The experts predict the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers will give Udonis Haslem, James Jones and Mario Chalmers bragging rights for the 2013 NFL season, but that won't be the case after Week 1.
The Miami Heat Index 2013 NFL Preview features the Bovada.com's over/under on wins for each HEAT player's favorite team, ESPN Magazine projections, Football Outsiders projections and Week 1 picks against the spread from Alfredo Arteaga of HeatFreak.com.
Dwyane Wade's Chicago Bears
Last season, Vegas and the statheads considered the Bears to be a lock to make the playoffs but they went into hibernation after a 7-1 start and were sitting at home watching the Wild Card and Divisional rounds. Even more bad news for Wade: Vegas and the statheads learned think the Bears will have to beat all odds to make the post-season this year.
Over/Under: 8.5 wins
ESPN Mag projection: 9-7, 35.7% chance for playoffs
FO projection: 8 wins, 29.5% chance for playoffs
Alfredo's Week 1 Pick vs. Cincinatti: Bears -3
LeBron James & Chris Bosh's Dallas Cowboys
Vegas' feelings about the Cowboys haven't changed but ESPN Mag projects them to be mediocre this year after projecting an 11-win season and playoff run last year. The good news for LeBron and Bosh? ESPN Mag projects them to beat the Bears 31-14 on October 20th.
Over/Under: 8.5 wins
ESPN Mag projection: 8-8, 43.5% chance for playoffs
FO projection: 7 wins, 14.9% chance for playoffs
Alfredo's Week 1 Pick vs. NYG: Cowboys -3.5
Udonis Haslem & James Jones' Miami Dolphins
Vegas and ESPN Mag are much more optimistic about the Dolphins this season, but the Football Outsiders aren't convinced. ESPN Mag projects the Dolphins to win their division and win bragging rights over 'Rio for UD & James Jones when they beat the Panthers on November 24th. Football Outsiders projects them to miss the playoffs for the 5th straight year despite having a top-10 defense.
Over/Under: 8 wins
ESPN Mag projection: 10-6, 57.9% chance for playoffs
FO projection: 7 wins, 14.5% chance for playoffs
Alfredo's Week 1 Pick at Cleveland: Dolphins
Mario Chalmers' Carolina Panthers
ESPN Mag is down on the Panthers after a disappointing outcome to Cam Newton's 2nd season, but the Football Outsiders are optimistic enough to pick them to win their division. The last thing 'Rio needs is another reason to talk trash, but he may just get one this football season.
Over/Under: 7 wins
ESPN Mag projection: 7-9, 30% chance for playoffs
FO projection: 9 wins, 59.6% chance for playoffs
Alfredo's Week 1 Pick vs. Seattle: Seahawks -3.5
Norris Cole's Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas and ESPN Mag were at the front of the Eagles bandwagon last season but have both taken a step back this year. Vegas bumped the over/under down 2.5 wins and ESPN Mag gave them 5 less wins in their projection. Football Outsiders' projection pretty much stayed the same, but gives the Eagles less of a chance to make the playoffs. They do project the Eagles defense to be slightly above average, so at least Cole can enjoy watching his cousin play.
Over/Under: 7.5 wins
ESPN Mag projection: 6-10, 18.4% chance for playoffs
FO projection: 8 wins, 27.2% chance for playoffs
Alfredo's Week 1 Pick at Washington: Eagles +3.5