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Monday, January 7, 2013

NFL Prediction Report Card: Final Grades

The regular season is done and the playoffs are underway.  So, it is time for me to look back at my preseason predictions and hand out some grades.

AFC East:  In the preseason predictions, I certainly did not go out on the limb.  I predicted that the Patriots would win the division, and they came through.  In order to give a meaningful final grade, I need to look a little deeper into the predictions.  I was correct that the Jets would take a serious step backwards.  I was also correct that the Dolphins would be respectable but fail to get to .500.  The Patriots finished with a record of 12-4 and secured a first round bye.  The Dolphins finished in second with a losing record of 7-9.  First Quarter Grade: B+     Midterm Grade: A-     Third Quarter Grade: A     Final Grade: A+

AFC North:  The preseason prediction that the Ravens would win the division proved to be accurate, although the Super Bowl aspirations might have been a bit of an over-sell.  But, once again, I have to look beyond the top of the division to give myself an accurate grade.  As predicted, an aging Steelers team took a step backward and missed the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the Bengals are making a return trip o the playoffs.  Not too shabby.  First Quarter Grade: A     Midterm Grade: B     Third Quarter Grade: B+     Final Grade: A+
(Matt Kryger/Indianapolis Star)

AFC South:  It was easy to predict that the Houston Texans would win the division, and that did come true.  But, if I am going to be taking credit for digging deeper in the other divisions, then I have to mark myself down in this division for the same reasons.  After twelve games, the Texans did indeed look like one of the best teams in the NFL.  At that point they were 11-1.  But, the Texans stumbled down the stretch and finished up at 12-4.  In contrast, the Colts far exceeded anyone's expectations.  At 11-5, the Colts finished just one game behind the Texans and made the playoffs as a wild card.  Therefore, my season long slide in grades continues to the final mark.  First Quarter Grade: A+     Midterm Grade: A     Third Quarter Grade: A-     Final Grade: B+

AFC West:  I need to start my evaluation of this division with a heartfelt apology to Peyton Manning.  I underestimated his greatness.  I also underestimated the greatness of the rest of his teammates.  I predicted that the Broncos would have a losing record.  I predicted that the Chiefs would win the division and that the Raiders would be a wild card team.  As it turns out, the Broncos ended the year at 13-3 and tied for the best record in all of football.  The Chiefs and the Raiders combined for just six wins total.  Yikes!  First Quarter Grade: D-     Midterm Grade: F     Third Quarter Grade: F     Final Grade: F

NFC East:  Like the rest of the world, I predicted that the Eagles would win this division.  And, like the rest of the world, I was sorely mistaken.  The Eagles finished 4-12 and tied with the Lions for the worst record in the NFC.  I did predict that the Redskins would take big strides forward this year, but I certainly did not think they would win the division.  The only thing that keeps me from getting another F in this division is that I correctly predicted that the Super Bowl champion New York Giants would not make the playoffs this year.  First Quarter Grade: A     Midterm Grade: C     Third Quarter Grade: D+     Final Grade: D

NFC North:  In the NFC North, I predicted that two teams would make the playoffs.  I was right about that, but I was wrong about who the wild card team would be.  I overestimated the win totals for any of the teams in this division.  The Packers did win the division, but at 11-5, they fell short of the thirteen wins I projected.  Due a tie-break, the Minnesota Vikings edged out the Bears for the wild card spot.  First Quarter Grade: B     Midterm Grade: A-     Third Quarter Grade: A-     Final Grade: B+

NFC South:  The Atlanta Falcons dominated this division ... and most of the rest of the league.  I did accurately predict that the Falcons would win the NFC South, but I certainly did not predict a 13-3 season for the Dirty Birds.  I won't mark myself down for this.  But, I sorely missed the mark with the Saints.  I believed that they would do just fine without Sean Peyton and would still make the playoffs.  After getting off to an 0-4 start, the Saints never really challenged for the division and finished with a losing record.  First Quarter Grade: B     Midterm Grade: A     Third Quarter Grade: A     Final Grade: B

NFC West:  Just as everyone predicted, the San Francisco 49ers repeated as division champions.  I was also correct that the Cardinals would finish last.  The Rams finished at 7-9, right around the .500 mark that I predicted.  However, I greatly underestimated the Seattle Seahawks.  They were not only respectable.  At 11-5, they were downright good and almost won the division.  First Quarter Grade: B     Midterm Grade: A     Third Quarter Grade: A     Final Grade: A-

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