So-called experts appall me at times. I was watching some NFL show on television the other day, listening to a commentator talk about a handful of teams.
When giving his "expert" opinion, he mentioned how last year we believed in a certain team — and they failed — so he won't make that mistake again. That's why Vegas gobbles up money at an alarming rate from misguided handicappers.
History does tell us some things. But it's not the whole story. Just because you whiffed on a team a year ago, doesn't mean that's going to be the case this season. The same goes with a team you did well with last year, too.
Use history as a guide, but not as the full measure of why you're high or low on an NFL team this season. Here's three teams that will be better than the "experts" believe, and will rocket past their win totals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Over/Under 8.5
This is a popular pick, but I'm sticking by it. The Bucs are just better than they were last year. Offensively, they've given Jameis Winston weapons with DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. The defense wasn't very good in the early going in 2016, but by the second half of the season, was one of the best in the NFL.
And maybe most importantly, this is Winston's third year at quarterback — traditionally a giant leap for that position — and head coach Dirk Koetter's third year in the organization. They've had major continuity in the NFL's most important position, and the rest of the team grades out as being above average.
Everyone is scared of the NFL South for some reason because of Atlanta. Let's use history as somewhat of a guide, and remember that the Super Bowl loser is usually a complete train wreck the following season. The Falcons will take a step back, while New Orleans will be at the division's bottom. Carolina is the wild card, but even if Tampa Bay finishes second, it should at least hit the nine-win mark.
Jacksonville Jaguars, Over/Under 6.5
This is becoming my favorite pick of the season. Everyone, including that previously mentioned expert, is going into this season with caution in respect to Jacksonville.
This was supposed to be the team to take it to the next level in 2016, but failed to live up to the hype. So naturally, everyone forgets why we liked them, and stays away. While everyone else is cautious, I'm going all in.
The AFC is trash this year and Jacksonville is accumulating talent. They're still young, but they're still very talented, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Leonard Fournette will help on offense and if Blake Bortles can trim down on the turnovers and try not to do too much, the Jaguars should compete for a Wild Card by season's end.
Forget about last year. This team will easily make seven wins and should own a winning record.
Minnesota Vikings, Over/Under 8.5
Minnesota was the best team in the NFL during the first quarter of the 2016 season. It didn't last, but we shouldn't forget why they were that good. The offensive line wasn't in complete shambles, and the defense was elite.
The Vikings will start out that way again this season, and will have a quarterback at the helm who doesn't join the team days before the season's opening game. The Vikings shored up their offensive line, so we should see much better protection and running lanes.
I'm not worried about the defense, either. This team is a 10-win team on paper. If the injury bug stays away, then over eight wins shouldn't be an issue.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. To see more, check out Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH