UPDATE 8-27-13…Final Results Below in RED
(Originally posted 9-4-12)
For those of you unfamiliar with the preview, instead of the typical, been-done-again-and-again season previews, we like to make a game out of our previews, along with being informative. What we do is kind of a draft process, where we try and decide whether we think a team will get better or worse from last year’s record. Then, at the end of the year, we see who did a better job of predicting. It’s interesting to see just how different the seasons of some teams turn out, in retrospect. Check out our past previews to see what I’m talking about. Doogan took our first one in 2008, 17-15, but Bry responded with a come-from-behind 17-15 win in the 2009 version. In 2010, Doogan won by the familiar 17-15 score. And, then last year, Doogan absolutely dominated, 19-13, to become the first back-to-back winner of the NFL preview. Bry is trying to get back some dignity from last year’s brutal defeat.
So, on to this year’s NFL Preview, BSB-style. Doogan picked first last year, so Bry is on the clock…
1). BRY – Green Bay Packers – UNDER 15 wins: This is not because I think the Packers got any worse. And, it is not because I do not think they are the best team in the NFC – I think they absolutely are. I also think that their defense will be a lot better this year than last, and their offense should be just as explosive, with the game’s best player leading the way. So, have I lost my mind picking the Pack and the UNDER with my #1 pick? Maybe. But, I just believe that, no matter how good you are, everything has to go right to win 15+ games in the NFL. I still think they will probably win 13, maybe 14. But, I will wager against them winning 15 again…this from a guy who got his first pick wrong last year…
FINAL: 11-5…Bry 1-0
Pretty comfortable point for Bry here with the #1 pick, as the Pack was good, but not 15-1 good. Bry even oversold them at 13 or 14 wins.
2) DOOGAN – San Francisco 49ers – UNDER 13 wins: I’ve said before, my favorite teams to pick against in this game are the ones that made a big leap the previous year. The Niners jumped from 6 to 13 wins last year, and rarely is a franchise’s ascendance that easy. Maybe Jim Harbaugh is the next Lombardi or Belichick or something, but meeting the now high expectations will be a challenge. The defense is top-notch, but can Alex Smith repeat last season’s success? Doubt it. Will Randy Moss contribute or just be an poor performing distraction? I say the latter. With road games at the Packers, Jets, Saints, and Pats on the slate, the easy divisional competition is off-set. Niners repeat as division champs, with 10 wins.
FINAL: 11-4-1…Doogan 1-1
The NFC Champion 49ers actually score a point for Doogan on the UNDER, as they “only” picked up 11 wins. Doogan’s division champs and 10 win prediction was very close.
3) DOOGAN – Indianapolis Colts – OVER 2 wins: Talk about rebuilding. Not only will Andrew Luck step in for Peyton, but Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, and Pierre Garcon are all gone from the offense, as well. And the Cover 2 defense they used throughout the past decade plus of success has been replaced with a 3-4. I know Luck is the second coming of Christ himself, but teams generally don’t win much in Year 1 of a rebuild. I’m sure this has been pointed out many other places at this point, but I have seen it, so I’ll point out that even Manning only won 3 games as a rookie. Still, the Colts have a slew of bad to mediocre teams coming to the RCA Dome this year, so that plus the celestial talent of Luck should get them over this small 2-win hump.
FINAL: 11-5…Doogan 2-1
One of the best picks in NFL Preview history, as the Colts get NINE games better in 2012 than they were in 2011…and, all with a rookie (second-coming) QB!
4). BRY – New Orleans Saints – UNDER 13 wins: This one is tough for me to do because I still think this Saints team will win a lot of games this year, mostly out of a big F-you to the Commish, but there is just too much working against them to really expect them to hit 13 wins again. They don’t have Sean Payton – who might be the best play-caller in the game – and they have any coach until Week 7. And, while they brought in the great Steve Spagnuolo to run the defense, they don’t have great personnel on that side of the ball. Without a first-round pick this year, they didn’t infuse any fresh blood. I still like the Saints to win the NFC South, and it is interesting that my first two picks were the UNDERs on the, what I think, are the two best teams in the NFC, but that’s what I’m doing…smart, Bryan, smart.
FINAL: 7-9…Bry 2-2
The Sean Payton factor was even bigger than many people expected, as the Saints – even with all their talent – were snakebitten all year and finished 7-9.
5). DOOGAN – St. Louis Rams – OVER 2 wins: Let’s just play this like veterans and get the high and low numbers off the board right off the bat. Are the Rams good? Nope. Are the Rams somewhat serviceable? Not that I can tell! After a really promising rookie season from Sam Bradford, the Rams were arguably the worst offensive team in the league last year, and there’s not real reason to expect that to improve this year. But the defense does have some potential, with solid contributors like Chris Long and James Laurinaitis joined this year by play-making cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
FINAL: 7-8-1…Doogan 3-2
Another comfortable point here for Doogan, as the Rams were nearly a .500 team just one year after 14 losses.
6). BRY – Tampa Bay Bucs – OVER 4 wins: Yep, let’s keep checking off these low/high numbers off the board. And, in the NFL, it’s harder to stay bad than stay good, so the lower numbers are probably even more safe. All this talk about how this Tampa team is going to be so bad this year because they were so bad last year. But, do we all forget that this core won 10 games two years ago and looked to be the core of a legit contender for a long time? Now, I (and many others) felt that they weren’t 10-win material when they were winning 10 games, but still to drop off that far that quickly with all young guys is probably more anomaly than anything. I expect Josh Freeman to return to form this year, plus they added two first-round draft picks in the stud safety Mark Barron and the ready-to-go running back in Doug Martin. They might lose 10 again before they win 10 again, but I could see this team winning 6+ this year, with a better shot at 8-8 than 4-12.
FINAL: 7-9…Bry 3-3
3 straight for Bry to match Doogan’s 3 straight to start the round, as the Bucs limped their way to an unimpressive 7-9, though good enough to hit the OVER.
7). DOOGAN – Minnesota Vikings – OVER 3 wins: So, looks like the real competition might start after this pick, as this is the last of the ‘extreme’ numbers out there. This is a team with a handful of difference-making stars, which doesn’t do a whole lot for you in the game of football when you have sub-par players at a lot of spots like they do, but it can be enough to get you 5 or 6 wins. One of those stars, Adrian Peterson, is a bit of a question mark as he comes back from knee surgery, but Toby Gerhart has been a very good back-up. Percy Harvin is also a dangerous offensive weapon for 2nd-year QB Christian Ponder to lean on. On defense, Jared Allen is one of the best at chasing down QB’s, and Kevin Williams is still one of the best run-stuffing tackles.
FINAL: 10-6…Doogan 4-3
Doogan still hasn’t even broken a sweat with 4 straight, as he hit a playoff team on an OVER that was just 3 wins (why did it take so long for this to come off the board? Oh, right, that Peterson guy wasn’t supposed to be Superman…)
8). BRY – Oakland Raiders – UNDER 8 wins: Yes, it does, Doogan. The “real competition” has begun. Like the veterans we are, we knocked out the crazy numbers and now we have to really think about it. That being said, I didn’t really think that much about this one. I think the Raiders stink. They traded pretty much their whole draft for Carson Palmer (whom I actually think is still pretty decent), but forgot that, no matter how good he is, they still have to actually put some players around him. Darren McFadden, if healthy (a big “if”), is one of the better backs in the league, and their receivers aren’t terrible, but, passing records or no, this game is still won in the trenches, and the Raiders just can’t compete at the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball. Throw in a schedule that gives them the brutal AFC North and NFC South divisions plus the vastly improved AFC West slate, and this team might be staring at a 3- or 4-win season. And, even if everything breaks right, they would still need some serious breaks to hit .500.
FINAL: 4-12…Bry 4-4
Another pretty solid pick for Bry here, as well, as the Raiders keep stumbling through some pretty lean years for the Black Hole supporters.
9). DOOGAN – Baltimore Ravens – UNDER 12 wins: Not an organization you like to bet against, but at some point this defense has to regress, so I’ll bet on this being the year. Maybe accelerating that regression is the fact that Terrell Suggs is out for the year, leaving this defense without a clear pass-rushing star for the first time since they were the Browns, maybe. And Ray Lewis and Ed Reed seem to be coming back each year just because they’re as surprised as anyone that they’re still elite players. The schedule doesn’t do them favors, either. The visit to B-more by the Browns in late September is probably the only “easy” game on the slate.
FINAL: 10-6…Doogan 5-4
Doogan has now completed the coveted parlay of Super Bowl teams and their UNDERs. But, yes, he hits the UNDER on both of the Super Bowl teams, including this one – the Super Bowl champs. Doogan, though, saw the defensive regression and the tough schedule and made a nice pick here.
10). BRY – Tennessee Titans – UNDER 9 wins: I don’t think this is all that great of a team, to be honest. I am still a bit surprised that they managed 9 wins last year, and they don’t feel all that improved to me. They did not groom their young quarterback (Jake Locker), so even if he is going to be good, he still has the inevitable growing pains to suffer through. All reports are that Chris Johnson is back to being the elite running back of a couple years ago, but even if this were true, he’s really their only reliable offensive threat. Kenny Britt is always hurt and may be suspended. Nate Washington is far from a #1 receiver. And, the defense is average, at best. While they do get 4 divisional games with Jacksonville and Indy, they do have to play the AFC East and NFC North. Plus, their 2nd-place schedule adds San Diego on the road and Pittsburgh at home. I think 8-8 would be a great season in Nashville. I’m looking at more like 9 or 10 losses.
FINAL: 6-10…Bry 5-5
Who is going to break serve first? Did anyone remember that the 2011 Titans won 9 games? Well, the 2012 Titans didn’t have much of a chance to get there, so this was a solid pick at #10, as Bry correctly nails the Titans for 10 losses.
11). DOOGAN – Buffalo Bills – OVER 6 wins: Maybe getting a bit more hype than is warranted coming into the season, but it would be surprising if they weren’t at least a .500 team. They were 5-2 last year before injuries hit pretty hard. Serviceable QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has some nice, emerging weapons with Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson. The defense should be much improved with the bally-hooed Mario Williams signing and Mark Anderson joining the other side of the d-line after a 12.5 sack season for New England. The schedule is nice too, with a late-season stretch that goes at Indy before home games vs. the Jags, Rams, and Seahawks.
FINAL: 6-10…WRONG…Bry 6-5
It took us 11 tries, but they finally stumped us, and it was one that was doomed no matter which side you took (we count pushes as losses), as the Bills matched their 2011 win total of 6 in 2012. Doogan was even bearish on the Bills and still said he’d be surprised if they weren’t .500. What a monumental disappointment in upstate NY.
12). BRY – Detroit Lions – UNDER 10 wins: The darlings of last year are now actually entering this season with actual expectations. And, to be honest, they haven’t really shown to be able to handle their success all that well. I am a strong believer that this league is so close between the top and bottom that any minor distractions or, let’s just call it, bad karma, can be the difference between 10 wins and 10 losses. And, after an offseason of arrest after arrest after arrest and no real attention paid to their rather bad back-7 on defense, I think this team will take a step backwards. And, even their incredibly potent offense has question marks – like who is the #2 receiver after the indomitable Calvin Johnson? Who is going to carry the ball when Kevin Smith gets hurt in the second quarter of the season? Is Brandon Pettigrew going to thrive now that defenses will be focused a little more on him? Can the o-line hold up? And, I haven’t even mentioned the defense. I will actually be surprised if this team makes the playoffs again this year. And, with the second-place schedule adding the Eagles and Falcons to an already tough division slate, this smells like a 3rd-place team at about 8-8.
FINAL: 4-12…Bry 7-5
Bry consolidates his break with an easy point with the Lions and the UNDER – what a terrible step back they took here in 2012.
13). DOOGAN – Denver Broncos – UNDER 8 wins: I’m kind of surprising myself by making this pick already. Add Peyton Manning to a team with some emerging talent, and get worse? At Manning’s age, and coming off an entire missed season and multiple neck surgeries, I just think he’ll have a hard time turning in anything more than a run-of-the-mill season. Add in a poor offensive line to keep him upright, and he could be back on the sidelines before long. The defense got a lot of credit for keeping them in games last year, but they still surrendered more points than all but three other AFC teams. And THEN consider a brutal schedule (AT Pats, Ravens, Falcons, Chargers, Bengals and home games vs. Steelers, Saints, Texans, and Chargers).
FINAL: 13-3…WRONG…Bry 8-5
Doogan slips up again, this time in a major way, as the Broncos went from 8-8 to 13-3. It looks weird now to even consider the UNDER here, but we seem to forget how questionable this team was with Peyton Manning as sight-unseen. We also seem to forget that this team started 2-3 and Doogan looked smart here before an 11-game winning streak to end the season put this pick to bed.
14). BRY – Philadelphia Eagles – OVER 8 wins: Starts with an “h-” and ends with an “-omer.” And, I don’t care. Say what you will about this being a Philly sports blog, but this team is absolutely LOADED. They might have the deepest, most talented roster in the NFL. The only question marks, though, are bigs one. First and foremost is the health (and consistency of play, even) of #7. If Vick can listen to the President and slide, then maybe he’ll put in 16 games and this offense should soar. The other big question mark is the defense, which was embarrassingly awful last year. But, they have addressed it rather well, with a run-stuffing D-lineman in Fletcher Cox and a strong, vocal leader at middle linebacker in Demeco Ryans. Another thing that might give pause to the 12-win hopes of this team is a pretty brutal schedule, that actually faces FIVE teams either coming off a bye or a Thursday night game the week before. That’s not good. But, I think that this team is just way too talented not to win double-digit games this year. Put it on the board – the Birds will return to supremacy in, quietly, the most overrated division in the game.
FINAL; 4-12…WRONG…Doogan 6-8
Bry’s first miss comes from the hometown Birds, as they LOST 12 games instead of the 12-win season that was predicted here…ugh.
15). DOOGAN – Pittsburgh Steelers – UNDER 12 wins: There’s enough question marks heading into the season for this squad to opt for the Under on a big number. Mike Wallace is holding out, Rashard Mendenhall will miss most of the season after knee surgery, and the defense is starting to show it’s age. If Troy Polamalu can stay healthy all season, they’ll still probably be very good on that side of the ball, but that’s always a big if for him.
FINAL: 8-8…Doogan 7-8
Doogan is back on track with a solid Steelers pick here, as he nails the injury concerns. It’s hard to really know what happened to the 2012 Steelers, and it should be real interesting to see where they go from here. Was this just a blip – like all teams that don’t play in Foxborough always have – or was it the end of an era and the start of a downward trend in Titletown?
16). BRY – Chicago Bears – OVER 8 wins: This team was well on their way to double-digit wins last year before a rash of injuries derailed them. And, they return mostly the same team – healthy now – with the huge addition of Brandon Marshall at their position of greatest need. Marshall is quite the headache, but his best (and best behaved) years were with Jay Cutler in Denver. There are concerns with the health of Brian Urlacher – the heartbeat of the defense – but, as long as they get 30+ games from Cutler and Forte, they should get to at least 9-10 wins.
FINAL: 10-6…Bry 9-7
People seem to forget that the Bears won 10 games in 2012. Hell, even the front office may have forgotten, as they sent coach Lovie Smith packing. 30+ games is what they got from Cutler and Forte, and 10 was the number.
17). DOOGAN – New England Patriots – UNDER 13 wins: We’ve shown a good deal of respect to the Pats by letting this big number sit out there this long, but they’ve earned it. It’s hard to imagine they won’t score a gazillion points this year, but the defense was below average last year and they didn’t do much to fix it. I obviously think it’s not a huge problem for them since I waited this long to go under 13 (and their schedule isn’t too tough), but if you’re going to have to go one way here for a team that is far from flawless, you have to go Under.
FINAL: 12-4…Doogan 8-9
Doogan picks up an important point by the skin of his teeth, as the Pats “only” win 12 games in 2012. What a phenomenal franchise.
18). BRY – Carolina Panthers – OVER 6 wins: I thought I was pretty down on the Panthers, but I guess I’m not alone…at least not among BSB writers. A 6-win line for a team getting a lot of buzz has lasted too long. Cam Newton set all sorts of rookie records, and the team has a TON of confidence going into this season. Now, I don’t think they’re anywhere NEAR as good as a lot of people, but I do think that it’s more likely that they get to 7-8 wins than losing 10 again. If I miss this one, I’m gonna kick myself because I don’t really like it…
FINAL: 7-9…Bry 10-8
This one feels cheap because the Panthers weren’t very good. I am still not sure how they squeeked out 7 wins to give the point to Bry, but he’ll take it… Pretty solid analysis, considering the hype that had been hoisted on them in the preseason.
19). DOOGAN – Dallas Cowboys – UNDER 8 wins: Agree on Carolina, Bry. I kept looking at that 6 wins and I’ve seen them predicted to win that division, but I just don’t see the talent, really. The defense couldn’t stop ANYBODY last year. Anyway, on to the one team in sports I can just never be objective about. I could certainly come up with some reasons to back-up this claim, but mostly going on gut here (some may call it wishful thinking). I expect them to be a 3rd-place team in the 6-7 win range.
FINAL: 8-8…WRONG…Bry 11-8
Doogan gets nailed here for the second time when a team has the exact same record in 2012 as they did in 2011. That being said, the Cowboys were probably closer to a 9/10-win team, though, then the 7-win team that Doogan needed.
20). BRY – Arizona Cardinals – UNDER 8 wins: I think I might take the UNDER on 8 wins LAST year, even though I know that they actually did win 8 games. I still don’t understand how they did it. But, my non-understanding has given me pause about picking this the whole time. But, it’s about time to do it. Their O-line is AWFUL, which at least gives the media a reason to blame their awful QBs for being awful. And, I know their defense was good in the second half of last year, but I don’t trust it, especially up front. With all due respect to Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver on the planet (by a wide margin), but it takes more than a great wideout to win in this league. Put me down for 6 wins – tops – for the Cards. And, one of them is not coming against the Birds this year…I hope.
FINAL: 5-11…Bry 12-8
When the Cardinals were 4-0, including wins over Philly and New England, this pick looked FAR gone. But, a 1-11 finish to the season made it actually a pretty comfortable point for Bry, who is starting to smell his first NFL Preview win since 2009. What Bry did get wrong was the prediction that they would lose to the Eagles…in fact, they had a better record than the Eagles, despite losing 11 of their final 12 games.
21). DOOGAN – Kansas City Chiefs – OVER 7 wins: I’m rooting for the Chiefs because I like when they’re good and there’s loud, meaningful games at Arrowhead. I really like the potential RB tandem of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, neither of which they had last year because Charles missed almost the whole season with an injury. They get Matt Cassell back at QB after also missing most of last year, which isn’t amazing, but Dwayne Bowe gives him a legit #1 receiver to target. The defense also looks rock solid, with Eric Berry returning from injury to a good secondary, and Derrick Johnson starring at LB. This could very well be your AFC West division champ, with 9-10 wins.
FINAL: 2-14…WRONG…Bry 13-8
A very damaging miss here for Doogan, as the Chiefs end up as the worst team in football. In fairness, though, they did have SEVEN Pro Bowlers, so they should have won a lot more than 2 games.
22). BRY – San Diego Chargers – OVER 8 wins: Sing it with me – San Diego…SUPER Chargers! I feel like I make this pick every year and regret it every year, but at least I didn’t waste one of my early picks on Norv & Co this time. I just think that with an elite QB, it doesn’t take a whole lot of so-called “weapons” to be a good offense. Gone is Vincent Jackson, but he didn’t exactly help much last year. Apparently, Rivers is fully healthy now (after what is thought to be quietly an injury-plagued 2011), and Antonio Gates is reportedly in his best shape in at least 3 years. Ryan Matthews is hurt – surprise, surprise – but should return by Week 4 or 5, at the latest. The defense is solid, as usual, so I like this team to challenge KC (I totally agree on the Chiefs, by the way) for the division title, which should put them in the 9-10 win area.
FINAL: 7-9…WRONG…Doogan 9-13
Bry gets burned YET AGAIN by the freakin’ Chargers. DO NOT let me pick the OVER on San Diego again in 2013…please!
23). DOOGAN – New York Jets – UNDER 8 wins: You definitely stole my next pick there and now I’m starting to grasp at straws a little bit. You look at the Jets roster and see a lot of talent: Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie at the corners, Santonio Holmes, some real nice offensive linemen in Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. But it just seems like the Sanchez/Tebow soap opera is more likely to end badly than anything else. Is Sanchez any good? I don’t think so. Does the team have the player personnel and coaching inclinations to make Tebow work as the starter? Not sure. But it hangs over everything else for the team this season, and I feel like they’ll have to wait ’til next year to get it all figured out.
FINAL: 6-10…Doogan 10-13
A must-win here for Doogan comes through, as the terrible Jets pick up double-digit losses in Rex Ryan’s penultimate season as head coach in New York. Doogan pretty much nailed the QB issue that may seem obvious today, but certainly was not at the beginning of the 2012 season.
24). BRY – Miami Dolphins – OVER 6 wins: I don’t think the Dolphins are going to make any sort of playoff push, but I like their chances to get to 7-8 wins. Reggie Bush might be really good, and their defense is actually sneaky good (even though they traded Vontae Davis away today). Plus, they probably have the easiest possible schedule with the NFC West and AFC South (the weakest divisions in each conference) plus Oakland at home. You have to be pretty bad to lose 10 games with this Miami schedule, and I don’t think they’re that bad.
FINAL: 7-9…Bry 14-10
Bry is now 3 points from victory, as the Dolphins sneak out 7 wins against a terrible schedule. As Bry thought, they did not make a playoff push, their defense was good, and they won 7 games.
25). DOOGAN – New York Giants – OVER 9 wins: The reigning Super Bowl champs and it takes us this long to go Over on 9. It’s a weird league. Part of my reason for waiting so long is a simple lack of respect for the team, obviously some is bias (read: jealousy, disgust) and some of it is that their schedule is really tough. I can’t stomach going into too much detail about why I think they’ll win 10 or more, but I will say that I disagree with Bry on one thing: this is the best defensive line unit in the league.
FINAL: 9-7…WRONG…Bry 15-10
The story of this preview is Doogan picking 3 teams that repeated their 2011 records, giving him no chance at a correct pick. Doogan had some accurate thoughts about the G-Men and just got screwed by the rules.
26). BRY – Washington Professional Football Team - OVER 5 wins: The “Super Bowl champs” got a possibly anomalous career year from their quarterback and a probably anomalous breakout season from an undrafted WR from UMass and were still outscored on the season. I respect the trophy, but let’s call it what it was…anyway, on to another hated division rival that I am going to have to give at least a little bit of praise to, as I’m picking the Over. This is a low number for a team with a lot of hype (not that that is any different from other years), so it’s also saying something that it took us this long to get here. That means that neither of us think they’ll be very good. I just have to think they they’re more likely to win 6+ than lose 12+. I do think that Robert Griffin III is going to be pretty good in this league, I just don’t think he will quite yet. The defense is decent enough to win a game or two, and the schedule isn’t that bad. They won’t be good and should finish in last place, but I’ll take a shot at 6 wins.
FINAL: 10-6…Bry 16-10
Bry clinches at least a tie, as the Dedskins actually won 10 games and the division. So, Bry’s analysis here was way off – he put them down for 6 wins – but he gets the point regardless.
27). DOOGAN – Seattle Seahawks – UNDER 7 wins: Giving the starting QB job to Russell Wilson may be a good thing for this team long-term, but I don’t think it helps them win games this year. Or at least the fact that Matt Flynn wasn’t able to win the job after signing a pretty large free agent contract means that he’s clearly been a disappointment this summer. Still an easy division to find wins in, but this team will most likely struggle to score.
FINAL: 11-5…WRONG…Bry 17-10
Bry clinches the 2012 NFL Preview with the missed Seahawks pick by Doogan. Another one that feels kind of cheap, as how could anyone know what Russell Wilson was going to do for this team?
28). BRY – Cleveland Browns – OVER 4 wins: For the record, I think the Browns are the worst team in the NFL. Their defense is porous, and their offense is reliant on an injury-prone rookie running back, a 29-year old rookie quarterback, and a guy named Greg Little. But, they actually are somewhat decent at the line of scrimmage, and, most importantly, it’s probably smart to pick any team to win more than 4 games because it’s hard to lose 12+ in this league.
FINAL: 5-11…Bry 18-10
Just going through the motions now, as Bry squeaks out another point, which has been the story of the preview this year. The 29-year old rookie led the Browns to a whole 5 wins – just enough to give Bry his 18th point of the contest.
29). DOOGAN – Jacksonville Jaguars – UNDER 5 wins: Yes Bry, it is hard to lose 12+ in this league, but I believe in the Jags! Unless MJD has been working out like a mad man while holding out and comes back very soon, how in the world will this team score points? Even with him, they will have a lot of trouble. And the defense may have a few guys that can play, but they better to be on the field 75% of the game.
FINAL: 2-14…Doogan 11-18
Doogan nailed this tough UNDER-5 pick, as the Jags were putrid and finished with just a pair of Ws on the year.
30). BRY – Houston Texans – OVER 10 wins: Ah, left with just three 9- or 10-win teams that are still pretty good. I’ll go with the Texas Houstons. The rest of their division is pretty bad, so they could easily win 5 or even all 6 divisional games. Plus, home games against Miami and Minnesota should be gimmies. After that, I can see them getting 3 or 4 more Ws just by playing really good defense and handing the ball off to the league’s best player. Let’s not forget that they were well on their way to the #1 seed in the AFC last year before they downgraded Matt Schaub to T.J. Yates.
FINAL: 12-4…Bry 19-11
Now, we’re just seeing if Bry can break the record for biggest margin of victory. He has, at least, tied it with this one, as the Houstons picked up a dozen wins in the best season in franchise history.
31). DOOGAN – Cincinnati Bengals – UNDER 9 wins: Quick trivia: when was the last time the Bengals had back-to-back winning seasons? Oh, you can’t remember? Maybe that’s because it was 1976-77 (not counting the strike-shortened ’82 season that was only 9 games long)! Yes, 35 years ago. When I went to look, I figured it must have happened sometime in the Boomer Esiason-era, but nope. So, when we’re this late in the game and you’re looking for any reason to go one way or the other, that seems sufficient reason for me to go Under on the long-suffering Bungles.
FINAL: 10-6…WRONG…Bry 20-11
There it is – the first 20-point NFL preview, as Doogan misses another close one that no one saw coming. I still don’t understand how this Bengals team continues to make the playoffs, but they do.
32). Atlanta Falcons – OVER 10 wins: This one is really tough, but what can you expect from the one team neither of us wanted to pick? All I can say is that the Saints could be in turmoil, the Panthers are overrated, and the Bucs aren’t that good, so the Falcons are probably the favorites to win this division. And, division winners are good best to win 11 games, especially when they have the potential for an elite offense if Michael Turner stays healthy (and effective) and Julio Jones becomes the receiver he showed signs of becoming last year. The best bet is for a repeat of 10-6, but I think 11-5 is more likely than 9-7.
FINAL: 13-3…Bry 21-11
Bry finished with a bang, as the Falcons were the best team in football at 13-3.