Tag Archives: NFL

NFL 2014 Postseason Predictions

AFC Wild Card

Colts over Bengals. Can’t count on Andy Dalton here.
Steelers over Ravens. Should be a physical battle that the home team wins.

NFC Wild Card

Panthers over Cardinals.  Would have loved to see Logan Thomas get a short for the Cardinals.
Cowboys over Lions. Could be a shootout.

AFC Divisional

Patriots over Colts. As shown earlier this year, the Patriots are still too strong for Luck.
Broncos over Steelers. Broncos didn’t struggle as much you think they have.

NFC Divisional

Seahawks over Panthers. Just don’t see the Panthers scoring enough.
Packers over Cowboys. There could easily be an upset here, but there probably won’t be.

Conference Championship

Patriots over Broncos. Happened earlier this year and will repeat.
Seahawks over Packers. Boring, I know but Seattle is at home.

Super Bowl

Patriots over Seahawks. Trusting the NE flexibility over SEA talent.

NFC Season & Predictions Review

The NFC South threw us all off, I think.

NFC East

Eagles
Prediction: 11-5. The defense will be slightly better, and the offense should hold steady. I don’t predict the big improvements – Sproles should offset Jackson, and Foles’ development will offset worse luck – but they will win this division.
Actual: 10-6. Once they sat at 9-3 and this looked like a good prediction.

Cowboys
Prediction: 7-9. No defense and Romo with a back injury. There’s a limit to how far they can go.
Actual: 12-4. Romo missed one game, the defense showed up, and I don’t know anything.

Giants
Predicted: 7-9. Probably will end up three wins better, but this team is unimpressive across the board.
Actual: 6-10. Indeed unimpressive.

Redskins
Predicted: 7-9. RGIII hasn’t looked well, adjusting to a new coach and system. Defense also needs more physical players.
Actual: 4-12. RGIII missed much of the year, and nothing else really worked.

NFC North

Packers
Predicted: 10-6. Some questions on defense and the offensive line and an important question surrounding Aaron Rodgers (specifically, “How many fingers am I holding up?”), but this is a powerful offense.
Actual: 12-4. Offense was as good as advertised and covered up other flaws.

Bears
Predicted: 9-7. Could very well get 2 or 3 more wins, but a fragile Cutler and a young defense put a cap on what this team can accomplish.
Actual: 5-11. Completely imploded on both sides.

Lions
Predicted: 6-10. A very powerful offense and an undisciplined defense. They’re basically the Cowboys.
Actual: 11-5. Yup, basically the Cowboys, both in my prediction and in real life.

Vikings
Predicted: 5-11. Should go to Teddy Bridgewater – in my opinion the best QB who will come out of this year’s draft – with the associated growing pains. Secondary very suspect.
Actual: 7-9. Both Bridgewater and the secondary grew up quickly.

NFC South

Saints
Predicted: 12-4. The offense is typically unstoppable, and the defense actually has lots of talent this time around. They can still be run on, but they are in good shape.
Actual: 7-9. Ugh. Offense had way more growing pains than I would have expected, and coaching took a hit, too.

Falcons
Predicted: 9-7. Losing their starting tackle hurts, because this is a team on the rebound. Jake Matthews will help, but there are still holes here.
Actual: 6-10. The holes were bigger than I would have thought.

Panthers
Predicted: 8-8. I feel like I’m missing something here. This team made little effort to add receivers at a time that their QB is hitting his prime and his RBs are on the decline. The defense is solid – this would have been a good time to go for it.
Actual: 7-8-1. I got their talent level right. Just didn’t think they’d get anywhere with it.

Buccaneers
Predicted: 7-9. Lovie Smith and a great draft. I think McCown does well but I also think Glennon can win this job for the next few years.
Actual: 2-14.  Got ugly really quick, especially at QB, RB, and DEF.

NFC West

Seahawks
Predicted: 11-5. They’ve taken more hits than people realize, but Wilson is a year better. Defense lacks last year’s depth but is still very good.
Actual: 12-4. Yup.

49ers
Predicted: 10-6.  I love how this team built its roster, but between injuries and suspensions, their impressive depth has taken a hit. A lot will hinge on Kaepernick’s development as a passer.
Actual: 8-8. Kaepernick did not move much as a passer and injuries crushed them.

Cardinals
Predicted: 7-9. The defense impressed last year but it’s lost quite a bit of talent. The passing offense should hold up but this team is taking a step back.
Actual: 11-5. Very wrong here. The team only got better but was undone by injuries on offense.

Rams
Predicted: 5-11. Bradford out, Zac Stacy unproven, receivers young. This offense has lots of questions that a stout defensive line cannot overcome.
Actual: 6-10. The defense was very good, but the rest was mostly accurate.

AFC Season & Predictions Review

Other than the AFC South, not ashamed of my predictions, and called the AFC West perfectly.

AFC East

Patriots
Prediction: 13-3. Improved defense and receivers that can’t be less healthy than last year. Even with an older Brady, this is a good team.
Actual: 12-4. The older Brady struggled early but the rest was accurate.

Bills
Prediction: 7-9. I’m a believer for no real reason. Manuel struggled, Watkins is hurt already, and the secondary is struggling. Yet here we are.
Actual: 9-7. I underrated them. The defense was stellar, and Kyle Orton taking over for Manuel made the difference.

Dolphins
Prediction: 6-10. On paper this team should be much better, but a tough schedule and lack of offensive playmakers makes me wonder where the wins will come from.
Actual: 8-8. Underrated them, too. Got some tough wins but still a year away.

Jets
Predicted: 5-11. Predicting a bit of a collapse. The Jets were the luckiest team in the NFL last year and I doubt that repeats.
Actual: 4-12. Nailed it, basically, as the

AFC North

Bengals
Predicted: 10-6. This team probably isn’t as good as they were last year, but the run game should be effective and they’ve developed bona fide pass catchers beyond AJ Green. I believe.
Actual: 10-5-1. Shame their QB limits their playoff possibilities.

Steelers
Predicted: 9-7. Should have made the playoffs last year, and will contend this year. Expecting Wheaton and Shazier to make an immediate impact.
Actual: 11-5. Played down to competition at times but won when it counted.

Ravens
Predicted: 8-8. Could win three more games than this if everything breaks right, but luck averages out so I’ll have them be average, too.
Actual: 10-6. Justin Forsett to the rescue. Surprisingly good defense, too.

Browns
Predicted: 6-10. This team is better than this but their QB situation is unsettled and their receivers aren’t impressive. The defense is very good, but it won’t be enough. This team can surprise, but it can’t contend.
Actual: Maybe sticking with Hoyer would have made a difference, but probably not.

AFC South

Colts
Predicted: 9-7. The defense won’t be as lucky as last year, and the lack of a run game will be an issue. I also wonder if Luck will keep improving – he’s already playing well.
Actual: 11-5. Defense was indeed worse, but Luck got better and the division didn’t challenge them.

Titans
Predicted: 7-9. Counting on Locker to be healthy and accurate is risky, but this team has quietly built a great offensive line, a decent receiver corps, and good platoon pieces at TE and RB. The secondary is shallow which will be a problem all year.
Actual: 2-14. Counting on this team to do anything seems to have been risky.  Doesn’t help that their new coach is inflexible.

Jaguars
Predicted: 6-10. An improving team but I think they’re a year away from threatening. Very young roster that will be better and deeper next year.
Actual: 3-13. Didn’t make the leap I thought they would.

Houston
Predicted: 6-10. They’re not as bad as their 2-14 record last year, and the defense can be downright scary, but QB is unsettled and all skill positions are shallower than last year. I say the struggle big time.
Actual: 9-7. Despite a rotating set of QBs the defense and run game made this team a contender.

AFC West

Broncos
Predicted: 12-4. Counting on Montee Ball and lacking Wes Welker for a while, the Broncos can probably still run away with this division.
Actual: 12-4. I don’t mean to brag…

Chargers
Predicted: 9-7. A very good offense and very good defense and a tough schedule. They could go a couple of wins both ways.
Actual: 9-7. …but come on.

Chiefs
Predicted: 9-7. They need more playmakers in the passing game to threaten, but with Charles and that defense, they’ll contend.
Actual: 9-7. Do I know this division…

Raiders
Predicted: 3-13. Looks like another tough year for the Raiders. They’re still early in the talent cycle and it’ll show.
Actual: 3-13. …or do I know this division?

NFC Season Preview & Predictions 2014

NFC East

Eagles 11-5
The defense will be slightly better, and the offense should hold steady. I don’t predict the big improvements – Sproles should offset Jackson, and Foles’ development will offset worse luck – but they will win this division.

Cowboys 7-9
No defense and Romo with a back injury. There’s a limit to how far they can go.

Giants 7-9
Probably will end up three wins better, but this team is unimpressive across the board.

Redskins 7-9
RGIII hasn’t looked well, adjusting to a new coach and system. Defense also needs more physical players.

NFC North

Packers 10-6
Some questions on defense and the offensive line and an important question surrounding Aaron Rodgers (specifically, “How many fingers am I holding up?”), but this is a powerful offense.

Bears 9-7
Could very well get 2 or 3 more wins, but a fragile Cutler and a young defense put a cap on what this team can accomplish.

Lions 6-10
A very powerful offense and an undisciplined defense. They’re basically the Cowboys.

Vikings 5-11
Should go to Teddy Bridgewater – in my opinion the best QB who will come out of this year’s draft – with the associated growing pains. Secondary very suspect.

NFC South

Saints 12-4
The offense is typically unstoppable, and the defense actually has lots of talent this time around. They can still be run on, but they are in good shape.

Falcons 9-7
Losing their starting tackle hurts, because this is a team on the rebound. Jake Matthews will help, but there are still holes here.

Panthers 8-8
I feel like I’m missing something here. This team made little effort to add receivers at a time that their QB is hitting his prime and his RBs are on the decline. The defense is solid – this would have been a good time to go for it.

Buccaneers 7-9
Lovie Smith and a great draft. I think McCown does well but I also think Glennon can win this job for the next few years.

NFC West

Seahawks 11-5
They’ve taken more hits than people realize, but Wilson is a year better. Defense lacks last year’s depth but is still very good.

49ers 10-6
I love how this team built its roster, but between injuries and suspensions, their impressive depth has taken a hit. A lot will hinge on Kaepernick’s development as a passer.

Cardinals 7-9
The defense impressed last year but it’s lost quite a bit of talent. The passing offense should hold up but this team is taking a step back.

Rams 5-11
Bradford out, Zac Stacy unproven, receivers young. This offense has lots of questions that a stout defensive line cannot overcome.

Eagles
Saints
Seahawks
Packers
Bears
49ers

Playoffs

Packers over 49ers
Seahawks over Bears

Saints over Packers
Seahawks over Eagles

Saints over Seahawks

Super Bowl: Patriots over Saints

 

 

AFC Season Preview & Predictions 2014

Once again, I dedicate some thought and space to a sport I care less and less about.

AFC East

Patriots 13-3
Improved defense and receivers that can’t be less healthy than last year. Even with an older Brady, this is a good team.

Bills 7-9
I’m a believer for no real reason. Manuel struggled, Watkins is hurt already, and the secondary is struggling. Yet here we are.

Dolphins 6-10
On paper this team should be much better, but a tough schedule and lack of offensive playmakers makes me wonder where the wins will come from.

Jets 5-11
Predicting a bit of a collapse. The Jets were the luckiest team in the NFL last year and I doubt that repeats.

AFC North

Bengals 10-6
This team probably isn’t as good as they were last year, but the run game should be effective and they’ve developed bona fide pass catchers beyond AJ Green. I believe.

Steelers 9-7
Should have made the playoffs last year, and will contend this year. Expecting Wheaton and Shazier to make an immediate impact.

Ravens 8-8
Could win three more games than this if everything breaks right, but luck averages out so I’ll have them be average, too.

Browns 6-10
This team is better than this but their QB situation is unsettled and their receivers aren’t impressive. The defense is very good, but it won’t be enough. This team can surprise, but it can’t contend.

AFC South

Colts 9-7
The defense won’t be as lucky as last year, and the lack of a run game will be an issue. I also wonder if Luck will keep improving – he’s already playing well.

Titans 7-9
Counting on Locker to be healthy and accurate is risky, but this team has quietly built a great offensive line, a decent receiver corps, and good platoon pieces at TE and RB. The secondary is shallow which will be a problem all year.

Jaguars 6-10
An improving team but I think they’re a year away from threatening. Very young roster that will be better and deeper next year.

Houston 6-10
They’re not as bad as their 2-14 record last year, and the defense can be downright scary, but QB is unsettled and all skill positions are shallower than last year. I say the struggle big time.

AFC West

Broncos 12-4
Counting on Montee Ball and lacking Wes Welker for a while, the Broncos can probably still run away with this division.

Chargers 9-7
A very good offense and very good defense and a tough schedule. They could go a couple of wins both ways.

Chiefs 9-7
They need more playmakers in the passing game to threaten, but with Charles and that defense, they’ll contend.

Raiders 3-13
Looks like another tough year for the Raiders. They’re still early in the talent cycle and it’ll show.

Playoffs:

Chargers over Steelers
Bengals over Colts

Patriots over Chargers
Broncos over Bengals

Patriots over Broncos

Super Bowl: tomorrow, with the NFC preview.

The NFL’s Domestic Violence Policy And Unintended Consequences

NFL commissioner and all-around asshat Roger Goodell, after catching lots of public hell for his two-game suspension of Baltimore running back Ray Rice after the latter was caught on tape punching his fiancee unconscious, announced a new NFL policy regarding domestic violence. (He’s against it.) To wit:

Goodell sent a letter to the NFL owners … outlining the stiffer penalties: a six-game suspension without pay for the first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Goodell specified that these rules will apply to all NFL personnel, including executives and owners, not just players. A player who receives a lifetime ban can petition for reinstatement after one year.

The question I ask about this transparent and blatant PR move: is it actually going to reduce the incidence of domestic violence? I’m skeptical for a few reasons. While obviously a greater punishment – this case a costly loss of income or entire livelihood – provides a greater incentive  to behave, there is another important effect here. Lengthy suspensions reduce player earnings, and a lifetime ban obviously destroys them, which also punishes the player’s family – including perhaps the person he assaulted. This could drive victims of domestic violence not to report incidents. Ray Rice’s fiancee is now his wife and defends him – I imagine more women would find themselves protecting their provider from costly punishment. This is probably already happening, and I bet it’ll happen more often now that a seemingly inflexible policy is in place.

Obviously the hope is that the first effect outweighs the second. I wouldn’t be so sure.

NFL Considering Rule On Bad Words

The NFL has announced that it will penalize teams whose players use the N-word during games:

John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, anticipates that the NFL’s competition committee will enact the rule at the owners’ meeting next month.

“We did talk about it, I’m sure that you saw near the end of the year that Fritz Pollard (Alliance) came out very strong with the message that the league needs to do something about the language on the field,” said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is on the league’s competition committee. “So we did discuss over the last three days.”

Newsome also said the committee talked about other slurs coming under any possible new rule, including homophobic slurs. Wooten, who previously has urged all players to stop using the N-word, thinks the NFL will rule an automatic 15-yard penalty for first-time offenders and an ejection for second infractions.

It’s unclear if the rule will actually be as proposed here, or even adopted at all, but let’s assume that some version of a rule penalizing players for words they use on the field is adopted. I won’t get into the First Amendment implications, because for the most part there aren’t any. What’s more interesting to me would be the effects on the game. I’ve already complained that increased randomization of outcomes will turn fans off – part of the allure of sports is human achievement through skill. I think adding a penalty like this will exacerbate this problem. Assuming the word is used with some frequency, enforcement will necessarily be inconsistent – you try hearing a word every time it’s uttered in a full stadium. Players have already said they expect enforcement to be a problem. If the penalties as draconian as indicated, you’re looking at a handful of potentially game-changing plays every single game. That’s gonna be a lot of unhappy players, at least for a while.

That’s not to say the rule isn’t a good idea. Civility is a good thing. Just saying there might be a short-term backlash when the rule starts affecting real games. Stay tuned.

Mandatory Richard Sherman Post

I don’t recall ever watching a football game past the final whistle (or whatever ends the game in that particular sport), so I missed the now famous Richard Sherman “interview” with Erin Andrews. Of course, social media made sure I was aware of it:

When Erin Andrews asked Sherman to rehash the play, the cornerback instead barked out: “I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me!” Then he glared directly into the camera.

This very short outburst by a man who was still pumped up from three hours of high stakes football generated an enormous response on the internet, from those attacking Sherman’s “arrogance,” those justifying Sherman’s response with context, those attacking Sherman’s critics as racially motivated people who think Sherman should know his place,* and those defending Sherman’s critics against those charges. It’s a pretty stupid topic, but I suppose I’ll offer my thoughts on it.

*Richard Sherman SHOULD know his place. The Seahawks’ defensive scheme depends on it.

If I had to pick a faction, I’d side with those who were put off by Sherman’s attitude, though I’d also understand the context. It was an emotional game (remember, this is a game), so he was worked up. At the same time, it’s part of the job to act professional with the media. I also just generally don’t like arrogant players (of any race), so anyone stepping up to a microphone to say “I’m the best” is immediately going to rub me the wrong way.

That’s the reaction I would have had…if I cared.

Look, I don’t care what Richard Sherman says, and I don’t know any anyone does. I turn off the TV for a reason: because it doesn’t matter. I don’t have particularly high expectations of athletes or the media, and in that setting everyone’s IQ drops way down. The most interesting thing an athlete could say to me then is “we saw them use this trips formation before, and they use it to set it up a fade against man coverage, so we showed man but we knew what was coming.” Obviously no player would give strategy away, so instead you get “Tell me about the play!” and “The play was good because we won!” I almost applaud Sherman for at least changing this dynamic, but it doesn’t make the conversation less stupid. I have never cared what an athlete has to say in this context, and I never will.

The whole thing makes me think of the following passage:

it’s better for us not to know the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so very good at one particular thing. Oh, we’ll invoke lush cliches about the lonely heroism of Olympic athletes, the pain and analgesia of football, the early rising and hours of practice and restricted diets, the preflight celibacy, et cetera. But the actual facts of the sacrifices repel us when we see them: basketball geniuses who cannot read, sprinters who dope themselves, defensive tackles who shoot up with bovine hormones until they collapse or explode. We prefer not to consider closely the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews or to consider what impoverishments in one’s mental life would allow people actually to think the way great athletes seem to think. Note the way “up close and personal” profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of a rounded human life — outside interests and activities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what’s obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It’s farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to live in a world that, like a child’s world, is very small.

From David Foster Wallace’s 1995 essay, The String Theory.

NFL Weekly Predictions Review

Since I decided not to do playoff predictions, here’s a quick summary of the season.

Last week: 14-2
Season: 168-88
Good: Many good picks this week.
Bad: Missed Miami and Bears losses, but barely and at home. No shame.
Ugly: Nothing ugly.

The season ends with the best score I’ve had all year, with only close misses involving the Bears/Packers and Dolphins/Jets games. The season ends with a decent 168-88 record, a 65.6% winning percentage short of my 2/3 target but defeating 12 of 14 ESPN “experts.”
Then again, just picking the home team every time would have gotten us around 60%, so no one should feel too good about this.

Next year, I’ll add picks against the spread. It will not go well.

NFL Predictions Review: AFC

The AFC features fewer big misses (Jets, Texans, Chargers), and generally better accuracy than the NFC. Getting the Chiefs right after two wins last year was a good get, and the decline of Baltimore was foreshadowed if not outright predicted.

AFC East

New England Patriots
Predicted: 13-3. Huge questions in the passing game, and the defense has struggled in the past. However, a weak division and a schedule that gives them time to gel on offense should help. Both lines are stout and Brady is consistent enough to get them to the AFC elite again.
Actual: 12-4. Despite injuries on defense and in the receiving corps, this one is just about right.

New York Jets
Predicted: 3-13. They’ll upset some teams because of a well-coached defense, but the offense is a mess. The line is fine, but the skill positions lack talent and their schedule is tough (in the sense that they have to play other NFL teams).
Actual: 8-8. It was in fact the defense, but they helped them to win many more games than I expected. Big miss by me.

Miami Dolphins
Predicted: 7-9. I was impressed by Tannehill last year and I think he moves forward again, but the wins aren’t there this year. Mike Wallace will stretch defenses but there aren’t many left to take advantage of the space underneath. Add two young backs, and this is a team around .500 at beast.
Actual: 8-8. Pretty on the money. Perhaps the bullying scandal cost them the playoffs, but this team is improving.

Buffalo Bills
Predicted: 4-12. EJ Manuel will be a bona fide NFL starter, but with young receivers, a line with questions, and some injuries on defense, the Bills don’t make the leap just yet. I think they’ll contend in more games than not, but given the lack of experience I think they lose most of them. If I’m a Bills fan, 2014 looks good to me.
Actual: 6-10. I underestimated them here – even with injuries they got to 6 wins, and could easily have gotten two more. I like where they’re headed.

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals
Predicted: 12-4. I’m all in on Cincinnati. A very talented defense with passrushers on the line, tacklers at linebacker, and perhaps the deepest secondary in the NFL. On offense, AJ Green is a beast, and Sanu, Gresham, Eifert, Green-Ellis, and Bernard, if used properly, can be effective. Andy Dalton is the rate-limiting step, but he only needs to be what he’s already been for this team to win.
Actual: 11-5. Mostly right here, despite the loss of Geno Atkins and little depth at linebacker.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Predicted: 6-10. The offense has too many questions, especially on the offensive line and at runningback. Receiver depth is also not there this year. The defense has talent, especially at linebacker, but I don’t see this team contending unless the offense stuns us all.
Actual: 8-8. Screwed out of the playoffs by bad calls in the Chiefs-Chargers game, the late-season Steelers could have done something in the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens
Predicted: 10-6. I could see this team dropping to .500 if the defense doesn’t gel as fast as it needs to, and if the passing game fades more than I expect it to. That said, the schedule favors them this year, and they match up well in the division. I say the return to double-digits.
Actual: 8-8. This team did, in fact, drop to .500, though largely because struggles on offense. The defense gelled just fine.

Cleveland Browns
Predicted: 4-12. I think this is an improving team and they could leapfrog Pittsburgh in the standings. That said, lack of receivers and a limited quarterback will hamstring this team.
Actual: 4-12. Notice I said “lack of receivers,” so Josh Gordon doesn’t count. Quarterback struggles did  hold them back.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts
Predicted: 9-7. A solid all-around team that can repeat last year’s performance. The small defense and running game are the limiting factors, and I can see them getting overrun once in a while. That said, they’re on the edge of contention once again.
Actual: 11-5. They held up better than I expected, helped by a weak division. The running game eventually emerged with Donald Brown.

Tennessee Titans
Predicted: 9-7. An optimistic prediction, but there’s no denying the talent surrounding Jake Locker. A rebuilt offensive line, depth at RB (Greene and the underrated Jackie Battle), and a deep (if unspectacular) receiving corps. The defense can only be better than last year, helped by a couple of new safeties and a talented defensive line. Add Zach Brown as a playmaker at linebacker, and if all breaks their way the Titans can knock on the playoff door. (More likely: Locker struggles with accuracy and they win 6 games.)
Actual: 7-9. They were 4-3 with a couple of close losses before Locker went down with an injury. This could have been a different season.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Predicted: 2-14. Rebuilding and very shallow in talent right now. Gabbert probably could have been an NFL starter but I don’t think they’ll get there now that he’s been beaten up for two years.
Actual: 4-12. Largely correct on these, and Chad Henne ended up the quarterback of this team.

Houston Texans
Predicted: 9-7. I see them taking a step back rather than forward from last year. Hopkins is a nice addition but I have little faith in Schaub. Foster has been injured (though Ben Tate is a talented backup) and Andre Johnson is getting old. JJ Watt is excellent off the edge, but he won’t be any better than he was last year, and old Ed Reed, once he plays, won’t make this secondary that much better.
Actual: 2-14. They took a step back and never stopped. I was right on all the red flags, but failed to anticipate the magnitude. Big miss.

AFC West

Denver Broncos
Predicted: 14-2. Perhaps the best team in the league, and especially deep on offense. Hard to see who can keep up with them this year if they stay healthy.
Actual: 13-3. They turned the ball over a bit much and the defense is fading after some injuries, but they were the best team in the league.

Kansas City Chiefs
Predicted: 11-5. I can see a Colts-type year for them this year. New, capable QB in an otherwise average offense with some playmakers, plus a defense full of individual talent. If they can be coached to their potential, this is a playoff team. And I think Reid’s staff can make it happen.
Actual: 11-5. Nailed the rebound. Go me.

San Diego Chargers
Predicted: 4-12. This team is capable of winning more than this, but their schedule is unkind and their inexperience on offense will show. Rivers is now a question mark, too, after last year’s turnover-fest. I wouldn’t be surprised if I underestimated them, but I don’t see the wins.
Actual: 9-7. Even if we adjust for week 17, this is a big miss. Rivers and Woodhead made this offense run far better than I thought.

Oakland Raiders
Predicted: 3-13. Could steal a couple of wins here and there with their running game, but the lack of wide receivers, questions on defense, and the general lack of discipline doesn’t bode well for this team.
Actual: 4-12. Yup, yup, yup.