Friday, August 15, 2014

Dallas Cowboys 2014 Team Preview

The Dallas Cowboys are at a serious crossroads heading into a new year of football after three-straight seasons of losing the NFC East title with a loss in Week 17 to finish 8-8. If you recap this team's offseason with some major losses through free agency and some freak injuries to some key defensive personnel, the arrow appears to be pointing downward to a six or seven win season at best.

One sign of this is that the betting public has driven up the futures odds on this team over the past few months. The Cowboys have gone from being second-favorites behind Philadelphia to win the NFC East this season to the bottom of the list with the highest odds of all four teams. I would have to agree with this assessment as I cannot see Dallas staying competitive with the Giants and the Eagles in 2014. There are still some major concerns with Tony Romo's health after undergoing back surgery at the end of last season and the Cowboys are primed to have the worst defense in the league after finishing near the bottom of the NFL last year in almost every major category.

This is an unbiased opinion that is rooted in plain facts. My biased opinion is that whatever team owner Jerry Jones gets out of his Boys this season is what he deserves. He has every right to meddle as much as he wants since he is writing the checks, but it is pretty obvious that he has no business keeping the role of general manager, especially when it comes to personnel decisions. There is no room in the NFL for ridiculously inflated egos when it comes to winning Super Bowl titles. Jones' enormous ego has gotten so big that his team cannot even compete in the watered-down NFC East.

Below is a link to my complete team preview for Dallas as previously posted on Cappers Picks.

Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XLIX Betting Lines & 2014 NFL Preview

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Washington Redskins 2014 Team Preview

The first full week of the 2014 NFL preseason kicks things off this Thursday night with the Washington Redskins hosting the New England Patriots in a game that is listed as a PICK. Pulling a page out of Chip Kelly's playbook, the Redskins also hosted New England this week for some head-to-head practices against Bill Belichick's squad. Kelly did the same thing last season in his first season as the Eagles' head coach, so Jay Gruden decided to follow suit in his first year at the helm in Washington.

The big story with this team is the future development of third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III. As a rookie. he played lights-out to help lead the Redskins to a 10-6 record after they won just five games the year before. They also captured the NFC East title that year, but made an early exit in the playoffs with a loss to Seattle in a game that RG III ended-up with a serious knee injury.

After getting rushed back into the starting lineup last season, his production dropped way off the map and the Redskins sunk from first back to worst in the NFC East with a record of 3-13. Some experts have this team jumping right back into the division title race this season with a winning record, but I see Washington's projected win total of 7.5 games as being right on the mark with a lean towards the UNDER on a record of 7-10.

The following is a link to my complete team preview of Washington in an article that was previously posted on Cappers Picks.

Washington Redskins Super Bowl XLIX Betting Lines & 2014 NFL Preview

Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC East with Picks and NFL Predictions

I have been making my way through the NFL the past few weeks by reviewing the futures odds to win each of the eight division races this season as part of a series for Doc's Sports. My journey comes to an end this week with the preview and predictions for the division most near and dear to my heart; the NFC East.

This division has been tagged as the NFC least on more than one occasion over the past three seasons and when 10 wins is good enough to win the title that is going to happen. None the less, this division contains some of the highest profile teams in the league led by America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Jerry Jones's bunch has hardly lived up to this designation with three-straight 8-8 records while losing the last game of the year with the NFC East title on the line. The prospect for a reversal of fortunes this season does not look to good with a defense that has been devastated with a major loss of key personnel through free agency and injuries. This is after this unit finished the 2013 season ranked near the bottom of the NFL in a number of major categories.

The Redskins' ride from worst-to-first-to worst the past three seasons has paved the way for Jay Gruden to take over the reins as head coach. Much of their success this season is pinned to the play of quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has been on his own personal roller-coaster ride in his first two seasons in the league.

The New York Giants added two more Super Bowl titles to their impressive team resume in the past seven seasons but they were a non-factor last year with losses in their first six games. Something tells me that this will not be the case in 2014 as New York works its way back into the mix for a division crown. For the fourth season in a row the NFC title has a good chance of coming down to the final week with Philadelphia on the road against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

It is probably no big surprise to anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis that I am going with the Eagles has my pick to repeat as division champions. I had them going 8-8 in Chip Kelly's first year at the helm and the Birds exceeded my expectations by two games. I am upping the ante to 11 wins in 2014 against a projected win total of nine games with most major sportsbooks. I have the Eagles getting that crucial 11th win to secure the division title with a victory against the Giants in that Week 17 showdown.

The following is a link to my complete preview and predictions for the NFC East as originally posted on Doc's Sports. Be sure to check back over the next two weeks for individual previews for all four teams in the NFC East.

2014 Odds to Win NFC East with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC North with Picks and NFL Predictions

My trip through the 2014 NFL division previews and predictions for Doc's Sports takes me to the NFC North this week. The Green Bay Packers have dominated the Black and Blue Division of the NFL for over two decades with a winning record in 18 of their last 22 seasons. The Packers have laid claimed the division title the last three seasons so it is no big surprise that they are heavy favorites to make it four in a row this year.

I would have to agree with the Oddsmakers on that call as long as quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains healthy. Green Bay stumbled to a 2-5-1 record in his absence last season due to injury and the team had to scratch and claw its way to a NFC North title with an overall record of 8-7-1.

The Chicago Bears are expected to give the Packers the most trouble this season after going 8-8 last year. It is the second year of the Marc Trestman era in Chicago and its already potent offensive attack should only get better. The question mark here is can the Bears' defense regain the form that made it one of the most formidable units in the league just a few years back?

Detroit is a franchise that just cannot stand success, most likely because it is not used to achieving it. The Lions have posted just three winning seasons since 1996 and while they had things rolling last season with a 6-3 start, a second-half collapse led to a 7-9 record overall.

Minnesota could only manage four victories last season after going to the playoffs in 2012 with a record of 10-6. The Vikings' projected win total for this season has been set at six games, but that could be a reach with far more questions than answers especially at the quarterback position.

The following is a link to my complete preview of the NFC North as originally posted on Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win NFC North with Picks and NFL Predictions

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 Odds to Win NFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions

Going back to 2002 when the NFL realigned its format to eight divisions containing four teams each, nobody in the NFC South has been able to claim the division title two years in a row. Carolina won it last year with a better than expected record of 12-4 and New Orleans was second at 11-5. After that things dropped off a cliff with Atlanta and Tampa Bay each winning just four games.

As stunning as the Panthers climb to the top of the division last season might have been after going 7-9 the year before, the biggest shock in the NFC South was the Falcons fall from grace after winning 13 games in 2012. Worst to first runs in this division are not all that uncommon, which adds some solid value to Atlanta's chances for a quick turnaround from last year's misfortunes.

With the exception of the 2012 season when head coach Sean Payton was serving out a year's suspension levied by the NFL, New Orleans has been the most consistent team in the NFC South with a winning record in five of his seven seasons with the team. The Saints are once again favored to win the division title this year and my personal best bet to get it done.

The following is a link to breakdown of all the teams in the NFC South in terms of their chances to win the division title this season as part of my ongoing series for Doc's Sports.

2014 Odds to Win NFC South with Picks and NFL Predictions