The free agents have signed, the rookies have arrived, the suspensions have been doled out — and appealed to federal court — and now the NFL’s players are back to work with training camps open around the league. Now that each team’s circumstances are generally solidified, USA TODAY Sports projected the results of all 256 regular-season games to create one snapshot of how the 2015 season could play out before injuries, firings and Murphy’s Law take their toll.
Welp, it looks like the machines have spoken. Time to pack it up, you guys. Damn, I was really looking forward to this season. So much for the countless hours of film study before the draft or the money spent in free agency or all the hard work in the offseason. So much for the fact that the Bengals feature an improved roster from a team that won 11 games a year ago. So much for the pissed off fan base and the fact that a good majority of our star players are in contract seasons. Forget all of that. If Russell Wilson’s Surface Pro 3 doesn’t think that we’re going to make the playoffs then I guess this season was never meant to be. I honestly can’t remember a time where I’ve ever had to say this before the season even began, but there’s always next year.
In all seriousness, 9-7 isn’t too bad. Even with our tough schedule, I think we’re going to be better than that personally. When you think about it, there really isn’t such thing as an “easy” schedule in the NFL. Rarely do you see any easy outs because there’s so much more that goes into winning and losing football games than just numbers on a computer screen. Injuries, suspensions, freak occurrences, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, the list goes on, but at the end of the day 9-7 is generally good enough to keep you in the hunt right up until the very last snap. I also found that AFC playoff picture prettttyyy, pretttttyyyy, interesting. The Fins and Bills in the Wild Card, huh? Rex and his band of misfits in their first year and Andy Dalton Jr. sliding into those last couple playoff spots? OK. I can deal with that. Looks like that Oct. 18 game at Buffalo will be “the alien ships in Independence Day” huge. Could be for all the marbles.