RossCode Picks - NFL Season Predictions

posted on 2005-09-08 at 00:05:01 by Joel Ross

Andrew contacted me and asked if I was going to post my pre-season predictions. After some initial confusion (My thoughts: Isn't the preseason done?), I finally figured out what he was talking about. So, let's take a look at each team, and pick the O/U on wins for the season. Then, at the end of the year, we'll revisit this, and see how I did. This should be interesting - I've never done anything like this before.

But first, before we go over team by team, I'll pick the division winners and wildcards, then predict conference finals, and then the Super Bowl. We'll revisit these periodically to see how I'm doing, and whether I've changed my mind at all. Anyway, let's get to the division winners (seed in parenthesis):

  • AFC East: New England Patriots (2). It's hard to pick against a team that's won three Super Bowls in the past four years.
  • AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers (3). They were right there last year, and one more year of experience for Rothlisberger will only make them better.
  • AFC South: Indianapolis Colts (1). Another obvious pick to me. Manning and his offense is just too good.
  • AFC West: San Diego Chargers (4). This was the hardest choice for me. I think this will be the closest division - the Chiefs and Broncos could be right there too. And the Raiders have potential too.
  • Wild Card: Baltimore Ravens (6). I have no idea why I'm picking them to be honest. It just feels right!
  • Wild Card: New York Jets (5). Not really going out on a limb here too much, huh? From last years actual results, I swapped the Ravens for the Broncos. And that's it.

With the above teams, you'll see the Chargers and Steelers win in the first round, and then the Steelers and Colts prevailing in the second round, leaving Indianapolis to play the Steelers for the AFC Championship - at home. Indy will prevail, gaining a trip to the Super Bowl.

So what about the NFC?

  • NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles (1). The only choice really.
  • NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (2). Daunte wants to win without Moss. He will.
  • NFC South: Carolina Panthers (4). This should be a close division, with Atlanta right there with Carolina.
  • NFC West: St. Louis Rams (3). Again, a close division, with Seattle being right there.
  • Wild Card: Seattle Seahwaks (6). A reversal of last year, with St. Louis getting the wild card and Seattle winning the division.
  • Wild Card:?Atlanta Falcons (5). Mike Vick wills the team into the playoffs.

Winners of the first round: Seattle and Atlanta - yes, both wild card teams pulling off the upsets! Conference finals: Philadelphia versus Atlanta (again), with Philadelphia winning and going back to the Super Bowl.

Now the Super Bowl? It's in Detroit - indoors. That gives the edge to Indy, and that's my pick. Indianapolis Colts will win the Super Bowl in 2006.

Ok. That's out of the way. Now, let's go over the O/U for each team. Below, each team is listed with a number. That is the expected number of wins, and I'll pick either over or under based on whether they will hit that number or not. I'll include the money line for completeness, and at the end of the year, we'll look back and see how I would have made out based on a $100 per team bet. For a definition of how the money line works, take a look here.?Heres an explanation of the below lines. If you see?this:

  • Spring Lake Lakers?-?6.5 (O?-145 / U +135)

Then this means that the O/U for wins?is 6.5. You can tell which way the safe bet is based on the?money lines?for the over and under.?In the example, the safe bet is over, since it is negative. As a review of the money line, this means that to win $100, you'd have to bet $145 that the Spring Lake Lakers woud get more than 6.5 wins. On the other hand, if you're confident that the Lakers won't win more than 6.5 games, you would win $135 with a $100 bet. My pick will be bold, so in the above situation, I would have picked Spring Lake to win?six games or less. I'll provide some comments where I feel like it.?

  • Arizona Cardinals - 7.5 (O -137 / U +125): I'm not sold on Dennis Green being the answer, and definitely not sold on Warner as the quarterback.
  • Atlanta Falcons - 9.5 (O +114 / U -125): I think teams are starting to pick up on Vick's game. Yes, he'll still run all over the place and that will win games for them.?But until he can pass consistently, they'll be a middle of the road team.
  • Baltimore Ravens - 9.5 (O -135 / U +123):
  • Buffalo Bills - 8.5 (O + 138 / U -150): This is a safe bet,?which is reflected by the money line. At best, I think this is a .500 team, and with a fresh quarterback, they'll likely be less than a .500 team.
  • Carolina Panthers - 9.5 (O +106 / U -116):
  • Chicago Bears?- 6.5 (O -108 / U -102): I this is an interesting case. No matter which way you bet, you won't double your money. Anyway, Chicago has major issues, and 6 wins will be a stretch for them.
  • Cincinnati Bengals - 7.5 (O -197 / U +179): With a money line of -197, this is almost a given, right? I think so. This brings up an interesting point though. I may feel that Cincinnati will get 8 wins, but it may be a better bet to say they won't. Why? The payoff for less wins is much higher - think of a $100 bet. If you bet over and are right, you'll end up with about $150. But if you bet under, and win, you'll end up with $279. Almost double. It might be worth it to bet what you don't feel, just because of the better payday. Betting is interesting!
  • Cleveland Browns - 4.5 (O -120 / U +110): I don't think Cleveland will get more than 4 wins this year.
  • Dallas Cowboys - 8.5 (O -117 / U +107): Eight wins is about tops for Dallas this year, I think. New running backs, an aging quarterback, and rejected receivers: Not a recipe for success!
  • Denver Broncos - 8.5 (O -132 / U +120): I'm not high on Denver this year. I'm probably off here, as they surprise me every year. I've never been convinced that Jake Plummer is a good quarterback.
  • Detroit Lions - 8.5 (O +135 / U -147): The Lions are perenial under achievers. I hope I'm wrong here, as they are my team, but I just have a feeling things won't go as good as planned. Obviously I'm not the only one, as the money line pretty heavily favors them not getting the 9 wins needed.
  • Green Bay Packers - 7.5 (O -107 / U -103): I'm taking over. Not by much, but I think?a .500 season for the Packers is within reach.
  • Houston Texans - 7.5 (O +128 / U -139): The Texans are going to start feeling some heat - they're losing that newness protection that expansion teams get.
  • Indianapolis Colts - 11.5 (O -128 / U +128): It's hard to say over when this means winning 12 games, but the Colts are the team to beat in my book.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars - 8.5 (O -107 / U -103):
  • Kansas City Chiefs - 8.5 (O -177 / U +164): They couldn't get it done last year, and this year there could be a running back controversy (although, both Holmes and Johnson say it's good for the team).
  • Miami Dolfins - 5.5 (O -145 / U +133): I think they're going to be bad this year. They don't have a solid quarterback, and their running game is up in the air.
  • Minnesota Vikings - 9.5 (O -121 / U +110): I think they're going to be better than expected. Culpepper is on a mission, and their running game is getting better (i.e., more than just Culpepper). Their defense is getting better too.
  • New England Patriots - 10.5 (O -128 / U +117): The Patriots will be right up there with the Colts this year. I'm guessing they'll get 13 or 14 wins.
  • New Orlean Saints - 7.5 (O -135/ U +125): I know this is a tough pick, but I'm saying under because they're losing their home. Home field advantage is a big deal (57% of home teams win), and if they start playing either on the road (like Monday night) or even at an alternate stadium, that's going to cause stress for them.
  • New York Giants - 6.5 (O -160 / U +140): Will Eli Manning live up to the hype piled on him by the draft last year? Will adding a receiver like Burress (a fellow MSU alum) give him the targets he needs? Can Tiki Barber hold on to the ball this season? He's an interesting one - he's got soft hands when it comes to catching the ball, but he fumbles a bit too much for me. There's questions here, but I think they'll get at least 7 wins.
  • New York Jets - 9.5 (O +153 / U -165): I think we'll see a few close games lost this year because of a poor kicking game. Remember, they cut their kicker after he missed two field goals in the playoffs, and the Jets lost by 3. But was it the kicker's fault? Both of the field goals were from 40+ yards, in a stadium where no 50 yarders have ever been made. He was consistent through the season, but missed those two. Is that cause to lose your job, especially considering who he was replaced with?- he hasn't been sharp in the pre-season.
  • Oakland Raiders - 7.5 (O -136 / U +125): The Raiders have the tools to be a good team, but can Collins get the ball to Moss like Daunte could? No. Now, the real bet here would be the over/under on how soon Moss gets in trouble.
  • Philadelphia Eagles - 11.5 (O +135 / U -146): The Eagles have no competition in the NFC. Well, it's not none, but it's practically none! That'll help the ol' wins.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers - 9.5 (O -126 / U +116): I'm a big fan of the Steelers, and I don't even have a reason for it. They'll struggle until someone establishes themselves as the starting running back. Once that happens, though, they'll be a tough team to beat.
  • St. Louis Rams - 8.5 (O -136 / U +124): The Rams a have all the tools on offense and a decent defense. That'll get them 10 wins or so.
  • San Diego Chargers - 8 (O -154 / U +142): The Chargers are a good team. Brees (I don't think) is a one hit wonder. L.T. is absolutely dominant. They'll do OK this year!
  • San Francisco 49ers - 4.5 (O +118 / U -130): They had two wins last year, and look worse?to me. Not to mention that the Cards aren't the pushover of a year ago, which is where the 49ers got their wins from. Could we see an 0-16 team?
  • Seattle Seahawks - 8.5 (O -143 / U +130): Mike Holmgren could finally have things under control. I think Shaun Alexander helps too.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6.5 (O -199 / U +185): This is another one. I think it's a given that the Bucs will get 7 wins, but the payoff is huge if they don't, and relatively small if they do. You'd come out with $150 on a $100 bet if you take the over, but $285 on a $100 bet if you take the under. Tempting!
  • Tennessee Titans - 6.5 (O +113 / U -125): The Titans have fallen far. McNair is injury-prone now, and they look to be rebuilding to me. Rebulding = few wins = high draft pick. At least there's an upside!
  • Washington Redskins - 7.5 (O +125 / U -137):? This is a pure guess. I haven't really followed much about them, so it's a guess.

So that's it. I've decided to also choose the over/under every week, so we'll see how that goes! Look for my first weekly pick tomorrow. I've updated my spreadsheet again to handle over/under and account for betting the line for both picks and o/u. The HTML generation has been updated too, and you'll see it tomorrow!

UPDATE (09.10.2005): It was brought to my attention that I missed the Giants and the Saints, so they've been added.

Categories: Football