Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Scientific Method: Week 1

As a new social scientist still learning the ropes, I have begun to understand what goes into the creation of a theory, of hypotheses, and of various methods. Thus, I figured.... why not do the same for NFL predictions? Everyone's picks come down to basic assumptions, even those that we swear are just on "a hunch". Thus, I will endeavor to be as scientific as possible in my NFL picks on a given week. That probably means that I will absolutely suck in my predictions, but such is the life of a social scientist. On to Week 1!

Oakland at New England

Hypothesis: Great coaches generally have better performances then mediocre coachers
Randy Moss brings hype to Oakland, sort of like, well, LAST YEAR, when Warren Sapp brought hype to Oakland. Personally, I don't even know why the NFL picked this matchup to start off the season, as the Monday Night matchup of the Eagles and the Falcons is the sexier game. Norv Turner consistently looks lost on the sideline, and that Raiders defense...... woof. I can't come up with a plausible winning scenario for the Raiders.
Scientific Pick: New England

Denver at Miami
Hypothesis: There is an adjustment period for rookie head coaches.
The first NFL game for rookie head coach Nick Saban, and it looks like he has a good head on his shoulders. Unfortunately, he has been "blessed" with aging stars on defense, a weak offensive line, no passing attack, and an unknown in rookie running back Ronnie Brown (who is on my fantasy team, so here's hoping that he becomes well known soon). Denver, on the other hand, consistently starts off well before tanking by the end of the season.
Scientific Pick: Denver

Cincinatti at Cleveland
Hypothesis: Washed up quarterbacks do not suddenly become the savior of a franchise.
You would think that Cleveland would have learned its lesson with Jeff Garcia last year. Trent Dilfer is a wonderful human being, and I wish him well. However, he is not, nor has he ever been, a good quarterback. Meanwhile, this is Marvin Lewis's 3rd year at Cincy, and you better believe he, and everyone in that city, is expecting some results this year. Crennel will have some excellent schemes under his belt, but Cincy clearly has superior talent on both sides of the ball.
Scientific Pick: Cincinatti

Houston at Buffalo
Hypothesis: Great defenses tear away at conservative offenses.
Much has been said about the struggles of J.P. Losman in the preseason. He has been flustered, inconsistent, and inaccurate. That's bad. However, that's not much worse than his predecessor, Mr. Bledsoe (see above hypothesis for how his move will work out for Dallas). Houston possesses a radically conservative offense due to a horrible offensive line, reducing David Carr to a bloody pulp and wasting nice weapons like Domanick Davis and Andre Johnson. This will be a battle of defenses, and, while McGahee will be good enough by himself to score some points, the same can not be said for Houston against Buffalo's blitzing scheme.
Scientific Pick: Buffalo

Tennessee at Pittsburgh
Hypothesis: Radically overhauled teams take time to gel.
No team changed as drastically on BOTH sides of the football as Tennessee did over the offseason, from the salary dump to the addition of Travis Henry. New running back, new #1 wide receiver, new secondary, new defensive line...... and a quarterback who was seriously injured last year to the point that he probably should have hung up his spikes. They go up against the best team of the regular season a year ago. Willie Parker can handle the running attack for one game, and Roethlisberger has a weak secondary to face. Jeff Fisher will have these guys rolling at some point this season, but not now.
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh

Chicago at Washington
Hypothesis: When both teams are terrible, the game is reduced to a battle of the stars.
Kyle Orton is receiving mucho love from the media the last few weeks, which is moderately interesting since he has yet to throw a meaningful pass in the NFL and is going up against what was a top-5 defense last year. That means a slow start for WR Muhsin Muhammed, while it will be the first game for rookie RB Cedric Benson. On the other side, Clinton Portis sounds ready to rumble this year, while you have to believe Joe Gibbs spent a lot of time this offseason working on what went wrong.
Scientific Pick: Washington

New Orleans at Carolina
Hypothesis: Teams that are worn out emotionally find themselves exhauted come gametime
Did anyone see the performance of New Orleans against the Raiders? They did not want to be there, and it showed. They have been through hell the past few weeks, with inconvenient training facilities almost meaningless next to the pictures of devastation coming from their home city. Meanwhile, Carolina was the best team in the NFC not from Philadelphia by the end of last season, and is fully reloaded after crippling injuries took their toll. This, sadly, won't be close.
Scientific Pick: Carolina

Tampa Bay at Minnesota
Hypothesis: Never bet against the Vikings until Week 7.
No team sizzles like the Vikings during the first half of an NFL season under Mike Tice, and no team fizzles like the Vikings during the second half of an NFL season under Mike Tice. Culpepper has already proved he can win without Randy Moss, and the defense should be much improved with the offseason additions. Tampa Bay should put up a few points, but it remains to be seen if that defense is up to snuff for one more year. The Vikings might put up 30.
Scientific Pick: Minnesota

Seattle at Jacksonville
Hypothesis: Defenses can appear harder at the beginning of the season then at the end.
Remember the #1 rated defense of the Seahawks after Week 3 last year? Blue Crush? Well, you have a completely revamped Jacksonville offense going up against a completely revamped Seattle defense, while you have a consistent Seattle offense going up against a consistent Jacksonville defense. That should result in a very close game, and close games usually favor the starting quarterback. Leftwich showed some nice 4th quarter ability early in the season, but faded, while Hasselback has the weapons to make the crucial drive.
Scientific Pick: Seattle

N.Y. Jets at Kansas City
Hypothesis: Amazing offenses can not be stopped, only contained.
Yes, the Jets have a good defense that might turn out to be a great defense by year's end. However, K.C. has a phenomenal offense that finally has the heir-apparent to Priest Holmes in Larry Johnson. Tony Gonzalez is healthy, Trent Green is healthy, that offensive line is dominant.... they should rack up some points, while it remains to be seen if the Jets offense and Pennington's arm are up to the task.
Scientific Pick: Kansas City

Arizona at N.Y. Giants
Hypothesis: Blitzing defenses create havoc amongst young quarterbacks
You could almost state that as a fact, and it becomes even more of a fact with that travesty of an "offensive line" that is supposed to protect Eli Manning. Listen, I'm not a huge fan of the Cardinals hype (even the Sports Guy is falling into the trap), but the Giants are not good. They are bad, and the Cardinals defense should own this football game.
Scientific Pick: Arizona

St. Louis at San Francisco
Hypothesis: There is at least one miracle win per week.
This is my Week 1 miracle win. Think about it. These are the Rams, who lost to the Dolphins last year. They were a terrible team on the road, except in Seattle. They have the weirdest coach of all time in Mike Martz. Meanwhile, the 49ers will play like this game is the postseason. They have a new coach and are ready to show the home crowd some improvement. Tim Rattay can pass against a weak secondary with no pass rush, and Kevin Barlow should finally have a good game as a starter.
Scientific Pick: San Francisco

Green Bay at Detroit
Hypothesis: The great ones remind us why they are great
No one likes the Packers. No one thinks Brett Favre is doing anything this year. And I have no idea why. Yes, the defense is porous. However, do you think Harrington is going to really capitalize on that? Meanwhile, Brett Favre wants this game. Badly. He wants the playoffs, and he will do whatever it takes to get there, while he has a very nice offensive supporting cast with Ahman Green and Jevon Walker.
Scientific Pick: Green Bay

Dallas at San Diego
Hypothesis: See Cleveland hypothesis
Memo to Bill Parcells. Drew Bledsoe is done. Stick a fork in him. San Diego has a good defense that will be geared towards getting pressure on Bledsoe and stuffing Julius Jones. Meanwhile, Drew Brees and Co. are out to prove that last year was no fluke. They are upset at how last season ended, and this game might get ugly fast, and I'm not just talking about Parcells' face.
Scientific Pick: San Diego

Indianapolis at Baltimore
Hypothesis: The more things change, the more things stay the same
Welcome, Corey Simon, to the land of the abjectly dismal defense. Are you, by yourself, good enough to lift this defense to new heights? Probably not. Welcome, Derrick Mason, to the land of the abjectly dismal offense. Are you, by yourself, good enough to lift this offense to new heights? Probably not. Where does that leave us? Peyton Manning against Ray Lewis. Advantage: Peyton.
Scientific Pick: Indianapolis

Philadelphia at Atlanta
Hypothesis: Offseason strife has little bearing on in-season productivity.
T.O. will be fine. McNabb will continue to throw him the football. Westbrook will continue to run and catch the ball out of the backfield. Atlanta is overrated, and has a ton more pressure entering this season. Both these teams will only be considered a success if they reach the Super Bowl. Philly's defense played Vick for a chump in the playoffs. Expect that to continue.
Scientific Pick: Philadelphia

Scientific Season Record: 0-0

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:11 PM  1 comments


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