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Dave    29

What with the forum being down, I didn't get to post before the season started. Instead, I'll post some of my preseason thoughts and how that's changed two games in. I'm listing the teams in the order I had them in my preseason notes. Feel free not to believe me.

AFC East (predicted finish from left (1) to right (4))

NE, Miami, Buffalo, NYJ

A fun bet would've been: over/under week the Patriots clinch the division title. Jets over/under for wins was 4.5 for the longest time and I thought, "Who's betting the over?" 3.5 was the right line and it moved that way two days before the season started. Jets and Bills were both shedding talent to suck this year and I dread rooting for the Jets for all 16 games of what will be a disaster. Jets can't move the ball and that means their D unit (the only non-sucky part of the team) will be on the field too long that it will give up big plays in the second half. (I was wrong because through two games the defense has looked horrible.)

AFC North

Pitt, Baltimore, Bengals, Browns

The Steelers offense is loaded with weapons. If their defense can put up a couple of big stops over the course of the season, Pitt will sail to the AFC Championship. Their offense is built to torch NE. The Ravens are mostly okay, but I don't like their WRs and RBs. They don't have the firepower to be competitive with elite teams, and they will struggle to put away average teams.  Do you like Bengals' Andy Dalton? Fine. Like him with a questionable O-line that is objectively worse than last year? I don't. But their offense has good pieces at the skills positions. Joe Mixon could be a beast at RB, but can he be a beast behind that line? I think the ceiling for this Bengals team is making a run for WC. (Bengals are 0-2 with Green Bay next. Their season is over. Ravens D is better than I gave them credit for.)

AFC South

Titans, Texans, Colts, Jags

Who cares about this division? Seriously. Titans are good enough to do some damage. I like what Mariota has been doing at QB. The rest of the div is dreck. That may be unfair to the Texans, but I can't take them seriously as playoff material. Luck will be out too much of the season for the Colts to do anything. (After 2 games we see how bad the Colts are without Luck.)

AFC West

Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers

Best division in football. Oakland, KC and Denver are almost pick 'em for the div title. I like the Raiders. Best O-line in the AFC, tons of weapons at all positions. I see the Raiders and Steelers as NE-killers. I would've liked to see Carr get some playoff experience last year, but the injury was what it was. 

AFC Playoffs

I have NE, Pitt, Raiders at the top of the conference. I picked KC and Denver for the WC, but liked Miami and Baltimore to be in the mix. I got the Steelers coming out of the AFC.

NFC East

Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Redskins

Even though the Giants had Dallas' number last season, I'm giving the Cowboys the edge almost entirely on their offensive line, which remains the best in football. The Giants had one weakness last year: O-line. What did they do in the offseason to fix it? Nothing. It's sad that I'm the modern NFL I can't argue that the Giants awesome defense will solve their problems, but that's the football reality we live in: offense kills. It's criminal that the Giants failed yet again to shore up an O-line in front of an aging Eli Manning. I like Wentz at QB for the Eagles, but I don't like them or the Redskins for anything beyond 7 wins.

NFC North

Packers, Lions, Vikings, Bears

Both the Lions and Packers have good O-lines and top QBs in Stafford and Rodgers. Lions were at the bottom of the league last year in rushing. Neither defense is better than average. I give the Packers the edge with Rodgers, but I expect a close divisional race. It is gutting that Vikings QB Bridgewater will miss a second full season rehabbing his knee.

NFC South

Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina, New Orleans

Falcons have all the pieces. Win now or enjoy the "if only" club. I like Jameis Winston a lot, and I'll put them over the Panthers because Carolina has yet to prove they figured out why the wheels fell off last year. We've asked for, what, six seasons now if the Saints have a defense. They don't. 

NFC West

Seattle, Arizona, Rams, 49ers

I actually liked Seattle's trade for Sheldon Richardson and think he'll perform well for them unlike his ups and downs with the Jets. I can't take the Cardinals seriously with Carson Palmer at QB. Rams are in Goff development mode and the 49ers are lost.
NFC Playoffs
I like the Cowboys, Falcons and Seahawks as the elite teams here. Giants and Bucs for the wildcards. I'm going out on a limb to pick the Cowboys coming out of the NFC, on the logic that Dak Prescott will evolve enough behind this O-line to become a top QB. (After 2 games, boy does this pick look shaky. Dak does not show any improvement from last year. The defense got torched in Denver. On the other hand, Cowboys are 1.5 games ahead of the Giants whose O-line problems continue (LT Flowers is a total bust).)
Worst Teams
Although I root for the Jets every down during every miserable season, I hope my reward is that they'll eek out a top 3 pick for their efforts. Browns, Bills, Bears, 49ers and Luck-less Colts are all in the running for what may be one of the better QB drafts in some time. Go...Jets?

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Dave    29

Jets/Pats week 6:

The Seferian-Jenkins five-yard catch for a TD which was reviewed and overturned as a fumble through the end zone was one of the worst calls since the invention of replay. 

Who's to say how the rest of the fourth quarter would have played out otherwise, and I grant you that Jets coach Bowles misuse of timeouts is its own issue, but that call changed the game from Jets down 24-21 kicking off to 24-14 Pats ball on the 20.

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