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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

NFL Prediction Report Card

As always, before season started, Banshee Sports posted an official set of NFL predictions for each division.  As always, I hold myself accountable for those picks.  Every team in the NFL has now played at least four games.  That means it is first quarter report card time.

AFC East:  In my predictions column, I didn't waste much time on discussing the division winner.  Heading into the season, the Patriots were obviously the best team in the division, and after one quarter of the games, the Patriots are still the best with no signs of slowing down.  The bold prediction in this division was that the Bills would make the playoffs as a wildcard.  At 3-2, the Bills are right in the thick of the playoff hunt.  The Bills should continue to improve as Tyrod Taylor gets more experience and the players get more familiar with the new coaching philosophies.  Prediction Grade: A

Rough start for the Ravens
AFC North:  As solid as my AFC East predictions are, my AFC North predictions are the complete opposite.  I jumped off the Cincinnati Bengals bandwagon and put my faith in the Baltimore Ravens. I should have flipped those picks.  The Bengals are in first place at 5-0 with a dramatic victory over the Seahawks this week.  I'm not shocked that the Bengals are better than I thought they'd be, but I am stunned at how terrible the Ravens have been.  The Ravens are a dismal 1-4 after taking a home loss against the Browns this week.  The only thing keeping me from a failing grade is that the Steelers are still in the hunt for a wildcard, as I predicted.  Prediction Grade: D

AFC South:  I predicted that the Colts would win the AFC South again this year.  Once again, the Colts are a very flawed team, but once again they are far less flawed than the rest of this terrible division.  It feels a little like cheating to get such an easy question right, but it's not my fault that Professor Goodell didn't make the exam harder.  Prediction Grade: A


AFC West:  I got myself a little excited when I wrote the AFC West predictions.  Conventional wisdom said that the Broncos were the class of this division.  The reason why some wisdom is "conventional" is because it is reliable.  Instead of following the crowd, I picked the Chiefs to win the division and the Broncos to miss the playoffs altogether.  The Chiefs are a putrid 1-4 through five games, and Jamaal Charles has a torn ACL.  Peyton Manning is clearly showing his age this season, but the Broncos defense has been a force of nature to start the year.  The Broncos look to have the West just about locked up even at this early stage.  Prediction Grade: F

Cowboys are banged up
NFC East:  It is hard to grade my predictions in this division.  The Giants are currently in sole possession of first place, but at 3-2 they are every bit as mediocre as I said they'd be.  The Redskins are lousy and the Eagles are a mystery.  What is not a mystery is that injuries have put a serious damper on the start of the Cowboy's season.  And yet, Dallas is still in the thick of the race for the division crown.  Since no one can predict injuries and the outcome is still very much in doubt, I am going to be lenient with my grade in this division.  Prediction Grade: B

NFC North:  Picking the Packers to win this division seemed like an obvious decision, and after a quarter of the season, it still looks that way.  What is less clear is what the rest of the division is doing.  Because the struggles of so many other NFC teams, the Minnesota Vikings are still in the hunt for a playoff berth despite a mediocre record.  The Lions, on the other hand, do not look anything like the playoff team I predicted in the preseason.  But, anytime I predict the correct division winner, I feel that I am entitled a decent grade.  Prediction Grade: B

NFC South:  In the preseason, I had good feelings about the new coaching staff in Atlanta and predicted that the Falcons would win the NFC South.  The Falcons have rewarded my faith by getting off to a 5-0 start.  Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers have also gotten off to an undefeated 4-0 start.  I am proud of my Falcons prognostication, but I have to admit that I did not see this division as having two strong contenders.  Since I had overall unflattering things to say about the division, I can't give myself an "A" for having the right team on top early on.  Prediction Grade: B+


Hats off to the Arizona Cardinals
NFC West:  Before the season started, I predicted that Seattle would win the division and that they would be the only team to make the playoffs from this division.  The Seahawks have not gotten off to the start that I expected.  Instead, it is the Cardinals that have been the class of the division.  But, it's early yet, and I did say that the Cardinals would be a good team.  So, I'm gonna give myself a little grace on this grade.  Prediction Grade: C+

Overall Grade:  I did a little math, and it looks like my GPA would be a 2.6.  I'm gonna call that a B-.  I'm also going to apologize to anyone who used my column to place an futures wagers.  Overall 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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