I did a prediction column back in September after the first week of the season. Let’s see how I did.
Well, for starters, I totally bungled the NFC East. Not only did I have the Eagles and Cowboys winning 10 games each, but I had both going to the playoffs. You’d think for a hard-line West Coaster, I’d know better than to let any East Coast Bias seep into my thinking.
On the flipside, I got Green Bay’s and Chicago’s records exactly right. Of course, I didn’t see Minnesota’s hot streak coming, as I had the Bears in the other Wild Card. So far, 1 for 4 on NFC playoff teams. Not a great start.
I had the Falcons and the 49ers as my Top 2 seeds, but I had them reversed. I LOVED the 49ers, guaranteeing 14 wins. I liked the Seahawks for 8-9 wins, and I liked the Cards to be above the Rams. Boy did my confidence in the Cardinals backfire!
I pegged the Patriots for 11-12 wins (right on the mark). I was a little too in love with the Ravens, but either way, they still won that division. I had the Bengals right there at 10 wins for the Wild Card spot. And, of course, see below for my money quote on the Steelers.
I was also a little too in love with the Texans. While they DID coast to my predicted 12-4 record, they lost out on the #2 seed. Never saw the Colts coming, obviously, as I had them at 4-wins this season. I liked the Broncos, but not to the extent that I saw this late-season run. I was way off on the Chargers too, as they did not snag the final Wild Card spot.
Now, if I get to cherry pick things, I was right on 7 of 8 division winners, with Philly my only blemish (and what a blemish it was!). I had 8 of 12 playoff teams (including 5 of 6 in the AFC).
In the playoffs, I had Green Bay and San Francisco advancing to the NFC Championship game. As things stand right now, it’s impossible for that to happen because if Green Bay wins their Wild Card Round game, they will automatically play the 49ers in the Divisional Round. I had Baltimore and New England in the AFC Championship game. Technically, that’s still on the table if Houston wins against Cincinnati. Baltimore would have to beat the Colts (possible) and then go into Denver and come away victorious (unlikely).
I had an All-Harbaugh Super Bowl, which is also theoretically on the table, but suffice it to say I will be rooting for anything BUT that to happen.
All in all, one of my best years at predicting NFL seasons ever. Then again, I whiffed on all three of the playoff rookie quarterbacks. Can’t say I’m all that embarrassed about that. I did have the Seahawks as the best of the three teams, but ultimately I thought the Seahawks were a year away at best. Couldn’t be more glad about being so wrong …
On to the rankings, for the final time this season:
- Denver Broncos (13-3): Hottest team going into the playoffs somehow stole the #1 overall seed. I know AP carried the Vikings, but I just don’t see how Peyton Manning ISN’T the MVP of the league (especially when you consider how bad the Colts were without him last season). At the very least, co-MVP? (Last Week: 1)
- Seattle Seahawks (11-5): The Rams are tough, no way around it. I take nothing away from a close Seahawks victory. That was a solid way to finish the season 8-0 at home. (Last Week: 2)
- San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Well, shit. First round bye. Giving them time to get healthy at some key areas. BYE teams win something like 75% of the time in Divisional Round. For Seattle’s sake, I have to root for the Pack so we get a crack at going indoors to play the Falcons in round 2. (Last Week: 5)
- New England Patriots (12-4): Ho-hum, just another win over a shitty team to get themselves to a #2 seed. You’re VERY luck your division is one of the worst in football. (Last Week: 6)
- Green Bay Packers (11-5): God damn you suck, Green Bay! You were supposed to force the 49ers to play next week! Way to let ‘em off the hook. Do we have to do EVERYTHING for you? (Last Week: 3)
- Atlanta Falcons (13-3): On the one hand, you rest your starters after a quarter or so; just enough to get them some work, but just little enough so (hopefully) they don’t get injured (which you chose to not do). On the other hand, You Play To Win The Game (which is what you actually did). You keep your starters in there, you throw 44 times, and you still lose at home to a 9-loss Buccaneers team. It was ballsy, I’ll give you that. Takes a lot of guts to play all-out in a meaningless game right before the playoffs. However, remember how nobody feared you going into the playoffs BEFORE you lost this week? Yeah, double down on some of THAT! Enjoy shitting your pants during the BYE week, because you’re GOING to lose in the Divisional Round. (Last Week: 4)
- Washington Redskins (10-6): One of three rookie quarterbacks to make the playoffs this year. Either we’re entering a new age where rookie quarterbacks can never be taken lightly, or this 2012 draft is historically good. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, but I would wager it’s closer to the “historically good draft” side of the spectrum. (Last Week: 8)
- Houston Texans (12-4): Lost your last two games, lost three of your last four games, lost your #1 seed, lost your first round BYE. Ain’t life a bitch? (Last Week: 7)
- Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Helluva finish to a season. All of a sudden, I’ve got ChuckStrong fever! Or, you know, the Colts just beat up on a bad Texans team that’ll lose in the first round. (Last Week: 13)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Color me VERY impressed. I gave the Vikings zero chance to make the playoffs after they left Seattle as losers. Since then, they won 5 of 7 and earned themselves a rematch with the Packers in Green Bay. (Last Week: 11)
- Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Yeah, you beat the Ravens, BFD. (Last Week: 10)
- Chicago Bears (10-6): Tough way to go out. 10 wins gets you in the playoffs MOST seasons. Also tough way to fire a head coach. Really? 10 wins and you give him the boot? Seems a little extreme for a guy who once brought you to the Super Bowl. (Last Week: 12)
- Baltimore Ravens (10-6): That’s right, best to rest your starters this final week. After all, you totally gagged away your chance at a legitimate BYE week; might as well take this Week 17 to reflect on all the shit you’ve done. (Last Week: 9)
- New York Giants (9-7): Where was this all season, Eli??? You fuck! (Last Week: 17)
- St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Yeah, they’ve got a nice core, but Sam Bradford will NEVER scare me. He’s a Game Manager at best. And in this division – going forward – a Game Manager just won’t be good enough to top Seattle or San Francisco. (Last Week: 14)
- New Orleans (7-9): Nice turd you laid there. After all that turmoil, wouldn’t want to finish at .500 or anything. (Last Week: 15)
- Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Damn you Cowboys; why couldn’t you stop the Redskins??? We would have CRUSHED you in the playoffs! (Last Week: 16)
- Miami Dolphins (7-9): I don’t know what to tell you. It all falls on Tannehill’s shoulders. Personally, I don’t see it. I think they remain mediocre for at least the next decade. (Last Week: 18)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Back on September 11, 2012, I wrote a prediction column for the NFL (referenced in the first half of this post). Here’s what I said about the Steelers: “I think the Steelers underachieve, end up 8-8, and start questioning whether or not they need a new head coach. “ They may or may not be questioning things on an organizational level, but the Steeler Nation is certainly giving second thoughts to what’s going on. (Last Week: 19)
- Carolina Panthers (7-9): Not a bad little 4-game winning streak to close out. Did they REALLY just save their coach’s job? (Last Week: 20)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): I know they won their last game, but that’s coming on the heels of a 5-game losing streak. Doesn’t speak well of a coaching staff that will surely be shit-canned within 2 years. (Last Week: 21)
- San Diego Chargers (7-9): I got nothing.
If they retain Norv again, I give up. I would have the biggest boner today if I were a Chargers fan. (Last Week: 22)
- Cleveland Browns (5–11): Well, looks like they’re cleaning house again this offseason. Still, with the players they have, it’s hard to believe they’ll be much better going forward. (Last Week: 23)
- Buffalo Bills (6-10): This organization deserves better.
If they don’t replace Chan Gailey, I might be forced to suicide bomb their headquarters. It’s about fucking time they got rid of the dead weight! (Last Week: 24)
- New York Jets (6-10): This organization deserves exactly what they get. QUIT BEING SO BORING! Nobody likes you Jets! Stop showing up on my local broadcasts most weeks! (Last Week: 25)
- Tennessee Titans (6-10): I really, REALLY would’ve liked to have seen more out of Locker this season. I worry for the kid, I really do. (Last Week: 26)
- Arizona Cardinals (5-11): What’d you expect, dude, he’s the son of the devil! (Last Week: 27)
- Detroit Lions (4-12): Yeah, I’m starting to see what their big problems are. All of their defense, for one. Wide receiver for another (Kris Durham, getting significant minutes, really? That’s one Pete Carroll/John Schneider dog that won’t hunt). (Last Week: 28)
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Way to play hard for your local legend head coach right before he’s fired. Good effort, you pricks. (Last Week: 29)
- Oakland Raiders (4-12): Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha … (Last Week: 30)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): What a time for the quarterbacks coming out of college to be so shitty. (Last Week: 31)
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): And welcome to the #1 pick! (Last Week: 32)