Dun dun dun dunnnnnn. Football is back!!!!
And so is Friday Morning Quarterback for a special Pre-Kickoff Thursday Night edtion of FMQB. It’s also Year 6! Not sure if that’s an obsession or not, but we’ll roll with it. My pre-season predictions is always a bit of a more tedious post, so I’m cutting it back a bit this year. Mainly with my team by team analysis, because I’m not sure how many people care about my thoughts around the Jaguars or Buccaneers. I’ll talk about some, but plan on keeping it brief. Any complaints and I can change it next year.
- Blake Bortles is top 5 QB in either yards or TD’s this year. INT’s don’t go down
- RGIII sees a resurgence this year before getting injured at the end of the season. Comeback player of the year
- Andrew Luck is his old self, bringing the team to the AFC Championship game
- Brock Osweiler becomes the real deal for Houston
- Bears WR Kevin White is a household name after this year
- Kelvin Benjamin is back with a vengeance. Top 5 receiver in the league
- Last year as starting QB for Jay Cutler (I’ve held onto him too long)
Rookies to Watch
Dak Prescott starts more games than Romo (see my worshiping of Dak below). My pick for Rookie of the Year
Ezekial Elliot thrives behind that staunch Dallas O-Line
Jared Goff, of course. See when he gets significant playing time. My guess is he’s inserted in Week 9 and keeps the job
Carson Wentz: I don’t think he’s 100% and has hardly had a chance to adjust to NFL speeds. Could be a long season
Joey Bosa’s saga ends up being worth it for San Diego. He gets defensive Rookie of the Year
New guys duke it out, but Andy Dalton edges Andrew Luck for the award
Broncos: I have actually seen a legitimate site list the Broncos as the best team in the league, with a QB who has never thrown an NFL pass. Wow
Team by Team predictions
Patriots: (2015: 12-4): Brady’s suspension will hurt the team but not enough to lose the division. 10-6
Dolphins: (2015: 6-10): Not impressed with the Dolphins this year. Tannehill will regress. 4-12
Bills: (2015: 8-8): The Bills hype is also over. They got blasted in the preseason. 4-12
Jets: (2015: 10-6): Jets finally make the playoffs with Fitzpatrick. 10-6
Bengals: (2015: 12-4): They would have been even better if Dalton was healthy. My #1 seed this year at 13-3
Ravens: (2015: 5-11): Another team that was decimated by injuries. They are close to playoff caliber this year but in a tough division. 8-8
Browns: (2015: 3-13): I think RGIII does improve the team a bit, but to 6-10.
Steelers: (2015: 10-6): Will fight for the division, but make a run in the playoffs. 11-5
Broncos: (2015: 12-4): Their defense won them a Super Bowl with a mediocre QB last year. Won’t happen again and they’ll miss the postseason. Big dropoff to 7-9
Chargers: (2015: 4-12): Another team that I don’t see improving. 3-13
Chiefs: (2015: 11-5): Division winner, could see even going deep into the playoffs. 12-4
Raiders: (2015: 7-9): Will show considerable improvement, Derek Carr will get people talking. 10-6
Colts: (2015: 8-8): Colts re-take the throne with a healthy Andrew Luck. 10-6
Jaguars: (2015: 5-11): Sleeper team this year, improves but misses the playoffs at 9-7.
Titans: (2015: 3-13): They’ve added a ton of key players, but are still a couple years away. 7-9
Texans: (2015: 9-7): Osweiler will be the key, or the reason for failure. 9-7
Giants: (2015: 6-10): New coach, same system, same results. 7-9
Redskins: (2015: 9-7): Redskins take this mediocre division again at 10-6.
Eagles: (2015: 7-9): Trading Bradford was a mistake this year. Wentz struggles, goes 6-10
Cowboys: (2015: 4-12): Cowboys are my sleeper in the NFC, as you’ll see in my Dak Prescott worshiping below. 10-6
Vikings: (2015: 11-5): Read my Bridgewater/Bradford rant below. Vikes miss the playoffs at 8-8
Lions: (2015: 7-9): Could have a powerful group of receivers. Barely miss out at 9-7
Packers: (2015: 10-6): Packers easily run with the division at 12-4.
Bears: (2015: 6-10): This team is mediocre at best, but see them regressing to 5-11. John Fox’s last year
Rams: (2015: 7-9): I see improvement, but the QB carousel will be their demise. 8-8
Cardinals: (2015: 13-3): Slight regression from last year, but they get in a Wild Card spot at 10-6
49ers: (2015: 5-11): Chip Kelly is the only thing going for this team. Otherwise the #1 overall pick looks nice 3-13
Seahawks: (2015: 10-6): Seahawks right the ship and take the division at 12-4
Saints: (2015: 7-9): No big change, still mediocre at 7-9 again.
Falcons: (2015: 8-8): Falcons are a team going downhill, even with Freeman and Jones. 6-10
Panthers: (2015: 15-1): Panthers continue to dominate the division, but just at a paltry 13-3
Buccaneers: (2015: 6-10): Winston will look better this year at 8-8.
Super Bowl picks
If we’re talking Vegas, I have money on the Colts and Cardinals (simply for Odds purposes).
In terms of FMQB, I have Packers and Patriots going, Packers winning it. Second choice would be Bengals Seahawks.
In Dak We Trust:
I know a lot of people have jumped on this train, but I ended up watching the first two preseason games; Rams and Dolphins. Both games he looked incredibly poised, had a rocket of an arm, good pocket presence, and could run if he needed to. 5 TD’s, 0 INT’s in 3 preseason games. The Cowboys biggest problem the last 5 years was that whenever Romo gets injured, their season is over. They have had Kyle Orton, Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassell, and Jon Kitna to fit the bill. This year they have a stark Rookie, who they can easily train as the replacement to Romo. He’ll have a chance to show his skills the first 6-10 weeks. Could make a decision to re-insert Romo pretty tough, but keep in mind the one full season he was healthy during that timeframe, he took the Cowboys to 12-4.
First, living in Minnesota and spending time around a bunch of Minnesota fans, I got to feel their despair first hand when Teddy Bridgewater went down. It literally felt like somebody passed away. There was video of the Ambulance going to Winter Park, players swearing and crying, business that day seemed to come to a standstill. Very similar to when Prince died (yes I’m making that comparison, no don’t jump down my throat for it I know it’s not the same). It’s all anybody could talk about on the radio and in the office. I truly felt bad for Vikings-nation. Even my Packer-fanatic girlfriend showed remorse rather than glee that they had just been handed the division. It was a sad day.
Fast forward 96 hours, and in true Viking-fan form, the whole “we won a game honey, we’re going to the Super Bowl” mentality was back! The Vikings traded their first round pick for none other than Sam Bradford. A guy I had rallied behind for 4 years while in St. Louis, but never got to see his true potential due to injuries. My famous argument was “He was rookie of the year for a reason, he has talent!” I ended up giving up on him after the 2nd straight year of having to watch Shaun Hill QB our team due to his injuries. But with a mere 8 days to learn the offense before opening day, and of course because #5 defense from last year is all of a sudden compared to the 85 Bears (yes I heard that on the radio) and 01 Ravens or 03 Buccaneers (Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson were main arguing points). This makes them Super Bowl worthy.
I have yet to hear a definitive timeframe for Teddy’s injury. I have “heard” 16-20 months, but only read in official reports 9-12. Here’s my thought on the whole Bradford trade, which I’m sure people won’t like. The Vikings way-overpaid, and anything less than a Super Bowl this year is a failure. Why? Because I think Bridgewater is back next year, and at the worst for a majority of that 2017 season. There’s no way that they have Bridgewater and Bradford compete for the spot, it’s Teddy’s team. So in my mind, this is a 1 year, band-aid trade. They gave up their 1st round pick to try to remain in their championship window, when one could argue there’s at least 6 other teams more talented than the Vikes anyway. It’s just too much in my opinion.
Goff vs. Wentz
I realized that I never really inserted my opinion regarding the top 2 picks this year. Part of it has wavered, but still remains the same. As a Rams fan, I’m extremely disappointed that they chose Goff over Wentz. Goff has had the worst college record of any #1 overall pick (14-23), although he did break some of Aaron Rodgers’ school records. Still, that’s a 37% win rate. As of Hard Knocks, we have seen that Day 1, successfully receiving the hike from the center was a giant challenge. Maybe there’s a reason he’s inactive Week 1. On the flip side, Carson Wentz won 5 National Championships while in college. Yes, FIVE!!! That’s an all time NCAA record (although he red-shirted his freshmen year). He also scored higher on the Wonderlic test than Peyton Manning.
Here’s my thoughts. I like the Rams approach, I was afraid they’d start Goff immediately, and it seems like most Rookie QB success comes by waiting (a la Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer). They have a chance to learn the offense and develop mentally before getting thrown into the fire physically. HAD the Eagles kept Sam Bradford and developed Wentz in the same way, I would hands down have said Wentz is and will be the better QB (thus, being severely disappointed as a Rams fan). But it’s up in the air for me now. I have seen flashes of greatness from Jared Goff, but also blundering rookie mistakes. He’s also gotten smoked a couple times in the preseason, and he’s not even playing against 1st string guys. Wentz on the other hand is now being thrown into the starting spot after just a couple preseason reps before getting hurt (and he may not be 100% healthy). Will be interesting to watch this season.
Stat of the Week:
Sam Bradford has been paid $1M for every TD pass thrown in the league ($78M earned in career, 78 TD passes)
Quote of the Offseason:
I’m not going 7-9 again!- Jeff Fisher, Rams head coach
For the Record:
It’s strange to realize, but for the first time in 12 years, the debate “Who’s the best QB in football” isn’t synonymous with “Brady vs. Manning.”