|Image courtesy of Mark Runyon (Pro Football Schedules)|
It's time for another Round Table discussion. The topic is NFC season win totals. Your panelists include... JoeSpeaker, Derek, Pauly, StB, and Buffalo66.
ICYMI, we already posted our AFC Win Totals.
NFC Win Totals (Odds courtesy of LVH)...
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: 11.5 (u -175)
JoeSpeaker: UNDER - Tough. As difficult as it is to envision Colin Kaepernick struggling, based on his (slight) body of unbelievable work, this is the NFL, where everybody struggles. The Michael Crabtree injury hurts, the defensive secondary is suspect and the NFC West is shaping up to be bloody.
StB: OVER - This may be the toughest pick this year. They were a force last year. Can Kaepernick do it again? I don't see anything that says he can't. Unless a LB takes his head off. I am looking forward to what might be two awesome battles with the Seattle Seahawks.
Derek: UNDER - Colin Kaepernick will struggle slightly in his first full season, but the Niners will still be a championship contender. Don't see them winning more than 11 games.
Pauly: UNDER - They added bomb-threat Boldin, but opponents will finally figure out how to defend Kaepernick. The Niners' D is not as impenetrable as the last two seasons. If anyone exploits the Niners secondary, then they're toast. Harabugh is on a mission and will lead the Niners to at least the Final Four, but with a 11-5 record.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: 10.5 (o -120)
JoeSpeaker: OVER - Gosh, I hate these guys. And I hate that they're good, too. If the officials called holding on LT Russell Okung, the Seahawks would never gain a yard. He literally holds every play. In that case, I'd go under. But I think they're good for 11 wins, so over. Russell Wilson is no joke and the entire squad is riddled with amphetamine addicts (allegedly). You ever try subduing a tweeker?
StB: OVER - Their non-conference schedule looks easy. Last year they surprised everyone, but no one will be shocked this year. Again, I look forward to Week 2. Also happy to see the NFL hasn't screwed up the schedule by having the second game in October or early November.
Derek: UNDER – They smell like a 10 win team to me even with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks won't be surprising anyone this year.
Pauly: UNDER - These are no longer the Seachickens. They'll unleash the Beast. They have Russell Wilson. They acquired Percy Harvin. They have a top-notch D. Sure, a few guys are banged up and addicted to Adderall, but it's impossible to beat the Seahawaks in their own gym. Wisdom of the Ocelot: Bet the Seahawks at home, but fade them on the road. Hopefully they'll detox in time to post a 10-6 season. Playoff-bound but are they a Final Four team?
ATLANTA FALCONS: 10 (u -165)
JoeSpeaker: UNDER - I'm going out on a limb and picking an upset under here for the Falcons, who, it seems to me, were very lucky last year (there are probably some statistics available to prove or disprove this hypothesis, but I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants and make proclamations based simply on "feel," much like everybody who works at ESPN).
StB: OVER - Forget Tony Romo. You know who cannot win the big game? Matt Ryan! Sure, he can blaze through the season but when it comes to winning the game they absolutely need, he lays an egg. But the division doesn't hold much competition so the over should be easy.
Derek: OVER – I know a lot of people (see below) think this team is overrated but I like the over. Matty Ice, Julio Jones, Roddy White? Nuff said.
Pauly: UNDER - The Falcons were the most overrated team in the NFL last year. Even with a weak schedule, they barely beat a bunch of inferior teams they shoulda blown out. This season, they have a brutal schedule and plagued with a shaky defense. The Falcons added RB Steven Jackson (8-straight 1,000-yd rushing seasons with the Rams), who is finally on a decent team. Even with Matty Ice at the helm, they'll struggle to post a 9-7 season.
GREEN BAY PACKERS: 10 (o -165)
StB: OVER - Let's start with one of the most annoying comments you will hear numerous times over the next couple of weeks: "Aaron Rodgers means this team already has won about 4 games." I hate it when analysts makes such statements about a team. Have the Bears or Vikings gotten any better? I don't think so. The Lions? Please! GB may have a surprise running game this year with Lacey coming on board. Take the over. Easy money unless the QB gets hurt.
Derek: OVER – Unless Aaron Rodgers gets hurt, this team will kill the over. You can "discount double check" that to the bank.
Pauly: OVER - The Tin Foil Hat crowd thinks GB gets special favors from the zebras. After all, they were the least penalized team in the NFL. I chalk that stat up to sheer discipline from a well-coached franchise that has 47 wins over the last 4 seasons. Green Bay is healthier across the board (on both sides of the ball) and Dom Capers' D will be better prepared to stop the read-option after getting embarrassed in the playoffs by SF last year. Ask Aaron Rodgers and he'll tell you that 11-5 is doable. 12-4 might seem like a stretch, but it is possible if they steal a couple of divisional road wins.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: 9 (o -165)
JoeSpeaker: OVER - Oh when the Saints....this is a potential Super Bowl team. There, I said it. Chips on shoulders? Check. Balls the size of rottweilers? I have no idea. Why'd you ask me that?
StB: UNDER - Payton is back!!! So how does he cheat this year? I'll take the under. Too many years of these guy blowing things up. Defenses will have caught up.
Derek: OVER - Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Rob Ryan. Yep, the Saints will slaughter the over.
Pauly: PUSH - Head honcho Sean Payton is back from his penance. Rob Ryan is rebuilding their Swiss Cheese defense. And Drew Brees is Drew Brees. He's a machine. He put points on the board in 2012, but the Saints' defense was atrocious. Expect the offense to be stellar with a healthier Jimmy Graham and a deep WR corp. The D can only get better. If it weren't for their tough schedule (redonkulous road schedule), the Saints would have 10 wins within their grasp. It'll be a hard-fought 9-7 season for the Saints with a Wild Card berth, but I wouldn't want to play them in the first round of playoffs. I'm leaning OVER, but I'm staying away... for now.
N.Y. GIANTS: 9 (o -110)
StB: OVER - The Giants always seem to do really well after a poor season.
Derek: OVER – This might be the Giants last chance to win the Super Bowl with the current core players that are on their roster. They have a lot of players in their free agent walk year. Feast or famine seems to be their track record. This could be a feast year for Eli & Company with the Super Bowl being held in the Giants home stadium.
Pauly: UNDER - Tale of Two Halves. Tom Coughlin runs out of gas in November and December. Like clockwork. The Giants should have had 10+ wins the last two seasons, but the G-Men faltered down the stretch. The Giants do not have a cake walk to ended the season and the start of the schedule is no pinic either. Eli Manning will put up his numbers and Victor Cruz will certainly benefit with a healthy Hakeem Nicks. A postseason berth hinges upon the defense. Will JPP be effective post-surgery? Will Justin Tuck return to the sack monster he once was? The D will be tested early. If they cannot shut down Romo and contain Peyton and Cam Newton, then the Giants could potentially start 0-3 (@ DAL, DEN, @ CAR). Anticipating a disappointing 8-8 season.
DALLAS COWBOYS: 8.5 (u -145)
StB: OVER - Roger Staubach says the 'Boys can go 10-6 easily. Other Dallas writers -- notorious for making a living bashing this team -- think they may be the best team in the East. As a lifelong fan, I want to say over, but I am not as enthused as the Dodger. They can win 9 games, maybe more if the offensive line turns out better than expected.
Derek: OVER – The Cowboys suck but they're still good for 9 wins this season. Romo is due for some good luck and they do have Dez Bryant.
Pauly: UNDER - All that Botox that Jerry Jones has been shooting into his forehead has been leaking into his frontal lobe. Dallas' drafts have been a joke the last few seasons, which is part of the reason they were 16-16 in the last two seasons. Jones fired D-coordinator Rob Ryan in favor of... wait for it... Lane Kiffin's old man... who at 73 is ancient and I'm pretty sure he wore a leather helmet (sans facemask) when he played in college. Jones handed over the play calling duties to controversial Bill Callahan, who may or may not have took a dive when he was coaching the Raiders in Super Bowl 37. Yeah, it'll be another Tony Romo shitshow. The Cowboys will be lucky to go 8-8 and if they're not careful it could easily be a 6-10. By the way, I'm forming a new punk band called Jerry and the Botox Explosion.
CHICAGO BEARS: 8.5 (o -135)
StB: OVER - The Bears are a good team, but not anywhere close to being great. With Urlacher gone, Jay Cutler is the face of the team. Wait...maybe I should go under? No, I stick with the over because they do well against AFC teams at the Flying Saucer that is Soldiers Field.
Derek: UNDER - The Bears fired Lovie Smith and replaced him with a CFL coach? Cutler will implode at some point this season so I expect a below .500 season for the Bears.
Pauly: UNDER - Lovie Smith couldn't get emo Jay Cutler to effectively run the offense, maybe someone north of the border from the Canadian Football League can? It's one of those outside the box moves that makes the Bears' management look like geniuses... only if it works, eh? In 2012, the Bears had a ferocious D that wilted late in the season. Makes me wonder if they gave up on Lovie and Cutler? The Bears' special teams, led by speed demon Devin Hester, is top notch, but their fledgling offense (even with Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte) is the cause of heartburn for every Bears' fan in the Midwest. DA Bears live and die by Jay Cutler once again with an 8-8 season.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS: 8 (o -140)
StB: UNDER - Another team that surprised everyone last year. This year, teams know who Morris is and what RGIII will do. New York and Dallas won't take them lightly. Plus, I think both Defensive Coordinators will find a way to stop the offense.
Derek: OVER – If RG3 stays healthy and plays all 16 games, than the Skins will beat the over. If he hurts that knee again and they don’t make the playoffs, is it too soon to put Shannahan on the hot seat?
Pauly: OVER - RG3 or Not RG3? The Team Doctor (who lives in the mysterious Red Shed that he shares with Dick Cheney's ketamine dealer) suggested RG3 sit out until after the bye week. Dr. Shannahan diagnosed him was ready to play. RG3 is no D-Rose. He wants in. ASAP. If RG3's kneecap doesn't explode, then they'll win 9 or 10 games. If RG3 goes down for the count, then it'll be up to Alfred Morris to carry the team, and it's Xanax-Whiskey time inside the Beltway.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS: 7.5 (u -155)
JoeSpeaker: UNDER - Never trust a QB who's name is a verb. Under!
StB: UNDER - I heard they had Jeff George in training camp to "help" Ponder. Nuff said.
Derek: UNDER – Even Adrian Peterson can't help this team in 2013.
Pauly: UNDER - No one can stop the AP Express.... except history... because typically a RB with a "sick season" will post inferior results during the ensuing season. Even if AP bucks the trend, Christian Ponder can't throw the deep ball. The Vikes replaced #1 down-field threat Percy Harvin with an aging Greg Jennings and a young speedster Cordarelle Patterson. The Vikes have a solid front seven, but the secondary is suspect. If it gets ugly, then it'll be a frigid 5-11 season. At best, the Vikes post a 7-9 record.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: 7.5 (o -130)
JoeSpeaker: UNDER - I don't know anything about this team. That must mean they're players are crap.
StB: UNDER - Does Cam Newton lift this team up? No. I'll take the under on the Pussycats.
Derek: UNDER – It seems that even Cam Newton can’t save this franchise.
Pauly: OVER - Carolina choked in more games than I can count. Wisdom of the Ocelot: In 2012... we bet on Carolina in the first half, but faded them in the second half. Carolina can win 8 or 9 games, so long as they let Cam Newton be Cam Newton and run more pistol plays instead of forcing him into conventional offensive sets. Then again, management did not sign a big-time WR in the offseason to help Cam. The defense is underrated and anchored by Luke Kuechly. If he played in a bigger TV market, we'd hear a lot more about him. With a solid defense and young offense getting better every game, I like Carolina's chances for a 9-7 season.
DETROIT LIONS: 7.5 (o -150)
JoeSpeaker: OVER - What's the line on games suspended? I want the over on that one, too.
StB: UNDER - Am I the only one that wants to throw up every time some dope like Matt Millen says Matt Stafford is a great QB? That sidearm throw is disgusting and he isn't that accurate. He tends to pile on garbage yards against crap teams.
Derek: OVER – The Lions will shock the world and kill the over. Yep, you heard it here first. Ndamukong Suh and Megatron are going to lead this team to the playoffs... and a first round exit.
Pauly: UNDER - Los Lions are still in the middle of an 8-game losing streak. Sad to see another supserstar (first Barry Sanders, and now Megatron) get stuck in playing on a crappy team for the Dystopia Lions. QB Matt Stafford had a decent year, but aside from Megatron, he lacks reliable targets. The only thing to root for? That Scandi kicker nicknamed Kickalicious makes the team. The trick shot wunderkind can kick footballs into a speeding Volvo! If he gets cut, I wouldn't be surprised if the Jets pick him up.
TAMPA BUCS: 7.5 (o -140)
StB: UNDER - What can I say nice about the Bucs? They aren't the worst pirate team in the league. That being said, I'll take the under.
Derek: OVER – Darelle Revis and Doug Martin. That's enough reason for me to watch this team play. I expect them to win at least 8 games this season.
Pauly: OVER - If you could pass, you could beat Tampa. That was last year's game plan. This year they added Dashon Goldson and Darelle Revis, so now teams will think twice. If QB Josh Freeman can cut down on the INTs and Doug Martin can stay healthy and grind out a 1600-yard season, then the Bucs will be in good shape to go .500 or slightly better.
ST. LOUIS RAMS: 7.5 (u -115)
Buffalo66: OVER - This offense really started to gel at the end of last year. Jeff Fisher knows how to build winners. They play SF and Seattle twice but should get to 8 wins.
JoeSpeaker: UNDER - The NFC West is too tough. The Rams will not get a win and a draw against the Niners this year.
StB: UNDER - This may be one of the most boring teams in the league.
Derek: UNDER – Jeff Fisher will eventually turn this franchise around but the only reason to watch Rams games this year is to see how many times the announcers or studio analysts bring up the fact that James Laurinaitis is the son of wrestling legend Road Warrior Animal. Maybe Tavon Austin will make things exciting for St. Louis?
Pauly: UNDER - I liked betting the Rams last year because they were "not as bad as the public thought." Well, I've reversing my opinion this year; the Rams are not as good as the public thinks. They're inexperienced and prone to mistakes, especially penalties (worst in the NFL last season). Sam Bradford lost his #1 RB (Steven Jackson) and #1 WR (Danny Amendola). They drafted speedster Tavon Austin. Will he be the next big thing, or the next big bust? It won't be pretty with a 6-10 season.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: 7 (o -135)
JoeSpeaker: OVER. Sign me up for the Chip Kelly Bandwagon. I would like to be a Platinum Member.
StB: UNDER - Where did the Eagles improve themselves this year? At head coach? Michael Vick looked like he didn't want to play last year and he has been named the starting QB. I don't see much happening here.
Derek: OVER – This team is going to surprise a lot of people. Everyone in Philly will have Chip Kelly fever.
Pauly: OVER - JoeSpeaker referred me to the Chip Bandwagon Fan Club and we both got free t-shirts (florescent key-lime green, OBV!). Chip Kelly had a great run as coach of the Nike Ducks in the NFL minor leagues, and now he takes over after the Andy Reid Empire imploded. It's up to Chip and Michael Vick to restore the faith in Philadelphia. Chip likes to run, which should allow LeSean McCoy to thrive and have a chance at redemption. The Eagles have enough weapons on offense to pick up 8 wins.
ARIZONA CARDINALS: 5.5 (o -120)
Buffalo66: OVER - Carson Palmer seems to be making a difference for this offense. Although they play in the toughest division, 6 wins should be a realistic outcome.
StB: UNDER - This is way too tough of a division for this team. Worse yet, their fans are probably getting excited from the preseason victories thinking they have a chance to be really good this year. Any time a team's fan gets arrested -- for handing their 15 year old son a beer to hold while the father takes a picture -- cannot win many games in my book.
Derek: UNDER – Poor Larry Fitzgerald. Another wasted season for the talented WR. They should just trade the guy for picks already.
Pauly: UNDER - Bruce Arians is getting his first head-coaching job when most coaches are winding down their careers. Carson Palmer is your future? Looks bleak to me, especially in the brutal NFC West. Palmer will never take the Cardinals to the Promised Land, even if he had three Larry Fitzgeralds to throw to. Arizona is the doormat of the NFC and should barely get 4 or 5 wins.
FYI... Click here for the roundtable on AFC Win Totals.