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2016 Playbook Football 10 Questions Interviews

1. Which NFL teams do you see being 'Play On' worthy this season?
The Jacksonville Jaguars look like an intriguing team in 2016 that could produce a winning ATS season for the first time since 2010 as they should open the year still being considered one of the worst teams in the league. Jacksonville was 5-11 S/U last season but 7-8-1 ATS and six losses came by a touchdown or less. With the offense in year three behind Blake Bortles there should be some value with Jacksonville and a team with a stockpile of young talent as this a team that could improve by several wins while likely cashing several underdog tickets.

2. Which NFL teams do you see being 'Play Against' worthy this season?
In climbing to the top of the NFC North last season the Minnesota Vikings wound up going 13-3 ATS last season plus covering in the painful home playoff loss to Seattle. Minnesota will be a popular sleeper to contend for the NFC title this season. Ten of Minnesota's 17 games last season were decided by 10 or fewer points last season and this doesn't look like a team that will post huge offensive numbers with a still limited passing game. Minnesota is likely to be laying points a lot more often in 2016 with a reasonably favorable schedule and several primetime games as the elevated expectations will surely lead to a decline in the ATS record from 2015.

3. Which NFL teams do you see making it to the Super Bowl this season?
The Carolina Panthers look like a serious threat to make it back to the Super Bowl after losing in the finale last season after a 15-1 regular season. The Panthers look clearly ahead of the other teams in the NFC South and they will only face five 2015 playoff teams in the regular season as they will have a realistic shot to be the NFC's top seed again. The AFC looks more wide open and the New England Patriots are always a safe choice to be in the mix. With a coaching change and quarterback questions among the other AFC East teams it is difficult to envision the Patriots not being back in the playoffs with one of the better seeds and the first place draw in the AFC schedule will feature two teams with new quarterbacks in Houston and Denver. If the Tom Brady suspension holds it will likely only add more fuel to the fire for a team that has been the most consistently successful team in the league.

4. Which College Football teams do you see being 'Play On' worthy this season?
Clemson will be the focal point of the ACC Atlantic division after being the runner up in the college football playoff last season but there could be attractive value on two of the other teams in that division, Florida State and Louisville. Florida State looks poised to be an elite national title contender again in 2016 and the Seminoles will get to host most of the biggest games of their season. Louisville lost several close games last season with a tough September but the Cardinals have favorable opportunities for an experienced team and could re-emerge as a top 25 caliber squad if not being a threat to challenge in the division with an upset or two.

5. Which College Football teams do you see being 'Play Against' worthy this season?
Alabama is 50-6 S/U since the start of the 2012 season with a pair of national championships but they are a below .500 ATS team in that span and with a very difficult schedule ahead in 2016 and some new faces in key positions it could be a bit of a step-back season in Tuscaloosa. All five games away from home are of the very difficult variety and the Crimson Tide figures to be overvalued in many mismatches at home with highly inflated spreads. A step back season for Alabama might still mean going 10-2 but expect a .500 or worse spread record ahead for a team that will open the season as one of the national title favorites as usual and will be priced as such on a weekly basis.

6. Which College Football teams do you see making it to the College Football Playoff Championship Game this season?
 An ACC vs. SEC showdown looks very possible again with the ACC Atlantic winner and the SEC West winner looking like a possible repeat matchup. The teams may be different as Florida State looks to be in a good position to knock off Clemson while LSU has a team loaded with experience in the SEC West. Hosting the biggest division games may be the key to division title runs and while there will be many hurdles to pass, Florida State and LSU look poised for great seasons.

7. Which new head coach hire will prove to be the best in the NFL this season?
Ben McAdoo steps into a pretty good situation with the Giants as he has an experienced quarterback that he has worked with the past two seasons and enough offensive talent to flourish in what was the NFC's weakest division last season. The Giants face the third weakest schedule in the league based on the 2015 results and while the first month does features some tough games the Giants will only play seven true road games and could have a strong second half of the season to even possibly flirt with a playoff spot in a conference that doesn't seem to have a lot of depth at the top.

8. Which new head coach hire will prove to be the best in College Football this season?
Minnesota will look good for keeping Tracy Claeys as head coach moving forward. He was 2-2 after officially taking over the Gophers following Jerry Kill's drawn out retirement for medical reasons and he has basically been the team's part-time head coach the past few seasons. After facing a brutal Big Ten draw last season the Gophers trade the heavyweight programs for a draw that includes Penn State, Maryland, and Rutgers while also facing a minimally daunting non-conference schedule after having to play TCU the past two seasons. In a wide open Big Ten West Minnesota could be a serious contender even though they only won twice in conference play last season. 

9. Final closing thought on the 2016 NFL season.
There are likely to be more surprise contenders in the AFC this season as the gap from the top to the bottom looks much wider in the NFC. The NFC has four teams with new head coaches and figures to only feature 4-5 teams with a serious shot at the title as most of the division standings will likely look pretty similar to 2015 with the NFC East being the division with the most potential for a major shake-up. Expect to see potentially three new division champions in the AFC as several quality teams have major quarterback questions while a few teams that have been sitting at the bottom of the conference the past few seasons have the potential to make a significant jump.  

10. Final closing thought on the 2016 College Football season.
The Pac-12 will have a tough time getting a team in the college football playoff for the second straight season. The conference has proven its worth in non-conference play and bowl action in recent years but the depth of the league will make it very difficult to produce a champion with no more than one loss. There are mostly unproven quarterbacks leading the projected top teams and every team has multiple road games that will be great challenges while most contenders also are taking on a tough non-conference game. The league deserves credit for setting the bar high with more conference games and difficult non-conferences tests but it hasn't helped produce national championships.


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