Archive for the ‘predictions’ Category

2011 AFC South

August 31, 2011

(Preface to my annual picks…I don’t add up the exact wins/losses so everything works out perfectly. I am simply predicting rough record estimates for each team.)

  • Houston 10-6
  • Indy 8-8
  • Jax 8-8
  • Tenn 6-10

This division is difficult to predict this year. I had to go through a process of elimination to come up with a winner. With Manning seemingly not 100% (with a scary kind of injury no less – the neck) and the Colts in a general decline it seems like it’s finally a year when another team could win the AFC South. I contemplated taking a flier on Jax but I just don’t think they’ll swing it this year. (Though I must say they are flying way under the radar right now so they won’t be adversely affected by pressure.) And I think some folks may end up thinking Tenn could be good now that they have Hasselbeck – but I think he could make them worse. Also, the Chris Johnson holdout situation is ugly – a hamstring injury a certainty if he does return. That leaves Houston. The Texans better hope Arian Foster overcomes a nagging hamstring injury and they better hope that FB James Casey can fill in at least somewhat for the departed Vonta Leach – who had been a key piece of their running game. But where the Texans may have improved some is on defense – and that’s where they needed to improve. They’ve added Jonathan Joseph and Danieal Manning to a secondary that was in desperate need of upgrade. But most impressive to me is their linebacking group in their new 3-4: Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing and Mario Williams. Even if it takes some time for Williams to adapt to playing LB, this is an impressive group.


NFC North preview from

August 30, 2011

Read here. Not way off, but off. They have Pack going 11-5, Bears 9-7, Detroit 8-8 and Minn 6-10. I agree with the Pack generally (and definitely that the Pack wins the division), and Detroit being around or possibly above .500. But I think the Bears and Vikes need to be flip-flopped. He makes a good point about MN’s beleaguered D-Line and a suspect overall defense, but they will still be tough at home and AP and McNabb will probably end up winning a game or two. (Though I will say a McNabb injury would derail the season quickly – and whatever McNabb’s health, they won’t make the playoffs.) The issues on the Bears line remain. Carimi was a good pick, but for some reason, it sounds like the Bears are moving Carimi to RT and J’Marcus Webb to LT. If I’m not mistaken, I believe both used to play the opposite sides – and I did read that both have had a difficult time adjusting. Doesn’t seem to make sense. I also think they will struggle without Kruetz as center. The Bears will be bad this year.


Week 12 NFL Picks

November 24, 2010

check here.

2010 Week 3 Picks

September 24, 2010

Read here.

2010 Week 2 Picks

September 16, 2010

Read here for my Week 2 picks.

2010 NFL Season Predictions

September 13, 2010

I thought I had already posted this but I guess I had only given picks from a few divisions.  So, here are my picks for 2010.

  • AFC East: NE (11-5); Mia (9-7); NYJ (8-8); Buff (4-12)
  • AFC North: Balt (12-4); Pitt (10-6); Cleve (8-8); Cincy (6-10)
  • AFC South: Hou (11-5); Indy (9-7); Tenn (8-8); Jax (7-9)
  • AFC West: KC (10-6); SD (8-8); Den (6-10); Oak (6-10)

For the Playoffs in the AFC, I have Mia (#6) over New England (#3) and Pitt (#5) over KC (#4) in the wildcard round. Then Hou (#2) over Pitt (#5) and Balt (#1) over Mia (#6). Balt edges Hou to win the AFC Championship.

  • NFC East: Dal (11-5); Wash (10-6); Phil (7-9); NYG (7-9)
  • NFC North: Pack (12-4); Chic (10-6); MN (7-9); Det (6-10)
  • NFC West: AZ (10-6); Sea (8-8); SF (8-8); StL (5-11)
  • NFC South: Atl (11-5); NO (9-7); TB (7-9); Car (5-11)

For the Playoffs in the NFC, I have Dal (#3) over Chic (#6) and Wash (#5) over AZ (#4) for the wildcard round. Then Atl (#2) over Wash (#5), Pack (#1) over Dal (#3). And finally I have the Packers over the Falcons for the NFC Championship.

Packers beat the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

Packergeek also writing for

September 10, 2010

Just wanted to let Packergeek readers know that I will be writing an NFL picks column and a fantasy football column for the website – It is website that covers a lot of topics, with a focus on politics, and I will write the 2 columns in their sports section.

The picks for Week 1 are up – go here to read.

Pressure mounting…

September 7, 2010

Check this out from USA Today – 5 of their 8 staff writers pick the Packers to win the Super Bowl. Several of you have noted the increasing amount of positive press the Packers have received heading into the season. Lots of the expert types are picking the Pack to win the Super Bowl. Normally, I would be a bit concerned about it – will the players be able to handle the weight of expectation? will they keep their heads? and just as importantly, how will the coaching staff respond to this kind of pressure?

So far, I like the way the team has responded to this pressure. It seems the players may have been given the “OK” to simply address questions about expectations head on – instead of offering up the usual cliche crap like “we’re only focused on the Philly game”. Really, since the team regrouped this spring, it seems to me that generally, the players have not avoided questions about expectations. After the Family Night scrimmage for example, Jermichael Finley and a few others talked very directly about the expectations indicating that the team has the same expectations and the team believes they belong in the Super Bowl. McCarthy must be coaching the guys up to believe that these are not unrealistic expectations and I really like this. There seems to be a message floating around Lambeau that players/coaches ought to embrace this goal publicly rather than avoid it at all costs.

For some reason, I suspect that one guy who may be behind this head-on approach to managing expectations may be Dom Capers. I think Capers, a veteran coach who has seen a lot throughout his NFL coaching career, may be encouraging this open attitude about expectations in part because he knows on one side of the ball, he has a QB who can handle it mentally and on the other side, he has a veteran leader who can handle it mentally – and who wants it so badly (Woodson). One thing that will continue to impress people in the next 3-4 years in particular, is just how strong Aaron Rodgers is mentally. I’m not quite sure the same open approach toward expectations would have been encouraged if we had a different QB.

2010 AFC North Predictions

September 1, 2010
  • Baltimore Ravens, 12-4. This is a good team. The secondary is a bit shaky and Ed Reed’s possible extended absence will not help. But overall, this team has improved since last year when it was already good. The addition of Anquan Boldin was big. Derrick Mason has been quietly amassing decent season after decent season for the Ravens over the last several years, and having a legit threat opposite him now will suddenly make this passing game quite good. Add in a rejuvenated/healthy TE Todd Heap and there is another good option. QB Joe Flacco has improved as well and to this day, in my opinion, has the best form of any QB throwing the deep ball (he may not complete all these deep passes, but they sure look good). But the guy I think we’ll all be talking about at the end of the year is Ray Rice. This guy is a monster. He is strong, has a low center of gravity coupled with huge legs and importantly, mentally he is very focused on being a great RB. I think at the end of this year, Rice will be the #1 RB in the NFL in terms of total yards gained (remember, he’s a great receiver out of the backfield too – 78 catches last year). Yes, better than Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson and MJD.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-6. Pitt at 10-6? What? Without Big Ben for 4 games? After missing the playoffs in 2009? After losing Santonio Holmes? Yes. Something happened last year that caused Pitt to get lost – to lose its identity. Troy Polamalu got hurt. It’s that simple. Polamalu is the soul of that team. Not Ben, not the defense as a whole, not Hines Ward, just Troy. He is a fantastic player whose mere presence on the field changes games. He is an intelligent player with great game sense. With Polamalu back at full strength and the eventual return of Big Ben, this team will resume its quality play. Also, I’m looking for Rashard Mendenhall to take off a bit this year (if he doesn’t get hurt). He may end up as a top 5 rusher as he will have lots of touches. I expect a couple monster games from him. And, it’s no small factor that Dick LeBeau is still running the defense in Pitt. I expect the D to be very tough to deal with especially at home. And remember, last year, Pitt managed to get to 9-7, so it’s not like they were nearly as bad as the Pitt fan-base made them out to be.
  • Cleveland Browns, 8-8. What? The Cleve ahead of Cincy? I am one of few probably, who think the Mangini/Holmgren duo might end up working out. Here’s why. Eric Mangini burst onto the scene a few years ago and had some initial success. While I’m not sure I would call his initial success a fluke (he was 10-6 in his 1st season with the NYJ, playoff team), I do think it was unfortunate for Mangini because it brought the immediate weight of expectations. Now, he’s regarded as a mediocre coach (at best) and the Cleve is playing with zero expectations. And most importantly I believe Mangini, if he’s open to it, will benefit greatly from the guidance of Mike Holmgren. Mangini is still a young coach and he hasn’t had the opportunity before to work closely with a very respected NFL mind. I do believe that between Mangini/Holmgren, there is a lot of football knowledge going on. I feel about the Cleve the way I feel about Miami – with guys like Holmgren and Parcells at the helm, it’s just hard to imagine either of these teams in a state of total failure. Delhomme isn’t great but if he plays even decently, there are some weapons on offense (Cribbs, Jerome Harrison could be good, Massaquoi, TE Evan Moore – former Packer who has looked good so far, Joe Thomas helping on the line). Ok, that list isn’t that great and it’s possible the Cleve totally sucks and Mangini gets fired after 4 weeks because he can’t get along with Holmgren – but I just have a feeling they won’t be terrible this year.
  • Cincinnati Bengals, 6-10. I don’t think Marvin Lewis should last past this year. He may, because the Bengals front office is weird, but he shouldn’t. Yes, the Bengals got to the playoffs last year, yes they have a legit running threat with Benson, yes they have a decent WR group now with TO in the mix, and they have 2 potential big-time talents at TE in Chase Coffman (son of Paul Coffman) and Jermaine Gresham. Ok, maybe the offense will be good. And, of course, the defense has 2 CBs who are in the discussion at least of best CB tandem in the NFL. But I don’t see it this year for Cincy. I’m fighting logic I realize by projecting the Cleve to finish ahead of Cincy, the NFC North division winners from 2009. But Cincy’s home playoff loss last year to the Jets was one of the least inspiring efforts I’ve seen in years. The Jets played well to be sure, but to fold like Cincy did at home in such a big game told me all I need to know. Cincy is one major injury (Palmer, Benson, one of their CBs) away from 3-13.

2010 AFC East Predictions

August 22, 2010

AFC East

  • NE Patriots, 11-5 – Why? Not sure. They have some older players, they shouldn’t be that good and Belichick continues to be weird. But they always have older players, they always end up being good anymore and Belichick’s weirdness is often smart weirdness (like going for 4th downs). Borrowing from soccer’s apparent claim on the word “mercurial”, Belichick’s mercurialness hasn’t faded a bit and I can’t help but think he will mercurially help the Patriots achieve success once again. In particular, the Brady/Moss/Welker trio will remain brutally difficult to defend and some may be surprised when the Laurence Maroney/Fred Taylor duo ends up being shockingly productive. Watch out for the Pats this year.
  • Miami Dolphins, 9-7 – Most will be shocked that I’ve put the Jets in at least 3rd place in this division. But the Dolphins have been quietly solid since coach Tony Sporano has taken over. He’s a good coach who goes about things quietly, yet effectively. They have a young group but they also have players who can just plain get the job done. The signing of Brandon Marshall was huge. Huge. This guy is good and his presence will immediately help the passing game – especially the other WRs like Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Greg Camarillo. And I don’t see why Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown will slow down at all. Now that there is a greater threat in the passing game (especially with the emergence of Chad Henne over the last few games of last season – 4 300 yard games in a row), it stands to reason that an already potent running game could be even better. This team could be quite good.
  • NY Jets, 8-8 – What? The Jets not winning the division? AW not buying the puffery surrounding Fat Ryan?  Does AW predict this because of the Revis controversy?  How could someone dare not believe in the Jets after their surprising ascent last year? Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison? A potential Revis holdout will hurt, yes, but it won’t ruin them. What will ruin them is a few setbacks. I’m envisioning a team having a seriously difficult time bouncing back from a few crucial setbacks. Rex Ryan is a coach who is so full of himself (and hot air), that I really doubt the “you should believe in yourself because I’m making you believe in yourself” approach will work this year. When he settles down some, it’s possible the Jets will settle down and be good again…in a few years. But not this year. The Jets won’t be bad and may contend for the playoffs because they do have talent. But they don’t have THAT much talent and I think people will be surprised by how good the Pats and the Dolphins are this year.
  • Buffalo, 4-12 – Whenever there’s even the potential that someone like Brian Brohm, the slow-motion Brian Brohm, could start at QB, your team is hurting. Buff has some offensive talent (though both Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch have recently been slowed by injuries), but overall, they mostly suck. Too bad. I like the Buff and their fans and root for the team, but I just don’t think they’ll be bringing much this year at all. And hiring Chan Gailey was questionable.