It’s time for part two of our NFL record predictions. Today we will finish up the non-playoff teams. As we described in our last post, the teams are being listed in the order that they will be drafting next April. Just to recap, picks 1-10 look like this:
1 – Atlanta Falcons
2 – St. Louis Rams
3 – Cincinnati Bengals *
4 – Miami Dolphins *
5 – Kansas City Chiefs *
6 – Chicago Bears *
7 – Arizona Cardinals *
8 – San Francisco 49ers *
9 – Cleveland Browns **
10 – Tennessee Titans **
* Subject to tie breakers (4-12 teams)
** Subject to tie breakers (6-10 teams)
And now without further ado:
11 – Oakland Raiders (projected record 6-10)
I hope I am wrong on this one, in the past I have found myself to be way to optimistic when putting these projections together and picking Oakland to win all the close ones, hopefully I have swung too far in the other direction this year. Oakland has three glaring weaknesses, the WR’s, the pass blocking, and the ability to stop the run, in that order. Those weaknesses combined with a rookie QB make anything more than 6-8 wins a real long shot, but the rest of the team is solid enough that anything less would be a real letdown.
12 – Detroit Lions (projected record 6-10)
Here is the thing; I like the kind of team that Rod Marinelli is putting together (no I do not give Millen much credit, these are Marinelli players coming in). The Lions are becoming a team of blue collar, lunch pail bringing mutherfuckers. But I still believe they are one more year from truly being able to contend for the playoffs. Unfortunately if they do not contend this year it could mean Marinelli’s head, as Millen will be feeling the heat and need a scapegoat.
13 – Buffalo Bills (projected record 7-9)
There were a couple Bills games that I came real close to picking them on, but ended up going the other way. Including the week 1 match-up against Seattle. And that sums up my feelings on this team pretty well, so close, but not there yet. The problem I have with this team starts at HC, where Dick Jauron does just enough not to win. I just don’t think Jauron will nut up when the game is on the line, and say punt on 4th and 2 down by 6 with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter on the opponent’s 48. That is the kind of chicken shit play calling I have come to expect from Jauron, and while his chart may say it is the right choice, to the offense it say “I have no confidence in you”.
14 – Houston Texans (projected record 7-9)
I know 7-9 is a step back from last year’s record for this team, but I actually think they are better than last year, but the schedule is tougher. I expect this team to flirt with 500 all season, but a brutal stretch in November into December will dash their playoff hopes. However if this young offensive line can gel, and the defensive line keeps improving at their current pace, this team will contend for the AFC South crown next season.
15 – Denver Broncos (projected record 7-9)
God this one pained me, I so wanted to put the Raiders a game ahead of the Broncos in the final rankings, but in the end it came out this way. The difference to me is the experience of Jay Cutler vs. the inexperience of Russell. Other than that these teams are very similar, can’t stop the run, huge question marks at WR, great defensive backfields. But at least Broncos fans will be down about yet another non-playoff year.
16 – NY Jets (projected record 8-8)
Guess what, this has nothing to do with everyone’s favorite attention whore, in fact I would have given them another early win with Pennington at the helm thanks to his experience in the system. The O-line is nowhere near as good as advertised. The defense is still in transition and I don’t like some of the personnel moves. This team is better than last year’s version, but that is largely due to playing the NFC West.
17 – NY Giants (projected record 9-7)
The Giants are still a good team, but the loss of Osi, Strahan, and Wilson on the D will be too much to overcome. The secondary is going to get exposed on a weekly basis, and while I don’t like Shockey, he is a better overall TE than Boss and Boss’s limitations will slow the offense. This team will still be in playoff contention until the final week, but comes up just short.
18 – Carolina Panthers (projected record 9-7)
Here is how I see Carolina’s season. They struggle early without Steve Smith and due to a tough 1st 3 weeks. Turn it on mid season before falling apart in November. A big part of the problem here is there is no one across from Peterson to draw the offense’s attention, and with no other pass rush this team will struggle. They will still be in the hunt deep into December, but there just isn’t enough there to say playoffs.
19 – Washington Redskins (projected Record 10-6)
I really have no Idea why I like the Redskins this much. Their offensive line looks putrid in the preseason, Clinton Portis is due to breakdown, Campbell is still making rookie mistakes due to being in his 5th offense in 5 years and the defense has already had the injury bug hit. But for some reason I expect this team to win a few shockers and contend deep into December, getting bounced from the playoffs due to tiebreakers.
20 – Green Bay Packers (projected record 10-6)
The last of our non-playoff teams is the 3rd that I have missing out due to tiebreakers. There are two key reasons why I do not see this team making the playoffs this year. One being that I do not see Aaron Rogers remaining upright all season, and two being the moves on the defensive line. This is still a young team that is set up well for the future, but there will be a season of growing pains for Green Bay as they make the transition from Favre to Rogers.
Twenty teams down, twelve to go. When Brickinthebox returns with part 3, we will give you our playoff teams along with the predictions for how they will fair come playoff time. That’s right, the 1st annual Brickinthebox put it on the board lock for Super Bowl winner will be announced next week. Try not to bankrupt Vegas, I don’t need them coming to break my fingers.