Marc Vandermeer takes you through 2011 game by game and projects the final record.


Opening with Indy feels strange. Was anyone else checking the date to make sure that wasn’t a typo?

Remember when our Texans were 4-2 and looking good last year? It was like starting your first hole with a great drive down the middle but shanking your second shot into the water.

Well, now they get to re-tee against the Colts. It’ll be tough to hit the fairway again this time.

It’s a little difficult to project how they’ll do without knowing how this defense is going to shape up or how the lockout will affect the schedule.

But let’s run with it anyway.

The first fourth of the season has to be at least a split for survival. When you see the Colts, at Miami, at New Orleans and home to Pittsburgh, I’m sure there is no one among us who wouldn’t take 2-2 right now.

The next four of Oakland, at Baltimore, at the Titans and home to Jacksonville has to somehow be a 3-1 stretch. Two and two gets you to .500 at the halfway point and I’m not sure we’ll be printing playoff tickets considering what’s to come.

Chapter three brings Cleveland, at Tampa Bay, at Jacksonville and Atlanta. Based on the ‘beat who you should beat’ motiff, that’s a 2-2 quarter.

Then the finishing kick of visiting the Bengals, home to Carolina, at Indy and home to Tennessee smells like 3-1 if these guys are going to be who we hope they are.

That’s 10-6, boys and girls. But I bet you’re with me on the second half and shaky on the first half. I agree. I’ll give a game back and go with 9-7, hoping for much better.

I’m not ready to go on the record with that but that’s the early vibe. For the record I predicted 9-7 in each of the last two seasons. In ‘09 I hit it and should have come up short in the win column.

Last year I overestimated based on the thought that they would close better than post-Pujols, pre-Philly Brad Lidge.

Let’s just hope they get the lockout fixed fast so we can all start focusing on feasting on these games.