Please remind me not to make football predictions next year. I’m happy with a few of these I got right, but there are a few really embarrassing predictions in here as well.
Here’s how I did on predicting the order of finishing.
NFC East prediction: Eagles, Giants (*), Cowboys, Redskins. Got this almost completely backwards. Terrible.
NFC North: Packers, Bears (*), Lions, Vikings. Was way off with Minnesota, but nailed the division champ Packers.
NFC South: Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Bucs. So close. Transpose the Saints and Panthers and I’d have had this one spot on. Bonus points for not tapping the Saints for a wildcard. I really did think they’d fall off without their head coach.
NFC West: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals. Taking a bow, 100% right.
AFC East: Pats, Bills (*), Jets, Dolphins. Having the Bills in a wildcard when they finished last counts as a failure. The Pats as division champs was like shooting fish in a barrel. No credit for that one.
AFC North: Steelers, Ravens (*), Bengals, Browns. I had the Steelers too high and really underestimated the Ravens.
AFC South: Texans, Titans, Colts, Jags. I had the Colts and Titans backwards, otherwise pretty solid.
AFC West: Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Raiders. Hanging my head in shame with the pick of the Chiefs.
I also made 10 predictions for stories during the season. Let’s see how these worked out.
1. Prediction: By the end of the season, the story around Michael Vick will be whether the Eagles will pick up the next season on his contract or if the organization will wash its hands of him and move on. Verdict: Nailed it. Saw this one coming a mile away.
2. Prediction: Ben Roethlisberger’s diva act goes back into full force as he clashes with his new offensive coordinator. Verdict: Partial credit on this one. There was certainly some smoke around this, but it didn’t erupt.
3. Prediction: Another weak season in Washington has people (finally) questioning coach Mike Shanahan. Verdict: Nothing to see here, let’s keep this moving along.
4. Prediction: The replacement refs screw up something really big in week 1. The real officials are back for week 2. Verdict: I was surprised that the charade went on for three weeks. But they did screw up something monumental on Monday Night Football that ended the lockout.
5. Prediction: A few big name veteran players whose performance really drops off this year: Moss (SF), Urlacher (Chi), Lewis (Bal), Harrison (Pit), CJ2K (Ten). Verdict: Missed on Moss, he was solid if unspectacular. Probably a miss on CJ2K as he came on strong after a very slow start. I was right on Urlacher and Harrison. I think I was right on Lewis, though many would debate that (and to those, just watch the tape on him during the Super Bowl – he was awful)
6. Prediction: A couple of team based under performers compared to previous years: the Patriots and Packers offensive lines, the offensive play calling of the Saints, the Bears defence. Verdict: Wrong on the Pats (they turned it around), right on the Pack, right on the Saints. Missed badly on the Bears.
7. Prediction: The concussion topic finally gets treated seriously this year with suspensions for dangerous hits. Verdict: Got this one right, and it was about time for the league to do this.
8. Prediction: Peyton Manning has a solid season and makes it through the full season, but arm weakness starts to show. His football IQ makes this less of an issue than it could have been this season. Verdict: I think this was true. He had a great year, but his arm wasn’t where it was pre-injury, and he was smart enough to overcome it.
9. Prediction: Baltimore’s defence becomes a team weakness and people actually wish the D could play as well as Joe Flacco and the offence. Verdict: I’m taking credit for this one.
10. Prediction: The league experiences a bit of a down year for rookie QBs compared to last season. Verdict: Dead wrong (probably the best year for rookie QBs ever) and I hang my head in shame.