Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts no honest man can pay.
– Bruce Springsteen

These 2011 NFL season predictions, version 2.0, are coming to you from the edge of a downgraded nation. You can call me standard and poor. I recommend and I rate – yes very irate.

In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, my ratings service recommends that America not give up. Instead, it should gamble on the NFL. As Standard & Poor (yes, it is now my formal name), I recommend that the United States of America gamble it’s future on a bet that the Cleveland Browns will beat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLVI.

Betting on the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl is the best possible economic policy for America.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. If the country’s credit rating is downgraded again, Americans will be required to like soccer. That’s really what a downgrade means.

The likes of Thomas Friedman and Grover Norquist will both complain about betting the future on the Cleveland Browns. The Packers, sure. But the Browns?

TOM-FRIEDMAN Browns fanbrowns helmetGroverNorquist Browns fan

Friedman wants stimulus, so he will argue for betting the country’s future on the great-on-paper Philadelphia Eagles. Norquist wants spending cuts, so he will say the Cincinnati Bengals decision to draw a line in the sand with quarterback Carson Palmer proves the Bengals are serious about winning the Super Bowl.

Friedman and Norquist will claim that betting the country’s future on the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl would be apocalyptic.

I am Standard & Poor, and I know better.

Barry Obama, after studying the matter for weeks, will suggest that betting on the Browns to win the Super Bowl is terrible economic policy. Michele Bachman will pray that she doesn’t have to agree with Obama, but she also will say that the country cannot think about betting on the Browns in the Super Bowl.

All the experts and politicians are wrong. Betting on the Browns, if they win the Super Bowl, is sound economic policy. Isn’t that obvious to anyone?

But not all countries understand economics as much as I, Standard & Poor. Last year, for instance, Greece bet on the Carolina Panthers. Italy picked the Buffalo Bills. Do you see how important this is?

Never mind that I, Standard & Poor, picked the Cleveland Browns last year. Just remember, China picked the Packers.

Sure, last year America bet as it always does, with a compromise on the New England Patriots. And once again, America finished near the top. That was before the downgrade, which, by the way, sorry about that. How can I explain it one word? How about: “tequila.”

I am Standard & Poor offering change you really can believe in. After all, gambling and economics are all about blind faith. So believe. There are no more stimulus, entitlements, or defense left for America. There is faith.

In fact, there is no more HGH in the NFL. Therefore, if you are also standard and poor and you want to read these picks, first pee into a cup and mail it to your Congressman with a note explaining that since they took office, performance has obviously not been enhanced, and you would like to know whatzgonnahappen.

Chad Ochocinco changes his name to Chad Belichick. 14-2
BILLS – Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than you think. 9-7
JETS – Plaxico Burress is really good at being tall. 9-7
DOLPHINS  – Reggie Bush visits Ricky Williams’ Heisman Trophy. 4-12

BROWNS – The legend of Peyton Hillis becomes a folk song. 16-0
STEELERS  – Married Ben Roethlisberger is not the same as before. 10-6
RAVENS – Ray Lewis is globally-warmed to death inside of a Prius. 10-6
BENGALS – Andy Dalton becomes a trivia answer. 2-14

Peyton Manning is still a pain in the neck. 11-5
TEXANS – The Texans are never allowed in the playoffs. 9-7
JAGUARS – Maurice Jones-Drew wins eight games by himself. 8-8
TITANS – Remember the Titans? You won’t. 4-12

Take Philip Rivers on your fantasy team. 14-2
CHIEFS – Matt Cassell is quietly efficient. 9-7
RAIDERS – New slogan: Commitment to Mediocrity. 8-8
BRONCOS – Tim Tebow thanks God for keeping him on the bench. 4-12


Look for Vince Young to start a playoff game. 11-5
COWBOYS – Rob Ryan wills the defense better. 10-6
REDSKINS – John Beck? Hey, Beck’s beer is good. 9-7
GIANTS – Osi Umenyiora gets a paper route to help pay the bills. 10-6

PACKERS – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker requires all state workers to wear Cheeseheads to boost statewide morale. 13-3
LIONS – Matthew Stafford’s doctors are on call. 11-5
BEARS – Jay Cutler yawns. That means, “Run a post pattern.” 8-8
VIKINGS – Donovan McNabb listens to Rush Limbaugh three hours a day. 5-11

Not this year, but Josh Freeman will win a Super Bowl. 11–5
FALCONS – Julio Jones is not the best rookie on his team. 9-7
SAINTS – Drew Brees has Post Traumatic Roger Goodell Syndrome. 10-6
PANTHERS – Cam Newton, when he plays, turns out to be pretty good. 5-11

Kevin Kolb takes the Cardinals from worst to first. 10-6
RAMS – Sam Bradford’s second half of the season will put fear into the entire NFL. 9-7
SEAHAWKS – Pete Carroll is jacked and pumped. His team, not so much. 3-13
49ERS – Here is a theory: Jim Harbaugh has his sights set on Andrew Luck. 1-15




This column is sponsored by Dimitrios, a banker in Greece.

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