The Wins Pool is back.
Unfortunately last year was not my year, and I finished 3rd. Hutton “Simple Math” Baker wore the crown last year.
Thus, the 2019 season begins. The horses have been picked. As you’ll find out, I’m somewhat underwhelmed by a majority of the stables assembled by my opponents. Let’s take a look at each group and project how they’ll fare this season.
John “Chowder Me” Dolan
Horses: Chiefs, Ravens, Seahawks, Dolphins
Dolan got saddled with the 1st overall pick, which ultimately means he got saddled with the 32nd overall pick and the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs were a safe pick at #1, however they have a pretty tough schedule. Dolan needs this team to be in the 12-13 win category in order to have a chance at winning. The Ravens and Seahawks are fringe playoff teams, but I don’t see either of them winning more than 9 games. With the Tunsil trade, the Dolphins have a legitimate shot to go 1-15. This prevents Dolan from having a ring year.
Tommy “Chalk” Murray
Horses: Patriots, Jets, 49ers, Bengals
Tommy didn’t get cute and secured himself a top horse at #2 with the New England Patriots. They’re a lock to get double digit wins. However I feel that they’re roster is a little shallow especially on offense, and it may be a 10/11 win season instead of a 12/13 win season in Foxboro. Chalk boi also limited his ceiling in taking another AFC East squad in the Jets when his pick came around again. He did draft the 49ers who he likes a lot, but I have my doubts. The Bengals are a guaranteed bust, but between them and the Dolphins at the end Tommy had no choice. Tommy has been sneakily been one of the better performing governors in the first two seasons of the wins pool, and if the Jets and 49ers make a playoff push he’ll be in the mix.
John “Banners” Danner
Horses: Rams, Browns, Titans, ********
Danner had an interesting Draft. Taking the Rams at #3 would not have been my prime choice with teams like the Eagles, Falcons, and Steelers available, but they are likely to get double digit wins. John made a splash going for the Browns in his second selection, but I have major concerns about this team’s offensive line and feel that 8-8 is likely for Cleveland. The Titans have had 3 straight 9-7 seasons, so getting them in the later stages was good for a wins pool league. Having to decide between the ********, Bengals, and Dolphins is like choosing whether you want to be shot in the arm, leg, or foot. Ultimately Danner chose the ********, hopefully Case Keenum and Jay Gruden can piece together a 6 win season to keep Danner afloat this year.
Conor “The Firm” Ryan
Horses: Saints, Packers, Jags, Giants
Conor has failed to make a real splash yet in the two seasons of wins pool, but 2019 may be different. I think the Saints are a playoff team, but it’s a tough division which I see Atlanta coming out of, so it may be tough sledding if NoLa can’t turn in a 12 win season for Ryan. I hate the Packers and LaFleur, and am really low on them (they’ll finish last in the North), but they still could win the NFC North since they have Rodgers. Getting the Jags late was a huge get, I think they’re the second best team in the AFC South right now and don’t think winning the division is out of the question. Ryan will be counting down the weeks until Daniel Jones gets to start. I think the Giants offense has upside but the defense is going to be awful, so I can’t see them winning more than 6 games. I personally don’t love Ryan’s stable, but others could say he has the strongest one in the Wins Pool.
Hutton “Simple Math” Baker
Horses: Bears, Cowboys, Panthers, Raiders
Hutton was the champion last year, but he ultimately decided to completely submarine his chances of winning this year when he took the Bears at #5 overall. Mitch Trubisky stinks and the defense is more than likely to take a step back. The NFC North will be unforgiving, and to take them over teams still available like Philly, Atlanta, or even Houston is just asinine. The Cowboys are a safer selection, but I’m not sure they have 10 win potential. The Panthers are clearly in the bottom half of the NFC South so that limits my ability to get excited about them, and the Raiders have some upside but they’re also clearly in the bottom half of the AFC West. I will prophecize that the Bears, Panthers, and Raiders all finish 3rd or worse in their respective divisions, thus making Simple Math’s horses the worst stable in the league.
Chris “Stoph” “Young Dolph” Sarkisian
Horses: Eagles, Chargers, Lions, Colts
Stoph has assembled himself with one of the strongest stables in the barn. I see three playoff stallions here, and a frisky Colt. The Eagles are a playoff bye team for me. I am not as high on the Chargers as I have been in past seasons, their offensive line is shaky however I find them to be too talented overall to not make the playoffs in a top-heavy AFC. Check the Lions preview pod for my thoughts on this year’s Detroit team (10-6, playoffs), and the Colts could be up for the challenge if Brissett can play like the QB a few NFL analysts are hyping him up to be.
Adam “2delo” “yaps” “Say Less” Klepp
Horses: Falcons, Texans, Bills, Broncos
I like my group this year, yet I feel less confident than I have in years past. I think the Falcons (my Super Bowl pick) and the Texans are both division winners. My issue comes when I get to the Bills and Broncos, both teams who are perhaps on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. I like the Bills chances of making the playoffs this year, but I recognize where things could go wrong there. The Broncos will have an elite defense, but I’m not convinced the Flacco-led offense will be any better than it was during Peyton Manning’s swan song.
Leigh “John Gooch” “Lubricate” Murray
Horses: Steelers, Vikings, Buccaneers, Cardinals
Gooch has the best top two horses, but faltered with his last two picks. The Steelers and Vikings are my two north division champions and have playoff bye potential. Murray is bullish on the Bucs and probably was correct to take them with his third pick with what remained, but to draft the Cardinals when a team like the Colts were still on the board was a mistake. I think the Cardinals are in for another bad season and will have a top 5 pick. If Tampa makes a run however Leigh should be in good shape.
FINAL STANDINGS PROJECTION