09 September 2010

AFC Preview

Okay, kickoff tonight, done procrastinating, let's do this. From left to right:

AFC West

No idea what to make of this division. You'd think it's easy because the Chargers are the only good team, but I think they may be in for a down year. For some reason, of the other three teams, Denver has the best odds to win the SB but the worst to win the division. Care to comment, Vegas?

Al Davis's Very Own Los Angeles Raiders Of Oakland

Win total: 61/2
Division: 5-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 100-1
For some reason these guys are being picked to be decent this year, and by decent I mean maybe 8-8 if they're lucky. Did Tom Cable suddenly become a legitimate head coach? No, they just finally jettisoned JaMarcus Russell. Amazing to think that this team could probably prop up a department store mannequin under centre and get better odds than if Russell was starting. And that's no knock on Campbell, I like him, just not enough to close my eyes and picture him leading the 2010 Raiders to eight wins. I'm thinking more like 6-10 for the under.

The Los Angeles Chargers Of San Diego

Win total: 101/2
Division: 5-13
Super Bowl Exelvy: 12-1
They should win this division by default, but I still can't help but see them falling off a little. I mean, at this point any rookie RB is an upgrade over the washed-up LDT, right? Their D was clearly a weak point last year and they've done little upgrade it. They lost their number one wide out (although Gates is admittedly a 1A). Their kicker's a headcase, that's gotta cost them a close game or two. How long before the team stops buying into Norv Turner's philosophy of consistently underachieving? How long before everybody just wishes Rivers would shut the hell up? I'm thinking 10- for a slight under. And another first round playoff loss. And a new coach in 2011.

The Denver Broncos

Win total: 7
Division: 7-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 75-1
These guys are being viewed as doormats, and it's hard not to see why after last year's collapse. Plus, like SD, their top wideout is also gone. Who gets more catches this year, Malcolm Floyd or Eddie Royal? I think I'm going with Royal for this one, because I think SD will run more than they did last year and because the Broncos don't have Gates. Anyway, I like Orton, I think he's underrated as a middle-of-the-pack game manager. I think this team's good enough to go 8-8. Over.

The Dallas Texans Of Kansas City

Win total: 61/2
Division: 6-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 100-1
Interesting dark horse pick in some circles. I've read some sources with little enough faith in SD to pick these guys to take the division. I'm not gonna go that far, but I see no reason they can't go 8-8. Over.

AFC South

Toughest division in football? This one or the NFC East? Some might say the AFC East, but neither of the other two have an equivalent to Buf; even Jac's a fairly competitive squad. Still, the kings remain the kings until someone proves otherwise. And yeah, I know TN took the division title two years ago, but Ind still won 12 games that year.

The Houston Texans

Win total: 81/2
Division: 7-2
Super Bowl Exelvy: 25-1
Every year these guys get picked by one prognosticator after another to finally get over the playoff hump and make it in as a 9-7 six seed. And every year they fall just short. Not me. At this point it's like trying to pick the year the Colts finally fall off. Just pick them to match last year's performance until they do otherwise. That's how I feel about the Texans. Until they actually make the playoffs, I'm picking them to miss 'em. Having said that... 9-7? It's what they put up last year, missing the playoff cut by tiebreakers. This is one of the toughest over-unders of the year. The reason I'm picking under is because I don't think Schaub and Johnson will match the monster numbers they put up last year, and I don't see the team having improved enough in any other area to make up for it. 8-8.

The Houston Oilers Of Nashville

Win total: 81/2
Division: 4-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 40-1
Don't sleep on these guys; when was the last time Jeff Fisher put together two losing seasons in a row? Granted, Johnson's coming back to Earth, but if anything the tendency of opposing defenses to key on him will be a big advantage for Vince Young early in the season. Oak, Pit (without Ben Roethcheeseburger), @NYG, Den looks like a recipe to open with a hot streak and build from there. Remember, they won 13 games just two years ago with Kerry Collins at QB, and he's older than me. 11-5, easy over.

The Baltimore Colts Of Indianapolis

Win total: 11
Division: 5-11
Super Bowl Exelvy: 7-1
Most SB losers miss the playoffs the following year, but I mean, come on. This is the Colts we're talking about. They had a down year and only won the conference. last time they won less than twelve games... shit, I can't even remember. 12-4, over.

The Jacksonville Jaguars

Win total: 61/2
Division: 18-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 100-1
Poor Jacksonville. This really isn't a bad team, they just can't compete in this division. Garrard's pretty solid; he'll never be great, but he's good enough to win a playoff game or two if they could make it that far. MJD held up to the feature back demands last season and didn't get overused, so he should be fine by October. This team could probably win the NFC West outright, but I can't see them better than third here. Still, 7-9? 8-8? Seems reasonable, and that's over.

AFC North

The Cincinnati Bengals

Win total: 81/2
Division: 3-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 20-1
When was the last time these clowns had two good seasons in a row? They're really gonna hold off Pit and Bal to take the division title two years running? Doubt it. I picked these guys to make have a hot year too many times since the first year they made the playoffs with Palmer (the year of the infamous Kyle Vanden Bosch game), and I got burned a lot. Now I'm s'posed to be on board again? Let me make a bold prediction here: Terrell Owens will not play in another playoff game. 7-9? 8-8? Under either way. Sorry M—, I know you're believin' and I support that, I just can't join you. They're just too inconsistent, and I still don't think Marvin Lewis is a particularly good coach.

The Cleveland Browns Of Cleveland, Again

Win total: 51/2
Division: 20-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 100-1
First off, I like Mangini. I think he had a tough situation in New York, I think he's an underrated coach who will at some point put together a couple good years in a row. Secondly, I think Holmgren definitely knows how to build a contender. Thirdly, I think this team will definitely compete in 2011. This year they'll come in last. They will, however, go 6-10 for the over.

The Pittsburgh Steelers

Win total: 9
Division: 14-5
Super Bowl Exelvy: 20-1
This is another really difficult line, because they look kind of like a 9-7 team to me. I see a lot of people picking them as a playoff team, they'll be fine with Dixon, 2-2 before Ben gets back, etc. He did almost beat Bal last year, after all. And yeah, Tomlin's a strong coach, and yeah, they're rarely bad two years in a row, and yeah... okay, fine: 10-6, over.

The Cleveland Browns Of Baltimore

Win total: 10
Division: 2-3
Super Bowl Exelvy: 8-1
Easy pick, these guys are gonna be great this year, I know they're a hot pick, but I'm all over that bandwagon. Flacco's only gonna get better, he's got better passing weapons now, Rice is in his prime. The secondary was the weak spot last year and they haven't done much to address it, but it seems like they just beefed up their pass rush instead. Whatever works. 12-4, easy over.

AFC East

Okay, saved my boys for last. I'd just like to say that as I'm typing this, kickoff for the MN@NO game is less than ten minutes away. So I was late. Sue me. I'd also like to say this: most prognosticators are picking the Jets to take this division. Some are picking the Pats. I'm gonna go out on a limb and take the Fins. Why play it safe?

The Miami Dolphins

Win total: 81/2
Division: 3-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 25-1
Okay, halftime of the MN@NO game, let's finish this thing off. Henne's got a year under his belt, got Marshall to throw it to. Parcells knows what he's doing as far as putting a team together. 10-6, over.

The Buffalo Bills Of Toronto

Win total: 51/2
Division: 25-1
Super Bowl Exelvy: 100-1
Chan Gailey has to be the most uninspired coaching hire in the NFL since... Dick Jauron. What a mess. I caught a ride home from my fantasy draft with my buddy D—, a lifelong Bills fan, and we got to talking about the future of the team. So depressing. D— says he'll stay with them till the end, and that the end is coming soon. Ralph Wilson's kids have shown no interest in taking over the team, so at some point he'll die and the team will be sold and moved, maybe to Toronto, maybe somewhere else. Did you know Wilson's never even lived in Buffalo? Has no interest in the city. Anyway, once their gone D— says he'll just pick another team. The fact that he's already resigned to this is the saddest part. 2-14, way under.

Your New York Titans Of New Jersey

Win total: 91/2
Division: 7-5
Super Bowl Exelvy: 10-1
I told my dad this season holds the new record for the earliest I've ever given up on the Jets. I decided they weren't making the playoffs before the draft. Too much hype, too many aging former stars (Redskins, anyone?), too many HBO cameras. Sanchez is just not good enough yet. I think the Rex years are gonna be good in the long run, but something about this season just strikes me as too much, too soon. 8-8, under.

The Boston Patriots Of New England

Win total: 91/2
Division: 6-5
Super Bowl Exelvy: 14-1
I'm gonna go on record right now as saying that the magical Brady-Belichick combo doesn't win another title. 2007 was their last great year and they couldn't even finish that one out. Moss is getting older, the defense is weak, and they've produced very few effective players in the last three drafts. Chad Jackson? Laurence Maroney? They'll keep retooling for a couple years and making the playoffs most of the time, but it's all downhill from here. Great memories if you’re a fan, and still a tough out, but nothing more than that. Not their year this year, not their year next year. 9-7, under.

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