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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NFL Prediction Third Quarter Report Card

Every NFL team has played thirteen games and has three to go.  That means that the intensity is heating up and the playoff picture is coming into focus.  It also means that it is time for another look at Wild Banshee's preseason predictions and to hand out some grades.  It's time for the Third Quarter Report Card.

AFC East:  Like everyone else with half a brain, I picked the New England Patriots to win the AFC East.  As we near the final stretch of the season, the Patriots early season struggles are a distant memory.  Despite a Week 13 loss at Green Bay, the Patriots are tied for the best record in the AFC.  However, my ridiculous overestimation of the New York Jets prevents me from getting a perfect A+ for this division.  First Quarter Grade: A     Midterm Grade: A     Third Quarter Grade: A

AFC North:  Prior to the season, it was fashionable to predict the demise of Cincinnati.  Despite the departure of both their offensive and defensive coordinators to head coaching jobs, I stuck with the Bengals and picked them to win a highly competitive division.   At this point in the season, all four teams can still win the division, but the Bengals hold a slight statistical lead.  I'm giving myself credit for picking the Bengals and for predicting that the Browns had a legit chance to win the division.  First Quarter Grade: A     Midterm Grade: A-     Third Quarter Grade: A

AFC South:  In the preseason, I predicted that the Texans would win the division and that the Colts would make the playoffs as a wild card.  Although the Texans are still in contention for a wild card, it appears that I overestimated the magic of Bill O'Brien as head coach.  It is the Colts who have a two-game lead in the division.  Picking playoff participants is hard.  Since I still have 2 in the running in this division after 14 weeks of play, I get a passing grade for this division.  First Quarter Grade: A-     Midterm Grade: C     Third Quarter Grade: C+

AFC West:  At the start of the season, I predicted that the Denver Broncos would win the division and that the San Diego Chargers would earn a playoff spot as a wild card.  Despite a little midseason swoon by the Chargers, that is exactly how things stand after Week 14.  Picking first and second place in a division is a solid achievement, so I deserve a pretty outstanding grade.  First Quarter Grade: A-     Midterm Grade: A-     Third Quarter Grade: A+

NFC East:  In the preseason, I picked the Eagles to win this division and be the only team from this division to make the playoffs.  After Week 14, the Eagles and Cowboys are tied for first place at 9-4.  As things stand right now, the Cowboys would lose the tie breaker to both the Eagles and the other wild card contenders.  The problem for me is that I thought it would be the Redskins competing with the Eagles down the stretch.  The Redskins are nothing short of horrendous, and the Cowboys appear to be in this race for the long haul.  Despite what I said at the Midterm Report Card, my grade is no longer trending in the right direction in the NFC East.  First Quarter Grade: B     Midterm Grade: B+     Third Quarter Grade: B

NFC North:  During the Midterm Report Card, I referenced the fact that I might have been indulging in Big Ron's Rum Punch when I wrote my preseason predictions.  As the season progresses, it seems appropriate to admit that there were actually copious amounts of Big Ron's Rum Punch consumed during the writing of NFC North portion of the column.  I'm not even going to get into what I predicted.  Suffice it to say that my faith in the Bears was idiotic.  My lack of faith in the Packers was equally stupid, and my dismissal of the Lions was downright moronic.  First Quarter Grade: B-     Midterm Grade: C     Third Quarter Grade: D

NFC South:  In the preseason, I predicted that two teams would make the playoffs from this division.  Boy, was I wrong!  This is quite possibly the worst division in the history of the NFL.  Maybe in the history of sports.  Every team in this division already has at least eight losses.  That means that the division winner will be at best a .500 team.  Thing is, I might have picked the correct division winner.  Right now, the Saints are tied for the top slot in this terrible division.  It's hard to grade a mess like this, but I do get some credit for having the right teams in the right order.  First Quarter Grade: C     Midterm Grade: C     Third Quarter Grade: C

(Getty Images)
NFC West:  At the start of the season, I predicted that only one team in the NFC West would make the playoffs.  I thought that if a second team made it, it would be the Cardinals.  After Week 14, the Cardinals are in the driver's seat to win the division outright, but the Seahawks are surging at just the right time.  The way things are trending, it looks like both of those teams will make the postseason.  It also looks like the 49ers will have time for golfing in January.  Predicting the correct directions of San Francisco and Arizona franchises deserves some credit, but I cannot give myself an A of any sort if I don't pick the correct division winner.  First Quarter Grade: B+     Midterm Grade: B+     Third Quarter Grade: B+

Overall Grade:  I did the math, and my GPA comes to a 3.0.  That keeps me holding steady at a B average after Week 14.  First Quarter Grade:  B+     Midterm Grade: B     Third Quarter Grade: B

Think I was too lenient?  Want to make some predictions of your own?  Then, by all means, leave a comment and let me know.

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