First and foremost, let me get one thing straight right off the bat here. I'm not looking to steal any thunder from our dear friend and sports Twitter Hall of Famer @OldTakesExposed. The man has clearly cornered the market on publicly shaming bad opinions on the internet -- I recently joined the club myself for a take that you won't catch me ever mentioning ever again after overreacting to the first few weeks of the 2019 college football season.
But before I start getting grilled on that, let's get back to the task at hand -- taking bad opinions from the NFL's preseason to task. Every outlet on the face of the Earth let out preseason predictions, including all of us here at The Draft Network. And at the midway point of the 2019 NFL season, it's sure been fun to look back on all of the predictions and what has gone wrong -- and what has gone right.
I did a version of Studs & Duds before the season to spotlight some of my thoughts on predictions around the media back in late July at the start of training camp -- some of that will get play here. But there's a twist! Each of the studs and duds in today's edition will be dedicated to my own opinions of the takes: the only person getting thrown under the bus here today is myself.
STUD - Buying the Bengals being in the running for the top pick
This one comes from that summer edition of Studs & Duds -- and just about everyone can revel in being right about this one, so that's a fun way to kick things off. Here's some of what I had to say about the Bengals this summer:
The Bengals' offensive line has taken notable hits already and with a coaching hire that seems ambitious (and maybe a bit premature), the Bengals could be in for a rocky road. And the schedule predictors agree -- I've seen multiple predictions for Cincinnati that feature 4 or less wins in 2019.
With a new coach typically comes a new quarterback -- we didn't see that in Cincinnati this offseason. Will we get it next year? If we see the Bengals flop in 2019, odds are pretty strong that we will.
The Bengals could be in for a rocky road, I said. How's 0-8? Rocky enough? The Bengals have been admirably competitive in a majority of their games -- but they don't have enough playmakers to make the big play in crucial moments. And while Cincinnati should probably pack up shop and unload some talent in preparation for 2020, it doesn't sound like 0-8 will be enough to get that done...because the Bengals are too stubborn with the trade value of their talent.
Cincinnati could be offloading A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and others before the trade deadline, but management has other ideas. Like doing nothing. Nothing at all.
DUD - Picking 10+ losses for San Francisco
This one game on the Draft Dudes podcast -- our daily show where Joe Marino and myself talk about football and apparently embarrass themselves when discussing football in the Bay area. San Fransisco was a team entering the year that I felt had a lot of promise -- but they hadn't won anything of significance in two seasons and won like 2 games before December under coach Kyle Shanahan.
I was apprehensive. Sue me. And even once San Fransisco started out 3-0, I wasn't quite ready to buy in. The 49ers still haven't lost and I look like an idiot. My primary concern with the offense has been that I didn't know who Jimmy Garroppolo was as a starter -- and while he hasn't been particularly inspiring for San Fran, it doesn't matter. The defensive line is so dominant, the secondary is so versatile and the running game is so overwhelming that the 49ers are well on their way to romping to 12+ wins this season. I'll take my 'L' well done, please.
STUD - Slamming Sanchez' 13-3 prediction for the 2019 Jets
Smoke 'em if you've got 'em. Sanchez's 13-3 prediction was a farce, we all knew that. But the Jets legit might be the worst situation in all of football. The team hired Adam Gase, their third choice for head coach, and proceeded to spend crazy dollars in free agency for RB Le'Veon Bell and LB C.J. Mosley while also trading for OG Kelechi Osemele before Gase and company pulled the rug out from former GM Mike Maccagnan after the 2020 Draft.
And then the season starts. No one predicted Sam Darnold to get mono, but Darnold can't protect the football to save his life and the offense is, uh, horrible. Not to mention the farce of a situation surrounding Osemele and his injured shoulder -- a situation so bad that the Jets sent blank pages to physicians and decided to play hardball with Osemele regarding his injury to the point where Osemele decided to have surgery on his own and the Jets decided their best option was to cut him.
It's not yet the end of Week 8 and the Jets have twice as many losses as Sanchez predicted over the summer.
DUD - Predicting the Falcons win 10+ games
This take also happened on Draft Dudes. What the hell happened in Atlanta? The Falcons brought back all their key pieces -- the offense was exciting and the team invested heavily in the offensive line. Keanu Neal was healthy. The Falcons were supposed to be a potent offense in all phases and a fast, physical defense.
The only thing fast about the Falcons is their plummet to the cellar. Everyone is hurt. Not that it really matters, though -- the 1-7 Falcons were playing poorly from the jump and their only win this season was a 24-20 victory over Philadelphia that saw WR Nelson Agholor drop a walk-in touchdown in the waning seconds.
Bottom line, head coach Dan Quinn has lost this football team. There's no coming back from this.
STUD - Stanning the Saints
Both Sports Illustrated and USA Today marked the Saints to go 10-6 this season and I didn't take it very well.
This one surprises me. The Saints get the NFC West and the AFC South -- meaning they do get tough games against the Colts, the Rams and the Seahawks. But they get the Cardinals, they get the Jaguars, they get the Titans -- three games I think they take easily this year. Add in games vs. Tampa (x2), Carolina (x2) and Atlanta (x2) and I think New Orleans probably gets a minimum of four wins there, too.
This is a Super Bowl caliber roster -- things would have to get quite hairy for them to barely make it to 10 wins.
Little did I know the Saints would go 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and that includes wins over Seattle, Dallas and Chicago. Oh, right. And Alvin Kamara has been banged up for a few weeks and missed the last several games to.
And here here this team is, right at 7-1 with games against Tampa (twice), Carolina and Atlanta standing between them and a date with undefeated San Francisco (in New Orleans) on December 8th. This team should get to 10 wins in November.
DUD - Stanning the Browns
Oh Kyle. You dear, sweet fool. The Browns winning 10 games looked so good in your head. Baker Mayfield set the rookie touchdown passes record. The Browns brought back Freddie Kitchens for continuity on offense and added Odell Beckham Jr.
Let this serve as a lesson: coaching matters. A lot. And as Week 8 versus New England reminds us, the Browns are not well coached. They're sloppy. Unfocused. And the roster is flawed -- with John Dorsey now just having days to make a move. At 2-5, the Browns have the second easiest schedule the rest of the way. Great -- congrats on 7-9 this year, Cleveland. I don't have the faith anymore that this team, with all their flaws, will flip the switch and become world beaters that win all the games they're "supposed" to. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice...