Football picks: Pats yes, Giants no

The Kansas Pregame?a football preview guide that covers just about every high school and college football team in Kansas?is sitting on my desk, and that can only mean one thing: it’s just about time for my fantasy football draft! Wait… no… what I meant to say is… it’s just about time for real life football!

(Before the writer flies off into the dark nebula of fantasy football draft choices, he should mention that the Free Press has about 20 copies of the Kansas Pregame to distribute?so if you’d like one, call, email andrew@hillsborofreepress.com or stop by. We’ll be glad to give you a copy, but when they’re gone, they’re gone.)

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Watching NFL preseason games is brutal. I’d much rather watch the news, an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and a couple Seinfeld reruns than the second half of any preseason game. Watching the Chiefs get their hip pads handed to them by Miami was especially brutal?though perhaps not for Phins Phan-slash-First Mennonite Church pastor Randy Smith, who is probably the owner of the only Dolphins mug in the county.

Shockingly, the pounding by the Dolphins was not enough stop Sterling Sharpe from predicting that Kansas City would win the AFC West.

Granted, the AFC West is going to be among the worst divisions in the league when it comes to stopping the run, so there’s a good chance Larry Johnson will run wild enough to win the four games against the Broncos and Raiders.

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It?s the ?other? AFC West running back that has everyone in my fantasy league drooling over a possible No. 1 pick.

But when it comes time to make that first pick, more than a few fantasy football types will take Adrian Peterson or Steven Jackson ahead of LaDainian Tomlinson.

Neither has Tomlinson?s track record, but if I end up with a top-3 pick, I?d have a tough decision. But if I miss out on one of those guys, I?ll take the best available QB or WR and look for Larry Johnson in a later round. I really do think LJ is going to have a fantastic season.

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Meanwhile, in real life, it looks like the Giants will not be repeating as Super Bowl champions. There?s a good chance they?ll make the playoffs, but I?m having a hard time imagining how the G-men would actually beat the better teams in the NFC. But let?s not forget, that?s pretty much exactly what I thought before the playoffs last year.

Without Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan carving up the opposing offensive lines, the Giants will be much less effective defending against the pass.

Regardless, I?m rooting for Green Bay this year. I think they?ve got all the talent needed to win, and I hope that their decision to cut loose of Favre gets vindicated in a huge way.

In the AFC, would anyone dare pick against the Patriots? They have a few tough road games on their schedule, but their opponents won?t be much better than they were last year.

This New England defense might actually be better than last year?s and, barring an injury to Brady or Randy Moss, the Patriot offense will be just as potent. The only thing that can slow those guys down is whether or not they commit to giving Lawrence Maroney 20 carries per game.

If they decide to run the football that much, they won?t score nearly as many touchdowns, but it would make them better prepared for the playoffs.

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