Catching time to blog has been a struggle lately. I'm knee-deep in some QB analysis projects (you've seen some, others to come) but needed to take a break and get a glimpse of what's going on in the NFL (and the final MLB post isn't up yet, either). I thought a mid-season review on my NFL picks and comments on probably playoff teams would be a fun diversion. And we're off:
A few comments on the various divisions:
The Patriots over is still in play and it looks like I've whiffed badly on the Miami and Buffalo unders. While Miami is in a state of flux, Buffalo's coach has proven me wrong (in the short term). I still think that over time, Doug Marrone's inability to plan for long seasons/multiple years and cavalier attitude with injuries will hurt the Bills, but this much is clear: he was no jockey to Drew Brees and Sean Payton in New Orleans. The man knows his offense and has molded this unit into something else. And the Jets are the Jets
Houston is a train wreck for a variety of reasons. The Colts are right back there, and taking their under was a mistake (more on them later). Tennessee has coupled some relevancy from Locker with a good defense; let's see what their offense looks like without the young signal caller. No need to talk about Jacksonville.
I didn't know what to make of this division before the season, and I still don't know how to feel about them. It seems that Cincinnati will hit their over and get the playoff spot, but it's still a mess. The Browns have been better than advertised (today notwithstanding), though the unders paid off here.
Denver and Kansas City were supposed to be good. San Diego and Oakland were not. Somehow, Philip Rivers looks rejuvenated after hitting Amazon earlier in the year. Terrell Pryor has given the Raiders some flexibility around a bad line. The Chargers should still fall short of their over, but the Raiders are right there.
Another toss-up division. I like that my Eagles bet is paying off and I think if Nick Foles really learns how this offense is designed to run, he can be even better. They need to stay aggressive and keep taking shots downfield to compliment LeSean McCoy. In the loss column, I did not see this Giants season coming. They have holes all over the team to fill.
I nailed this division two years in a row. Tough schedule (and Jets loss) aside, the Saints have been on a tear and Atlanta/Tampa have been horrendous. Falcons fans love their offense but they have given up a lot of picks and money for that side of the ball and the defense is wanting. Tampa will fire their coach by (before?) the end of the year, and a 2-game win streak is not going to change that.
The Rodgers injury leaves this division wide-open, too. I think without him, the Bears (if healthy) are the best team: great coach, usable QB, and good talent on both sides of the ball. But injuries are a reality and if they can't get all their guys back, Detroit might win this. I'm glad I picked the Lions over - they were never as bad as their record last year, and though Schwartz/Stafford continue to befuddle from time to time, they're the healthiest team right now.
Seattle is just playing with us. I'll admit that taking the 49ers under was a bit of a reverse-jinx that hasn't worked very well. I'll get to them in the next section, but this team needs Michael Crabtree bad. The Cardinals hit their over today. I actually think the Rams are rounding into shape - they have an identity now with the rookies Austin/Stacy but the upcoming schedule is rough: Bears, @ 49ers, @ Cardinals, Saints, Bucs, @ Seattle. 4 wins out of that bunch to hit the over? No thanks.
Part 2 for a preview of Playoff Contenders.