Maintaining consistency in creating content for Hooking Foul has been my biggest challenge. Often times I pick it up, run with it for a while, put it down, not meaning to leave it for months and yet, here we are again, months have gone by without a post. Even though I’ve started some fun, great stuff, I haven’t finished any of it.
I’m fairly certain that this is going to change over the next couple of weeks, months and years going forward, as will the scope of Hooking Foul in general.
One: because football is back.
Two: because of this guy.
Everyone please meet Ronan Driscoll Sullivan. Born August 12, 2017 at 8:43 am measuring in at 8 pounds 5 ounces and 20.25 inches long. Mom and baby are both doing exceptionally well, considering the huge physical toll pregnancy, labor and delivery are for both Mom and kid. I honestly don’t know how Kelly did it, but I am amazingly proud of her and lucky to have her as a partner on this adventure.
Now that’s not to say this is going to become a full blown Dad-blog. I don’t imagine that it will. I’m still going to have lots of thoughts about the Patriots, Red Sox (God I hate this 2017 team), and Celtics. As well as national sports topics that fuel my fire.
I’ll be much better about putting up my NFL picks. It’s my favorite part of my version of “covering” the NFL as a whole and I need to demonstrate that more.
I’ll be talking about golf a lot more, for sure. My game and the PGA tour. A weekly golf pool has really endeared me to the week in, week out grind for these guys. But that won’t come til the spring.
So in between diapering, swaddling, cuddling, feeding and adjusting to the whole life change that is suddenly being responsible for the life and well being of a tiny little human, I give you my 2017 NFL preview.
So let me give you some insight into how this process went.
First, I listed the teams 1-32 in how I felt their talent stacked up against each other and tiered them in that listing. Before you see the tiers, some thoughts.
- The NFC is better than the AFC
- 7 of my top 10 teams are in the NFC
- 7 of my bottom 10 teams are in the AFC
So while the #2 team should in theory always beat #3, there are circumstances that can override that simple ranking. Home field being the biggest trigger for me to have a lower ranked team beat a higher ranked team.
The easiest example of this can be seen in week 1, where The Seahawks, my #2, travel to play the Packers, my #3. I have the Packers winning that game because I think the two teams are very close and the Packers are at home. Simple enough right?
Everyone gets that the different colors represent different colors represent the different tiers, right? Good.
And I will tell you now, by the time we get to the end of this some of this tiering will have changed. After picking every game I found things that just stink for teams and drove their record and tiering down.
So before I get into the actual 256 game picks. Let me make this clear, this is if everything goes perfectly for every team. And that doesn’t mean every team would win the Super Bowl. It just means that every team would maintain their talent level throughout the entire season. So yes, for example, the Patriots are picked to go 16-0 because they have the best roster. But in reality I know they will lose games throughout the season for a myriad of possible reasons.
|AFC EAST||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CONF||PLAYOFFS|
- As I said, Patriots have the best roster and I like how the schedule lines up for them. At Pittsburgh, Denver and the Raiders in Mexico City will be tough.
- I like Adam Gase, I do not like Jay Cutler.
- I think the Bills are tanking.
- I know the Jets are tanking.
|AFC NORTH||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CONF||PLAYOFFS|
- I really like the Steelers schedule and if their defense takes a step and Big Ben stays healthy they coast to 12 or 13 wins.
- Bengals have a good year, but miss the playoffs.
- Ravens just aren’t good enough and QB questions abound.
- Browns are in a much better place now than a year ago, but that’s not saying much.
|AFC SOUTH||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CONF||PLAYOFFS|
- I like the Titans to take a step into the playoffs.
- Texans can’t utilize that defense to dominate until they have a QB.
- Jaguars are better everywhere, except under center.
- A lost year for the Colts based on Andrew Luck’s health.
|AFC WEST||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CONF||PLAYOFFS|
|2||Chiefs||10-6||7-1||3-5||8-4||4-2||2-2||Wild Card 1|
|3||Chargers||10-6||7-1||3-5||8-4||3-3||2-2||Wild Card 2|
- I think the Raiders are the best of a good lot.
- Chiefs maintain their status as a team in the middle.
- Chargers have a nice statement year in their return to LA.
- Broncos inability to replace Peyton Manning continues to leave them outside the playoffs.
|NFC EAST||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CONF||PLAYOFFS|
- I don’t much care about the Ezekiel Elliott suspension. The defense will be better even if the offense falls off a bit.
- The Giants defense, with just a little help of the offense can get them to 10 wins.
- A nice step for the eagles to establish a home field presence, but they have to learn to take their show on the road if they want to make a leap.
- I thought I liked the Redskins a lot, but apparently I don’t and I feel fine about it.
|NFC NORTH||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CONF||PLAYOFFS|
|2||Vikings||12-4||8-0||4-4||9-3||5-1||3-1||Wild Card 2|
- The Packers are due for an Aaron Rodgers year of damn near perfection.
- The Vikings run game improvements give that defense the ability to stay off the field more and get into the playoffs.
- The Lions slip back because Jim Caldwell.
- Da Bears created for themselves a muddy QB situation, that’s never a smart move.
|NFC SOUTH||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CON||PLAYOFFS|
|2||Falcons||12-4||8-0||4-4||9-3||4-2||3-1||Wild Card 1|
- The Panthers bounce back on defense with the return of Luke Kuechly and on offense with the addition of Christian McCaffrey on offense.
- The Falcons do not fall victim to the Super bowl runner up, miss the playoffs cliche. They are too talented for that.
- The Bucs stay about where they were in 2016. Mostly because the Panthers and Falcons are just better.
- The Saints break a 3 year run of 7 wins a year in a bad way and finally implode.
|NFC WEST||TEAM||SEA||HOME||AWAY||CONF||DIV||NON CON||PLAYOFFS|
- If the Seahawks can protect Russell Wilson they could match the Patriots 16-0 from 2007.
- The Cardinals are mediocre again because that’s what Carson Palmer is, mediocre.
- It looks like a backwards move for the Rams, but in reality this team is better at the end of 2017 than they were at any point of 2016.
- Status Quo for the 49ers, but not necessarily for long.
So there is the 256 game regular season laid out for you. You don’t even need to watch now. Especially you My Friend Craig, because why would you want to watch the ugliness that will be Buffalo football in 2017?
Well we picked all the regular season, we may as well tell you what happens in the playoffs as well right?
So that leaves the Wild Card round as
- #3 Panthers hosting the #6 Vikings with the #3 Panthers winning.
- #4 Cowboys hosting the #5 Falcons with the #5 Falcons winning.
Setting up a Division Round of
- #1 Seahawks hosting the #5 Falcons with the #1 Seahawks winning.
- #2 Packers hosting the #3 Panthers with the #2 Packers winning.
Setting up an NFC Championship featuring
- #1 Seahawks hosting the #2 Packers with the #1 Seahawks avenging their season opening loss in Green Bay.
So that leaves the Wild Card round as
- #3 Raiders hosting the #6 Chargers with the #3 Raiders winning.
- #4 Titans hosting the #5 Chiefs with the #5 Chiefs winning.
Setting up a Division Round of
- #1 Patriots hosting the #5 Cheifs with the #1 Patriots winning.
- #2 Steelers hosting the #3 Raiders with the #2 Steelers winning. (I REALLY want to see this game happen.)
Setting up an AFC Championship featuring
- #1 Patriots hosting the #2 Steelers with the #1 Patriots winning.
So in searching to be the first team to successfully defend a Super Bowl title, since, they did it back in 2004-2005, the #1 New England Patriots will face the #2 Seattle Seahawks. And my pick? Well if I stick to my, if everything goes perfect for every team, than the Patriots will win at the expense of the Seahawks poor offensive line.
So your 2018 Super bowl Champion will be, for the 3rd time in 4 years, 2nd in a row and 6th in 17 years will be the New England Patriots.
How about a preview of that NFL awards show?
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
AP Offensive Player of the Year presented by Microsoft: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year: Dallas Cowboys
Salute To Service Award Presented by USAA: JJ Watt, Houston Texans
AP Assistant Coach of the Year: Steve Wilks, Carolina Panthers
AP Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year: Demarcus Walker, Denver Broncos
AP Defensive Player of the Year presented by Old Spice: Cliff Avril, Seattle Seahawks
AP Comeback Player of the Year presented by McDonald’s: JJ Watt, Houston Texans
Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
AP Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
So that’s that, right?
Oh wait, no it isn’t, I need to list the official Week 1 Hooking Foul Sleeveless Power Rankings!
I know, I know, how can this go any longer, but I promise you, The following is all you are going to get on Tuesdays’ going forward. And then Thursday’s you will get my picks for the week. (Week 1 coming tomorrow!)
|1||Patriots||–||Best Talent, Best Coach.|
|2||Seahawks||–||A competent O-Line and they could jump Pats.|
|3||Steelers||+1||After seeing the schedule I just like their situation a little more than the Packers.|
|4||Packers||-1||Can the defense be competent?|
|5||Cowboys||–||This team is going to be good with or without Zeke, but better with.|
|6||Panthers||–||Ever so slightly better than Falcons, their Head to Heads games should be great.|
|7||Falcons||–||Can Steve Sarkisian be as effective as Kyle Shanahan was?|
|8||Raiders||–||If their secondary can get some 3rd down stops, this team can be scary good.|
|9||Vikings||+1||I like their defense a little better than the Giants, and their run game a LOT more.|
|10||Giants||-1||Great defense, great passing game, need to be able to run the ball to rest defense.|
|11||Chiefs||+1||Neck and Neck with the Chargers for that AFC West #2 spot.|
|12||Chargers||-1||Dropped a spot only because KC wins one more division game.|
|13||Bengals||+2||Just because they lost Offensive Lineman doesn’t mean the new guys can’t block.|
|14||Eagles||–||A team on the rise, but not quite there, unless coach is WAY better in year 2.|
|15||Redskins||-2||Jay Gruden is not his brother and Redskins are a middle of the pack organization.|
|16||Titans||+1||It’s a marginal step up, but a step into the playoffs nonetheless.|
|17||Texans||+1||Can they get a QB who can get the ball to DeAndre hopkins?|
|18||Bucs||+1||3 games without Dough Martin and now 16 games in a row hurt their season.|
|19||Cardinals||+2||Carson Palmer gives away games his defense has won.|
|20||Broncos||-4||Their QB situation is so bad they brought back Brock Osweiler.|
|21||Lions||+1||Meh team in a tough division and conference.|
|22||Dolphins||+1||Jay Cutler and 16 games in a row hurt their season.|
|23||Saints||-2||Who Dat Nation will likely be asking that exact question about the head coach next year.|
|24||Jaguars||–||Talented NFL Offense seeks 1 unattached talented QB.|
|25||Colts||–||This is with Andrew Luck for part of the season.|
|26||Ravens||–||Even if Joe Flacco is healthy this team could be worse than this.|
|27||Browns||–||A chance to be good, if Deshaun Kizer is good.|
|28||Bills||–||Buffalo Football, playoff free since 1999!|
|29||Rams||–||This is only valid if Aaron Donald plays, they drop without him.|
|30||Bears||–||If you have 2 QBs you have no QBs, wasted #2 overall pick.|
|31||49ers||–||Need to acquire lots more talent, especially under center.|
|32||Jets||–||T-A-N-K. TANK! TANK! TANK!|
- Season Long Win Over/Unders for every team!
- Week 1 Scores and Lines!
- Week 1 Score Over/Unders!