An NFL season review, how Las Vegas was wrong and the crowning of a new champion

Another regular NFL season has regrettably come to a close, bringing us plenty of surprises that nobody saw coming back in September.

The Giants and Steelers are out of the playoffs; the Colts, Bengals and Seahawks are all in.  Three rookie quarterbacks had breakout seasons, one man nearly broke the single-season rushing record and another recovering from neck surgery led his team to an eleven-game winning streak and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Who were we to ever doubt Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning?

At the beginning of the season, I held my second annual Over/Under contest where I asked each of you to pick ten teams and rank their projected win total over or under by confidence points.  One participant was nearly perfect but before we get to this year’s winner, let’s take a look at where Las Vegas odds makers were right and where they went horribly wrong.

WHERE LAS VEGAS WAS RIGHT

When it comes to betting over/unders, there are certain teams I stay away from.  Las Vegas is always going to set double-digit wins, or thereabouts, on teams like the Ravens, Patriots, Giants and Packers.  The only problem with that is you generally have to wait until season’s end to figure out whether or not you’re a winner.

For example, Las Vegas placed the Giants over/under at nine wins.  The Giants finished with, wait for it, nine wins.  I didn’t need all season long for some odds maker locked in a secret room in Las Vegas to tell me the Giants would hover right around that number.  You might as well have bet on a coin toss.  Similarly, Vegas had the Ravens at 9.5 wins.  They finished with ten.  To me, it just seems like a long time to wait on a return for your investment, not to mention making you sweat the entire way.

This year, Las Vegas was within two games on 18 of the 32 teams in the league, which actually isn’t all that impressive by their standards.  Finding that surprise team Vegas is going to miss on, and there were quite a few this year, is always a rewarding play, both emotionally and financially.

WHERE LAS VEGAS WAS WRONG

Arizona Cardinals (Projected win total: 7.5/Actual win total: 5) – Vegas missed by 2.5 wins

The Arizona Cardinals are not a very good football team.  What’s worse is they don’t appear to be getting better any time soon.  They’ll have a new head coach next year after firing Ken Whisenhunt, they play in a division that is only going to get tougher and they have millions of dollars locked up on a quarterback that’s not getting any playing time.  With that dreary outlook, I don’t expect next year’s over/under to be as high as 7.5.

Atlanta Falcons (Projected win total: 9.5/Actual win total: 13) – Vegas missed by 3.5 wins

Las Vegas didn’t throw around all that many 12’s this year.  The Texans (10 ½), Packers (11 ½) and Patriots (12) were the only teams projected to win more than ten games.  We now know odds makers should have put Atlanta in that mix.  I actually liked the Falcons over 9.5.  With the coach-less Saints, Cam Newton’s impending sophomore slump and a new coach taking over in Tampa Bay all playing in the same division, taking Atlanta over 9 ½ wins seemed like a no-brainer.  Too bad I didn’t bet real money on it.

Denver Broncos (Projected win total: 8.5/Actual win total: 13) – Vegas missed by 4.5 wins

You suddenly feel like kicking yourself, don’t you?  Just remember it wasn’t all that long ago that many of us were wondering whether Peyton Manning could ever return to be the Manning of old.  Apparently the only people convinced he could were John Elway and the General himself.  Las Vegas probably took a bath on this number as they did with Atlanta and a few other teams I’m about to mention.

Detroit Lions (Projected win total: 9/Actual win total: 4) – Vegas missed by 5 wins

Yes, you read that correct.  The Detroit Lions, who were in the playoffs last year, won only four games in 2012 and that’s with Calvin Johnson amassing nearly 2,000 receiving yards.  Head coach Jim Schwartz still has his job for now but you have to imagine his dismissal was at least being discussed.  Another missed post-season next year and that dismissal might become reality.

Indianapolis Colts (Projected win total: 5/Actual win total: 11) – Vegas missed by 6 wins

We knew Andrew Luck would be good.  We just didn’t expect him to lead the Colts to NINE wins more than they had last year.  Apparently, neither did Las Vegas.  In retrospect, picking over five wins here didn’t seem all that much of a stretch.  Picking them to make the playoffs would have been.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Projected win total: 5.5/Actual win total: 2) – Vegas missed by 3.5 wins

The Jaguars are a hot mess.  They have an owner who’s counting down the days before he can move the team to Los Angeles and they’re rumored to acquire a quarterback who can’t throw the football but can pack people into the stadium.  Regardless of what happens, I’d look for Las Vegas to keep their projected over/under total low next year as well.

Minnesota Vikings (Projected win total: 6/Actual win total: 10) – Vegas missed by 4 wins

Whoops, Las Vegas!  Wrong again!  Adrian Peterson had himself an MVP season and just missed breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record by nine yards.  Apparently, Las Vegas didn’t have enough faith in him or in second-year quarterback Christian Ponder.  They were wrong on both counts.  The Vikes landed double-digit wins and a playoff berth in the process.

New Orleans Saints (Projected win total: 10/Actual win total: 7) – Vegas missed by 3 wins

The Saints were a tough team to figure out.  We knew they were talented but they were going to be playing without their head coach and a few key players to boot.  Could they still muster ten wins with the Bounty Gate penalties hanging over their head?  Not this year.  Las Vegas probably lost a fair amount of money on this play, for who in their right mind thought a coach-less team could win ten games in a fairly competitive division?  “Not I,” said the guy who bet the Saints under.

New York Jets (Projected win total: 8.5/Actual win total: 6) – Vegas missed by 2.5 wins

I’m tired of writing about the Jets and I’m pretty sure you’re tired of reading about them.  Let’s just say they sucked this year and move on, shall we?

Oakland Raiders (Projected win total: 7/Actual win total: 4) – Vegas missed by 3 wins

Speaking of sucking, the Raiders are another team who appear to be going nowhere fast, finishing with the third worst record in the league.  Raider fans are no longer painting their faces to support their team but more so that they’re no longer recognized at home games.

Philadelphia Eagles (Projected win total: 10/Actual win total: 4) – Vegas missed by 6 wins

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to have a whole different look next year but, rest assured, they still might suck.  Gone is Andy Reid who served as their head coach for fourteen seasons, winning 130 games over that span and reaching the playoffs nine times.  Most Philly fans will tell you it was time for Reid to go.  They might just want to be careful what they wish for.

Seattle Seahawks (Projected win total: 7.5/ Actual win total: 11) – Vegas missed by 3.5 wins

If you didn’t watch the Seahawks this season, you missed out on some good football.  This is one of the most exciting young teams in the league.  They scored 50 points in back to back games, becoming only the third team in NFL history to do so, and turned a lot of heads, including those in Las Vegas, by winning 11 games and nearly winning their division.

Washington Redskins (Vegas projected win total: 6.5/ Actual win total: 10)

If you haven’t heard of RGIII by now, you’re obviously living under a rock.  Robert Griffin III and fellow rookie running back Alfred Morris led the Redskins to Washington’s first division title since 1999.  For the record, Griffin was nine years old back then.  Eagles, Cowboys and Giants fans are all collectively fearing what the ‘Skins have in store in the years to come.

And now, our contest results…

Most everyone fared pretty well this year as one would come to expect from such an educated batch of readers.  This year’s final results actually went down to Week 17 with the outcome hanging in the balance.  Even though Las Vegas was far off on a number of teams, eight of the league’s 32 teams number’s actually went down to the final week to determine.  In the end though, only one of us could stand victorious, with some pretty impressive picks I might add.

How impressive, you ask?  Let’s just say out of his ten picks, he got nine correct.

In reverse order, here is how we placed.

Bleed 28

Heavy D 29

Tophatal 29

Hanahan 30

Speedbeagle 33

Dwindy 34

Yaz 34

Snake 35

Dub 36

Rocky Top 36

Chappy 38

SportsChump 39

Zbignu 40

Joey Mills 42

Jamie/Dallas Sports Rant 44

Aero 44

Christian/Blog Surface 45

And our winner with an impressive 53 points is…. RAVENOUS.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give him a well-deserved round of applause.  He promises to frequent the comments section a bit more often now that he has bragging rights, or as he called it, a little more ‘street cred.’

Thanks again to all those who participated and enjoy the playoffs.

49 thoughts on “An NFL season review, how Las Vegas was wrong and the crowning of a new champion

  1. Pingback: An NFL season review, how Las Vegas was wrong and the crowning of a new champion - BallHyped Blog Network, NFL | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Yea!!! I beat last year’s champ! LOL!!! But then again so did darn near everybody else! Explain yourself Hanny…

    AND… What in the world happened to the Gators??? Louisville? Huh?

  3. Dwin…

    Han was grounded this year. Besides, we all pretty much figured last year was a fluke. He can go back to playing with his matchbox cars now.

    Besides, that’s what he gets for not hosting a pick ‘em contest this year.

    My take on the Gators, you ask? Charlie Strong had his boys ready to play, Muschamp didn’t. Seemed pretty much as simple as that.

  4. I thought the pic and story was just awesome…should be team captain next year IMO. I will quit submitting comments for now lol

  5. D…

    What became evident Wednesday night is that we had no leadership on the field whatsoever.

    That wasn’t a problem when Brandon Spikes was running the defense and baby Jesus handled things under center but right now, this team has no guidance on the field.

    We’ll see if Driskell can step into that role next season.

    And re: the avatar, I may have to talk to my webmaster about how to make that happen. Heck, I don’t even have one and I thought I had some pull around here.

    You may need a wordpress account. Can anyone here who currently has an avatar help Heavy D out with that?

  6. 1) I also demand a recount. I should have sucked. So, this is what mediocrity feels like…

    2) “The Philadelphia Eagles are going to have a whole different look next year but, rest assured, they still might suck. ” By replacing the word “might” with “will,” this could be the most accurate sentence in the history of blogging.

  7. Chris

    There are , who we thought they were ,… ” crown ‘em they’re champions …. go on crown em’ . What you waiting for ” ? Sorry I had to channel my inner Dennis Green ! .

    Some great games on the schedule this weekend but the game I’m most enthralled by is the match-up between Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins !

    Robert Griffin III against Russell Wilson , two of the best young quarterbacks to have entered the league in the past 12 years , I believe !

    Have you read or heard the commenst by former NFL executive Bill Polian ? He states that an NFL seeking to apply the strategies of ” Moneyball ” would not work in today’s NFL , even with or without a league mandated salary cap . I thought it all pretty interesting considering the financial makeup of the NFL , MLB , NBA and the oh so , pitiful NHL !

    Tophatal ……….

  8. Chris

    Florida had issues all over the place against Louisville . But what was really surprising beyond the lack of leadership on the field , but there was certainly nothing coming from Muschamp and his coaching staff off it , in terms his changing styles , much less boosting the morale of his players .

    The Gators let that game slip away from them far too quickly , and once that happened they were pretty much done .

    How can three franchises from the NBA Eastern Conference be so goddamn awful ? The Bobcats (8-23) , Cavaliers (7-26) and Wizards (4-26) are pretty much making sure they end up in Webster’s Dictionary and the term fu#king awful ….. as in these three teams suck !

    Quality control in the NBA, will we ever see that come to the fore ?

    Tophatal ………….

  9. Congrats to the birdman of Baltimore! WTG Ravenous!

    In the immortal words of Ric Flair, “You can’t be first, but you can be next!” So, it’s with great honor that I turn over my crown and scepter to this year’s champ.

    Pay no attention to the jealous little people just now coming into daylight so as to taunt the inaugural futures champeen. I had a great run and repped my subjects well. And, now I’m on to greener pastures and higher stud fees,

  10. Woohoo, Blog Surface representing! We’re never good with these over/unders, but nonetheless we’re surprised of where we ended up. Another great contest yet again Chump, always happy to participate!

  11. Dub…

    Well, you know how I like to strive for accuracy.

    Are you at all surprised that Reid jumped at that Chiefs job? At least he’s the same size to wear some of the sweater vests Romeo Crennel left behind.

  12. Jim…

    If I can do my piece to help any of us make money against Vegas, then that’s what I’m here for.

    You guys can send me a thank you card later.

  13. Al…

    That leadership issue is something that Muschamp is going to have to address.

    This will be his third year so he’ll have a few more of his players, and not that other guy’s, on that roster. Here’s hoping he knows what to do with ‘em.

    Bobcats, Cavs and Wizards, Al? Why are we talking about them? Oh, and if you look carefully, the Heat have quietly crawled into that top spot in the East. Hate to say I told you so.

  14. You mean we weren’t using the golf scoring method?

    …And I thought my Lakers had it bad.

    Congrats to RAVENOUS.

  15. Green was coaching in the UFL , not to be mistaken for the UFC or the women’s Lingerie Football League .

    If Muschamp doesn’t address the issue , then Jeremy Foley will make the decision that some of us have grown accustomed to ….. Next .

    Texans 19-13 over the Bengals . Please tell me I should expect more when Schaub takes his team to meet . the Patriots next weekend ?

    So the Vikes weren’t up to the task against the Packers ?

    Tophatal …………….

  16. Al…

    Green’s coaching in the UFL? How much is he getting paid? If anything, we should make up for his lack of income collectively for that glorious soundbite he gave us.

    I think Muschamp’s job at Florida is safe for now. He’s apparently a mad recruiter. Let’s see if he can pull off another strong season. Let’s keep in mind nobody in their right mind expected an 11-2 season out of this team, no matter how disappointing the final game turned out to be.

    Houston against New England? I’ll take the Pats. Green Bay at San Fran? Give me the Pack.

    The Magic may be reeling but in a weak Eastern Conference, they’re still only four games out of a playoff spot.

    And I’m pretty sure there’s nobody in Minnesota more disappointed tonight than Christian Ponder.

  17. Chris

    Denny Green could return to the NFL and become a successful coordinator .

    As for Muschamp , you do remember what happened with Ron Zook don’t you ?

    As for Ponder , I don’t care what the Vikes are saying about his not being able to suit up for the game against the Packers . It’s rumored he hurt himself performing his conjugal duties , having recently gotten married to ESPN sideline journalist Samantha Steele . I’d give her a piece of “my steel rod” as well ! That’s a fine piece of @#s !

    Have you been following the story on Houston Rockets’ first round draft pick (16th overall) ….. Royce White ? The kid has psychological issues , refuses to be placed with the team’s D League affiliate where he can be given the additional in-depth assistance .

    White says that the Rockets have not been assisting him by providing him with proper medical assistance . Royce White suffers from bipolar disorder as well as other major anxiety and social issues . Why the hell is he in the NBA , if he has those type of problems ? Surely it would have been better to address that , before making that jump to the NBA ?

    Tophatal ……

  18. Here’s one Philly fan truly grateful for the wish fulfillment that is the departure of one Andy Reid. Consider as of Christmas 2004 he had 64 career regular season wins. Since that date, he only won 66 more regular season games. In short, 64-30 up front and 66-63-1 down the stretch. His first batch of coordinators and talent meshed well but once those assistants moved on, paased away (Jim Johnson) etc. and he took more control, things went south. Chris, it is hard to imagine a season worse than the one just completed. A couple of the W’s were “steals” and Philly could have easily had the #1 pick. We’re already at rock bottom and he had plenty of years to drill down to it.

  19. I got a 35 and I don’t know squat about football. Next season, I’m gonna get one of my cockapoos to do the picking for me. Then, maybe you’ll see the Snake jump up near the top of the heap.

  20. Al…

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare Zook and Muschamp. First of all, Zook never led the Gators to an 11-2 season. Not even close.

    I hadn’t been following that White situation but it’ll be interesting to see how the NBA handles iy.

    If he’s a contracted employee, don’t they have the right to ensure he gets the proper medical care?

  21. SA…

    I agree that it was time for a change in Philly and that Reid, with all he went through in his personal life, had lost his fire, which is why I’m surprised he didn’t take a little time off to just decompress. He jumped all over that KC gig like it was the last rib at a barbecue.

    You’re right about your Eagles though. They’re in a world of hurt and a team that once appeared so promising is now having to start from the ground up once again.

    That division isn’t about to get any easier.

  22. Snake…

    Feel free to allow your birds to take a pick. In fact, that’s a good idea.

    Let’s have everyone have their pets take their picks next season and see who has the smartest animal in the bunch.

  23. Chris

    Do you recall any of the recruiting classes of Ron Zook ? He was never really given the chance but he stacked the deck for Meyer to be more than successful , didn’t he ?

    As for the White situation , can you say preexisting condition ? As he had that issue in college . And if that was the case , then why wasn’t it addressed there ?

    Not too dissimilar was Ricky Williams , but he tried to claim that his psychological problems had to do with social anxiety disorders . I’d say no , given the fact that Ricky just loved the sticky icky as well as laying ” the wood to any female who was willing to be like an all purpose 7 Eleven Store , opening her legs at all hours of the day so that Williams could make a semen drop off deposit . Five baby mamas and eight kids later , do you hear anything about Ricky having a social anxiety disorder .

    He’s now a certified Ayurvedic healer , making and selling potions to cure you , of what ails you the most as a homeopathic healer . Have you any back back problems or enhancement issues ? Then Ricky is your man .

    Speaking of which , “Honey Badger” Tyrann Mathieu , says, he sought out Ray Lewis for inspiration and motivation . Word to the wise for Mathieu , stay away from the “weed” , women of ill repute named Tanequa , LaShonda , Monique , Rasheeda , LaVeronique and whi#e chics who just wanna suck ##ck .

    Nice to see the Irish turn up for that customary SEC a$s whupping ! Next !!!!!! That game wasn’t even close and Notre Dame’s defense had more holes in it than a deliberately damaged condom .

    Tophatal …………….

  24. The Rockets have the right to aid Royce White and therein lies the issue . The team wants to assign him to their D League affiliate where there’s less pressure rather than being a part of the first team roster and being under that constant pressure and the glare of the press . GM Daryl Morey has been more than fair to White , because the player didn’t make the organization aware of his medical history until after he had been drafted .

    So as such the Rockets aren’t really obligated at all to really assist him but what they’re doing is being magnanimous with this gesture .
    Because with being reassigned with the D League , less pressure and more time would be afforded for his treatment . Royce White doesn’t seem to understand that and claims he’s mistreated and singled out by the Rockets . Not only that but the player says he can contribute to the team as a regular member . Clearly , he has a great number of issues .

    Tophatal …………

  25. Don’t get me wrong, Al. Zook could recruit like a mother but that didn’t translate into wins which is why he got run out of town. Again, he never had double digit wins in a single season.

    While this comparison might not be entirely appropriate, don’t teams or even leagues have a responsibility to their players in order to avoid another Jovan Belcher situation? With all the money they generate, why can’t they be on the cutting edge of medical research for issues like these, pre-existing or not?

    And yes, Al, that was an ass-whooping last night but like a train wreck, I couldn’t turn my head away from the game… and not only because they kept showing AJ McCarron’s girlfriend every five minutes.

  26. If players are hiding their medical issues , especially in the case of Royce White , then what is a team suppose to do ? Even if the general manager of an NBA franchise approaches that college and requests details as to a player’s medical and mental records , the college can’t divulge that information without consent , unless it’s requested under a subpoena by a law enforcement agency .

    In the case of Jovan Belcher , he’ds always been abusive to his ex girlfriend (police records show calls for reports of domestic abuse ) , and when she apparently wanted a cooling off period , he went completely off the rails .

    This whole thing has now gotten all the more insidious as both sets of families are now said to be fighting over the custody of the child, that Belcher and Kessendra Perkins left behind .

    In your mind , was Zook given a fair shake ? Bear in mind , the decision to jettison him as the Gatos’ coach , wasn’t primarily Jeremy Foley’s alone , but also the alumni and boosters .

    Tophatal …………..

  27. I seriously doubt that any of the four major professional sports’ hierarchies (MLB, NBA , NFL or NHL) by way of the teams’ front office executives carry out in depth background investigations of the players they hope to draft . If anything , it is something of a tentative and hearsay in nature , and that truly never reflects that players’ character or personality .

    It’s a sad indictment of the sporting landscape when this is now what has to happen just in terms obtaining a player no matter how talented they might happen to be ! Also , what it does it say about a player, in terms of their character , if they’re prepared to lie about their health , mental health or otherwise ?

    Tophatal …………

    Tophatal ……………

  28. Al…

    If Belcher was having issues, then it should be well within his employers rights, in this case either the league or his team, to reprimand him for his behavior. Take his paycheck, suspend him or worse. If you and I show our ass on the job, that’s what done to us, isn’t it?

    And you’re asking the wrong guy if Zook was given a fair shake. The guy had three seasons to get the job done and couldn’t.

    I’m not convinced he could have done what Urban Meyer did even though Meyer did it with his players. His resume in Illinois proves that, doesn’t it?

  29. And Al, to your point about drafting players, I think there are quality guys in each sport that are talented enough to bring their teams championships.

    It’s why your Spurs and Pats have had so much success over the years. It’s a credit to their GMs and coaches and the proper selection and scouting talent and character guys.

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