2014 NFL Predictions Based On '90s Songs
Football is much different now than it was in the '90s.
Many of the stars from back then are too old to play now. Several important rules have changed. Houston got another team. Someone invented concussions.
But guess what? The music that soundtracked the Clinton administration still applies to the gridiron.
Important things will happen this season. Teams will win and lose a certain number of games and possibly advance to the playoffs. The trick is forecasting what will happen beforehand. Using several complicated algorithms and some common sense, we've made our 2014 predictions.
Each team has been matched with a '90s hit. Consider these songs as further evidence of an extremely accurate football forecast.
Arizona Cardinals (7-9, third in NFC West)
"I Wish" by Skee-Lo
Flanked by two heavyweight rivals to the north, the Cardinals might wish they were "a little bit taller," but they simply won't stack up to the 49ers and Seahawks.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6, second in NFC South/loss in Wild Card Playoffs)
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
A season removed from the NFC Championship Game, Atlanta is trying to forget about its tumultuous 2013 season. Most of the same weapons are back from their playoff run, though, and coach Mike Smith has the boys ready to step off the spaceship.
Baltimore Ravens (7-9, third in AFC North)
"Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie and the Blowfish
That's basically what the organization told Joe Flacco after his Super Bowl-winning season in 2012, when he became the highest-paid player in football. In this case, loyalty comes at a price. Flacco is a pretty average quarterback.
Buffalo Bills (6-10, third in AFC East)
"Waterfalls" by TLC
This '90s pop trio wrote up some wisdom that Bills fans can really use: "Don't go chasing waterfalls" could've easily been "Don't draft E.J. Manuel to be your franchise quarterback" or even a chic parenthetical title: "Don't Expect To Make The Playoffs Again Until The Sun Melts Us All Into Oblivion (But At That Point, The Playoffs Probably Won't Exist, Anyway)."
Carolina Panthers (5-11, last in NFC South)
"3 AM" by Matchbox 20
At some point this season, quarterback Cam Newton will come home from a long day of getting pummeled and wonder what happened to the talent around him. Then, he'll make the mistake of late-night texting his ex-boo, Ravens receiver Steve Smith.
Chicago Bears (6-10, last in NFC North)
"Say It Ain't So" by Weezer
Oh boy, the heartbreak. Chicago finally has all the pieces to make a deep playoff run, but not enough to compete with abusive stepfather Green Bay. Plus, they'll struggle and eventually lose wrestling matches to two Jimmies (Minnesota and Detroit).
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7, second in AFC North/loss in Wild Card Playoffs)
"Wannabe" by Spice Girls
This is a do-or-die year for quarterback Andy Dalton if he wishes to be considered one of the Top 10 arms in the league. Otherwise, he's just a stinkin' wannabe who's holding back a talented roster.
Cleveland Browns (5-11, last in AFC North)
"Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum
Given second life just before the turn of the millennium, this version of the Browns has easily been one of the worst franchises in the history of pro sports. Cleveland is constantly letting its fans down, but at least the Browns drafted Johnny Manziel to spice things up on a train that probably ain't leaving the one-way track anytime soon.
Dallas Cowboys (8-8, second in NFC East)
"Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction
Owner Jerry Jones has long been robbing other teams of an equal revenue stream, but this summer he took thieving to another level when he spoke to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson about ditching Minnesota for his homeland. Yes, that's against the rules.
Denver Broncos (10-6, second in AFC West/loss in Wild Card Playoffs)
"When I Come Around" by Green Day
The loss of receiver Wes Welker to a four-game drug suspension will likely hamstring an offense that has nowhere to go but down after a record-setting 2013. But quarterback Peyton Manning will dig deep and lead Denver to the playoffs again, with or without Welker.
Detroit Lions (8-8, third in NFC North)
"Changes" by 2Pac
You are a Lions fan. Every season you wake up, see a roster full of stars and then realize your team will never change its middling ways. You ask yourself: "Is life worth living or should I blast myself?" The answer is no, you should not. It's just football.
Green Bay Packers (11-5, first in NFC North/loss in Divisional Playoffs)
"The Rooster" by Alice In Chains
Last year, the Bears snuffed Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for seven games, and he still came back for the final game and beat them with a mind-blowing play. YOU CAN'T SNUFF THE ROOSTER.
Houston Texans (5-11, last in AFC South)
"Mo Money Mo Problems" by Notorious B.I.G.
Defensive lineman J.J. Watt just received the biggest defensive contract in the league. He's getting serious ched. But if Biggie taught us anything, it was "Can't no PhD n****s hold me down The more money we come across, the more problems we see." In Watt's case, he'll be seeing triple-team blocking schemes and double-digit losses again.
Indianapolis Colts (13-3, first in AFC South/Super Bowl XLIX Champions)
"Jump" by Kris Kross
Everyone expects the Colts to make a big leap this season behind third-year wunderkind Andrew Luck. Here's an idea though: Because owner Jim Irsay's DUI punishment was not enough, old Jimmy should be forced to wear his suits backwards this year, Kross-style.
Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9, second in AFC South)
"Scar Tissue" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Jaguars' franchise history is a lot like RHCP's career arc. A hot start derailed by drugs and fame kept them down for several years, and then a return to multiplatinum success shocked most music heads. Jacksonville is not all the way there, but it's close. As the metaphor currently stands: former Jags general manager Gene Smith = all the heroin John Frusciante did. Quarterback Chad Henne = Dave Navarro. Current coach Gus Bradley = the salvageable parts of One Hot Minute. And quarterback-in-waiting Blake Bortles = Californication.
Kansas City (11-5, first in AFC West/loss in Divisional Playoffs)
"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
Last January, the Chiefs were oh-so-close to breaking their 227-year streak of missing the playoffs. Despite their success (and a 9-0 start last season), everyone seems to be writing them off. That's a mistake. They'll get up again.
Miami Dolphins (4-12, last in AFC East)
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
This is going to be a brutal year for the Dolphins, who will struggle in a weak division and eventually part ways with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and coach Joe Philbin. The relationship between the team and the fan base is already strained, thanks to Miami backers constantly running out "with that other fella," who has finally skipped town.
Minnesota Vikings (9-7, second in NFC North)
"The Distance" by CAKE
One of the league's biggest surprises this year will be a Vikings renaissance in the North. A winning record will be possible as long as stud running back Adrian Peterson is able to "go the distance" and start all 16 games.
New England Patriots (11-5, first in AFC East/loss in AFC Championship Game)
"One Headlight" by The Wallflowers
The Pats have been closer to patchwork than elite for the past few seasons. But no one will bat an eye if coach Bill Belichick can "put it all together" and find a way to drive "Cinderella" (future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady) to the promised land once again.
New Orleans Saints (11-5, first in NFC South)
"Live Forever" by Oasis
Quarterback Drew Brees is one of the most consistent players in the league, and is constantly in the MVP discussion. While the Saints have fallen off since their post-Super Bowl scandal, they are still talented enough to smoke the rest of their division. "Maybe I don't really want to know how your garden grows," Oasis sang. Fan translation: We don't want to see how the meat is made, coach. Just win.
New York Giants (7-9, third in NFC East)
"Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.
Last year, the Giants were the most-injured team in the league. Bad luck can't befall them again, right? Still, they're in a pretty rough division, and they're so "meh." Eli Manning is also a terrible quarterback most of the time. But they've still got a Hall of Fame coach, and we basically said the same things about them before they won two Super Bowls, so fans definitely have a reason to listen to Stipe and "hang on."
New York Jets (7-9, second in AFC East)
"Don't Speak" by No Doubt
This will be another challenging season in East Rutheford (along with spring, summer, winter and fall #JerseyJoke). Much like Gwen Stefani, players would simply rather not listen to the inevitable "you suck" from Jets fans. Go ahead and save those vocal chords, NY faithful. They know.
Oakland Raiders (3-13, last in AFC West)
"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden
Wash away owner Mark Davis, wash away general manager Reggie McKenzie, wash away Oakland Coliseum ... and the Raiders probably win four games instead of three. No promises.
Philadelphia Eagles (12-4, first in NFC East/loss in Super XLIX)
"Here Comes The Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze
New coach Chip Kelly led the Iggles back to the playoffs last season with his innovative methods and fast-paced style. Just like Kamoze, Kelly had pretty much no business stating "I'm the lyrical gangsta." But Coach did, and now much of the league is scrambling to adopt his practices. Can't say the same ever happened for Kamoze, though.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6, first in AFC North/loss in Divisional Playoffs)
"Interstate Love Song" by Stone Temple Pilots
This season, the Steelers will travel the fewest miles of any team in the league. It's practically science: The team won't be disgruntled by long plane rides or get into petty arguments about reclining seats. The only thing standing in the way of their success is a nagging weed habit (Scott Weiland wishes that was all he had to deal with).
St. Louis Rams (4-12, last in NFC West)
"Ironic" by Alanis Morissette
Alanis abused the definition of irony so much in her 1996 hit that the Rams' most recent bad luck fits perfectly into the song. "It's like when your franchise QB /tears up his knee," she would sing in the Sam Bradford remix. Another strong music choice here: Biggie's "Going Back To Cali" because given their poor attendance and crappy product, the Rams are a primary option for that beautiful new Los Angeles stadium.
San Diego Chargers (7-9, third in AFC West)
"Closing Time" by Semisonic
The Norv Turner era is already over in San Diego, and quarterback Philip Rivers' tenure is just about to be defunct if the Bolts can't squeeze into the playoffs this season. Maybe SD can "open up the doors" and let Marcus Mariota into their world next spring.
San Francisco 49ers (12-4, first in NFC West/loss in NFC Championship Game)
"Better Man" by Pearl Jam
Coach Jim Harbaugh has an awful temper and is at total odds with the general manager, but the dude can't stop winning. Just like the crappy boyfriend in "Better Man," Harbaugh has made himself invaluable. That's why, in 2015, the organization will come crawling back for more Jim.
Seattle Seahawks (11-5, second in NFC West/loss in Wild Card Playoffs)
"What's My Age Again" by blink-182
Did you know that Pete Carroll, the Seahawks' animated maestro, is the second-oldest head coach in the league? At 62, he still looks like one of those bros that gets up at 5:00 a.m. to surf and then picks up an eco-friendly latte on the way to the "office." The 'Hawks are due for a bit of a decline after last season's Super Bowl win, but this roster is too stocked to miss the postseason, especially with Carroll's boyish energy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7, third in NFC South)
"Whatta Man" by Salt-N-Pepa
New head coach Lovie Smith is going to make a big difference in Tampa. With the ugly Greg Schiano regime finally out of town, Smith is going to turn the Bay into party central with his defensive tactics (THE TAMPA-2 COMES HOME!) and magical potions that make Josh McCown play like Joe Montana. Whatta a mighty good man, indeed.
Tennessee Titans (6-10, third in AFC South)
"The Sign" by Ace of Base
Titans fans have seen the signs for three years now: Jake Locker is not a franchise quarterback. The organization feels otherwise. It's tough to be consistently average in a poor AFC, but the Titans have managed thanks to their lack of Ace in the playlist.
Washington Redskins (5-11, last in NFC East)
"Karma Police" by Radiohead
This team has received plenty of backlash in recent years for their Redskins nickname, but this year marks the first time the issue has overtaken all other aspects of the 'Skins. Until they become the Generals or the Redbirds or the Warriors or whatever, they will be racked by a media curse. Note: This song could travel up the Beltway to double as the Ravens' theme in a year when their star running back was only suspended two games for going UFC on his wife.
Got any predictions of your own? Leave a comment. But before you question the validity of our writer's selections, just remember that he correctly picked the entire playoff field last year.