Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2 comments NFC Preview Disaster

Just for fun (probably more my fun than anyone else's fun) I am going to review J.S. and my NFL selections at the beginning of the year and basically just make fun of our inaccurate predictions. I am going to do the NFC first, not because enjoy picking on J.S., who wrote this, but because I flipped a coin and the NFC was decided to go first. I am still upset we have not heard anything from Simmons yet about the Patriots. Guess with the magazine column he already had a full work load for this week.

Here is the original link.

I have to say this before I begin, I want it on record - Oakland, 11-5 this year, they are my super sleeper

Oh yeah, he went out of his way to pick Oakland at 11-5. His predictions start off with an absolute bang. It does get better from here though.

Dallas Cowboys

Predicted record: 12-4

This team probably overachieved in offense last year, and regressed rather dramatically at just the wrong time, but the defense has the ability to be overwhelming, especially against the pass.

Pretty good call on the offense since it seemed to actually regress last year at the wrong time and they did it again. The defense was not quite as stout against the pass this year, especially since they ended up giving up more points than points they scored.

Actual record: 9-7.

Including a Michael Myers type revival the second to last week of the season where they were supposed to be eliminated and were not, followed by all the shit going wrong they did not need to go wrong to eliminate them. There is no reason this prediction should have been off because the Cowboys should have won the NFC East.

Washington

Predicted record: 10-6.

Did you know they were 4-4 on the road despite playing four division winners and the Superbowl champs away from Washington? Did you know they were awesome? Well now you do.

Did you know they were 4-4 at home, 4-4 on the road and 3-3 in their division? The very definition of average. I guess we all do now.

Actual record: 8-8.

With the big Jason Taylor trade netting them a completely horrible 4 sacks from him. Sadly, he made up 17% of the sacks on the year. Maybe they should sign Bruce Smith again. Both J.S. and I thought very highly of the Redskins this year. We were both wrong.

New York Giants

Predicted record: 7-9.

A word on Burress - that was an amazing display last year, playing on an essentially broken ankle and fighting through was gusty as fuck. I saw him make so many huge catches last year. It's total anecdotalness that we normally make fun of here, but I thought he was the MVP of the NFC last year, he was truly amazing, without him, they were a 6 win team, no fooling. Anyway, I can't see him lasting this year, I can't see the names of Jacobs, Ward and Droughns scaring anyone,

I guess J.S. did not call the fact Plax would shoot himself in the leg with a gun but he did say he would not last, if that counts as a correct prediction. Jacobs, Ward, and Droughns did not scare anyone, it was Jacobs, Ward, and Bradshaw that did the trick.

Actual record: 12-4.

I would have not predicted 12-4 either, especially after having Strahan retire and Osi get injured and be out for the entire year. They went from 6th seed to losing their best offensive and defensive players and going to 12-4 the next year. Quite an accomplishment actually.

Philadelphia

Predicted record: 6-10

They were terrible in the red zone last year and little figures to change. Defensively, there is nothing on paper to suggest they will be able to stop the run at all, and while their secondary might be the best in the league, exactly how much will it be able to help them when their offense cannot keep them on the field?

For some reason I get the feeling this still pertains. I hate to say this because my favorite team may end up seeing them in the playoffs, but they still feel like a 6-10 team to me. I don't know why, but they remind me momentum wise of the New York Giants team from last year. I just feel like the Eagles just have a lot of momentum right now. So in essence, they remind me of a 6-10 team that can make the NFC Championship Game.

Actual record: 9-6-1.

I can't believe J.S. did not predict the Eagles would have a tie ball game on their record, how ignorant of him. I still don't know how this team is 9-6-1 but I have a feeling they are peaking at the right time.

Minnesota

Predicted record: 11-5

In the final five games, Tavaris suddenly looked confident, posting his first three 200+ yardage games and actually demonstrating competance. - the top six ratings from last year were all in the second half.

Seems like this happened at the end of this year as well. I wonder if this means he is not going to one hop throws to receivers and overall just look nervous as shit in the pocket. Let's just say I was nervous this year when Gus Frerotte started for the Vikes against my favorite team...that is not an endorsement of Tavaris Jackson at all.

Actual record: 10-6.

I can only imagine if the Vikings had a competent quarterback. What is the deal with the NFC North and not being able to find a competent quarterback (outside of Aaron Rodgers)? You would think either the Lions, Bears, or Vikings could come up with one quarterback we all could trust.

Green Bay

Predicted record: 7-9.

ESPN will have no time for your "strength of schedules" or "adjustment periods". They only have eyes for Favre, and God help Rodgers if the Jets (predicted sleeper by some) have a hot start. God help us all.

J.S.'s worries did eventually come true and everything seemed fine, but I think Rodgers was saved by the fact the Jets collapsed down the stretch and Favre pulled a complete shit job at the quarterback position.

Actual record: 6-10

This was a good call. Though none of this was necessarily Aaron Rodgers' fault because the Packers scored the 3rd most points in the NFC this year. They have been playing russian roulette with that defense in trading away Corey Williams before the year and letting the secondary go untouched the past couple of off seasons. I find it hard to believe Jordy Nelson was a better pick than any type of defensive pick in the draft.

Chicago

Predicted record: 7-9.

It was a tired habit last year, me watching Sportscenter and seeing the Chicago defense dragged through the mud as though like, nine defensive superstars suddenly got terrible. My mouth hung open on a lot of NFL shows. It was clearly that they were too tired and on the field too much. The men are there, OLB Lance Briggs, MLB Brian Urlacher (who remains the best pass defending linebacker in the game, DT Tommie Harris, CB Nathan Vasher, SS Mike Brown and so on.

I am not sure if the defense regressed this year or not but it seems as if they are one good wide receiver away from being a #2 seed. The Panthers would have lost two games if it were not for Steve Smith and once the Bears find a good receiver, I think it will all be good for them. The defense was still good this year but it did take a step back.

Actual record: 9-7.

I still find it amazing they won 9 games with a combination of Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman as their QB's and Devin Hester (though he is good) as their best receiver. I would commit all my efforts to improving the offense as much as possible, more specifically the passing and catching game. J.S. got this pick backward basically.

Detroit

Predicted record: 3-13.

This is a bad team that got slightly worse in the offseason. I believe their second half is far more indicative of their performance than the first half and their -105 point differential tells us basement dwelling, nerdy, stat geeks, that this team is way worse than 7-9. I choose to see that glass as half empty, they do look unfixable right now.

I am sure when J.S. wrote this he was thinking, "this is a huge indictment of the Detroit Lions and their offensive abilities," and then it turns out he was not being quite harsh enough. We don't really need to go over the numbers other than to say they averaged 16.8 points a game on offense and their opponents scored 32.3 points a game against them.

Actual record: 0-16.

Unlike the Dolphins, this does not look like it is going to turn around anytime soon. Bill Parcells is not walking through that door, Chad Pennington is not walking through that door, and 4 wins next year is not walking through the door either...the good news is they have the #1 pick. So they get to spend more money on mediocre players. Poor Calvin Johnson.

New Orleans

Predicted record: 13-3.

the talent on this team is immense. I am a huge fan of WR Devery Henderson down the field (23.3ypc in 2006, 20.5 in 2007) and covering Shockey, Bush, maybe McAlister at the same time along with scarily improving WR Marques Colston, they should be unstoppable offensively. The defense should be at least solid, the secondary just has to improve (even utilising holes in zone) and the schedule gets easier.

Shockey was injured, Bush was injured, McAlister was injured, Marques Colston was injured, and a guy named Buck Ortega got a catch this year. Drew Brees was fantastic and honestly I don't think this team is that far away. That being said, they gave up the 5th most points this year and that is going to be the same problem next year. To say J.S. missed on this one is an understatement but you can't predict injuries and who really knew the NFC South would be this strong?

Actual record: 8-8.

Basically they could have probably won the AFC West and the NFC West. It is only going to improve next year as long as Drew Brees is still breathing. I would go ahead and put the entire defense as a need for the draft and free agency.

Carolina

Predicted record: 8-8.

This number is based on Delhomme playing in at least 13-14 games, the receiving corps is deep and I think Williams is ready to be a feature back. Perhaps most importantly, John Fox is a good coach, I still believe that deep in my heart, and the Panthers just have to find a way, Peppers' movement back to his average alone should get them one more win. I do not, however, see a playoff appearance in my crystal ball.

Nobody knew that Delhomme would play all 16 games, DeAngelo Williams was very ready to become a feature back, and the incredibly un-deep receiving core would actually catch enough passes to get the Panthers to 12 wins. Somehow they finagled their way to a #2 seed in the playoffs. Who knew? It did help they played the AFC West this year and they got a couple breaks in that they caught the Chargers when they weren't red hot.

Actual record: 12-4

Nobody knew they would start actually playing well at home and Muhammad had enough gas left to be an average 2nd receiver. Though J.S. missed this one as well, I think we should forgive him.

Tampa Bay

Predicted record: 6-10

Did I mention they won it with 9 games? Losing to Houston, San Francisco and Carolina down the stretch?

The schedule is toughish, but it's more the fact there's just no reason whatsoever to expect improvement from this team.

Two incredibly true sentence were put right there in front of us. Tampa Bay collapsed and collapsed hard at the end of this year which may or may not have had something to do with the fact the defensive coordinator who had been there forever decided he would announce during the season he was leaving. They won 9 games last year and won 9 games this year. J.S. went a little under on the wins but he had the right premise.

Actual record: 9-7

They do have young players but there is bound to be a year it just all falls apart at one time. I am not sure if this was the year, but if not, watch out next year.

Atlanta

Predicted record: 2-14

The only question is, why the fuck did they bother signing RB Michael Turner?

Their easiest stretch is undoubtedly the start of the year, Lions, @Bucs, Chiefs. If they don't win one of those, this could be the first 0-16 season. Get ready for history Atlanta!

I don't know nearly anyone on this team and Atlanta has made every possible effort to stop you caring about them. It sticks the middle finger up at any possible analysis.

If anyone says they felt any different than this, they are lying.

Actual record: 11-5.

They also have a great chance at making the NFC Championship game. I have spoken to Peter King and apparently this Matt Ryan guy is quite the stud, Roddy White has quit clubbing and focusing more on football, and the Chargers should have kept Michael Turner over L.T.

Positive karma for Bobby Petrino and Mike Vick happened this year.

Seattle

Predicted record: 11-5.

I like Seattle this year, they are always under the radar due to their division and their expected solid performance. I think this year edition is probably as good as their Superbowl team, and defensively, only Dallas and Minnesota look their equals in the NFC. I see an 11-5 run, but a 12 win season would not surprise me. They will not have to deal with their best player having some crisis this time. Furthermore, I think they will go deep in the playoffs, NFC title game.

What the hell happened? Seriously. Even with losing every receiver on the active roster, having Matt Hasselbeck injured and the defense suddenly disappearing, it still would not have shocked me if they won the division. The NFC West was beyond bad. In Mike Holmgren's last season, this team laid a complete egg.

Actual record: 4-12.

I am beyond interested to see what happens next year when Jim Mora Jr. takes over. I would not be surprised if everyone writes them off and they pull of a 10 win season. That being said, another miss by J.S. here, though this one was hard to predict as well. This is the type of thing that happens when you stick your neck out in making predictions.

St. Louis

Predicted record: 9-7.

I made a horrific discovery about halfway through this preview - someone from the NFC West, other than Seattle, was going to the playoffs if I had my way. That set in motion a chain of thoughts, and much whiskey drinking to work out who I was going to put my balls on the chopping block for. I seriously considered both other lame squads but in the end, I'm doubling down on St.Louis. Last year they were my "sleeper" and that turned out so well I'm trying again. The offensive line CAN be good, I swear, Stephen Jackson IS awesome, Marc Bulger CAN be at least an adequate QB, WR Torry Holt IS one of the best all-purpose receivers in the game, TE Randy McMichael CAN catch balls, the D-Line IS underrated and the schedule, taken as a whole, IS workable.

This is why you should not drink whiskey, it alters perception and you start betting on Randy McMichael, who can smack a woman better than catch a ball, and make you think the Rams are your sleeper. On paper you can see it, until you look at the whole shit bag on television or in person and realize this team was good from a far but far from good.

Actual record: 2-14.

This team scored 14 points per game this year...with Steven Jackson and Torry Holt on the roster. Something was wrong, very, very wrong. It never got fixed and if they keep Jim Haslett around it probably will not get fixed.

Arizona

Predicted record: 8-8.

It's funny but J.S. predicted this record as a bad thing, when in fact they could have lost a few more games and clinched the division. At least there were two teams in the AFC West that were competing for .500.

I don't really know what to make of a team that has some good young players, maybe primarily on the defensive side of the ball but looks kind of like a fantasy team.

No one really knows what to make of this team. There needs to be some semblance of a running game because the corpse of Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower are not getting the job done and did not get the job done.

Actual record: 9-7.

As high powered as the offense was this year, it only scored 1 more point than the defense gave up. Ball control, running offense, and tough defense, please meet your exact opposite.

San Francisco

Predicted record: 6-10.

Needless to say a makeover was needed, and San Francisco went headlong into the mania of Mike Martz. I'll let the idea of Smith dropping back nine steps and hanging around while the talents of WR Bryant Johnson (who has never caught 50 balls and his longest catch in five seasons isn't even 60 yards) and 97 year old WR Isaac Bruce slowly slog their way downfield, sink in. You there? It's going to be ugly.

It got ugly and was even worse than J.S. had predicted because Alex Smith had "season ending surgery" or as I like to call it, "let's just say there is something wrong with him to get everyone off his case." Except somehow the 49ers won 7 games and I have no idea how when a guy named Shaun Hill is running the offense.

While winning five games with that offense was remarkable, it's practically impossible for it to be that bad again, particulary with Martz in charge.

Which he did, so I wonder what will happen now that he has been fired.

Actual record: 7-9.

This team is one of those teams that needs to embrace ball control offense, not the pass happy offense they had last year so maybe losing Martz was a good thing. Either way, we know there is no way the NFC West can be anywhere as bad as it was last year.

I am going to try and do the AFC Review tomorrow, so I am sure that is going to be the greatest Happy New Year's gift anyone could imagine.

2 comments:

Martin said...

While I didn't post any predictions, I thought that the 49ers would be better. Their defense regressed, or jsut wasn't as good as I thought it would be based on teh 2nd half of last year.

The Saints. Sheesh. i thought they'd be a 9-7 team for sure, but more likely a 10-6 fighting for a playoff spot. That defense was jsut exposed repeatedly, and I thought for sure it would be decent, if not good.

I thought the Jags were a playoff team. The offense i wasn't sure about, but thought the defense would carry them. As you can see, I have this problem with overestimating how defenses will do on teams that I'm off on.

I also think that everybody on the planet thought the Chargers would be a heck of a lot better. There's a lot of hate going on in that franchise.

Bengoodfella said...

I had the Patriots almost going perfect again and thought way too much of a Jags defense that lost Marcus Stroud...some of mine were kind of on, but otherwise it was brutal.