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Friday, December 7, 2012

NFL Prediction Report Card: Third Quarter Grades

Week 13 is in the books.  That means that we are 75% of the way through the season.  It also means it's time for the Wild Banshee to evaluate her preseason predictions and hand out another report card.

AFC East:  Before the season, I predicted that the Patriots would be in the upper echelon of the entire AFC.  I also predicted that no one else in this division would make the playoffs.  After six weeks, that prediction looked a little shaky.  At that point, all four teams in the division were tied at 3-3.  Well, after twelve games, the Banshee is looking a little more prescient.  The Patriots are now 9-3.  No one else in the division has a winning record.  First Quarter Grade: B+       Midterm Grade: A-       Third Quarter Grade: A

AFC North:  My preseason predictions for this division were some of my bolder ones.  Picking the Ravens to win the division didn't take a lot of courage.  Even after a home loss this weekend to the Steelers, the Ravens still have a 9-3 record and a 2-game lead in the division.  The bold part of the prediction was that the Bengals would make the playoffs and that the Steelers would not.  After 12 games, the Steelers and the Bengals are tied for the final wild card spot at 7-5.  The Steelers have already beaten the Bengals in Cincinnati.  The next matchup between the two will be in Pittsburgh, so it looks like the Steelers have the inside track to the playoffs at this point.  But, things are trending in the Banshee's direction.  First Quarter Grade: A       Midterm Grade: B       Third Quarter Grade: B+

(Matt Kryger/Indianapolis Star)
AFC South:  Wild Banshee followed the lead of every sports writer in America and predicted that the Houston Texans would be one of the best teams in the entire AFC.  The Texans have lived up to the hype and currently have the best record in the AFC at 11-1.  But, I declared that no one else in the division would have a winning record.  The Colts are making me look very bad on that one.  After 12 games, the Colts are 8-4 and currently hold the top wild card spot.  The Colts' continued success leads to a continued slide in the Wild Banshee's grade for this division..  First Quarter Grade: A+       Midterm Grade: A       Third Quarter Grade: A-

AFC West:  Well, up till now, I was doing pretty well.  But, pride comes before the fall.  And, the AFC West is where I fall hard.  Preseason, I predicted that the Raiders would win the division and that the Chiefs would be a wild card team.  I also predicted that the Broncos would have a losing record.  Turns out, that the Raiders and Chiefs are battling the Jacksonville Jaguars for the worst record in the entire league.  Meanwhile, the Broncos have posted an impressive 9-3 record and have already clinched the division title.  But, since I already got an "F" on my midterm exam, my grade for this quarter can't drop any further.  First Quarter Grade: D-       Midterm Grade: F       Third Quarter Grade: F

(Nick Wass/AP)
NFC East:  Grading my predictions for this division is another humbling experience.  It's embarrassing to admit now, but I predicted that the Eagles would win the division.  I also went out on a limb and predicted that no one else in this division would make the playoffs.  Well, after 12 games, the Eagles have degenerated into the worst team in the NFC.  Technically, the Eagles are tied with the Panthers for that distinction, but the Eagles have lost 8 consecutive games.  Meanwhile, the Giants are currently perched on the top of the division with a record of 7-5.  After 12 games, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins are both 6-6.  That puts both of them just one game behind the Giants in the division and just one game behind the Seahawks for the final wild card berth.  Since I will apparently have the order of finish all jumbled up, I am looking another "F" square in the face.  However, the overall mediocrity of the division allows me to hold onto a passing grade.  First Quarter Grade: A       Midterm Grade: C     Third Quarter Grade: D+

NFC North:  Before the season started, I predicted that the Packers and the Bears would be the best two teams in the division.  But, I might have gotten carried away when I predicted that they could both get to 13 wins.  Right now, the Packers and the Bears are both 8-4.  One of them will win the division. The other will likely be a wild card.  Even if I might have missed the mark with the 13 win prediction, I still get some credit for picking the top two teams in a division that looked strong from top to bottom.  First Quarter Grade: B       Midterm Grade: A-       Third Quarter Grade: A-

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
NFC South:  In the preseason, I predicted that the Falcons would win this division.  But, I certainly did not predict that the Dirty Birds would dominate the NFC standings.  With a record of 11-1, the Falcons have already clinched the division and appear to be on their way to clinching home field throughout the playoffs.  The Saints did manage to get up off of the mat after a dismal 0-4 start.  But, after getting back to 5-5, they have lost two games and fallen out of realistic playoff contention.  Meanwhile, it is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that are showing some signs of playoff life with a 6-6 record.  First Quarter Grade: B       Midterm Grade: A       Third Quarter Grade: A

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