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53 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    This is truly the week from hell for Wisconsin sports. And bizarre on top of it. Just sayin’.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:


  3. Avatar Stillwater says:

    You’re wrong about the Broncos. Flat out WRONG! My guess is 10.5 – 5.5. Yes I’m hedging. I don’t think they win more than 11, but more than likely I’d say about 10. Mebbe 9?

    They’re just not that good, dude. Peyton’s really old.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      To flesh that out a bit: any team that’s pretty good and can get pressure is gonna do it, and with great success. Peyton is a timing, rather than freelance, QB. Disrupt his timing, he’s got nothing. Like, literally nothin.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        After watching the Seahawks game last night, I tend to agree with your projection for the Broncos. It appears that the league’s pre-season experiment with actually calling illegal downfield contact the way the rule is written has ended. Last year the Seahawks defense stretched that rule as far as the refs would let them, which was a long way in the playoffs. My prediction going into the Super Bowl was, “If the refs flag the Seahawks for illegal downfield contact three times in the first quarter, the Broncos win a close game; if not, the Seahawks win big.”

        The rule says five yards. In the regular season, the refs will usually give the defense six or seven, and in the playoffs, eight-to-ten yards is not unusual depending on the officiating crew. I have seen rumors that the pre-season experiment was motivated by the Super Bowl, where the crew was routinely allowing the Seahawks eight or more yards. No one, including Peyton, can make a precision passing offense work against that.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      I thought you were predicting that the Broncos would have a tie this year.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    The 49ers have owned the Packers over the last few seasons. Tonight’s game gave me no reason to expect that to change,Report

  5. 2-14? They’re no playoff team, but in today’s NFL, any team with 4 Pro Bowl caliber defensive linemen is going to win more than 2 games even if the rest of the team consists of, uhh, Bills. Youre also being way too kind to Miami.

    I also don’t think the Texans are going to get anywhere above 8 wins with their QB situation as a best case scenario.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      This reminded me of a great burn from Grantland:

      [The Raider’s GM] didn’t have a first- or second-round pick in 2012, but his six subsequent picks that year failed to produce even a single starter despite the fact that they only had to beat out Raiders. Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Wait, you’ve got the Iggles getting a first round bye. Excuse me a moment….


    Haaaaaaaaah….. [inhales]. Hee hee!

    One good running back and a B-list quarterback does not a team make. Philly gets to playa wild-card game, just like my Packers will. Woe be unto whichever one of them meets up with the NFC West wildcard.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Are you picking Bengals or Colts in Round 1?Report

  8. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Some explanation of the process…

    I didn’t just choose a record for teams based on how good I think they are. That ignores context. It also leads some “prognosticators” to give the league as a whole an above or below .500 record because they don’t actually think about who wins what games*. So what I did was go through the entire schedule and pick a winner for each game and then tweak from there.

    So, with regards to some particular teams…

    I agree that the Broncos are not as good as last year. But they play the NFC West, who I think is overrated, and the AFC East, which has exactly one good team in it. They got at least 5-3 in those games and I have them going 7-1 (they lose to Seattle and get by the Pats and 49ers). Add a split against the Chargers and the Colts/Bengals and a sweep of the Chiefs/Raiders and they’re at 13-3. That said, I don’t think they’re that good. They just have a lighter-than-expected schedule. This is why I have them bowing out early.

    The Eagles are similar. I think they feast on bad defenses in the NFC East and AFC South. They could go 8-2 in those games and pick up wins against the depleted Panthers/Cardinals and cruddy Rams. If they pick up one win against the 49ers/Seahawks/Packers, they’re at 12 wins. That doesn’t mean they are as good as a typical 12-win team (I would not pick them to beat the Patriots or the Seahawks — both 11-win teams here — in a 10 game series); they just happen to win 12 games this year and then get bumped in Round 1.

    The 49ers have lost so much on defense due to injury and suspension. Where are they better this year than last? The assumption is that Cap takes “the leap” but I don’t think we can necessarily assume that, at least not to the degree if offsets all they’ve lost.

    SO, if you think I’ve got a team’s record wrong… by all means, go through the schedule and tell me which games they win and which they lose. Or just call me an idiot! Either way… it’s sports! AND FOOTBALL IS BACK!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!

    * The only thing worse than this is when “analysts” give you the list of the “TOP TEN ALL STAR SNUBS” but never tell you which 10 guys on the team should be bumped. You can’t put 45 guys on the All-Star Team (despite MLB doing their damnedest to make the rosters that big). If you think someone belongs, you necessarily think someone who is there does not. Guys can have All-Star caliber years but not deserve a spot on the team because other guys are having even better years. Ugh. That drives me crazy.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I gave you the Eagles taking their division, because the division as a whole fails to impress. Sort of like Gladiator really was the Best Picture of 2000, because there really weren’t that many better challengers for the title.Report

    • I don’t have a problem with your Eagles prediction at all, actually. They managed 10-6 last year with Vick starting 6 games, and their division is just as weak as it was last year. Foles would have been a top 5 QB if he had started the whole season, and he probably still has a little room to grow in his third year in the league, second as a starter, and second learning Chip Kelly’s system. They’ve got 3 near-guaranteed losses on the schedule, with road games against SF and GB, and a home game against Seattle, and I think their game at Indy is a tossup, but other than that, they should be clear favorites in every one of their games. I think they probably slip up in one or two of those, but somewhere in that 11-12 win range seems about right.

      I do think your AFC East predictions are pretty off-base, though (not including New England, of course). Then again, no one other than New England is making the playoffs out of that division, so we’re really just debating degrees of suckitude.

      But still….2-14 is historically bad, and the Bills are just consistently the same level of regularly bad. And I’d be shocked if Miami approaches .500. I’m going to say Buffalo goes 6-10 with 2 wins over Miami (who they beat twice last year as it was), a home win over the Jets, a home win over the Vikings, a home win over San Diego (who I think you’re overrating slightly and whose QB I think becomes very average against teams capable of regularly beating his o-line), and then either a home win against KC (who they always play tough) or a road win against Oakland (who is not going to be very good).

      As for Miami, I don’t see how they start better than 1-3. They open against the Patriots, albeit at home, so that’s easy to predict as a loss. Then they travel to Buffalo for Buffalo’s first home game after Ralph Wilson died, Andre Reed was inducted, and Jim Kelly won a very public fight with cancer, and with a fan base itching to remind the world why it would be criminal to sell the Bills to Bon $#%^ing Jovi. On top of that, Buffalo absolutely dominated them in Buffalo last year despite starting a QB who couldn’t even make it past the first round of roster cuts this season. Then a home game against KC and a road game against Oakland, both of which are close to toss ups in my mind. Then an almost unwinnable home game against GB followed by a never-easy trip to Chicago, after which Miami could easily be 1-5 with the wheels coming off. They probably turn it around against Jacksonville and catch a worn-down Chargers team coming to town after a Thursday night game at Denver to get to 3-5. Then they hit a brutal stretch with road games against Denver, Detroit, New England, and Jersey/B, with a Thursday night home game against a physical Buffalo defense only a week removed from a bye and a regular home game against always-physical Baltimore thrown in. I can’t imagine they win more than twice in that stretch, and really I think they probably only grab 1. That puts them at 4-10 or 5-9 going into their last two games, both of which are winnable home games against Minnesota and Jersey/B, but could well involve either an interim coach or a lame duck coach. I think 7-9 is Miami’s ceiling, and more likely they fall in the 5-6 win range.

      7-9 sounds about right for the Jets, although with Rex Ryan I could see them finishing anywhere between 4-12 and 10-6.

      Turning to the AFC North….I’ve got no idea with that division, other than that Cincinnati should win it, probably with room to spare. Pittsburgh rightly revamped its running game, but I think Roethlisberger’s due to start declining, their D-line is horribly uninspiring, and Taylor and Polamalu were already in decline last year. On the other hand, their linebackers have a lot of potential; I think whether they live up to that potential will determine whether Pittsburgh goes 6-10, 10-6, or somewhere in between.

      Baltimore’s got its own huge question marks, not least of which is their RB situation, both on and off the field. Their defense should be tough as usual, and I love the addition of Steve Smith, aging as he may be, but if they can’t get the running game back on track, they’re not going to get Flacco back on track either. I could see them fall anywhere between 7-9 and 11-5 depending on what happens with their RB situation. Their early schedule is really favorable, though, so even if they take some time to get the running game on track, they could well be undefeated through 4 games. With that in mind, I think they wind up with 9-10 wins as long as the running game improves even slightly.

      In my heart, I think Cleveland should do better than 5-11, but reality will probably prove your prediction close to accurate. Pettine was an outstanding and underrated hire in my opinion, and not just because of what he did for the Bills last year. Their roster also has tons of young potential with Manziel and Josh Gordon, but of course the problem there is the word “potential,” and how Gordon’s suspension plays out will have a huge effect on their season; I’m already prepared to give up on Manziel, though – it’s clear that he doesn’t seem interested in building the work ethic needed to succeed as an NFL QB. If I were a Cleveland fan at this point, I’d almost root for Gordon to stay off the field all season and hope the Browns only win 3 or 4 games, trade Manziel before the draft for pennies on the dollar and take advantage of the fact that they’d then again have two very high draft picks (since they have Buffalo’s first rounder) by doing everything possible to grab Mariotta. I think that would set them up for a beautiful worst-to-first turnaround in 2015.Report

      • One last thing. Since I criticized your 10-6 prediction for Houston, here’s my prediction for them. Their pass rush is obviously going to be ridiculously good with Watt and Clowney, but I don’t think they did enough to improve against the run. While Fitzpatrick is competent, he’s also very easy to gameplan against because of his physical limitations, and I don’t think his strong points allow him to take advantage of Andre Johnson’s strengths. Fitz is the type of QB who can make mediocre receivers look like decent players, but can also make great receivers look merely decent. Teams with good linebackers and hard-hitting safeties can cause him a lot of problems, IMHO, by taking away the underneath routes and screens that he thrives on.

        So with that in mind, I think Houston narrowly beats Washington at home, beats Oakland on the road, loses to Jersey/A on the road, easily beats Buffalo at home, loses at Dallas, gets swept by Indy, loses at Pittsburgh, splits with Tennessee, loses to Philly, beats Cleveland, loses narrowly at home to Cinci, splits with Jacksonville, and loses to Baltimore. So that puts them at 6-10.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I was much less confident about the AFC than the NFC. Part of that is because I am an NFC fan and part of that is because the AFC feels much murkier than the NFC. I agree that Buffalo is probably better than 2-14. But I couldn’t seem to find their wins. If the Dolphins and Bills split 9 wins (or slightly more) between them in some other fashion, it wouldn’t shock me. The AFC North, I couldn’t figure out. I was surprised Cinci came out as well as they did since I actually think they’ll regress. I anticipated a three-way 9-7 logjam between Cinci/Pitt/Balt (and obviously could have tweaked it that way but I didn’t want to force things). Regardless, the division is a mess and whomever wins it gets bounced immediately from the playoffs.

        Houston had more talent than a 2-14 team. Things just spiraled down on them. And as bad as their QB situation is, it will still be an improvement from last year. 10-6 feels like a bit of a stretch, I’ll agree but, hey, I took a chance!Report

      • Then again, maybe the Bills will go 2-14:

        Actually, in light of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marrone (who I actually like, but who seems out of his league in the NFL at time) gets fired if the team embarasses itself on Sunday, with Jim Schwartz getting promoted and putting in a surprisingly good effort as “interim” HC.

        And, yeah, Houston was better than a 2-14 team last year, but they probably weren’t much better than say a 6-10 team. Clowney will obviously help quite a bit, but he’s ultimately only one defensive player who, good as he may be, can therefore only make the team a win or two better. Meanwhile, their two best offensive skill players are huge candidates to decline dramatically this year, and Fitzpatrick, much as I love the guy, is only a slight upgrade over the Keenum/Schaub duo from last year (he’s more stable and doesn’t get flustered, but he can’t make as many throws). Their division is also not as weak as it was last year – at minimum, the Jags can only be better than they were last year, and I think Tennessee should be slightly better as well, with Indy entering the beginning of Andrew Luck’s prime.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      never tell you which 10 guys on the team should be bumped

      I will give Mike and the Mad Dog credit for that much, whenever someone would call up to say that someone should be on an All-Star team, they would always ask who should be taken off.

      Generally speaking, the caller would have no idea.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Credit where credit due. Mike and the Mad Dog weren’t always particularly bright in what they had to say, but they ran a good show. It’s a shame they couldn’t make it work. Mike is a mess nowadays.Report

  9. Avatar Chris says:

    Titans go 16-0 and lose the Super Bowl in a late Manning touchdown pass. Lesser Manning.Report

  10. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    So… Seahawks out early, Packers going to the Championship.

    Good luck with that.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Hey, all we needed to win that game was a left tackle who didn’t commit holding at every critical juncture, supplemented by an offensive line of rather less porosity.

      Oh, and a rush defense. That would have helped too. I’m gonna step out on a limb and say that giving up 209 rushing yards probably failed to impress the rest of the league, so, um, yeah.

      Oh, I almost forgot! Special teams. Comes in handy at important times.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Brock Lesnar has not only defeated but destroyed John Cena. Like, it was a 20 minute squash that I tremble to remember. Bray Wyatt keeps winning but his family keeps losing (I very much like that Luke Harper feller but… they don’t know how to channel him properly). Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins is probably going to give us the best brawls for the next couple of PPVs but I don’t know that they can carry us to Wrestlemania. Maybe Survivor Series. Big Show and Mark Henry look like a really, really fun tag team. Sadly, The Dust Brothers appear to be played out as a gimmick. Which is too bad… I’d watch Goldust read the phone book and both of those guys have talents that are best showcased in the tag team division.

    They’re releasing a Sting DVD and with that comes nothing but rumors about Sting having a match or two…

    Oh, and to hell with Randy Orton.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Oh, technically I guess I fell asleep during the Lesnar/Cena match. But whenever I woke up, it was to a really awesome segment.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Kyle Orton?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Orton Welles?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I admit that I still don’t really understand the whole “football” thing.

        I get the whole sublimation of war idea and I kinda get the whole “cheer for your home team” thing, but I don’t really get the whole “internalize the wins and losses of the team that happens to be near you geographically”.

        Now, you have the quarterbacks give speeches before the game? “These jabronies are going to learn that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns. They’re going to be flipped upside down, polished until they’re shiny, then mounted on a plaque and the plaque will be placed in my living room and the little tile on the bottom of the plaque will say THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MESS WITH JOHN MOTHERFREAKING ELWAY.”

        Then I have someone that I can love. Or, I suppose, someone I can hate.

        But it’s someone I can internalize. I can’t understand this football thing. It needs to be more like pro wrestling.

        Or, maybe, it needs to bring back the whole “endzone dance” thing.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I never really bought the sublimated war thing although i can see the logic in it. I tend to see sports more as the way we do Epic Myths nowadays. Instead of telling and retelling the story of Roland or Beowulf or Hagar the Horrible or Odysseus we have the mythic structure overlaid on sports. All the elements are there, we just have new Epics each year instead of hearing the same story repeated.

        Orton Downey Jr?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        No wonder you don’t care for baseball. If, after a guy hits a home run, he silently stands still and looks at it for too long, everyone thinks he’s a showoff.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        As I’ve gotten older, I find myself more drawn to football (and basketball) and less to baseball and I think it is because of the ability to analyze tactics. Football is a cat-and-mouse game on both a macro and micro level. Play by play, quarter by quarter, game by game, and season by season, teams and their various personnel are locked in an ongoing battle of wits. For someone like myself with a brain that doesn’t shut off, this is highly engaging. Basketball’s decade plus long shift away from the me-first generation towards a more team-oriented approach creates a similar dynamic.

        Now, if we are talking the whole investing-in-sports-in-general thing, I’d say there is a certain religiosity to it insofar as it allows people to participate in a collective in support of a greater purpose. I am an Eagles fan, aligning me with other Eagles fans in pursuit of an Eagles championship. And while I am technically irrelevant to the achievement of that goal, A) we tend to overstate our signifigance, usually via superstition (e.g., lucky shirts, specific seating arrangements or B) our fandom alone (e.g., “If I cheer louder, I can inspire them.”). Add in a healthy dose of tribalism and there you go.Report

      • Avatar Ken S says:

        Orton ears a oo?Report