Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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04 Sep 2008

2008 Staff Predictions

compiled by Bill Barnwell and Doug Farrar

Here's your standard warning: Predictions are probably wrong. It is the intrinsic nature of the NFL: there are so many variables and so much luck involved in a 16-game season that teams will make the playoffs or bomb for totally unexpected and sometimes baffling reasons.

Let's say we think the Philadelphia Eagles have the best chance of any team in the NFC to make it to the Super Bowl. Perhaps we think they have a 20 percent chance to make it, and we think that six other teams have a 10 percent chance to make it, and eight other teams have a 2.5 percent chance to make it, and they will also play some games in Atlanta this season.

OK, so we pick Philadelphia to win the NFC. Even based solely on this opinion, there is four in five chance the pick will be incorrect. So preseason predictions are all going to be mostly wrong.

As we always say, we're going to make picks anyway, because that's part of running a football site: you make picks. However, we ran into an additional problem in 2007. Each member of the FO staff gave his picks for the 12 playoff teams and then answered a few other questions about expectations for the upcoming season. That included not just the regular writers but even our adjunct members like David "QB Projections" Lewin. After the season, anyone who wanted to criticize FO found it pretty easy. You were bound to find something completely stupid predicted for every single team, even if it was only the opinion of one writer. If one person questioned the projection of Green Bay as NFC North champion, we would end up with a blog that said "See, Football Outsiders said Green Bay would suck." Comments like this showed up around the Web. We're used to criticism, but this was just lame and annoying.

Therefore, we're doing a couple of things differently in 2008. There are no staff picks for the 12 playoff teams. The only FO predictions for the 12 playoff teams are the official predictions from the DVOA projections which we ran yesterday:

AFC divisions: San Diego, Baltimore, Indianapolis, New England
AFC wild cards: Jacksonville, Denver
NFC divisions: Seattle, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia
NFC wild cards: Minnesota, Dallas
Super Bowl: New England over Philadelphia
First Pick in the Draft: Atlanta

However, we are still doing subjective predictions for things like "team likely to beat its projection" and "who will go first in the 2009 draft." We've written about this in many places: we do not believe that our statistical methods are perfect. Our subjective views are informed by our objective numbers, but not dictated by them.

However, we want to make this clear: EACH OF THE OPINIONS LISTED BELOW IS THE OPINION OF THAT WRITER AND THAT WRITER ONLY. These are not "Football Outsiders predicts," okay? Also, these predictions were made before the update to the DVOA projections that moved Houston out of a projected wild card spot and Dallas into a projected wild card spot.

All right, let's rock.

Team Most Likely To Beat Its PFP Projection

Aaron Schatz: New York Jets. I'll go with Bill Simmons on this one. Favre really improves the offense, but even more important is Alan Faneca, who basically improves the Jets at three positions because Ferguson and Mangold no longer have to cover for the existence of a black hole between them. I think they're getting some of the talent they need for the 3-4 (Harris!) and they'll be better on defense. And the schedule for every AFC East team is very, very easy, so they'll be in the wild card hunt with Denver and Houston. Also Minnesota, but only on defense.

Ben Riley: Dallas. Three things I have learned from watching HBO's Hard Knocks documentary:

  • Jason Garrett's dad is a dead ringer for Fire Marshall Bill crossed with Izzy Mandelbaum;
  • Jason Garrett's brother John, the tight end coach, seems to enjoy harassing Martellus Bennett on an hourly basis and is really annoying;
  • Jason Garrett himself seems cool, calm and collected, and about one-half as comatose as the alleged head coach. The Cowboys easily are a 10-win team -- remember, this is the NFC we're talking about here -- yet we're projecting them to have eight wins?

Bill Barnwell: Indianapolis. The Colts are getting a huge boost this year from having the most injured defense in football by a large margin last year, and DVOA has always struggled to project how fantastic and consistent their offense is on a year-to-year basis. Then again, that's based upon Peyton Manning, and the idea that his knee is fine.

Brian Fremeau: Pittsburgh. I like the offensive backfield and the defense too much, certainly enough to see the team get to at least .500. I'm not sold on the rest of the division, either, so the wins ought to be there.

Bill Connelly: Dallas. There's explosive potential in as many bad ways as good, but 8.1 just seems a game or two low to me. I'm just not betting on them in the playoffs.

Doug Farrar: New Orleans. In 2005, a team kept its offense together while making a heavy investment in an improved front seven, hoping that a below-average secondary could survive. That team was the Seattle Seahawks, the eventual NFC Champion. The Saints have made similar commitments to their defense while insuring offensive consistency, the Deuce McAllister injury situation notwithstanding. PFP 2008 says that everything's an "if" with this team, but I believe that the "ifs" will work in their favor. Now about that HiZ thing...

Michael Tanier: Dallas. Why do our wackiest predictions always involve the NFC East? I think there must be two or three little variables we don't quite measure there: the Philly Sports Curse, some residual Bill Parcells effect in Dallas, whatever. Because the teams all play each other, the little variables appear to throw everything out of whack. Yeah, two years ago the predictions were largely right, but this year's picks look uncomfortably like last years.

Ned Macey: Oakland. First, the AFC West seems weak this year with San Diego's injury concerns, Denver's mediocrity, and Kansas City's general ineptness. Second, the defense should be a top 10 unit, the running game was good last season, and I'm cautiously optimistic about JaMarcus Russell.

Russell Levine: Cleveland. I'm not crazy about anybody else in the AFC North. I think Derek Anderson keeps Brady Quinn solidly on the bench all season, Braylon Edwards becomes one of top three receivers in the game, and they get to at least nine wins.

Sean McCormick: New York Jets. Chad Pennington was the 24th-ranked passer in football last year according to DYAR. Brett Favre was third. As overblown a media story as the Favre comeback might be, I have a hard time seeing how he doesn't improve the Jets by more than 0.5 games. I also think that the original 7.4 projection was probably too low simply because it is rare for teams to go out and make as many significant changes to their roster as the Jets did. Say what you will about the money New York threw around, but Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca, Damien Woody and Calvin Pace all looked like major upgrades on paper, and they've looked like major upgrades in limited preseason action. The Jets have been alternating 10-6 seasons with losing seasons for the past few years now, and with the upgraded roster and a schedule that includes the NFC West and the AFC West, I think they'll probably battle Houston for that second wild card spot.

Vince Verhei: Dallas. Their low projection is mainly because they've been injury-free for several seasons, and they're "due" to see more guys go down. I see two flaws in this logic. First, if I flip a coin four times and get four heads, the coin is not "due" to come up tails. The next time I flip it, it is still a 50-50 shot to come up heads or tails. Second, it seems just as likely to me that their low injury rate is due in part to an elite medical staff, and that medical staff will still be around.

Team Most Likely To Fall Short Of Its PFP Projection

Aaron Schatz: Kansas City. Yes, I now, this isn't a team we're projecting to be good, but even the idea of them going 6-10 seems absurd. Right now this is practically an expansion team -- okay, if an expansion team was well-run and had been given draft picks for three seasons instead of one. There's tons of talent but it is all learning and the quarterbacks blow. Also Minnesota, but only on offense.

Ben Riley: Minnesota. Are you ready for the ultimate in football blasphemy? I don't think Adrian Peterson is that good. With a heavy emphasis on the "that." The reality is that Peterson had two huge games last year that accounted for 520 rushing yards and six rushing TDs -- that's 39 percent and 50 percent of his annual total, folks. Meanwhile, he closed out the season with 3, 78, 27 and 36 yards rushing. There's no doubt that he'll take over a few games this year, but in the meantime, the Vikings have an entire to season to play. The projection system may think Tarvaris Jackson can win 10.1 games, but I sure don't.

Bill Barnwell: Green Bay. Brett Favre made that offense work and did a huge amount of the work in making their guards look good. Aaron Rodgers has been positively Rob Johnson-esque behind the same line over the last three years, and it's going to have a significant cascade over their entire offense. Combine that with a vastly overrated secondary and the Packers could be getting into shootouts they can't keep up in.

Bill Connelly: Baltimore. There's not a quarterback on that roster that makes me confident in 8.5 wins.

Brian Fremeau: Philadelphia. The NFC East might split its division games across the board, and if so, the Eagles would have to be perfect against everyone else. Those expectations are unreasonably high. They still might be the best team in the NFC at 10-6.

Doug Farrar: New England. A tougher division than meets the eye, and that offensive line has me worried.

Michael Tanier: Baltimore. I understand the logic here, particularly the idea that the Browns will take a step back and the Ravens play the Dolphins and Raiders. But I think we are underestimating how bad the offensive line will be, how inconsistent the quarterback play will be,
and how willing John Harbaugh is to pick rebuilding over winning now.

Ned Macey: Tampa Bay. They haven't made the playoffs in consecutive years in the Gruden era, and they are too dependent on two really old guys in Joey Galloway and Jeff Garcia. Plus, I like Carolina and New Orleans to be much better this year.

Russell Levine: New England. They'll still be good enough to win the East, but I'm worried about the line, Brady's health, and that the reality of learning that they were mortal will lead to a slow start.

Sean McCormick: Carolina. When you're looking for teams to really fall off a cliff, it's always a good idea to zero in on the quarterback situation, and I just don't like what I see here at all. Jake Delhomme is coming off a major injury, he's 33, and the backup situation is not good. I'm also a little bothered by Carolina's approach to the draft; the combination of Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah smacks of management trying to impose a strategy that the rest of the roster isn't completely suited for, and in any event I'm not sure that bringing back three yards and a cloud of dust is the way to go in today's NFL. You win by being able to throw the ball, and aside from Steve Smith -- who, incidentally, will miss the first two games of the season due to suspension -- the Panthers look about as toothless on offense as San Francisco, Chicago and Kansas City. Nine or ten wins strikes me as a bit much, even in the NFC South.

Vince Verhei: None, really. I could pick Philadelphia, simply because their projection is so high (most wins in the NFC) that it will be hard to match. Houston is projected to sneak into the playoffs, but they'll likely have to win at least once against Jacksonville or Indianapolis to do that, and I don't seem them pulling that off with their secondary. I see them as a 7- or 8-win team, not an 8- or 9-win team, and that one-win difference is huge.

Player Who Will Most Exceed His KUBIAK Projection

Aaron Schatz: Like I said last year, it is strange for me to answer this because I'm the one who sets the subjective playing time variables in KUBIAK. However, there are no playing time variables for quarterbacks, and like everyone else, I don't quite get why the equations end up so down on Tony Romo again.

Ben Riley: This is an easy one, because until very recently he didn't even have a projection: Tim Hightower, Arizona Cardinals. According to his Going Deep profile, "The one guy everyone compares Hightower to is Marion Barber III, but Hightower probably would have come off the board before the fifth round if that were accurate." It's accurate, and a somewhat odd contention given that Barber himself lasted until the fourth round of the 2005 draft. Hightower has been running people over in training camp and the Cardinals already plan to get him five to 10 touches per game. By midseason, he'll be splitting carries if he hasn't taken over for the decrepit Edge James completely.

Bill Barnwell: Frank Gore. Regardless of who's playing quarterback, Gore's going to get 1,000 yards. Having a healthier line will help dramatically.

Bill Connelly: Tony Romo. Unless he's handing it off too much and his arm gets rusty...

Brian Fremeau: Rashard Mendenhall. As long as I'm riding that Pittsburgh backfield, let's take it all the way to the house. Which Mendenhall (and Willie Parker, for that matter) will do.

Doug Farrar: Julius Peppers. I'm referring to sacks here. Whatever was bothering him last season sure wasn't there in the preseason. He was very much his old self. Contract year, too.

(Note: For those who haven't opened the IDP KUBIAK workbook, Peppers is projected for 7.5 sacks, which would be around 20th in the league.)

Michael Tanier: Julius Jones. He's been great in camp, and I think he's more versatile than he demonstrated in Dallas. We have him contributing almost nothing as a receiver, in part because of Maurice Morris, but the guy's going to have more than 47 receiving yards.

Ned Macey: Carson Palmer. I still think he's the third or, at worst, fourth best quarterback in football. He has two great receivers, and the end of the Rudi Johnson era should radically improve the run game over last season.

Russell Levine: Felix Jones. Just a hunch, but I think he ends up being a bigger part of the offense than Barber and topping 1,000 yards for the year.

Sean McCormick: Steve Slaton. One of the rewards of watching a lot of preseason football is that you can keep an eye on young running backs who might emerge. Unlike most other positions, running back performance translates fairly well from the preseason to the regular season, and Slaton has looked very comfortable in Houston's zone blocking scheme. With Ahman Green looking like a potential cut, there isn't much standing between Slaton and a starting job on an up and coming offense.

Vince Verhei: Roddy White. Whoever is playing quarterback in Atlanta, they will have to throw the ball somewhere. White's competition at wide receiver includes the inferior Michael Jenkins, the animated corpse of Brian Finneran, and no other player who has ever caught 50 passes in a season. And there is no Tony Gonzalez or Brian Westbrook to steal catches; their top three backs -- Ovie Mughelli, Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood -- plus the entire tight end roster have only 174 career catches combined. It may be a long season in Atlanta, but they will score some points and catch some balls, and White's the guy most likely to do it.

Player Who Will Most Underperform His KUBIAK Projection

Aaron Schatz: Bernard Berrian. Perhaps I should not have made him a full "number one" receiver in the playing time variables, because it spits out 977 yards and nine touchdowns. I know that the running game opens things up for Tarvaris Jackson to throw downfield, but come on, not that much.

Ben Riley: Donovan McNabb. Let us assume for a drug-induced moment that McNabb stays healthy for an entire season. Who exactly do we think he's going to throw 28 touchdown passes to? DeSean Jackson looks like a nice pickup for the Eagles but he is a rookie. Fellow wideouts Reggie Brown had all of four scores last year, Jason Avant had two, and Hammerin' Hank Baskett racked up, uh, one. Unless Brian Westbrook decides to play wide receiver permanently, there's no way McNabb hits his KUBIAK numbers.

Bill Barnwell: Ryan Grant. I know what he did last year, but he did that with Brett Favre. Doing that with Aaron Rodgers is totally different.

Bill Connelly: Earnest Graham. Granted, Cadillac won't be threatening him for playing time any time soon, but those projections are pretty high, and I'm simply not sold on him yet. He was a great out-of-nowhere guy last year, but lots of guys have one solid season...and 1230 rushing yards is a bit much.

Brian Fremeau: Ryan Grant. Hate to do this to a fellow Domer, and I think Grant will have a productive season, but I don't think he'll put up the same kind of gaudy numbers as last year either.

Doug Farrar: Jeff Garcia. I'm as big a fan as you'll find. But his age, risk-taking brand of mobility, Tampa Bay's pass-blocking issues, and the receiver situation leads me to believe that either an injury or a streak of iffy games could have either Garcia out for a few games, or Jon Gruden pulling him for Luke McCown. At some point, the bubble's going to burst.

Michael Tanier: Earnest Graham is an obvious choice. I think the Bucs running game will be really good, but the distribution of carries is going to be more spread out than we thought a month or two ago.

Ned Macey: Marshawn Lynch. I understand that almost everyone splits carries these days, but I see a number of 20-carry, 62-yard type games, as the passing game is so weak that defenses will key up on him.

Russell Levine: Ronnie Brown. He can't seem to stay healthy, and worse, Parcells may not like him. If Williams stays healthy, Brown won't come close to the 1,100 yards we have him down for.

Sean McCormick: Javon Walker. His projection isn't anything amazing, but his training camp and preseason has disaster written all over it.

Vince Verhei: The easy answer here is Peyton Manning, given the tenuous nature of his knee. But even if he misses a game or two, we all still expect him to be king of the hill whenever he comes back. I'm going with Braylon Edwards. We're expecting the Browns as a whole to decline, we're expecting Derek Anderson to decline, and it only figures that Edwards, a boom-or-bust guy with a catch rate around 50 percent, we'll be dragged down with them.

In The Long Run, The Most Overblown Story Of The 2008 Preseason Will Be...

Aaron Schatz: Steven Jackson's holdout. Most holdouts are overblown, and running back holdouts are particularly overblown, given what we've learned about running back fungibility. Favre may have gotten way too much press, but that trade does have significant impact on two teams, and the Jackson holdout doesn't end up meaning anything to anyone.

Ben Riley: I mean, there's no real question what the answer is, but for sake of creativity I'll go with the flaccid preseason performance of the Cleveland Browns. I know I'm swimming against the FO-conventional wisdom here, but I think the Browns are a good team and one flaccid preseason performance isn't enough to scare me straight.

Bill Barnwell: Favre. The Jets could win the Super Bowl, score a touchdown on every drive, and Favre's boyish exterior could cause a rift in the space-time continuum to develop, allowing every football writer to jump through and play games of youth football on demand as their ten-year-old selves, and this story would still be overblown.

Bill Connelly: Favre is a given, so I'll say "Ricky Williams is back!!!" Ronnie Brown will be starting by Week 4. And I'm not just saying that because Brown is on my fantasy team and I have my fingers crossed. Until Usi got hurt, I was going to say "Strahan's retirement" because Justin Tuck could be unbelievable. But he can't replace both of them.

Doug Farrar: Favre, sure -- but is it really overblown? One of the five best quarterbacks in league history heads to the major market while he:

  • still has a great deal left in the tank;
  • is still the recipient of a truly historic amount of media mushiness;
  • engages in a compelling battle with Green Bay's "all-in" front office during a slow time for NFL news, unless you want to follow 50 different training camp battles intently. Which most people don't. Was it overblown, or did we all just get sick of how it was covered?

I think the truly overblown story of the past few years, and it continued through this preseason, was the "Here Comes Sheriff Goodell" bit. The Commish talks a tough game, but I have not seen any positive effect on the league's disciplinary problems. None whatsoever.

Michael Tanier: Favre of course. I think the amount of energy spent covering the Steven Jackson holdout was pretty ridiculous. You can set your watch by these types of holdouts. The guy is always back by the third preseason game.

Ned Macey: Peyton Manning's injury. I know there is suspicion after the way they handled Harrison's injury last season, but at worst, wasn't Manning going to miss like one game? Everyone who took Manning at fantasy drafts around August 18th will win their league.

Russell Levine: Favre. Packers will still be good, Jets will win an extra game or two, and then we get to play this game again next year.

Sean McCormick: Peyton Manning's injury status. It's a late-breaking story, but it seems to be gathering a head of steam. The Colts are probably getting hit a little bit for the way they handled the Marvin Harrison injury, but I'll be very surprised if the caution they're showing with Manning is indicative of a serious injury problem. It's possible, though unlikely, that Manning will need to sit out the first one or two games, but I think that's as far as it goes.

Vince Verhei: Anybody who doesn't list the Brett Favre soap opera in this slot is just trying too hard to be creative.

Super Bowl XLIII

  Winner Loser
Aaron Schatz New England Green Bay
Ben Riley San Diego Dallas
Bill Barnwell Indianapolis Seattle
Bill Connelly New England Dallas
Brian Fremeau New England Carolina
Doug Farrar Jacksonville New Orleans
Michael Tanier Seattle Jacksonville
Ned Macey Philadelphia New England
Russell Levine Jacksonville Seattle
Sean McCormick Indianapolis Dallas
Vince Verhei New England Seattle

BCS

  Winner Loser
Aaron Schatz Florida USC
Ben Riley Clemson Missouri
Bill Connelly USC Missouri
Brian Fremeau Ohio State Florida
Doug Farrar Georgia Ohio State
Michael Tanier Ohio State Oklahoma
Ned Macey USC Oklahoma
Russell Levine Auburn Ohio State
Sean McCormick USC Georgia
Vince Verhei Oklahoma Ohio State

With The First Pick In The 2009 NFL Draft, The What Selects Who?

  Team Pick
Aaron Schatz Atlanta Michael Oher
Ben Riley San Francisco 49ers Cullen Harper
Bill Barnwell Kansas City Chiefs Matt Stafford
Bill Connelly Kansas City Chiefs Matt Stafford
Brian Fremeau San Francisco 49ers Alex Boone
Doug Farrar Kansas City Chiefs Michael Oher
Michael Tanier Kansas City Chiefs Michael Oher
Ned Macey Atlanta Falcons Fili Moala
Russell Levine Atlanta Falcons Michael Oher
Sean McCormick Atlanta Falcons Michael Oher
Vince Verhei Detroit Lions Michael Crabtree

Posted by: admin on 04 Sep 2008

76 comments, Last at 07 Sep 2008, 12:45pm by t.d.

Comments

1
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 4:52pm

Brian Fremeau: Philadelphia. The NFC East might split its division games across the board, and if so, the Eagles would have to be perfect against everyone else. Those expectations are unreasonably high. They still might be the best team in the NFC at 10-6.

I don't have my copy of PFP handy -- do the Eagles really have 13 projected wins in the book, and only 11.1 in the DVOA article?

2
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 4:56pm

First, if I flip a coin four times and get four heads, the coin is not “due” to come up tails. The next time I flip it, it is still a 50-50 shot to come up heads or tails.

This is an irritating mis-analysis.

Suppose you roll a single die six times and get a "1". Now someone says you're "due" to come up on the next roll with a number greater than 1. Is that person wrong?

The Cowboys have had extraordinary health. Expecting that they're "due" for simply average health would be a big change for them.

I'm surprised I have to explain this to a football outsider.

3
by BOOM!ImChrishHanshen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 4:58pm

"In The Long Run, The Most Overblown Story Of The 2007 Preseason Will Be…"

Umm . . . don't you mean "The 2008 Preseason"?

4
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 4:58pm

P. S.

Too bad about the wide-spread "Football Outsiders said" phenomenon last year. I completely understand why you wouldn't want to repeat that, but also sad because that was one fun article to read.

5
by Quentin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:01pm

I'm with #2. What we're talking about here is not a gambler's fallacy, but regression to the mean. Saying that the Cowboys are due for an average amount of injuries next year is no different than saying that a team's fumble luck will change or that opposing kickers will hit or miss on a level closer to league average.

6
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:02pm

NFC wild cards: Minnesota, Dallas

[T]hese predictions were made before the update to the DVOA projections that moved Houston and Dallas into a projected wild card spot.

I assume this is true only for Houston.

Vince Verhei - Detroit Lions: Michael Crabtree

Everyone should be able to figure out what position Crabtree plays.

7
by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:18pm

I'm surprised by your reaction to all the stuff that was quoted on the web last year; oxygen of publicity and all that. If it's any consolation, on the same Packer board where Vince Verhei was ridiculed last year, the PFP predictions are now being touted: "these people are very knowledgable. Their predictions are very good." Alas, the thread is devoted to the authors of "NFL Prospectus". (link)

I thought the biggest problem with your (subjective) predictions was that they were too conservative - generally between two and four division champions repeat, and most of your correspondents predicted six. Now PFP predicts six! We shall see...

Furthermore, at least one, usually two or three bottom-placed teams win their division the following season. Last year PFP pegged the Buccaneers; this year it likes for Baltimore. So here's a question: which of last year's ten cellar-dwellers will show the biggest improvement in DVOA in 2008?

8
by ChrisH (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:20pm

Michael Crabtree made me laugh, but now as a Lions fan, I want to cry.

9
by Quentin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:21pm

Assuming St. Louis and San Fran share the basement in the NFC West and the Chiefs and Raiders room together in the AFC...

10
by bubqr (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:29pm

You got to love Vince's prediction for next year #1 pick. Brilliant.

11
by Justin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:37pm

First, if I flip a coin four times and get four heads, the coin is not “due” to come up tails. The next time I flip it, it is still a 50-50 shot to come up heads or tails.
Suppose you roll a single die six times and get a “1″. Now someone says you’re “due” to come up on the next roll with a number greater than 1. Is that person wrong?

Yes, the person is wrong, because they are expressing cum hoc ergo propter hoc. The die rolls are independent and thus the first roll in no way affects the second roll. That there is a 5/6 probability that the die will land on a value greater than 1 in no way validates the notion of "due"-ness. At best it is a redefining of the term to fit the model.

12
by Greg (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 5:54pm

Interesting. One vote for Philadelphia in SB XLIII, and that vote is to beat the Pats.

I wouldn't put my money on them either, but I figured with the projection where it is, some more people would feel confident picking them in the NFC.

13
by Lou (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:08pm

hrmmm, the first 5 guys named in the picked to underperform their kubiak are all on my fantasy team. that said, i dont think i reached for any of them.

yeah i agree with #4. ive always had fun coming back to this page later in the season and see who was right and who was wrong, and of course making my own predictions to see how right or wrong i was.

so for my own later enjoyment, here are my predicitons:

NFCW-SEA
NFCN-GB
NFCE-DAL
NFCS-CAR
WC- MIN
WC- PHI

AFCW- SD
AFCN- BAL
AFCE- NE
AFCS- IND
WC- JAC
WC- HOU

team beat: DAL
team fall short: PHI
player exceed: Marvin Harrison
player underperform: McNabb
overblown story: favre, second is the preseason performance of the Bears D.

Superbowl: Colts over Packers
1st Pick: ATL

14
by Ryan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:08pm

My thoughts:

Team most likely to beat its PFP projection: St. Louis. I agree with PFP that the offense will bounce back, and I'm probably the only non-Rams fan in the world who thinks Haslett can get something out of his defensive personnel.

Team Most Likely To Fall Short Of Its PFP Projection: Baltimore. A winning projection for a rebuilding team. See Michael Tanier’s comment.

Player Who Will Most Exceed His KUBIAK Projection: Andre Hall. It looks like he’ll split carries with Selvin, and get the goal line carries. If this is true, he has to exceed his projection.

Player Who Will Most Underperform His KUBIAK Projection: Earnest Graham. Once again, I agree with Tanier. Dunn will get plenty of touches, and Carnell might come back.

In The Long Run, The Most Overblown Story Of The 2007 Preseason Will Be: Brady’s injury

Super Bowl: Patriots over Saints.

BCS: USC over Florida

With The First Pick In The 2008 NFL Draft, The What Selects Who? The Ravens select Vontae Davis

Click my name if you want to see my standings projections.

15
by Adam B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:15pm

Also, these predictions were made before the update to the DVOA projections that moved Houston out of a projected wild card spot and Dallas into a projected wild card spot.

I believe you meant Denver.

16
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:17pm

I think people are underestimating Tavaris Jackson. Sure he wasn't good last year, but in his second year in the league, he posted a -5.8% DVOA and 6.0 NY/P, while being very effective on the ground. That's not good, but it's not like he's Alex Smith, either. He did have help from the running game and a good offensive line, but his receivers were terrible. This year, with another year of experience, the same running game, and better receivers, he could improve on his mediocre performance from last year. And if he's average or very close to average, he's done his job.

17
by TBW (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:22pm

I think the coin and die analogies that have been tossed out are wrong. I think what is being argued is that if you roll a die(that you know nothing about, you don't know if it is a fair or "trick" die) 4 times and it comes up "1" each time, does that make you question the fairness of that die ? Obviously it's not enough data to be definitive, but the longer the streak lasts the more convinced you would be that the die isn't fair, that the rolls are not independent events.

That's what Vince is suggesting(I think). Given the Cowboy's run of good health he's questioning if health is really random from season to season or if it can be controlled by other variables like medical staff. It certainly seems like a reasonable idea, especially if the whole premise of the article is to use the human touch to highlight flaws or shortcomings in the model that might cause it to be wrong.

18
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:27pm

That there is a 5/6 probability that the die will land on a value greater than 1 in no way validates the notion of “due”-ness.

My contention would be that "due" is a statement of probability.

At best it is a redefining of the term to fit the model.

Redefining from what? Perhaps you could provide a link to the official definition of "due" which I am redefining?

19
by Wait, what? (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 7:30pm

Redefining from what? Perhaps you could provide a link to the official definition of “due” which I am redefining?

See link in name, but I think this says it nicely, and is most likely the way that other people are interpreting it (from Gambler's Fallacy on Wikipedia): "[I]f a fair coin is tossed repeatedly and tails comes up a larger number of times than is expected, a gambler may incorrectly believe that this means that heads is more likely in future tosses. Such an event is often referred to as being "due"."

Another way of looking at it: if "due" is, as you claim, a statement of probability, what result is due on a single coin flip? Is heads due? Is tails due? Obviously they are equally "due," but that sounds horribly wrong to me.

tl;dr: common usage of "due" is to imply that we should see a given result based on past results, while you are saying it means that we should see a given result based on probability.

20
by Marko (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 7:50pm

I hope Ben Riley's pick of Clemson to win the BCS was made before last Saturday.

With The First Pick In The 2008 NFL Draft, The What Selects Who? The Ravens select Vontae Davis

I believe the correct choices are "Miami Dolphins" and "Jake Long."

21
by Eddo (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 8:05pm

14 (Ryan):
With The First Pick In The 2008 NFL Draft, The What Selects Who? The Ravens select Vontae Davis
I think you mean the 2009 draft (2008 happened this year). Then I think you mean the 2010 draft, because Davis is only a sophomore this year, and therefore cannot be drafted until the next year.

22
by hellrayser (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 8:20pm

It's amazing that four elevenths of the FO staff thinks the Seahawks are going to the Superbowl, numbers, injuries and common sense be damned. If that happens I'll buy Mike Holmgren his bookstore myself.

23
by Ryan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 8:37pm

Re: 21
You're right that I meant 2009. I just copied from the main article, they got it wrong too. :]

Vontae is a junior this year, though

24
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 9:00pm

Superbowl 43
Raiders beat Eagles

Bcs- dont care

1st pick in draft- Chiefs get qb (d0nt know which one but team has to get one becausue Bridie Croyle is crappy player)

offensive rookie of year0 Darren McFadden

team better than Kubiak- Raiders

team worse than Kubiak- steelers

Steellers not making playoifos. Going to be Browns in AFC Norther.
player better
than Kubiak- Andre Johnson

player worse than Kubiak- Jay Cutler

25
by Wikitorix (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 9:30pm

#17 Even if the die is unfair, the rolls are still independent events. Independent doesn't mean fair, it means the probability two events occurring together is the product of the probabilities of the individual events.

26
by thepeepshow (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 9:54pm

I suprised to see that over a third of the staff has the Seahawks in the Superbowl.

What is this? West Coast Bias?

27
by morganja (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 9:58pm

I just don't understand the predictions of Carolina being essentially the same team as they were last year when they had zero quarterback play for 13 games.

Are you really saying that the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers is no better than the backups they had last year, Carr, Testaverde and Moore?

28
by hector (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:59am

No individual staff playoff predictions because you're concerned about perception and occasional skewing? C'mon guys, you're better than that.

29
by JeffW (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:09am

#7:

"I thought the biggest problem with your (subjective) predictions was that they were too conservative - generally between two and four division champions repeat, and most of your correspondents predicted six. Now PFP predicts six! We shall see…"

How is this too conservative? Division winners compose 25% of the teams in a conference and yet they win their division >25%(the "mean" of 2-4 repeats is 37.5%) of the time the next year. You're a lot better off picking division winners to repeat then you are trying to pick non-division winners to overtake them.

30
by Joe in Seattle (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:47am

I'm biased, but I think Seattle is a decent bet to represent the NFC in the superbowl.

They might have the best QB in the NFC, the running game should produce and the offense line is improved with Wahle at LG and Simms moving to RG (no more Chris Gray).

The Hawks have problems at WR, but they also have some of the best receiving running backs in the game (Jones, Morris, Weaver) and they should get better production from the TE this season.

The defense is good and the kickoff team will improve thanks to Olindo Mare's kickoffs.

I think Green Bay, Dallas and maybe Philly are a tick above Seattle, but the Hawks are a decent pick.

31
by billvv (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 7:26am

Your picks are like saying the weather will be the same as yesterday. Correct more than incorrect, but hardly a prediction. Tell me the unexpected.

32
by TruFalcon (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 7:31am

And what exactly will it look like when the Lions are starting Roy Williams and Megatron, with Crabtree in the slot Vince?
Will they ever run the ball?
Will they ever need to?

33
by Waverly (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:03am

Anyone want to vote on which Football Outsiders staff writer will propose (or has already proposed) the most improbable prediction that comes true?

Or the most bland sure-thing that turns out false?

Or the funniest one-liner?

Or the most outrageous statistic?

34
by Temo (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:48am

We went over the Cowboys injuries and the use of the word "due" in statistics in this thread:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2008/08/21/extra-points/6468/#comments

35
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:53am

NFC
E- Dallas
N - GB
S - NO
W - Sea
WC - Phi
WC - NYG
AFC
E - NE
N- Pitt
S - Indy
W - SD
WC- Jax
WC- Ten

SB 43- Indy defeats Dallas

The pick you guys are most wrong about is Baltimore. Flacco and Smith are 1000% not ready for the NFL and their schedule is brutal. Last year I was harping on you being wrong about the G-Men, but Bal is winning less than 6 games.

Season Win totals
- Indy Over 11 ( +140)
- Baltimore Under 6 (+100)
- Cleveland Under 8 (+100)

36
by drichters (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:55am

Regarding: flipping coins, Dallas injuries, dueness, regression

If I race an Olympic sprinter in a 100 yard dash, and he beats me by a large margin, would FO predict a tie in the next race because we will both regress to the mean of our times? I hope not.

Perhaps there is some research that suggests that there is one injury rate that teams vary around, but I find this hard to believe. Certainly Favre is less injury prone than the average player, he wasn't just really lucky. Perhaps Dallas is either better at measuring injury prone-ness than most teams, or they put a higher premium on players that don't get injured, or they don't report injuries as often, or the training staff prepares the players better, or the medical staff treats them better, or countless other things.

I don't see any reason to believe that Dallas should be expected to have a league average injury rate this year if they have established a lower rate. You could expect Dallas to regress to their mean, not the league mean.

37
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:57am

Sean McCormick has the winning SB prediction right there. The AFC's best will defeat the NFC's best.

You guys are way too low on Dallas, and way too high on Baltimore. Some people might argue you are too high on Philly, but I agree they are underrated at this point.

38
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:01am

Predicting injuries is always a difficult thing. It's not like we are talking about Fred Taylor or Ken Griffy Jr. here. Where is the injury worried for Donovan Mcnabb? Is Mcnabb not going to get hurt because he was hurt every year in the past few years, while dallas WILL get hurt because they were healthy? That logic is faulty at best. If that were the case, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Tom Brady are all "due".

39
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:10am

Ok, so Michael Oher's an awesome prospect and all, but all five outsiders who chose him as the #1 pick in 2009 have him going to a team that used a 2008 first round pick on a left tackle prospect. There are certainly teams I can envision drafting him first overall (Lions, Rams, Raiders) but I'm not convinced KC or Atlanta would, especially with Sam Baker supposedly looking impressive so far.

40
by MatMan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:45am

"You could expect Dallas to regress to their mean, not the league mean."

This is correct, and everyone who disagrees is wrong. Sorry to be so blunt, but we can only argue mathematics and logic in the comments section for so long before we lose sight of what's being argued. The Cowboys are relatively injry-free becuase they have the league's best strength/training program and they've steered clear of injury-prone players. How many games will Glenn miss for the Cowboys this year? Zero.

41
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:54am

NFC:
1. Philadelphia
2. Green Bay
3. Seattle
4. Tampa Bay
5. Minnesota
6. Giants, in a blatant homer pick over the Cowboys

AFC:
1. Patriots
2. Chargers
3. Jaguars
4. Bengals, with a 7-9 record
5. Colts
6. Texans

SB: Jaguars over Eagles

Most likely to beat PFP projection: Jets, much as I hate to admit it
Most likely to fall short: Baltimore, only because of the offense

Most likely to exceed KUBIAK: Romo
Most likely to underperform KUBIAK: Adrian Peterson. He's probably going to disappear in a bunch of games, and is a big injury risk to boot.

Super Bowl XLIII: Jacksonville over Philadelphia
First pick of the draft: Falcons and I don't know who.

42
by Mac (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:59am

Oher's significantly more famous, but the consensus opinion in the SEC is that Andre Smith is the better left tackle. Smith's a junior, but everybody expects him to come out.

43
by MR_TIGGUMS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 10:19am

Terry Glenn will miss every game because he's an injury-riddled 34 year old free agent.

I think the Seattle Seahawks will at least get to the NFC championship game. The running game and line has been upgraded, and most, if not all, of their receivers should be back by week 4. Their division is a cakewalk, and their defense is championship caliber. Plus, I don't see Tarvaris Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, Jeff Garcia, or Kevin Kolb to do much damage in the post-season.

And I'm praying to the fantasy gods that Edgerrin James goes down early so that my Tim Hightower pick doesn't look stupid.

44
by Temo (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 10:22am

I'm very much conflicted between agreeing with FO's DVOA projections to avoid the FOMB curse, and wanting to declare the (seemingly) obvious wrongness of its projections. Who else thinking the T-Jack led Vikings will be better than Dallas' 3rd ranked offense last season (which is returning all starters and making Barber the starter while adding Felix Jones-- perhaps minus Kosier for at least half the season).

I can see why DVOA expects injuries to happen, since it expects the Cowboys (who have historically low injury rates) to regress to the mean. Indeed, the cowboys have already had a lot of injuries. They've lost one starting O-Lineman for at least half the season, and could be going into the season opener with only two healthy WR. Two linebackers who play between 10-15 snaps a game are injured, and Terence Newman is still questionable for the opener recovering from a groin tear.

45
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 10:46am

I think the truly overblown story of the past few years, and it continued through this preseason, was the “Here Comes Sheriff Goodell” bit. The Commish talks a tough game, but I have not seen any positive effect on the league’s disciplinary problems. None whatsoever.

Doug Farrar is my new most favoritest person. Well said, sir.

46
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 10:56am

Andre Smith is undoubtedly a serious talent, but at 6'4 he may be a little short to be seen as a truly elite NFL left tackle prospect, and he appears to have a worrying propensity to gain weight. I think NFL front offices will find reasons to be wary of him.

47
by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 11:08am

Hey #31--

Here’s your standard warning: Predictions are probably wrong. It is the intrinsic nature of the NFL: there are so many variables and so much luck involved in a 16-game season that teams will make the playoffs or bomb for totally unexpected and sometimes baffling reasons.

Let’s say we think the Philadelphia Eagles have the best chance of any team in the NFC to make it to the Super Bowl. Perhaps we think they have a 20 percent chance to make it, and we think that six other teams have a 10 percent chance to make it, and eight other teams have a 2.5 percent chance to make it, and they will also play some games in Atlanta this season.

OK, so we pick Philadelphia to win the NFC. Even based solely on this opinion, there is four in five chance the pick will be incorrect. So preseason predictions are all going to be mostly wrong.

I think the FO guys already have the "predictions are inaccurate" thing covered here.

48
by jimm (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 11:12am

I'm probably the only person that thinks this but I don't think New England will be a top team this year. By the end of last year they were roughly the same level of team as Jacksonville, SD, NYG, GB, Dall, etc. I don't see where they've gotten any better and their key players are a year older and their QB is hurting.

I think NE and the Jets will have quite a close battle for the division.

49
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 11:17am

Anybody want to throw out Jason Campbells name for underachiever?

Dude didn't complete a pass last night until 1:12 left in the first half. The Redskins went 3 and out on their first 4 possessions. He holds onto the ball too long, and that is not good in the WCO. He also runs a horrible 2 min drill, and was throwing 5 yard passes on 3rd and 18, and 4th and 13. The clock just kept ticking late in the game, and he had no urgency.

The worst part of all is the report of Andrea Kramer at halftime. " I spoke with Jim Zorn and in the locker room and he wants Campbell to read the defense instead of picking a receiver to throw to before the play and locking in on him". What Campbell was doing last year was playing robot, if he wants to be successful in this league he will have to play QB, and he wasn't doing it last night either.

50
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 11:34am

Is it not correct that team age has more to do with minimizing days lost to injury than any external factor.

I struggle to believe that anything Dallas has or does is so superior to the competition that creates a legitimate competitive advantage.

51
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 11:36am

NFC:

East- Dallas
North- Minnesota
South- New Orleans
West- Seattle
WC- Philadelphia
WC- New York Giants

AFC:

East- New England
North- Cleveland
South- Indianapolis
West- San Diego
WC- Jacksonville
WC- Houston

SB: New England over Philly

The one pick that requires explanation is Cleveland to win the AFC North. I believe Pittsburgh is a better team, but Big Ben will get hurt and they will lose every game he misses.

52
by billllllllly (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 11:37am

i completely agree with BB about GB. those corners are crusty, and the one area they arent hitting home runs in the draft is at safety. rodgers may be good, but i dont think hes got the pedigree to keep the team on an even keel in the event of a downturn, and i dont think he prevents defenses from cutting down the running game. not yet, anyway

53
by Joseph (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:04pm

My 2 cents:
AFC Division winners--NE, SD, Indy, Pit (1-4) WC=Jax & Jets (win tie-breaker over Hou); NE over Jax, Indy over SD, NE beats Indy in a close one.
NFC Division winners--Sea, GB, Phil, NO (1-4) WC=Dal (lose tie with Phil), Min; Sea over NO, Phil over GB, Sea rides HFA to the Bowl, only to lose to NE in a shootout.
KC=#1 pick overall, ATL #2
Overrated team--Baltimore
Underrated team--[HOMER PICK] Saints

One other comment--I hope Julius Jones doesn't exceed expectations--I just picked him for Loser League. (BAD GIANTS--giving up garbage time yds to Campbell)

54
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:25pm

#49 - he looked completely lost. He is not getting the ball out quick enough, and I don't know if it has to do with his receivers not getting separation (Moss and Randle El are outmatched without help from a big receiver) or just indecision on his part.

His pass blocking looked OK as the game progressed but the run blocking was bad. The Giants didn't fear the running game, were able to maintain pass rush with reasonable success, and keep their pass coverage pretty thick.

I disagree with some playcalling made by Zorn. As cliched as it sounds, WCO is predicated on passing to set up the run. They nearly gave up on passing altogether. I remember at least 1 three-and-out that was three consecutive rushing plays.

That said, Eli Manning looked sharp in the first half and fell off in the second. He couldn't complete passes against a largely scrub secondary. It may have been because Washington dialed up their pass rush and Manning was forcing throws.

55
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:52pm

Aaron Rouse is the backup satety in GB and will take over a starter role if either Bigby or Collins trip up. Rouse is regarded by FO as a top ten breakout talent and Packer fans agree.

Collins in particular is on a short leash.

56
by John (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:59pm

Do you guys believe in your own product?
How can the projected DVOAs for next year show the NFC has caught up to the AFC at the top levels, and yet you guys pick 10-1 for the Super Bowl Champ to come out of the AFC? I can understand many picks for the Patriots since they are the #1 projected team, but the next 2 best teams are NFC teams, and even without the Pats picks you guys are 6-1 for the AFC. This looks like a systematic error. Either in your DVOA projector, or in your staff. One of you is wrong.

57
by Mike W (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:25pm

Badger - over/under on when Rouse takes over for Collins? Week 2.5 is my guess. Also, I haven't seen any GB preseason or read the papers, etc. Is the feeling that Bigby will play better this year, in line with his supposed late-season improvement last year?

58
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:27pm

"emember at least 1 three-and-out that was three consecutive rushing plays.

That said, Eli Manning looked sharp in the first half and fell off in the second. He couldn’t complete passes against a largely scrub secondary. "

It wasn't just 1 3 and out with all running plays that was the problem. The redskins were running on every single first down. It was run, run, 3rd and 9. You can't expect a QB to do well if every pass hes throwing is 3rd and 9.

As to Eli, the only point he looked good to me was the 1st drive. The rest of the game he was either being bailed out by the fact that Plax is a monster, or that the Redskins DBs can't catch. There were 6 or 7 balls in that game thrown directly at Redskins DBs.

59
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:30pm

"(Moss and Randle El are outmatched without help from a big receiver)"

Completely agree. There were atleast a couple of balls to each that should have been caught. That long ball at the end to Thrash hit him in the chest.

The one really bad throw I saw from Campbell was the long bomb he threw in the third (?) quarter, where Madden was gushing about how good Ross's coverage was, while at the same time the replay was showing, and it was clear that Moss had totally burned Ross, and the ball was about 10 yards underthrown.

60
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:41pm

Campell does hold the ball too long, and I can't really think of a QB who ever managed to learn to get rid of the ball sooner. It is a seriously bad problem for an NFL QB to have. He doesn't have any one part of his game that causes his problems, but he does have just about every small problem you can think of. He is slow through his reads, but not tectonic. He holds the ball far too low and consequently has a long wind up, but it isn't Leftwich bad. Why does he feel the need to stare at the chosen receiver? Has he never heard about looking off the safety? He does a few other things too slowly, but those are his worst problems. It all combines to leave him only just finishing his reads when he should be throwing the ball, he then stares at his chosen receiver for a couple of seconds and then slaps the ball at waist height meaning that he has to lift the ball all the way up to his shoulder before starting to throw it, and that takes far too long. The other problem his sloppy (or poor) mechanics cause is that he doesn't seem able to throw on the move without re-setting his feet. When they tried him on a waggle he couldn't get rid of the ball in time as the DE ran upfield, if he can't waggle properly he will have a hard time trying to run a WC offense.

The guy clearly has a good arm and seems athletic, I wonder whether he is one of those QBs who ends up only being good enough to get your coach fired. The fact that he is one of Chainsaw Dan's draft picks doesn't help in this regard.

61
by Charles (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:49pm

Tim Hightower is the man and every NFL fan will know his name by season's end.

62
by Geo B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 2:09pm

Baltimore? To win the AFC North? *snort*
Steelers fan, want them to win, they might, they might not - but Baltimore? With a rookie QB and an aging defense? Guess we'll see if you're right - I could understand picking either of the Ohio teams over Pittsburgh, but not Baltimore.

That's why they play the games....

63
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 2:28pm

58- Thank You, that is exactly what I have been saying for a year now, and everybody called me a Redskins hater. Holding onto the ball too long, Long wind up ( although not Leftwhich bad), no audibles, double clutching the ball, being way to conservative, always throwing check downs, screen left, screen right. The coach himself said he had to read the defense and stop locking onto guys.

Everybody can point out a QB who has problems like no mobility, a weak arm, but if you can exploit a guy like Campbell with these mistakes early on, you can profit from then. The Redskins were 9-7 and a playoff team, however they were 5-7 Under Campbell LY and he was 3-7-2 Against the Spread. Todd Collins was 4-0 as the starter, 4-0 ATS and was better in every measurable stat... TD-INT ratio, comp. pct, comp. per game, Yards per game, Team PPG, Sacked less, fumbled less, more yards per attempt, and the guy was throwing the ball BEFORE his receivers made his breaks. Collins also beat the SB champs, #1 team in NFC, Bears comeback in relief duty, and Minn on a MNF game which probably helped win the playoff birth. Collins had a QB rating over 100, Campbell was in the low 70's.

I am not saying Campbell will never be good, or is a terrible guy, but the WCO does not match his skillset. With a lot of 3 step drops, 5 step drops, slants, quick plays, read and react, option routes, having a guy with that holds onto the ball too long with a slow release/wind up is a problem.

64
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 2:53pm

Mike:

I just get the sense that with Rouse playing SO well in limited opportunities if Collins drops one more softball of an interception that McCarthy will make a switch. His face can turn bright red only so many times before he does something.

Seriously, are their numbers on dropped interceptions? Because Nick Collins has to lead the PLANET.

65
by JR (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 4:17pm

The Lions draft pick joke will still be funny in 2060.

66
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 4:29pm

Rich - Are you refering to the play in the 2nd Q on the left side of the end zone where Toomer cut his route off and the ball hit the defender?

Zorn was trying to take pressure off Campbell with the run and short passes. It is too bad the Redskins took it to the extreme. Even with the draws and screns on 3rd and long and the run plays when your team is down 2 scores with 4, 3, 2 minutes to go.

Do you defend Eli Manning when he is constantly in 3rd and 9 situations and has a bad game ? I am sick of people always crapping on Eli after bad games, and then making excuses for Campbell or other guys.

I agree Santana Moss had a ball he should have clearly caught, but did we defend all of Eli's dropped balls last year from Plax, Shock and Toomer? The Giants led the league in dropped balls.

The Redskins had what, 6 first downs, and 2 of those were personal foul penalties on the Giants? Campbell looked awful. He isn't as bad as he played, but this game was a perfect illustration of why he isn't meant for the WCO. The WCO is the exact worse offense to play in if you aren't reading the defense and you decide who you are throwing to presnap ( locking onto the WR). The WCO is like a game of musical chairs, where somebody is going to be uncovered, you just have to read the puzzle of the defense. It takes most QB's 3 years to fully grasp the WCO, and watching T-Jackson and Jason Campbell learn is going to be ugly. It boggled my mind how Minnesota didn't go after Jeff Garcia 2 years ago.

67
by Temo (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 4:31pm

50. The cowboys had the 4th youngest team in the league last year (click name). However, the Colts had the 2nd youngest team and we know how they ended up on injuries. I suppose starter age would be a better indicator, but I don't have that. And anyway, PFP 2008 did this research and found that, at some positions, older players actually get hurt less (D-Line especially, I remember).

68
by Peter (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 4:43pm

I love the fact that the 11 FO pundits above listed the Seahawks as the second most-favored team (four picks) to be in the SB, second to the Pats (five picks).

In my own words, however, I admit to being a Seahawks fan, and therefore biased, but the Seahawks have to be a legitimate SB contender, as Philly has an injury prone QB, as does Carolina, New Orleans isn't consistent and lacks that high-caliber defense, Green Bay will have to live with Rogers' learning curve, and the NY Giants are overrated, and will discover that soon enough. What this means to me, is that its a strong bet to have the Seahawks playing Dallas in the NFC Championship game. One strong reason: Seattle has a cush schedule (DAL and NE are the only HARD games), and that means more wins, which means more home games in the playoffs, and they are one of the best at home (the crowd volume can't be explained, it can only be experienced - ask opposing QB's). Oh yeah, did I mention Dallas' trio of problem children...? TO, Pacman and Tank Johnson will make some ripples felt throughout the team... plus the Boys have their own playoff problems as is.

Are the Seahawks a lock for the NFC Championship game, or even the SB? No. But they are a strong bet. After their bye in week 4, they should have everyone healthy for week 5. And who REALLY believes Buffalo (or SF or STL) has what it takes to outlast the Seahawks defense and running game, assuming the passing game isn't clicking on all cylinders? From week 5 on the only REAL worries should be Dallas and New England, with due concern given to the Giants and Eagles.

And one more thing: I'm psyched that my 'Hawks get to play the Packers, Jets, and Dolphins... all the teams affected by the Favre/Pennington soap opera... it makes for a fun season.

69
by Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 4:50pm

Regarding Jason Campbell he was pretty robotic last night. First his offensive line, partiularly early on, was not very good. Seemed like Campbell never really got
into any sort of rhythm whatsoever. As far as his holding on to the ball too long that is correct. It seems like he is trying too hard not to make any mistakes and I guess technically he did not since he threw no interceptions but at this point he is really mechanical. Unlike others however I am not extremely pessimistic about JC's ability to learn and do well in the WCO. Does anyone know how many career starts JC has. The reason I ask is because during the off season I read an article where Trent Dilfer said it takes an NFL QB about 35 or so starts to really get a feel for the speed of the NFL. I think alot of Campbell's hestitancy is due to the fact that he is still in that learning curve. Remember, many coaches and scouts did not think the WCO fit Donovan McNabb's skill set either.

I just hope that Jim Zorn does not over panick and bench him 2 games into the season. If he thought that Todd Collins was the better QB then he should have started him from jump. It's not like the Redskins are legit Superbowl contenders so Zorn might as well let Campbell make all the mistakes he needs to.

70
by Kevin (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 5:10pm

Vince Verhei, your coin flip comparison with Dallas failed to make any sense. Assuming that Dallas recieves an average amount of injuries (or a coin lands on heads 50% of the time) would lead to Dallas getting 8 wins as projected. Assuming that Dallas will be injury free and get 10 wins is like the coin landing on heads 100% of time. For the future lets use coin flip analogies a little bit more logically.

71
by cd6! (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:10pm

After the season, anyone who wanted to criticize FO found it pretty easy. You were bound to find something completely stupid predicted for every single team, even if it was only the opinion of one writer.
If you're trying to avoid criticism I don't think this approach will succeed. Rational people won't look back on a past season and say "ha you were wrong, what a stupid prediction" when at the time it likely made sense. IE nobody expected the Favre resurgence.

On the other hand, I don't think "we're not having individual writers make picks for FO" is commendable. Either you support all your writers and if one of them fails you stand behind them, or you don't trust their judgment and they probably shouldn't be a writer on staff.

All that said, here's my response to the actual picks: baltimore? omg wtf?

72
by David C (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:18pm

Mike Tanier-
Julius Jones wasn't used in that role with Dallas because it was better for them to just line up Witten as a FB/TE, but I think anybody would have a better chance competing with Maurice Morris than Jason Witten for catches. He can definitely excel in that regard.

73
by Tundrapat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:25pm

Um, Raiderjoe? Yeah...let me show you the way to the Foxsports comment threads. Join in and relax, you'll feel right at home.

So, are you FO folks saying - as of now, anyhow - that this is finally the year that both of my teams ('Hawks and Vikes) are going to make the playoffs? And you don't even have them playing each other in the Wild-Card Round?

I'm going to assume you're entirely correct, and spend a moment in anticipatory celebration.

- - -

Yeah, that was nice. Moving on - do you really think that the Seahawks are that likely to get to, much less win, the Super Bowl? With banged-up WRs, and the 3-headed monstrosity of MoMo (actually MauMo, but that sounds like a postmodern Belgian artist or a Brazilian midfielder), Jones, and Duckett?

From what I've seen (not that they give him the ball much), one might think Leonard Weaver should actually get most of the carries in that backfield.

74
by hector (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 9:53pm

Campbell holds onto the ball forever, doesn't have the fastest delivery, and the Grandfather of Max Protect just left the building. Every time someone reached on Campbell in my fantasy football drafts this year (often), I just laughed and appreciated the donation.

75
by 2468ben (not verified) :: Sat, 09/06/2008 - 12:56am

#73. Be careful who you're talking to, that's the honorary 11th man on the FO starting squad. If you make him go away, then they'll have to spend months reprogramming ROBO-PUNTER to pass block.

76
by t.d. (not verified) :: Sun, 09/07/2008 - 12:45pm

The funniest thing is Vince having the Lions taking Crabtree with the first pick in the draft.