Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NFL Midseason Update

Ugh. This week has been a new low for my level of busy-ness and franticness at my job. And speaking of that, I want to extend a special thank-you to the biatch downstairs who was first assigned this horrifying deal that has utterly and completely ruined the last five days of my life, for waiting until the weekend and then responding that she was "too busy" to take on such a short-term assignment with such urgency and such difficult clients. Because of course, me and my five or six times as many deals as her, I was of course less busy than she was to take this monstrosity on, right? Whore. It's unbelievable, really. Anyways, some biatch on the 23rd floor is too lazy to do her effing job, and as a result you don't get any posts for several days. Funny how the chain reaction of things happens.

Anyways, here's the post I tried to start writing over this past weekend, and only now have had the chance to finish.

With every team in the league now having played at least eight games (and four teams having played nine games), here we are officially past the midpoint of the 2010 NFL season, and I thought I would take my usual halfway-point look back at my preseason predictions for the NFL teams. Back in early September, for the first time I made over-under predictions based on the Vegas lines for each of the teams in the NFL, and now I want to look back and see how those predictions are going so far in what is, by far, the most difficult of the major sports to make meaningful predictions in, be it preseason, or even week to week in the individual games. So here are my September predictions for each team in the NFL, along with a short commentary on how close or far off I am looking so far:

Arizona Cardinals: Under 7.5 wins. At 3-5, Arizona is worse than I even thought they would be, and they should end up under here. The quarterback situation in 'Zona following Kurt Warner's retirement has left this team with a total void at qb, and they're going to have a lot of trouble winning most of the games left on their schedule.

Atlanta Falcons: Over 9 wins. Right now Atlanta is one of the six teams in the NFL with just two losses, and at 6-2, nine wins sounds like an easy Over for probably the best team in the NFC so far through the halfway point of the season.

Baltimore Ravens: Over 10 wins. It is really hard to take the Over with a number like 10 wins, but taking the Over I did, and the Ravens are another of the small handful of teams with two losses who are looking like they might be the best team in all of football. As long as the team goes over .500 in their final 8 games, they will best the 10-win line for 2010 and be poised to make a deep run in the AFC postseason.

Buffalo Bills: Under 5.5 wins. Going under 5 wins for any team in the NFL can be tough, but the Bills are the league's last winless team in 2010 and have virtually no chance of reaching this number in 2010.

Carolina Panthers: Under 7.5 wins. This is another winner, as Carolina would need to go 7-1 to end the season (with no quarterback whatsoever to speak of, at that) after their 1-7 start. I love the coach, but John Fox will be moving on after season's end to bigger and better pastures as the Panthers will easily finish Under their number this season.

Chicago Bears: Under 8 wins. At 5-3 right now, the Bears are technically on pace to finish over .500 on the season, thanks largely to a surprise 3-0 start. However, if you've been watching the games this season, most people would probably consider this one to be a bit of a crapshoot by season's end, as the Bears have played pretty horrible football for the better part of a month here now, and I would expect a finish right around .500 as the most likely outcome by the end of the year, but right now this one goes down as a loss for my pick.

Cincinnati Bengals: Under 7.5 wins. This was one of my outlier picks in the preseason given all the hype surrounding this Bengals team heading into 2010 after they won the division last year for the first time in years. But here we are at the halfway point, and despite a surprisingly strong output from big baby Terrell Owens, the Bengals are 2-6, alone in last place in the AFC North, and they're highly unlikely to make it back to .500 on the season.

Cleveland Browns: Under 5.5 wins. Here's a team that has surprised pretty much everybody by not playing nearly as horribly as they were expected to play. The team is currently at 3-5 through 8 games, but my guess is that they will come in just over their number by season's end, making this pick another likely loser for me on the year.

Dallas Cowboys: Over 9.5 wins. Boy did I screw this one up. The 'Boys are currently 1-7, the head coach has been fired, and the team that I pegged as the easy winner of the NFC East and probably the NFC's best team is instead making a serious run for the conference's worst. Even if they somehow ran the table with Jon Kitna at quarterback in the second half, they still couldn't come close to the over here, and this team will be my biggest miss in the preseason pretty much no matter what happens with any team in the rest of the season.

Denver Broncos: Under 7.5 wins. A lot of people questioned this pick before the season began, but so far in 2010 we have seen exactly how Josh McDaniel's hubris has harmed his team's chances to play well this year. At 2-6, Denver sits alone in the basement in one of the worst divisions in football, and the scoring differential of -69 points also places the Broncos among the three or four worst teams in the league.

Detroit Lions: Over 5 wins. Here I made a "heart" pick in going over despite not really knowing where 6 wins would come from on this team's schedule, and after starting off 2-6 in the first half, and especially after watching the team's utterly inept coaching in last week's game against the Jets, they're just not going to make it in 2010. Long live the worst streak for the NFL's worst overall franchise.

Green Bay Packers: Over 9.5 wins. The Pack is 6-3 through 9 games this season, putting them on pace for 11-12 wins on the season. Even though I think most people would agree that this team in practice has underperformed many people's expectations on the season, the Over is still looking good at this point, due in no small part to a very, very weak NFC in 2010.

Houston Texans: Over 8 wins. Right now the Texans are sitting at 4-4 at the halfway point of their season, putting them right on pace to hit their number for the year if all stays as planned. The Texans have been a bit on the inconsistent side for my tastes so far in 2010, but looking at their schedule there's no reason not to believe they can muster another .500 performance in their final eight games of the year.

Indianapolis Colts: Over 11 wins. Indy is 5-3 through eight games, and it looks like a stretch for them to string together another 12-win season, so this one is most likely going to be a loss for my preseason prediction, despite the Colts quietly putting together yet another solid season under the watchful eye of quarterback Peyton Manning.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Under 7 wins. The Jags have been a bit of a pleasant surprise for a lot of NFL viewers out there, sitting at .500 here at the halfway point. Even though this is not a particularly strong team, the odds are clear that they will find a way to win three of their last eight games and manage to make the Over, giving me another wrong preseason prediction.

Kansas City Chiefs: Under 6.5 wins. Booom here's another one I really fucked up, along with the rest of the free world. I picked the Chiefs to finish with 6 or fewer wins on the year, and here at the midpoint they have already amassed 5 wins and amazingly sit in first place in the AFC West. As I told you here after Week 2 of the NFL season, there is no reason at this point that this team cannot outright win the division thanks to their horrible competition and their last-place schedule.

Miami Dolphins: Under 8.5 wins. I went off in the preseason about how much I like Tony Sparano and what this Dolphins franchise has done with seemingly very little to work with over the past couple of years, and they have not disappointed in posting some big wins already en route to a 4-4 record at the midpoint. Still, that keeps the team on pace for an 8-win season and an Under, and with the Jets and Cheatriots looking strong once again, it is difficult to imagine the team going 5-3 down the stretch.

Minnesota Vikings: Over 9.5 wins. Here I didn't just pick an Over, I picked an "easy Over" in the preseason, adding to the list of teams I simply utterly flubbed in making my preseason predictions. Although the team is coming on a bit of late and is currently 3-1 at home through 8 games, the team is 3-5 and would need to totally turn things around and run off a 7-1 record in the second half to threaten their number. It's not gonna happen.

New England Cheatriots: Over 9.5 wins. With a healthy Tom Brady and with Bill Bellicheat at the helm, the Cheatriots are an easy Over any time they're predicted to produce single-digit wins. Right now the team sits at 6-2 through eight games, and until last week's drubbing by the Browns were considered by most to be the NFL's best team in 2010.

New Orleans Saints: Over 10.5 wins. Even though the Saints have generally underperformed compared to most people's expectations through the first half of the 2010 NFL season, the team still sits at 6-3 after Week 10, putting it on pace for 11 wins and still barely an Over, for now. How well the defending champs play in the second half seems still fairly up in the air, but for now a win is a win.

New York Giants: Under 8.5 wins. Man did I eff up my predictions for the NFC East this year, which is especially interesting since this is my own hometown division since birth. Although I was very dubious about the Giants in a division with an improved Dallas and Redskins squad, in the end the team has already piled up 6 wins in the first half of the season, and it is very hard to imagine the team not winning another 3 of their final 8, so this one is going to end as an Over.

New York Jets: Under 9.5 wins. Although after just a few weeks into the 2010 season it was very obvious that the Jets were for real, I did not believe in the Jets heading into the season and as a result this is going to be another loss for me. At 6-2, the Jets are among the six NFL teams with six wins at the halfway point, and even though the team has not been playing well lately, again it is a virtual lock that Rex Ryan's squad will amass at least 10 wins for the Over by season's end.

Oakland Raiders: Under 6 wins. At 5-4 through their first 9 games, the Raiders are off to their best start in several years, and the team will make their Vegas number with their next win. This is another one that I just did not see coming by a long shot.

Philadelphia Eagles: Under 8.5 wins. Another NFC East team, another miss for my preseason 2010 predictions. Of course nobody in America could foresee the incredible story of Mike Vick and how well the guy has played so far through the first half of the season, but in at the halfway point, the Eagles are 5-3 and should manage to best their number by at least a game or two.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Over 9 wins. Even with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missing the first four games of the season, the Steelers have posted an impressive 6-2 record to start the 2010 campaign. With potentially the best team in the NFL working now that Ben Roth has returned, Over 9 wins seems like a virtual certainty for the 2008 superbowl champions.

San Diego Chargers: Under 11 wins. Here is one surprise team that I actually predicted correctly in the preseason, although I certainly did not foresee how underwhelming Norv Turner's team would play in likely his final season in San Diego. At 4-5 through 9 games, the Chargers would have to rattle off seven straight wins to make their number, and that simply isn't going to happen despite Phillip Rivers continuing to kill it at quarterback out in the AFC West.

San Francisco 49ers: Under 8.5 wins. Here's another surprise team that I correctly predicted few months ago, although again I can't take credit for knowing just how much of a goddam idiot head coach Mike Singletary is. Ever since he incorrectly read the score as 20-14 when it was actually 24-10 in the 49ers' Week 5 game, the 9ers' 2-6 start has been no kind of a surprise, and that kind of a raging moron has no shot of leading his team to another 7 wins this year in what has got to be his final year in San Fran.

Seattle Seahawks: Under 7.5 wins. So far this is technically a loss for my pick with the Seahawks sitting at 4-4 through 8 games, but even though the NFC West is incredibly weak, I would still guess this team will end the season below the .500 mark, especially after this past weekend's utter and complete embarrassment and manhandling at the hands of the Giants in Seattle.

St. Louis Rams: Under 5 wins. At 4-4 at the midpoint, the Rams are one of the happiest stories in the NFL in 2010. I'm obviously going to lose this pick as soon as the first-place Rams win their next game, but I'm more than happy to take this loss in honor of Steve Spagnuolo, Sam Bradford et al who have seriously turned things around in St. Louis after a couple of years near the bottom of the heap in the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Under 5.5 wins. I owe Rahim Morris an apology for calling him the single worst coach in the NFL during my preseason picks. Morris has led his team to a 5-3 record in the first half of the 2010 season, and he's easily getting his team to an Over in 2010.

Tennessee Titans: Over 8.5 wins. Although they've been a bit inconsistent for my tastes so far in the first half, the Titans are off to a 5-3 start in their first eight games in 2010. Unless the addition last week of Randy Moss eats this team away from the inside, they should reach 9 wins and make the Over before season's end.

Washington Redskins: Under 7.5 wins. The Skins currently sit at 4-4 after 8 games, but something tells me that this is going to end the year as an Under and a winner for my preseason prediction. With Donovan McNabb physically breaking down and flirting with benchings weekly by new head coach Mike Shanahan, this is gonna be a close one but we'll see if the Skins have enough to play the second half of the season at .500 like they have so far in the first. Hopefully a loss to the Eagles next Monday night would basically ice the Under in my book for Daniel Snyder's weakass franchise.

So, here I sit at the halfway point, basically with 15 winners and 15 losers so far through the midpoint of the season. Even though that is clearly not the kind of success I am looking for with any of my sports predictions, in the NFL of all leagues, I'll take it. I mean, in all seriousness, I cannot name a single person in the world of which I am aware who I would say is doing a good job making picks of the NFL games on the season when using the Vegas spreads. As I mentioned above, the NFL is just such a crazy league, there is just so much mediocrity and parity, and the system is just so set up to make the bad teams good the next year, and the good teams bad, that going .500 with preseason predictions is not as bad as I would view that in a league like baseball where there really is much more information available from previous seasons about how good a team is going to play the next year, and what kinds of numbers individual players are going to put up. I'm 15-15 with my predictions, and I believe I am a game under .500 in my individual game picks against the spread so far through nine weeks. I hope to improve upon both of these stats over the second half of what is shaping up to be another awesome NFL season.

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Blogger OhCaptain said...

Vikings blow.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

No love for the 460 yards passing from Favre last week?

3:29 AM  
Blogger OhCaptain said...

Until Childress is fired, it will be very difficult for them to win consistently or even look like a winning team for more the 5 minutes at a time. Sure Farve had big numbers, but those big numbers don't turn into touchdowns much. Sloppy execution, incompetent clock management and coaching decisions that boggle the mind. The losses are all on the coaches.

3:47 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Childress was a complete and total bonehead as the O-Coordinator in Philly as well. He is one of the biggest fools in coaching (this side of Singletary).

7:36 AM  

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