It's really hard for me to gauge and my opinion fluctuates with my mood. I think people are way overreacting to the offenses preseason struggles (I bet we score a TD against Buffalo in the first quarter) but I'm far from confident this is a playoff team.... But on paper, looking at our schedule, it's just hard for me to say we only win a handful of games. This defense is too good.
I think the downside is 7 wins (unless disaster strikes, such as a Sanchez season ending injury, in which case we could be 2-14) and the upside is a return to 11-5 from 2010.
I'll say 10-6.
@ Patriots L
@ Rams W
@ Titans L
We'll still go 9-7 because of the terrible schedule. We kill bad quarterbacks that aren't named Chad Henne.
I think we caught a bit of a break when the Dolphins announced Tannehill as their starter, at least for this year. We play them twice in the first 8 games. I don't think any rookie QB is ready to play this defense right out of the gate like that. We also get Luck early on, in Week 6. Those are 3 games that would be progressively harder the later in the season they were played.
We get the Steelers on the road in their home opener: Loss. The importance of the 1st game has already been gone over many times. We lose to the Bills, you can pencil in an 0-2 start to the year.
The 49ers and Texans. This is where my optimism probably shines through. I have the 49ers and Texans coming back to Earth this year. The Texans will have the same record because Schaub will be healthy (I think) and they play in a bad division. I see both teams as 10-6 caliber opponents, and we get them both at home. I think it's more likely that we beat the 49ers than the Texans, in what would be a 13-10 kind of game.
We're losing both games to the Patriots. No need to discuss that any further.
We get Seattle in Week 10, coming off of our bye. The game will be Seattle's 10 consecutive game, their bye coming in Week 11. This is one of those games where I don't see the other team being able to score. The potential pitfalls: we suck after bye weeks with Rex and Seattle is a rough place to play.
Week 11 @ Schitty. We better not lose this game. And not just because it's against Schitty: We play the Pats 4 days later. It's the week after they play the 49ers, so maybe they'll be a little beat up. And I would certainly hope that Rex could shut down Schitty's offense after seeing it in practice for 3 years.
Weeks 13-15, Cardinals, @J'ville, @Tennessee. I have us at 7-4 or 6-5 going into this stretch, depending on the Bills game. If we're 6-5, we need all 3 of these. 3 more games we should be able to hold the opponent under 20. The Jacksonville game could be another ugly, 10-7 affair. I can't wait to see Revis vs. Fitzgerald in the Cardinals game, especially now that we have the All 22 camera angles available to us. Tennessee is one of my bottom feeders for the year, along with the Browns, Vikings, and Redskins*. I'm completely unimpressed by Jake Locker, maybe they'll have Hasselbeck back in by then, which would make that game more difficult.
Who are going to get hammered by that schedule: play in the NFCE, drew the AFCN and NFCS for out of division. Steelers, Saints, Ravens, Falcons, Giants 2x, Eagles 2x, Cowboys 2x, Bengals, Panthers. Ouch. Then no 1st round pick after they go 4-12. Disregard all stories about RGIII's struggles this year, it's not going to be his fault.
We're at 8-6 or 9-5 going into the last two games, the difficulty of which are almost impossible for me to assess because the Chargers and Bills are two teams that are impossible for me to get a read on. They're in the 6-10 to 10-6 range, just like us. Given that, I'll say we split here.
We finish 10-6 or 9-7. Not because we're all that good, but because of the weak schedule. Kind of like the Buccaneers in 2010 or the Bengals last year.
If we make the playoffs, we play the Broncos or the Texans on Wildcard weekend and lose, close to the Texans or by 2 touchdowns to the Broncos.
After a 1-4 or 2-3 start before the inevitable sweep by New England, 7-9 seems the most realistic.
If we're going game-by-game:
Week 1: vs Buffalo ~ Undecided
Week 2: @ Pittsburgh ~ L
Week 3: @ Miami ~ W
Week 4: vs San Francisco ~ L
Week 5: vs Houston ~ L
Week 6: vs Indianapolis ~ W
Week 7: @ New England ~ L
Week 8: vs Miami ~ W
Week 10: @ Seattle ~ L
Week 11: @ St. Louis ~ W
Week 12: vs New England ~ L
Week 13: vs Arizona ~ W
Week 14: @ Jacksonville ~ W
Week 15: @ Tennessee ~ W
Week 16: vs San Diego ~ W
Week 17: @ Buffalo ~ L
As a long term dark sider I was very impressed by what I saw last night. This team can do damage in this league. The AFC this year is wide open with lots of imperfect teams. We could do very well against the competition in the AFC this year.
One thing we do know is, we have NO idea how the Jets actually plan to use Timmy and in what positions. With Mark and Timbo on the field (in a TE, backfield whatever spot), I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to cause at least a little chaos and score some TDs.