The ESPN Team bloggers have again collectively made their game-by-game picks for the teams they cover, and as they warn you, these picks are done independently of the predictions of their colleagues. Last year, they collectively predicted that the NFL teams would go a combined 283-229. This year, they are going with a combined 287-225 record for the teams they cover, so . . . not progress?
On the other hand, they did dial back the “hope springs eternal” optimism of the spring, where they had 290 wins forecast.
But let’s take this in a different direction. Obviously, if one team is winning, the other team in this fictional world is losing (maybe). So who are these team bloggers picking on, and who do they fear. As Music City Miracles noted, the other ESPN team bloggers liked their chances against Tennessee, crediting their teams with 15 wins this year against the Titans.
What teams did the bloggers fear, or disrespect, the most? Here are the standings (where teams of course went 225-287), where we give teams wins or losses based on what the opposing ESPN Team blogger predicted.
We knew that the ESPN personalities were bullish on the Patriots when 64 of 64 picked them to win the division, but the team bloggers really pushed it. No one was willing to assign a victory over the Patriots . . . except the Jets (of course). The Patriots, much like the Bears in 1985, carried a perfect fictional record into December before losing a shootout with an AFC East team.
On the other end, nine different teams are expected to only go 3-13 and provide automatic wins for their opponents. That doesn’t include last year’s playoff team in Kansas City, where 12 team bloggers are chalking up victories against the Chiefs.
Minnesota is also expected to go 1-15 (only the Washington blogger saw a loss to the Vikings), along with Cleveland and Oakland. Rebound in Washington? Not if the opposing teams have any say, as they go an even worse 2-14 in Jay Gruden’s first year.
On the other hand, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are getting a lot of respect, with the same record as defending Super Bowl champion Seattle.