Let's break down the long slow march to the middle.
@ St. Louis
@ New Orleans
Best case: I think even the most pie in the sky rube homer fan has a hard time seeing anything more than two wins out of the gates. The best case scenario here is winning at St. Louis and beating Atlanta at home. If you squint....maaaaybe you can see Tom Brady getting old, falling apart, and New England being very beatable in the home opener. I can't see them giving up less than 800 yards passing to Drew Brees.
Worst Case: Losing at St. Louis sets the stage for a long season. New England is still New England and Atlanta returns to their 2012 form. Cassell looks terrible and Bridgewater is the starter by the Atlanta game. This is bad. A nightmarish hellscape.
Most likely: I think they pull out two wins here. St. Louis and Atlanta go down. .500 heading into October is a fine place to be.
@ Tampa Bay
Best case: Three wins seems tough but doable. Buffalo gonna Buffalo, and Tampa could be in total meltdown mode by then. Detroit is always sweepable, but... going to Lambeau? On a weeknight? Pff. Along with the New Orleans game, the most likely L on the schedule.
Worst case: 1-3. Even if everything breaks bad and the Metrodome collapses again, there's a win in there somewhere.
Most likely: Pink uniform month yields two more wins. Hey we're halfway home and right in the middle of the playoff hunt.
Best case: The toughest game is going to be @ Chicago. The other three are winnable. A blowout over Washington and a split with the Packers gets fans hopes up for the inevitable crash.
Worst case: 0-4, Cassell is out for the season with all of his CLs torn, Bridgewater looks bad, fans actually chant for Christian Ponder.
Most likely: 1-3. I think they beat Washington and struggle in the other three games. 5-7 just as everyone starts their holiday shopping.
New York Jets
Best case: 3-1. NYJ and Miami are always beatable. You can talk me into beating Det or Chi, but not both.
Worst case: 1-3. I think the Jets stink. Jets always stink.
Most likely: 2-2.
Let's face it. This is probably around a .500 team. Unless Leslie Frazier was the main reason the defense was so terrible last year, they are going to give up some points. My guess is the defense finishes slightly below middle of the pack, the offense is near the top 10, and they struggle to get to 8 wins. Give Zimmer a few years to get the guys he wants in place and I bet he has a top 10 defense, but that's a huge leap to make in the first year. If all of the above best case scenarios hit, it's a 12 win team with a first round bye in the playoffs. Does anyone see that happening? With Cassell? Or a rookie at QB? My worst cases add up to a two win season and I think that is more likely than a 12 win one.
God I hope I'm wrong. There isn't enough alcohol on the planet for a two win season.
-----I'd like to thank my No Juice Podcast co-host Parker for giving me a forum to put every stupid thought I have about the Vikings on the record.
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