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Sunday, August 8, 2010

NFL Season Win Totals: NFC Teams to Stay Away From

Sometimes the best choices people make are the ones they don't.   That is the prevailing theme in this edition of NFL predictions.   I would stay far away from the following bets unless you happen to work within the organization and know something we don't.  Some I like, but not enough to give a stamp of approval on.   My prediction for these teams would be better expressed with a coin, but that is no fun so I'll give a few reasons why. 

  • Dallas Cowboys 9.5 Wins
  • 2009 6 tough matchups: 4-2 record
  • 2010 5 tough , 2 challenging
America's Team of yesterday is a difficult one to get a grasp on.   They took a big step last year by finally winning a playoff game, but failed to carry that momentum any further.   I am not a Tony Romo fan and think he is a regular season quarterback who has yet to prove he can consistently win when it counts.   Wade Philips is probably in his last year as head coach unless they can reach the NFC Championship game.  I fail to see any clear-cut leadership on this team, too.  They have one of the toughest schedules in the league, but 10 wins is not out of the question due to the talent level.   Prediction: Flip a coin.

  • Washington Redskins 7.5 Wins
  • 2009 7 tough matchups: 0-7 record
  • 2010 6 tough , 4 challenging
WSH brought in new running backs, quarterbacks, and coaches.   So what's new.   The only constant in this organization is change and 2010 is no different.   They had a horrible year last year, but that is business as usual for Snyder and company.  Haynseworth finally passed his eighth conditioning test as I write this so WSH fans can finally stop worrying about him.  Or not.  Shanahan and McNabb have impressive resumes, but no one knows how this new sideshow will pan out.   They could crash and burn with six or seven wins, or put it all together and win the division.    I have my doubts whether McNabb will stay healthy for a whole year.  Prediction: Flip a coin.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5.5 Wins
  • 2009 Irrelevant
  • 2010 tough - many, challenging - the rest
Not much to say here.   They did not get considerably better or worse in the offseason.  I like to see some statistical evidence or positive developments somewhere on this team to be optimistic.  I see neither.  Five or six wins sounds about right.  Prediction: Flip a coin.

  • Seattle Seahawks 7.5 Wins
  • 2009 5 tough matchups: 0-5 record
  • 2010 2 tough , 2 challenging
7.5 is pretty high for a team that lost every tough game they played last season.   Pete Carroll has been out the NFL for a while and it he did well to escape those USC sanctions.   It will be interesting to see how this marriage unfolds.   Hasselbeck is the clear number one from the early reports out of camp, but he has obvious concerns due to multiple injuries over the last couple years.   Julius Jones's job is safer with Lendale White out of the picture, and Leon Washington is coming off a devastating injury.   Playing in one of the easiest divisions with an even easier schedule could allow SEA to creep up to eight wins.   Prediction: leaning UNDER.

  • St Louis Rams 5 Wins
  • 2009 Irrelevant
  • 2010 tough - ALL
Sam Bradford and AJ Feeley are not going to strike fear into any defense, but S Jackson will...if he can stay healthy.   The days of workhorse backs are quickly disappearing as teams want to use the running back by committee (RBBC) approach (and keep contracts down).   Coach 'Spags' has his work cut out for him and he is finding life much different at the bottom of the ocean after sailing on top with the Giants.   Much like TB, I see more growing pains before I see growth.   Prediction: Flip a coin.

  • Detroit Lions 5 Wins
  • 2009 Irrelevant
  • 2010 tough - ALL
DET is perhaps one of the most heavily debated teams in the props bets.  They have a lot of offensive weapons ready to go.    Stafford is entering his second year after showing he can play in this league during 2009.   Burleson, Johnson, Scheffler, and Best are his surrounding cast and should give him the opportunity to make plays.  Vanden Bosch, Williams, and Suh will improve the pass rush, but they are still weak at linebacker and safety.   This organization needs to uproot the culture of losing and start learning how to win games.   Can they win six?  I like what is brewing in Motown, but not enough to bank on it.   Prediction: leaning OVER. 

  • Minnesota Vikings 9.5 Wins
  • 2009 5 tough matchups: 4-1 record
  • 2010 6 tough , 2 challenging
Personally, I want nothing to do with the Brett Favre love affair . Like most people, I was surprised that he played so well last year.  However, I think he overachieved.  If people are expecting the same kind of production and results from him this year - they will have a rude awakening.  He is still better than T Jackson and the Vikes are loaded with talent, but Favre will digress some as he is a year older with a potentially problematic ankle.  If nothing else, the regression to the mean dictates a trend back to the norm.   At the time of this posting, no one even knows who will start week one.   Favre may return sometime in late September/early October.   They have a very difficult schedule and they won't be taking both wins from the Packers this year.   They will take a step back, but below 10 wins?  Tough to say.   Prediction: flip a coin.

  •  Chicago Bears 8 Wins
  • 2009 9 tough matchups: 2-7 record
  • 2010 8 tough , 2 challenging
I will say this about the 2010 Chicago Bears...they are not boring.  Giving Peppers all that money is a big risk.   Many doubt his work ethic and it seems unlikely he will ever live up to that contract.   Look for him to start strong the first half of the year when the spotlight is at its brightest, but he could fade later in the year if the Bears are not in contention.  People are also not sure what to expect from Urlacher.   Time will tell if Cutler has grown up, but more importantly - can he put together some consistency?   Having C Taylor in the backfield might alleviate some pressure.   L Smith is on the hot seat and if they don't challenge for a wild card spot, he could be looking for work.  Oh, and did I mention they have a brutal schedule?   If you want to know how they will do in those big games, do not look at last year's record - it wasn't pretty.   Prediction: leaning UNDER. 

Remaining AFC teams coming soon..
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