Kansas City at New England
Fresh off the greatest season in NFL history and basking in the glow of winning the greatest Superb Owl ever played, the team with the greatest (but not the best) QB ever, coached by the greatest (and best) Head Coach ever takes the field in defense of its screw-the-NFL-and-especially-RogerGoodell fifth Superb Owl title, cheered on by tens-of-thousands of faithful Massholes (and honourary Massholes) in attendance, and under the beatific, protective gaze of the ghost of Myra Kraft (more on that later).
The Pats begin the season free of worry, save for losing their most productive receiver, and free of scandal, having jettisoned the drunk driver they briefly and misguidedly employed at the end of last season. The Pats are restocked, and reloaded, with some experts suggesting that last year’s champs have managed to get even better in the offseason. Time will tell. Let’s see how old fart Brady holds up during a full regular season; after Roger Goodell munificently gave Brady, then 39, the first four weeks off last year, the QB looked fresh as a daisy come playoff time. This year, the 40-year-old-version will have to endure 16 games to make it to the post-season tourney. Just don’t remind Pats fans of the last time their hero opened against KC.
And speaking of, how about those KCers? (Sorry, can’t use the other name. I’m much too evolved for that nonsense.) This is a good team with a good defence and a careful (and I mean REALLY CAREFUL) QB in Alex Smith. With a team like New England, careful won’t cut it. You can’t dance with the champs; you have to knock them out. And speaking of knockouts, we come to the biggest reason to hate the KCers, worse than the cultural insensitivity (arguably), and worse than their refusal to release Andy Reid back to the wild. In 2016, less than three-and-a-half years after KC player Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend (in front of their infant child) and then himself, KC drafted one Tyreek Hill, who most experts projected would go undrafted due to the fact that he had been kicked off his university team for choking his pregnant girlfriend. Hill led KC in TDs last season, so he figures to be a prominent fixture on offence tonight. He’d better watch out, though.
See, once upon a time, back in an ancient time we call “The 90s,” the Patriots drafted a shitbag rapist. Myra Kraft, so the story goes, expressed her dismay to her husband, owner Robert Kraft, resulting in the shitbag rapist being released mere days after the draft (Note: Don’t despair for the unemployed shitbag rapist; the Giants happily picked him up.). Mrs. Kraft is now dearly departed, but her presence is still felt throughout the organization. I’ll be thinking about that every time Hill touches the ball tonight, as I struggle with the complex emotions of being entertained by a league that celebrates people who do terrible things, and by the secret, shameful thoughts of how I might feel if something horrible should befall that young man, who, truth be told, is roughly the same age as my daughters.
Final Score: New England, 31—Kansas City, a morally bankrupt 20
So, that’s your first taste. Check back in on Friday or Saturday for a full raft of season previews and the rest of this week’s picks.
With a decided edge, of course.