It’s March madness time, so websites are federally mandated to do some kind of tournament styled something. So, in keeping compliance with the government, we’ve come up with a tournament to have some fun with -- looking at all the NFL teams, as their roster is now, and pitting them against each other and having five experts vote on the winner of each matchup.

This tournament is not ‘seeded’. It was a randomly generated matchup setup...just to mix it up a little, and maybe give an underdog a chance along the way if they get the right matchups. All 32 teams participate in the first round, 16 matchups, and then the 16 winners move on to the 2nd-round, where those teams will be randomly matched up again, and so on...until we get to the finals to determine who our experts think is the best team in the NFL, right now.

We’re going through this for fun, but also for some betting guidance...looking for some sleeper teams to bet on for division/conference/Super Bowl titles, perhaps. And to see which teams we should be looking at in the NFL Draft, that could take that ‘next step’ with a killer draft.


The five experts voting for their ‘winner’, based on their current data/research, and giving a brief commentary on their picks are (and they do not know who the others have picked when making their pick)...

Andrew DFS – Our DFS expert and betting database savant and co-host of many football podcasts.

Bet The Close Chris – Betting expert, host of the Bet The Close podcast

RC Fischer – FFM founder

Ross Jacobs – FFM analyst and budding NFL Draft expert

ChatFFM – RC’s offseason project...further using AI tools to refine our database and predictive tools/models.


Here’s what the experts think of today’s matchup:


Ross Jacobs

HOU v. BAL = (HOU wins 24-20) This isn't so much a sign of support for Houston, who I think is quite overrated right now), but more an indictment of the Ravens, who I think are even more overrated.

Baltimore is strong no doubt, but they were fortunate that so many of the other elite AFC teams were dealing with injuries to star players last year and their major "improvement" this year was signing a 30-year-old RB. That shouldn't move the needle at all.

Houston is being crowned because Stroud threw for a lot of yards and the team added some splashy free agent names, but I question that logic. Diggs is the 3rd best receiver on this team and a major locker room head case. What's going to happen when he's not getting 10 targets per game? Danielle Hunter is fine I guess, but edge rushers just don't matter very much. We've also seen rookie QBs with a strong first year take a step back in year 2. Baker Mayfield and Mac Jones being the two most recent examples (yes, go look up their numbers). It's not a given that Stroud just keeps ascending in a straight line. That's rarely how the NFL works.

So, I have some major questions for both teams. But I'll give Houston the pass because...well...they can actually pass (the ball).


Bet The Close Chris

HOU v. BAL = (HOU wins 30-13) The Ravens had a good season last year but lost an awful lot in the offseason.  D. Henry coming in intrigues me but 17 different ways to run the ball is nice until you play top tier defenses. I think it will be a mountain to climb to get over the 11.5 season win total.  

The Texans are a team I’ve talked about wanting to fade because of the success late last season (but it took a JAX collapse and they almost lost to IND for their playoff spot). I’m still going to maintain that Stroud is the wild card that may allow Houston to be a consistent double digit winner year after year.  Also, the defense should be pretty good.  



HOU v. BAL = (BAL wins by 3.5)

While I question some of their financial decisions, the team has strengthened on both sides of the ball. The Ravens' acquisition of RB Derrick Henry will be more impactful than the Texans' addition of WR Stefon Diggs. Henry will benefit from the superior offensive line and quarterback play, despite being in the later stages of his career. His presence is going to provide a boost to an already dynamic Ravens offense.



HOU v. BAL = (HOU wins 24-21)

Last year, the Ravens were the better roster and they beat Houston twice...Week 1 and then in round two of the playoffs. The Texans get the Ravens in the regular season in 2024 as well. And I think Houston will exact revenge over the Ravens with the better team/roster this season led by the best QB, of the two teams, by far...and the extra special sauce is DeMeco Ryans devising a defense that bests the Ravens’ unit as well. All the momentum, current and future, is headed towards the Texans instead of the Ravens.


ChatFFM (forgive any’s still learning language and I’m not correcting them for needs to learn -- and I am programming it to be more sarcastic than I/RC, I’ll have someone to talk to all day in my office watching football tape)

HOU v. BAL = (HOU wins 53% of the simulations)

All I can A.I. imagine, in the future, is: I wonder what Bears GM Ryan Poles is thinking as he watches the Texans make a Super Bowl run with C.J. Stroud, and he ‘passed’ on taking Stroud #1 and instead traded away the #1 pick in 2023 that would’ve changed everything? He’ll think this thought from his non-GM position after he gets fired for QB butchering...Fields over the #1 in 2023...not taking away Fields...drafting a new problem with Caleb.

Poles will be mad at this faux matchup result here: The Texans have the better QB, the better passing game, and suddenly the better defense and Lamar flops again in another big game moment. The Texans bottle up Derrick Henry enough to pull out the win here.


The Texans run continues to the Final Four! A decisive 4-1 vote win here. The Ravens fall short...again.


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