention the "Perfect Season?" And even though that was all so long ago, they still have the 3rd best all-time winning percentage (.579) of any team. That's how good they used to be. MY PICK: None of these teams are very good right now, but at least people talk about the Bucs and the Phins -- even if it's for all the wrong reasons lately. The Jags really are a footnote -- Florida's Forgotten Football child. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I AM A LIFELONG DOLPHINS FAN.)
MY ANALYSIS: Even though the Bills have an all-time losing record, there was a time when they really mattered. Back in the day, they went to the Super Bowl four years in a row! Sure, they lost all four, but still. And even though it's been nine years since they've had a winning season, there seems to be a lot of upside. The downside? They are in Buffalo. The Giants and the Jets not only play in the same state, they have the odd distinction of playing in the same stadium. Yes, they have to share a room!! These two teams couldn't be more different. On the one hand, there's the brash-talking, trash-talking Jets and their loudmouth coach Rex Ryan. On the other, the nose-to-the-grindstone, down-to-business Giants and their mild-mannered coach what's-his-name. The Giants are an NFL Grand daddy. The Jets, an AFL upstart. The Giants have amassed nine league championships and Super Bowl victories, and played in 11 more. And even though the Jets have just one Super Bowl win in 1968 and haven't been back since, you'd never know it from the way they behave. MY PICK: This is a no-brainer. The Jets are clearly the attention seeking Middle Child of this group. (DID I MENTION THAT I'M A LIFELONG DOLPHINS FAN?)
So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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