1. #1
    arpeggiomeister
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    Rating the NFL teams for 2008

    A tool that I believe made the difference in my success last year is that I categorized all 32 teams into 5 different categories: Powerhouse, good, middle of the road, not so good, and dogs. This list was never meant to be cut in stone, just a reference guide to help me to decide what match-ups to take by finding the teams that are slipping "under the radar". For example, week 6 of last year the undefeated Patriots were facing the undefeated Cowboys. Being a novice handi-capper I did not feel it was a wise idea to bet on a game with 2 undefeated teams. Instead I found the Cleveland Browns vs the Miami Dolphins. The spread was only 4 points and the Browns were looking pretty good with Derek Anderson at the helm. I would have never found this game if I hadn't made this list.

    I created my list from an article called NFL preview from USA today. It's a little early for such an article to be out this year, but I figured I would post my list and talk to you folks about your opinions and possibly make some adjustments to it. This list is currently based largely on last year so I am sure adjustments will be called for before week one gets underway.

    Powerhouse:

    New England Patriots
    Dallas Cowboys
    San Diego Chargers
    Indianapolis Colts
    New York Giants

    Good:

    Green Bay Packers
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Phidelphia Eagles
    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Tennessee Titans
    Cleveland Browns

    Middle of the road:

    Seattle Seahawks
    Washington Redskins
    Minnesota Vikings
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    New Orleans Saints
    Arizona Cardinals
    Houston Texans

    Not so good:

    Detroit Lions
    Chicago Bears
    Carolina Panthers
    Denver Broncos
    Cincinnati Bengals
    Buffalo Bills

    Dogs:

    Miami Dolphins
    Saint Louis Rams
    Atlanta Falcons
    Oakland Raiders
    Kansas City Chiefs
    New York Jets
    Baltimore Ravens
    San Francisco 49ers

    Like I said, this list is largely based off from last year's results, so adjustment are probably called for on several of these teams.

    Here are the teams that I am thinking of moving. I did not put the GB Packers on my powerhouse list because I am not sure about Aaron Rodgers. They have a lot of talent and are up and coming so I could bump them up very quickly. I have my eye on the MIN Vikings. I think teams will make adjustments to shut down their running game. If those adjusments work than MIN will just be average, if not MIN could be a real factor this year. I don't see them going to the Superbowl but I could see them giving the Packers a run for their money in winning the division. New Orleans has great potential if they can solve their defensive problems. The Giants are on the powerhouse list because they won the Superbowl. (damn them!!! lol)

    I am torn on the Steelers. I think they are a good team but they just seemed to fall apart towards the end of the season last year. They were on my powerhouse list to start last year but slipped a couple of notches. I put them at good this year hoping that they straighten some of their problems out. If not, I'll bump them down again.

    The dog list is entirely based off from last years performance at this point. These were the worst teams in the NFL. Many of these teams have made some good acquisitions in the draft and Miami now has Parcells as general manager, but is one year going to be enough to turn things around? Many of these teams have serious problems, like Carolina with their quarterback issues. I will be very interested to see how you guys weigh in on these teams.

    My betting strategy is very simple: follow the dogs and look for bargains in the point spread. TB vs ATL in week 11 was a classic example. It didn't take a rocket scientist to know that the Falcons were going to get their butts kicked but everyone was paying attention to NE, DAL, and GB so this game slipped under the radar. The point spread was only 3 points!!! I'm not an expert on football, not even close. I am a stock trader and what I see here is classic value investing and short sale strategies. This list is key to finding those bargains. I'll be very interested to hear your opinions.

    Mike

  2. #2
    hackattack
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    I like it, it may seem simple but sometimes I think we break down a game and analyze it to death.

    If it works for you keep doing it. Your team brackets look reasonable as well...for now.

  3. #3
    seaborneq
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    You need to add catagory for futile to put the Chiefs in. I see them going winless or 1-15. It is a good thing they play the Raider twice.

  4. #4
    ZBOIZ
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    Take the Eagles out !!!

    And the Giants is not a powerhouse!!! They just got hot at the right time!! Any NFL team can get hot at the right time AND WIN A SUPERBOWL HELL THEY ALL PROFFESIONALS!!!

    AND THE GIANTS BARELY MADE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS AND YOU CALL THAT ELITE!!! HELL NAW!

    Put your money on SAINTS everybody sleeping on them. The offense is legit as always and the Defense is a MAJOR upgrade!!!!! Put your money on them early while VEGAS SLEEP ON THEM !!!!! BIG SED, GRANT, WILL SMITH ON THAT LINE WILL BE DANGEROUS AND PUTTING VILMA IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT LINEBACKING SYSTEM!!! Remember Vilma plays better in a 4-3 D and thats what we run..so watch Vilma have a break out year!!!

  5. #5
    arpeggiomeister
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZBOIZ View Post
    Take the Eagles out !!!

    And the Giants is not a powerhouse!!! They just got hot at the right time!! Any NFL team can get hot at the right time AND WIN A SUPERBOWL HELL THEY ALL PROFFESIONALS!!!

    AND THE GIANTS BARELY MADE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS AND YOU CALL THAT ELITE!!! HELL NAW!

    Put your money on SAINTS everybody sleeping on them. The offense is legit as always and the Defense is a MAJOR upgrade!!!!! Put your money on them early while VEGAS SLEEP ON THEM !!!!! BIG SED, GRANT, WILL SMITH ON THAT LINE WILL BE DANGEROUS AND PUTTING VILMA IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT LINEBACKING SYSTEM!!! Remember Vilma plays better in a 4-3 D and thats what we run..so watch Vilma have a break out year!!!
    Thanks for your response. I am looking for educated opinions. I can see possibly bumping the Eagles down a
    notch, but I think they will do well this year. I don't see them going to the superbowl, or even the play-offs because I feel the Cowboys will take that division again this year, but I think they could win 9 or 10 games this season. I'll be interested to see how they size up to Washington. They were certainly a team that I was on the fence about, and I avoided them like the plague last year because they would do great when I thought they were going to tank, and do bad when I thought they would win.

    I would have to respectfully disagree about the Giants. I am by no means a Giants fan. In fact, I am still feeling the sting of the Superbowl because I am a Patriots fan. However, I place them among the elite for a few reasons.

    1. I remember watching them play Dallas in week 1 and thinking that they were looking pretty good. They may have lost that game, but for 3 quarters it looked like they just might take 'em. Dallas came on strong in th 4th and the rest is history.

    2. I agree that they had a hot streak, but who did they get hot against? I believe the real turning point was in week 17 against the Patriots. They were in that game the whole way against what many considered to be the most dominant team in the league. That game could have easily gone the other way. That boosted their confidence and I think they looked like a completely different team after that point. They ousted the Cowboys and the Packers on the way to the Superbowl, and then defeated the Pats to become champions. These teams were not minor bumps in the road. There is a big difference between a hot streak against teams like the Falcons, Dolphins, Chiefs, etc., then it is to face 3 of the most dominating teams in the league, and defeat them all!

    3. I always start the Superbowl Champs off in the elite category whether they deserve to be there or not. The reason being is that the bookmaker's job is to gauge public opinion, not predict the future. Their job is to attempt to get people to bet evenly on both teams. Maybe this is misguided logic on my part, but I would expect the reigning Superbowl Champs to have higher point spreads than other teams such as New Orleans. The entire purpose of creating this list is to find the bargains in the point spread. An example I saw of this would be the Cowboys/Bears game in week 3, last year. The bookmakers had put the Bears as 3 point favorites to win this game. I am no expert, but this baffled me. Given the games that I had seen there was no way on earth the Bears should have been the favorite for that game. The only logic that I can see is that bookmaker's looked to their previous year's record as justification. I can't say whether that's what really happened or not, but I put money on the Cowboys and laughed all the way to the bank. If the Giants don't belong on the elite list than I expect there to be a bargain like this to appear. If they don't belong there it will become evident quickly and I will move them, but for now I am keeping them where they're at.

    I do like your take on the Saints, but I don't place bets until a day or two before the game. While I may miss out on a bargain on the point spread, I would rather wait. Injuries can happen and weather can be a factor. I learned that the hard way. I bet the Steelers to beat the Dolphins almost a week ahead of time. It rained and Heinz stadium turned into a mud pit. The results: PIT 3 vs MIA 0. The point spread was 15 points. Ouch!!! Live and learn.

    I like the Saints offense. I am curious to see how their defense looks this year. Their offense has got what it takes to get the points on the board, I'm just worried about their ability to keep the other team from scoring.

    Thanks for your feedback

  6. #6
    slacker00
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    I like your list. It is a good starting point.

    I think most of us can agree on the top category and the bottom category.

    I agree with the analysis on the Packers. Too many questions about Rodgers to put them in the very top category. The other teams in that category have similar questions, but each could be an top tier team if they can solve those questions. Pitts:O-Line?Eagles:McNabb healthy? Browns: Improved defense? Jags: Gerrard be an elite QB? Titans: Vince Young?!

    The same with the second from bottom category. These are teams with MANY questions. Personally, I'd flipflop Washington & Buffalo. Buffalo doesn't have a ton of questions, and should be considered at least an average team right now. Washington has a lot of questions in my mind, with the coaching regime change.

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  7. #7
    INVEGA MAN
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    Dallas has to win a play-off game before they can be a powerhouse. IT'S been 12 years since they won one

  8. #8
    slacker00
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    Quote Originally Posted by INVEGA MAN View Post
    Dallas has to win a play-off game before they can be a powerhouse. IT'S been 12 years since they won one
    I think arpeggiomeister built up his list as a handicapping tool for NFL regular season games. He'll maybe build up something different when the playoffs roll around. Say what you will about Dallas in the playoffs, but only a fool would say that Dallas isn't going to be a powerhouse in the 2008 regular season, barring any major injury problems.

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  9. #9
    arpeggiomeister
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    Quote Originally Posted by slacker00 View Post
    I like your list. It is a good starting point.

    I think most of us can agree on the top category and the bottom category.

    I agree with the analysis on the Packers. Too many questions about Rodgers to put them in the very top category. The other teams in that category have similar questions, but each could be an top tier team if they can solve those questions. Pitts:O-Line?Eagles:McNabb healthy? Browns: Improved defense? Jags: Gerrard be an elite QB? Titans: Vince Young?!

    The same with the second from bottom category. These are teams with MANY questions. Personally, I'd flipflop Washington & Buffalo. Buffalo doesn't have a ton of questions, and should be considered at least an average team right now. Washington has a lot of questions in my mind, with the coaching regime change.
    These are the kinds of tips I am looking for. Honestly I do not know much about Buffalo or Washington. They were placed in those categories based on last year's performance. I have heard a few people say they think that Buffalo will be a tough team this year. I'll definately consider swapping those two teams.

  10. #10
    arpeggiomeister
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    Quote Originally Posted by slacker00 View Post
    I think arpeggiomeister built up his list as a handicapping tool for NFL regular season games. He'll maybe build up something different when the playoffs roll around. Say what you will about Dallas in the playoffs, but only a fool would say that Dallas isn't going to be a powerhouse in the 2008 regular season, barring any major injury problems.
    You hit the nail on the head. I don't bet on the preseason or the post season. I look for mismatches first. A couple really obvious mismatches for week one are NE vs KC and CAR vs SD. However, if you take these bets you will be paying a premium in the point spread because everyone has their eye on these games. What I am looking for is the games that slip below the radar. NYJ vs MIA is only -3 and the Jets beat the Dolphins twice last year. (the second time they really kicked the dolphin's teeth in). I have both these teams in the same bracket, but I feel the Jets have the edge. I like the looks of STL vs PHI. The Rams were futile last year. I expect the Eagles to beat them severely. The spread is at -7 right now, so I may stay away if it creeps too much higher.

    The point of the list is simply to find mismatched teams with decent point spreads. I don't know a whole lot of people that were on the Cleveland Browns bandwagon, but did you realize that they went 12-4 against the spread last year? That's better than the Patriots record; 10-6. Look at the opposite end of the spectrum. The Baltimore Ravens were only 3-13 against the spread. The Miami Dolphins were the undisputed worst team in the league last year, but their record against the spread is no where near as bad as the Ravens. They were 5-7 with 4 pushes. I created this tool to sniff out teams like the Browns and the Ravens. That's where the money is at.
    Last edited by arpeggiomeister; 07-12-08 at 12:47 PM.

  11. #11
    Dark Horse
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    Teams that over-performed tend to come back to earth the next season. You would need a projected wins number from last season to see how much teams overshot their expectation (3 or 4 games over is probably a good measuring point), but I think we can say that the Giants, Packers, and Browns are among teams due for a negative adjustment. The opposite goes for teams that underperformed.

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  12. #12
    arpeggiomeister
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Horse View Post
    Teams that over-performed tend to come back to earth the next season. You would need a projected wins number from last season to see how much teams overshot their expectation (3 or 4 games over is probably a good measuring point), but I think we can say that the Giants, Packers, and Browns are among teams due for a negative adjustment. The opposite goes for teams that underperformed.
    Thanks. That is an awesome tip!! I will look into that for sure.

  13. #13
    slacker00
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggiomeister View Post
    You hit the nail on the head. I don't bet on the preseason or the post season. I look for mismatches first. A couple really obvious mismatches for week one are NE vs KC and CAR vs SD. However, if you take these bets you will be paying a premium in the point spread because everyone has their eye on these games. What I am looking for is the games that slip below the radar. NYJ vs MIA is only -3 and the Jets beat the Dolphins twice last year. (the second time they really kicked the dolphin's teeth in). I have both these teams in the same bracket, but I feel the Jets have the edge. I like the looks of STL vs PHI. The Rams were futile last year. I expect the Eagles to beat them severely. The spread is at -7 right now, so I may stay away if it creeps too much higher.
    Thanks!

    Also, we seem to see week 1 the same way. NE is my #1 pick, and I definitely like SD too. The pointspreads don't bother me too much. Both of these teams have offenses than can blow up and can name their score. For a season opener, I expect fireworks and explosiveness, maybe to send a message to the rest of the league. Plus neither of these opponents will know what hit them. They are both picking up the pieces after last season. I've heard that Delhomme may take a while into the season to really get his timing back due to his injury last season. I'll maybe toss in Philly for the same reasons for week 1 too. I think the Rams can bounce back, but until they show me one time, I've gotta go against them. Philly, with a healthy McNabb, is not something I want to bet against!


    As for Miami/NYJ, this one might be tricky. It's one of those divisional rivalries that can be tough to diagnose. Also, Miami in a home opener, under a new regime will definitely want to send a message. I can understand why people want to bet the Jets, but I just can't pull the trigger yet. Let's see how preseason looks for Miami first!

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