NFL Regular Season Predictions in Review

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Another long, enduring regular season is in the books for the NFL and that means that it is the end of the second season of ATS predictions for SkoodSports. After a brilliant 2012 campaign that saw the site put together a sparkling 116-104-7 record, 2013 was not as kind. Following a brutal 4-12 week seventeen, the final record for 2013 was a mediocre 114-128-11. There’s still time to make up some ground in the playoffs. But, one thing is for sure; betting is not my strong suit.

Alas, maybe some silver lining can be found in my preseason predictions, which can be found here.

AFC East Projected Standings

1. New England Patriots – 12-4
2. New York Jets – 9-7
3. Miami Dolphins – 7-9
4. Buffalo Bills – 3-13

AFC East Actual Standings

1. New England Patriots – 12-4
2. New York Jets – 8-8
3. Miami Dolphins – 8-8
4. Buffalo Bills – 6-10

Analysis

Not a bad prognostication at all. Granted, the AFC East is typically the easiest division to predict. Just slot the Patriots at the top and work your way down from there. Still, my faith in an underestimated Jets squad was found to be justified. As was my lack of faith in the finishing ability of Joe Philbin’s Dolphins. I didn’t give enough credit to Doug Marrone, who got the Bills to 6 wins despite no quarterback play to speak of.

AFC North Projected Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens – 11-5
2. Pittsburgh Steelers – 10-6
3. Cincinnati Bengals – 10-6
4. Cleveland Browns – 8-8

AFC North Actual Standings

1. Cincinnati Bengals – 11-5
2. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8-8
3. Baltimore Ravens – 8-8
4. Cleveland Browns – 4-12

Analysis

So I overestimated the defending champion’s ability to get back to the big dance. Oh well. Other than that, this division wasn’t too far off. If it weren’t for a bad referee call in Sunday’s Kansas City-San Diego affair, both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh would have made the playoffs. As for Cleveland, well, the factory of sadness continues to churn out mistakes by the lake.

AFC South Projected Standings

1. Indianapolis Colts – 10-6
2. Houston Texans – 10-6
3. Tennessee Titans – 10-6
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – 5-11

AFC South Actual Standings

1. Indianapolis Colts – 11-5
2. Tennessee Titans – 7-9
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – 4-12
4. Houston Texans – 2-14

Analysis

I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one that saw Houston, the two time defending division champions, as more of a threat to make the playoffs than acquire the first pick. Oh well. I also clearly overrated Tennessee, who has been searching for a quarterback ever since Steve McNair left. Jacksonville’s prediction was right on, as Gus Bradley and Co. continue to improve one of the worst franchises in sports.

AFC West Projected Standings

1. Denver Broncos – 12-4
2. Kansas City Chiefs – 6-10
3. San Diego Chargers – 6-10
4. Oakland Raiders – 3-13

AFC West Actual Standings

1. Denver Broncos – 13-3
2. Kansas City Chiefs – 11-5
3. San Diego Chargers – 9-7
4. Oakland Raiders – 4-12

Analysis

I nailed the order of this division, although the records were wildly off. Everyone and their mother knew that Denver was going to take the top spot. However, the Andy Reid led Chiefs surprised, starting 9-0 before losing 5 of their last 7. San Diego, always an enigma, finally showed up just early enough to squeak into the playoffs. As for Oakland, I was spot on with their futility as well. It’s always easy to find the failure buried amid the freaks of the black hole.

NFC East Projected Standings

1. New York Giants – 11-5
2. Washington Redskins – 8-8
3. Philadelphia Eagles 7-9
4. Dallas Cowboys – 5-11

NFC East Actual Standings

1. Philadelphia Eagles – 10-6
2. Dallas Cowboys – 8-8
3. New York Giants – 7-9
4. Washington Redskins – 3-13

Analysis

God bless Chip Kelly, who turned a rag tag group of underachievers in Philadelphia into the division champions in one fell swoop. As for the Giants, well, an 0-6 start put the kibosh on any hopes of this pick coming true (I’ll take it). Washington was a disaster from start to finish and Dallas was, predictably, Dallas.

NFC North Projected Standings

1. Green Bay Packers – 11-5
2. Chicago Bears – 9-7
3. Detroit Lions – 7-9
4. Minnesota Vikings – 5-11

NFC North Actual Standings

1. Green Bay Packers – 8-7-1
2. Chicago Bears – 8-8
3. Detroit Lions – 7-9
4. Minnesota Vikings – 5-10-1

Analysis

Much like the AFC East, this division’s picks were just about spot on. This is more impressive because heading into the campaign, it was a virtual toss up among most analysts as to who would come out on top in the uber-competitive North. Green Bay got just enough from Aaron Rodgers to beat out Chicago, whose porous defensive couldn’t stop a schoolboy. The Lions’ record was nailed, as was Minnesota’s. Both teams are inconsistent and SkoodSports knew that heading into 2013.

NFC South Projected Standings

1. Atlanta Falcons – 13-3
2. New Orleans Saints – 7-9
3. Carolina Panthers – 6-10
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 5-11

NFC South Actual Standings

1. Carolina Panthers – 12-4
2. New Orleans Saints – 11-5
3. Atlanta Falcons – 4-12
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4-12

Analysis

Atlanta, like Houston, ruined most prognosticator’s projections. I underestimated the impact that Sean Payton would have on the Saints, who surged back to the postseason. Meanwhile, the Panthers finally played up to expectations, something I wasn’t sure Cam Newton would ever do. The Bucs were the Bucs, giving me at least one correct prediction in every division but the East and West.

NFC West Projected Standings

1. San Francisco 49ers – 11-5
2. Seattle Seahawks – 10-6
3. St. Louis Rams – 5-11
4. Arizona Cardinals – 4-12

NFC West Actual Standings

1. Seattle Seahawks – 13-3
2. San Francisco 49ers – 12-4
3. Arizona Cardinals – 10-6
4. St. Louis Rams – 7-9

Analysis

Mixing up Seattle and San Francisco, two of the best teams in football, can be forgiven. Holding the Cardinals and Rams to such low standards, cannot. I should have seen the potential on defense for both of these teams. That mistake won’t happen again in 2014.

Preseason Award Predictions

League MVP: QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Likelihood: No chance. Although it’s not a terrible pick because many believe that if Manning weren’t putting up record numbers, Brady would be a frontrunner for the award during a season in which he led the Patriots to a 12-4 record despite very few legitimate offensive weapons.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Likelihood: Woah boy. Ryan put together the worst offensive season of his career. Although, much of that blame can go to a terrible offensive line and the lack of Julio Jones on the outside.

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Navarro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers
Likelihood: Not a bad pick; though he won’t win the award. Bowman is the leader of a talented and ferocious 49ers defense that could lead them back to the Super Bowl. Luke Kuechly or Levonte David would have been better picks.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: QB Geno Smith, New York Jets
Likelihood: Geno’s team had a better than expected season. But, the same cannot be said for Geno, who was historically bad in November before playing more to his standards in the season’s final few weeks. This award is Eddie Lacy’s to lose.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: OLB Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns
Likelihood: No shot. Mingo was a disaster in his first season in Cleveland. Though, I suppose everything is a disaster for the Browns.

Coach of the Year: Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans
Likelihood: Up until Monday, it appeared that Munchak was on his way to being fired. Still, canned or not, this was a terrible selection. Andy Reid or Chip Kelly will take home this award.

First Coach Fired: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Likelihood: Cowboys fans wish this were true. Instead, it went to Gary Kubiak, who was tossed by the Texans with a few weeks left in the season.

Projected Final Four

Conference Championships
Denver OVER New England
Green Bay OVER Atlanta

Super Bowl XLVIII
Denver OVER Green Bay

My Super Bowl pick is still very much alive. Though, Atlanta’s placement in the final four is nearly as bad as my pick of Munchak for Coach of the Year.

Final Analysis

All in all, it was a mediocre hoard of predictions. Yes, I did quite well in the AFC East and NFC North, and also nailed a few other teams along the way. But, my inability to foresee the failures of Atlanta, New York (Giants), Houston, and Tennessee will bring down the rating just a bit. Overall, I’d give the preseason predictions a 6/10. Some good calls mixed in with a lot of bad ones. Hey, kind of sounds like the NFL referees on a daily basis. Stay tuned this month for SkoodSports’ in depth postseason preview.

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