Monday, September 12, 2011

NFL Predictions After Week One For Miami Heat's Favorite Teams

Just bumped into 2 die hard Jets fans! Didnt tell them I&#039... on Twitpic

Will the Miami Heat players’ favorite NFL teams make the playoffs this season?

The first week of the NFL season kicked off this weekend and hope springs eternal for fans of every team. Let’s take a look at which teams the Miami Heat players will be rooting for this season and their chances of making the playoffs.

Each Heat players’ favorite team will be previewed using three different sources of information:

Not all Heat players announced their favorite NFL teams. Each team preview contains either a link to displays of fandom by a Heat player or their hometown. Players that haven’t previously declared their allegiances online were listed as potential fans for the teams in their hometown television market based on the maps of TV coverage for this season from the506.com.

Dallas Cowboys
Known HEAT fans: LeBron James, Chris Bosh
Potential HEAT fan: Dexter Pittman
Football Outsiders Projection: 7 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 9 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 9 wins

HEAT Check: The founder of Football Outsiders, Aaron Schatz, said their statistical forecast for the Cowboys was too low and thinks the Dallas defense will outperform their pessimistic projection and finish with nine to 10 wins. DeMarcus Ware definitely inspired optimism with his performance on Sunday. On the offensive side of the ball, Romo ranked sixth in wins produced per 100 plays last season, but he only played half a season. If Romo and the Cowboys can stay physically healthy and Rob Ryan’s defense comes through, then they should make the playoffs after a disappointing season last year. Romo’s biggest problem may be mental, though, after boneheaded mistakes cost them a win against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Chicago Bears
Known HEAT fan: Dwyane Wade
Potential HEAT fan: Juwan Howard from Chicago, IL
Football Outsiders Projection: 9 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 8 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 7 wins

HEAT Check: While the mainstream media seems to be pessimistic about the Bears’ this season, the numbers give them a relatively good chance to make the playoffs as a wildcard and Tony Dungy said they may be a threat to defend their division title after their blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. It all seems to be about Jay Cutler for the Bears. According to ESPN’s new QBR stat, Chicago lost 55.5 points on Cutler’s sacks. Those sacks also helped reduce Cutler’s production to 32nd in the NFL last season (and the 22 turnovers didn’t help). The Bears will need a good performance from their offensive line and good decision-making from Cutler to help the defense and special teams units projected to rank third and second this season, respectively, get back to the NFC championship game.

Miami Dolphins
Known HEAT fan: Udonis Haslem
Potential HEAT fan: James Jones from Miami, FL
Football Outsiders Projection: 8.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 7.5 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 6 wins

HEAT Check: Dolphins fans seem to be down on the team this year but the numbers say otherwise. Football Outsiders projects them to be the 10th best team in the NFL but miss the playoffs because they play in a tough division and conference. FO projects Miami to have a top 10 offense, which is surprising given Chad Henne’s performance at quarterback last season. According to ESPN’s QBR stat, Henne’s interceptions cost the Dolphins 34.5 points in 2010, which ranked second in the NFL. Those turnovers reduced his production at quarterback to 33rd in the league last season. It will be interesting to see whether Henne can take care of the ball against the New England Patriots on Monday night.

Kansas City Chiefs
Known HEAT fan: Mario Chalmers
Football Outsiders Projection: 5.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 7.5 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 10 wins

HEAT Check: Two members of the Football Outsiders staff thought the statistical forecast was too low but they’re probably re-thinking that prediction after the Buffalo Bills stampeded over them 41-7 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs have the toughest schedule in the NFL by their numbers but also play in a weak division. Additionally, the FO skeptics think they’re good in the trenches and have young talent like running back Jamaal Charles. Quarterback Matt Cassel is also a young talent. Only 11 quarterbacks produced more wins than Cassel last season. Unfortunately for Cassel, NFL quarterbacks’ performance tends to be very inconsistent and there’s too much to be pessimistic about between the Football Outsiders and Vegas. A return to the playoffs would be a big surprise in Kansas City.

Minnesota Vikings
Known HEAT fan: Mike Miller from Mitchell, SD
Football Outsiders Projection: 8.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 7.5 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 6 wins

HEAT Check: Schatz thinks the FO projection for the Vikings is too high. As it did last season, success will likely be dictated by the QB. McNabb's production was above average last season, but not by much. If his performance bounces back to the Hall of Fame levels he achieved in Philadelphia, then the Vikings could be a surprise playoff team. If not, then ESPN could be right about them. If Sunday’s performance is any indicator (7-15, 39 yards passing), then don't call it a comeback for McNabb. Don't sleep on Adrian Peterson's ability to drag a mediocre team into the playoffs, though.

New Orleans Saints
Potential HEAT fan: Erick Dampier from Monticello, MS
Football Outsiders Projection: 10 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 10 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 12 wins

HEAT Check: Three members of the Football Outsiders staff picked the Saints to make the Super Bowl. If New Orleans does make its second Super Bowl appearance in three years, then it will be a drive fueled by an offense projected to be in the top five and special teams projected to be in the top 10. Drew Brees is the little engine that could for the Saints’ offense but an FO staff member picked him to have a slightly disappointing season. It’s not a claim without merit. Brees’ production was above average last season but only Brett Favre and Eli Manning had as many turnovers last season. If Dampier’s a Saints fan, then he can expect another playoff appearance but not much else.

Oakland Raiders
Potential HEAT fan: Eddie House from Alameda County, CA
Football Outsiders Projection: 5.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 6.5 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 7 wins

HEAT Check: According to ESPN’s QBR, Jason Campbell was the second-most productive quarterback when scrambling from 2008-2010 (only Aaron Rodgers was better). Thanks to that running ability, Campbell’s overall production was above average last season in wins produced per 100 plays. Campbell will need some help in order to get an offense projected to rank 28th this season into the playoffs. House shouldn’t hold his breath if he’s a Raiders fan, even if they put up a ton of points against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

Arizona Cardinals
Potential HEAT fan: Mike Bibby from Phoenix, AZ
Football Outsiders Projection: 6.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 7 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 7 wins

HEAT Check: The issue with the Cardinals’ overpaid quarterback was chronicled in this article: Philadelphia Eagles Stumbling on Wins with Brotherly Love for Black QBs. No one expects this team to make the playoffs and Bibby shouldn’t expect his hometown team to win the division or a wildcard, either. They almost lost their home opener to a rookie quarterback for goodness sake!

Buffalo Bills
Potential HEAT fan: Jamaal Magloire from Toronto, Canada
Football Outsiders Projection: 7 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 5.5 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 6 wins

HEAT Check: Football Outsiders projects the Bills to have be above average on defense and special teams but below average on offense. According to ESPN’s QBR stat, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ranked second in the AFC East behind Tom Brady, but it was a distant second. According to Wins Produced, Fitzpatrick was slightly below average and ranked 27th of 48 qualifying quarterbacks. Unfortunately, the AFC projects to be so tough that Big Cat shouldn’t have high hopes of making the playoffs even if Fitzpatrick has a big season. He produced 2.2 wins last season and Brady produced 4.4. Nine wins probably won’t get it done in the AFC but Fitzpatrick got the season off to a good start with four touchdown passes in Kansas City.

New England Patriots
Potential HEAT fan: Joel Anthony from Montreal, Canada
Football Outsiders Projection: 11.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 11.5
ESPN Magazine Projection: 12 wins

HEAT Check: Four members of the Football Outsiders staff predicted the Patriots to make the Super Bowl and there are two big reasons. First, Tom Brady was the most productive QB in the NFL on a per play basis last season and projects to lead the second-best offense in the league this season. Second, the Patriots project to have the second easiest schedule. Of course, people pick the Patriots to make the Super Bowl every year and it hasn’t happened since 2007. The Pats ran the 2000s, but its a new decade and adding Chad Ochocinco won’t be enough to get New England’s offense past the defenses in Pittsburgh and New York. Of course, both of those defenses will need to play a lot better than they did in Week One.

Philadelphia Eagles
HEAT fan: Miami Heat Index
Potential HEAT fan: Norris Cole
Football Outsiders Projection: 10.5 wins
Vegas Over/Under (from ESPN Magazine): 11 wins
ESPN Magazine Projection: 12 wins

HEAT Check: After an active offseason, the Eagles drew comparisons to the Miami Heat and officially became the NFL team of this blog for the 2011 season. Four members of the Football Outsiders staff picked the Eagles to make the Super Bowl. Philadelphia has star talent on both sides of the ball and projects to have the seventh-best offense with top five units on defense and special teams. If the offense is the weakest link, then it comes down to whether their star quarterbacks can get the job done. That issue was discussed in this article: Philadelphia Eagles Stumbling on Wins with Brotherly Love for Black QBs. Assume Michael Vick and Vince Young get the job done and do what Donovan McNabb couldn’t - bring a championship to the city of brotherly love.The assumption that Vick can get it done looked pretty good on Sunday with 187 yards passing for two touchdowns and 98 yards rushing.

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