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Virgil

Contenders-Pretenders-Undecided - Week 1

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Football season is officially in session and I'm feeling it.  With that, I thought it might be fun to make snap judgements, as we all do, around teams performance trajectory.  Feel free to do your own evaluation.  If you do it, try to do it just based off the current week, not last year or overall roster.  Also, you can only use 3 undecided and need to use 6 contenders for each conference

 

Week 1 Winners

Packers - Contenders - This was a stretch for me, but I always lean towards the positive with a franchise QB.  They found a way in a hostile environment, but would have lost to a good offense.  

Titans - Pretenders - I think they won off the hype train and took advantage of a really bad Browns offensive line.  Henry could be the real deal as a workhorse, but the QB is still iffy

Ravens - Contenders - I don't believe in their offense output at all as much I believe the Dolphins are that bad.  Due to how the rest of the division played, I'm giving them the contender edge

Vikings - Undecided - Talk about a stat box that doesn't indicate a win.  I don't know what this game was and the NFC North didn't really show up well

Bills - Contender - Yeah, I'm going to say it.  I'm going to say the bad bounces can't keep happening and the defense is legit.  Due to how other AFC teams played, a wild card seems possible

Eagles - Contenders - They found their stride late, and did it without utilizing Ertz much at all.  They shouldn't have been down in the first place, but a weak division showing gives them a wildcard

Rams - Contender - Gurley played better and more than I thought.  Seahawks looked good, so I think the wild card comes from one of those teams

Chiefs - Contender - Would they be as good without Hill?  Yes.  Bills fans have to wonder what could have been with Mahomes and a healthy Watkins on the Bills

Chargers - Contender - Wildcard to the Chiefs with a balanced offense and didn't miss a beat without Gordon

Seahawks - Contender - See comments about Rams.  Had a solid win against a surprisingly explosive Bengals team.  

Cowboys - Contender - Contract year players are showing up and I think it's their division to lose.

49ers - Pretenders - Can't play the Bucs every week, but at least Garoppolo didn't look as bad as he did in preseason

Patriots - Contenders - Destroyed the Steelers like they were a varsity team.  Scary thing is, the defense was the best unit and no Antonio Brown yet

Saints - Contenders - Showed up well on the road and the stars played to their level.  Their division to lose

Raiders - Pretenders - Broncos could be that bad, but the Raiders rode the hype train.  I don't see that performance winning week to week

 

Week 1 Losers

Bears - Contenders - Too much talent to believe week 1 will happen again, but it's a big cause for concern.  If they don't bounce back soon, they will be done

Browns - Pretenders - Offensive line was a major issue and I wonder how well those personalities will smile if the losing continues

Dolphins - Pretenders - Just look forward to the #1 overall pick

Falcons - Pretenders - The hype machine was all about potential, but the offense stuttered just as it had last year.  Need to prove they are over it

Jets - Pretenders - Defense is legit and the talent is there on offense.  But Gase is going to mess that team up

Redskins - Pretenders - Strong initial showing, but Guice going out and not have Peterson inactive hurt them.  Great job by Keenum, but we know how that can go

Panthers - Pretenders - They are really hit or miss, but less offensive weapons and a potentially ailing Cam.  Tough division eats them up

Jags - Pretenders - Same Jags.  Flashes of offense, solid defense, just enough mistakes and loss of Foles to sniff .500

Colts - Undecided - Showed a lot better than I thought and look forward to see how this season goes.  Mack was excellent, Hilton got his touches, and they held up with the Chargers

Bengals - Pretenders - This was tough for me as I think they were actually a little better without Green.  I think Ross' speed changed the game and should take touches away from Boykin

Giants - Pretenders - Shredded harder than they should've been against the Cowboys.  Manning won't finish the season

Bucs - Pretenders - Winston just loves throwing picks and wasting that offensive talent.  He's overstayed his welcome by a year now

Steelers - Pretenders - Many predicted Conner would take a step back.  With Juju being the only guy, teams can focus their attention wherever they want.  I think they could finish last in the division

Texans - Contenders - They didn't lose, the clock ran out.  Offensive line could hold them back, but they were dangerous

Broncos - Pretenders - No excuse to get shut down like they did vs the Raiders.  

 

Week 1 Tie?!?

Lions - Undecided - Got screwed out of the win.  Stafford looked great and Hock showed why he was a top 10 pick.  I think they have the firepower to push themselves into a wildcard

Cardinals - Pretenders - Amazing comeback, but the rookie will have growing pains.  Should have lost the game in regulation, but it'll be a fun season for the Cards fans

 

AFC Playoffs:

Pats

Chiefs

Texans

Ravens

Chargers

Bills

 

NFC Playoffs

Seahawks

Cowboys

Packers

Saints

Rams

Eagles

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Virgil - you’re posts are long, but very well thought out.  Don’t change.  Regarding this one I agree with almost everything you said other than Cincinnati played harder than I expected against a top team like Seattle.  I’d didn't expect it, but they played harder than I expected and might end up being a little better than my thought over the summer of 4-12.  M not saying anywhere near playoff bound, but at least better than a bottom feeder like the Dolphins.

 

Regarding all of the fawning over the Ravens, they did look good, but part of this was due to how horrible the Dolphins played.

 

Good job Virgil and keep these assessments going.

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Good post OP. 

I actually disagree with the Jets. I think they'll be contending in December , can see them getting 9 wins or so , I really like them Monday vs the overrated Brownies, to get back on track . I just think we beat a solid team in their backyard

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I think Cinci is a solid team and have been for a few years. Their recent seasons have derailed and been ambushed by crippling injuries to key players. Dare I say Jinxed? Their fans certainly think so. Big Red is dangerous and has tore us up a few times. Couldn’t help it, with morbid fascination I was following their game to see who got hurt because we play them so early. I know it’s our home opener, but they’ll be as battle tested as us by then and I think their Division is crap. They could win it. There, I said it.

Otherwise, your selections seem reasonable.

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Hard to argue with any of these as of right now.  Good evaluation. I personally think the Colts will end up as Contenders when the smoke clears, but I get your hesitation.

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6 minutes ago, Chandler#81 said:

I think Cinci is a solid team and have been for a few years. Their recent seasons have derailed and been ambushed by crippling injuries to key players. Dare I say Jinxed? Their fans certainly think so. Big Red is dangerous and has tore us up a few times. Couldn’t help it, with morbid fascination I was following their game to see who got hurt because we play them so early. I know it’s our home opener, but they’ll be as battle tested as us by then and I think their Division is crap. They could win it. There, I said it.

Otherwise, your selections seem reasonable.

We seem to lose to Cincy regularly.  Hope that changes this year.  Good post by the OP.

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I'm going to group teams into 3 categories: Super Bowl (meaning I wouldn't be completely shocked if they made it), Playoffs (meaning I think they'll be in the hunt), and Pretenders. Teams are not listed in any particular order.

 

Super Bowl:

  • Patriots - Duh.
  • Chiefs - Their offense will give them a chance to outscore anybody, Patriots included.
  • Ravens - Their defense will continue to be good and I'm a believer in Lamar; not that he'll be a perfect passer like he was this week, but that he can be a very good starter, and more importantly, that he'll give his team a chance to win.
  • Steelers - I'm almost out on them being in this category, but I want to see how they respond to the Week 1 travesty first. Seemed in the offseason that people just kind of assumed the offense would be fine without AB and that never really sat well with me, but it's still a very talented team. I'll give them another week.
  • Rams - Duh.
  • Saints - I'm not completely sold on them, but I think they'll probably hang around this category most of the year for me.
  • Cowboys - The offense looked so much better in the first game under Kellen Moore; seems like they might finally open things up more for Dak and the results were obviously outstanding in Week 1. Very talented roster overall.
  • Eagles - Similar to the Saints; not completely sold, but they're good enough to hang around this category.
  • Packers - They have the looks of a very good defense and have Aaron Rodgers. Not much else needs to be said.
  • Vikings - They have the looks of a very good defense and a complimentary offense. Obviously need to see Cousins throw more than 10 times in a game though.

Playoffs:

  • Bills - Probably have us on the outside looking in, but I think we'll hang around most of the year.
  • Jets - I wanted to put them in the Pretenders group, but I'll give them a little more time to play themselves out of it; might be as soon as after a potential 0-2 start. They looked pretty terrible this week, but I think they're more talented than they looked.
  • Browns - Too much talent to not regroup and get into the playoff hunt.
  • The Entire AFC South - This division is wide-open to me. I think it ultimately comes down to the Colts and Texans, but I'm not ready to write Jacksonville and Tennessee off just yet.
  • The Entire NFC South (besides the Contending Saints) - The Saints should safely win this division, but if Brees' arm starts to wear down as the year progresses, I think they could slide. Tampa is the weakest inclusion in this entire category, but their defense looked surprisingly decent and I expect their offense to get their crap together even if Jameis continues to make too many mistakes.
  • Chargers - I don't believe in their offensive line and don't believe Rivers' arm will hold up over the course of the entire season, so they slide into the Playoff Contender group for me.
  • Bears - Trubisky drops them down into this group.
  • Seahawks - Not good enough to contend for a Super Bowl, but Wilson is good enough to keep them in the playoff hunt, at least for now.

Pretenders:

  • Dolphins - Duh.
  • Cardinals - I think Kyler Murray has all the tools to become a star in the NFL, but this team is bad right now. Might be an exciting team to watch on a week-to-week basis, but bad nonetheless.
  • Bengals - They're okay, but their division is just too strong for them to contend for a playoff spot.
  • Broncos - Just don't see how they contend; at best they'll be the #3 team in the division, and more likely IMO, #4.
  • Raiders - I think they can get to 6-8 wins if things break right, but I don't see them being strong enough to really challenge for a playoff spot.
  • Giants - Duh.
  • Redskins - They aren't as bad as the media prognosticators made them out to be, but they're still not good enough for a playoff spot.
  • Lions - Similar to the Bengals.
  • 49ers - Just not a believer in Jimmy G. At best they're #3 in the division and I don't see how they beat out the three playoff contenders in the NFC North, plus the two in the NFC East if they're already behind both the Rams and Seahawks in their own division.

 

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2 hours ago, machine gun kelly said:

Virgil - you’re posts are long, but very well thought out.  Don’t change.  Regarding this one I agree with almost everything you said other than Cincinnati played harder than I expected against a top team like Seattle.  I’d didn't expect it, but they played harder than I expected and might end up being a little better than my thought over the summer of 4-12.  M not saying anywhere near playoff bound, but at least better than a bottom feeder like the Dolphins.

 

Regarding all of the fawning over the Ravens, they did look good, but part of this was due to how horrible the Dolphins played.

 

Good job Virgil and keep these assessments going.

 

I agree.  I think they could finish second in their division and could be a wild card contender.  But I only let myself pick 3 undecideds.  They are definitely a bubble to me.  

 

Damn it!  That’s the word I should have used...bubble. 

 

34 minutes ago, JerseyBills said:

Good post OP. 

I actually disagree with the Jets. I think they'll be contending in December , can see them getting 9 wins or so , I really like them Monday vs the overrated Brownies, to get back on track . I just think we beat a solid team in their backyard

 

The thing that gives me the most hope about our win last week is that I do think the Jets will be a solid team.  But I don’t trust Gase and think he’ll do just enough to keep them around .500

 

21 minutes ago, Chandler#81 said:

I think Cinci is a solid team and have been for a few years. Their recent seasons have derailed and been ambushed by crippling injuries to key players. Dare I say Jinxed? Their fans certainly think so. Big Red is dangerous and has tore us up a few times. Couldn’t help it, with morbid fascination I was following their game to see who got hurt because we play them so early. I know it’s our home opener, but they’ll be as battle tested as us by then and I think their Division is crap. They could win it. There, I said it.

Otherwise, your selections seem reasonable.

 

Agreed.  See above in this post 

 

14 minutes ago, buffaloboyinATL said:

Hard to argue with any of these as of right now.  Good evaluation. I personally think the Colts will end up as Contenders when the smoke clears, but I get your hesitation.

 

They really did play well.   My concern is how good are the Chargers?   I was impressed with how they showed up, even if their fans don’t deserve it.  But wouldn’t be surprised if they were on the bubble too 

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The Titans are always overlooked but they have been a pretty decent team.

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I like the post.  Let’s see your ‘breakfast cereal draft’.

 

Lions:  Pretender.  The NFC team that could screw up a one car funeral.  The Cards are just plain inept.

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23 minutes ago, MJS said:

The Titans are always overlooked but they have been a pretty decent team.

 

They're built a lot like Buffalo honestly.  Play 2 of their 3 last games against houston.  Could be for the division there.  They draw a fair amount of high powered offenses this year... They also have the AFC west - which would be great except the home games are LAC and KC.  So they travel west to play Oak and Den... It's a rough schedule.  I see them finishing like 9-7 and losing tiebreakers.  

 

We NEED to win that game against tennessee... the stretch of ravens/steelers/patriots is going to be tough to grab a win.  I think its do-able but thats 3 veteran head coaches who have made their careers on shutting down young QBs.  I'm not all in on the lamar jackson train quite yet, just because it seemed like he had hours to throw in that miami game - but they were in the playoffs last year so clearly they're talented.  Key is NOT turning it over at all, let alone 4 times.  

Edited by dneveu

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6 minutes ago, dneveu said:

 

They're built a lot like Buffalo honestly.  Play 2 of their 3 last games against houston.  Could be for the division there.  They draw a fair amount of high powered offenses this year... They also have the AFC west - which would be great except the home games are LAC and KC.  So they travel west to play Oak and Den... It's a rough schedule.  I see them finishing like 9-7 and losing tiebreakers.  

 

We NEED to win that game against tennessee... the stretch of ravens/steelers/patriots is going to be tough to grab a win.  I think its do-able but thats 3 veteran head coaches who have made their careers on shutting down young QBs.  I'm not all in on the lamar jackson train quite yet, just because it seemed like he had hours to throw in that miami game - but they were in the playoffs last year so clearly they're talented.  Key is NOT turning it over at all, let alone 4 times.  

I don't really subscribe to the "must win" game mentality. Every year teams lose games they should win and win games they should lose. We'll see how the season plays out. They "must" win 9 or 10 games to have a shot at the playoffs. I'm not ready to say if they lose to the Titans that it isn't possible or even likely.

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41 minutes ago, MJS said:

The Titans are always overlooked but they have been a pretty decent team.

 

I agree. Titans have a feeling of 8-8 at worst and ceiling of 10-6. They will be competitive in most games and can pull off an upset over the best teams. I see the Titans and Chargers as being our main competitors for the wild card. I still think the Jets can turn it around and get in the wild card mix too. Not sure about the Browns if they start 0-2. Of course hopefully we can just beat New England week four and start talking division. 

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29 minutes ago, MJS said:

I don't really subscribe to the "must win" game mentality. Every year teams lose games they should win and win games they should lose. We'll see how the season plays out. They "must" win 9 or 10 games to have a shot at the playoffs. I'm not ready to say if they lose to the Titans that it isn't possible or even likely.

 

If we both finish 9-7 its the primary tiebreaker.  That's why it falls under a special importance.  If we're both 9-7/10-6 and we beat the ravens and steelers but lose to them it doesn't matter unless a 3rd team is in there.

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