2013 in Review: My Best & Worst NFL Predictions

2013 crystal ball

Yesterday was supposed to be the final day to look back on 2013, but I couldn’t help myself. So many sports analysts/columnists/experts don’t hold themselves accountable for the outrageous predictions they make at the beginning of a sports season. But I spent the last day of the year digging through my archives to find my predictions that were spot on and the ones that were…terrible.

So let’s take one final stroll down 2013’s memory lane…

Best of the AFC Predictions

  • On Denver: “Demaryius Thomas could force his way to the top of the NFL’s WR rankings in ’13.” (His finishing WR ranks: 1st in touchdowns, 9th in receptions, 4th in yards, 1st in yards after catch)
  • On Denver again: “Another 1 seed for Denver.”
  • On Miami: “The Dolphin’s ceiling is 8-8..Tannehill isn’t good even though people talk like he is.” (Admittedly, Tannehill was better in 2013, but he still didn’t crack the top 20 for quarterbacks in completion percentage and passer rating)
  • On New England: “Anyone who thinks their offense won’t skip a beat just because they’ve looked good in the preseason is delusional, naive or in denial. There will be struggles for sure…12-4 seems right.”
  • Team’s records I nailed: Buffalo (6-10), New England (12-4)
  • Playoff seedings I nailed: #1 Denver, #2 New England

Worst of the AFC Predictions

  • On Cincinnati: “9-7 but no playoffs.”
  • On Cleveland: “What if Weeden becomes slightly above average? What if Richardson makes a significant leap in year two? …They could be a surprise division winner. Call me crazy, but I’m going 9-7 for this team.”
  • On Houston: “Seven automatic wins…they’l finish 9-7 and make no noise in the playoffs.” (Technically I could argue putting this in the “best” section because they won’t be making any noise in the playoffs.)
  • On Kansas City: “I’m fine with some improvement, but not playoff-level improvement. 6-10 for the Chiefs.”
  • On the Jets: “This team stinks and won’t do better than 5-11.” (But it’s true!! They do stink!!)

Best of the NFC Predictions

  • On Carolina: “I made a bet in Vegas on Carolina to win the Super Bowl at 40/1 odds.” (Their updated odds as we head into week 1 of the playoffs? 10/1.)
  • On Dallas: “You can pencil them in for 8-8.”
  • On Detroit: “You’ve gotta account for several losses due to boneheaded plays or being underprepared. Don’t see this team making a serious playoff run until they replace the head coach.”
  • On Green Bay: “Their underwhelming playoff results the last two years might allow them to fly under the radar, but don’t sleep on a team that went a combined 27-5 over the past two regular seasons.” (OK, so even I didn’t think they’d fly this far under the radar with that 8-7-1 record.)
  • Team’s records I nailed: Dallas (8-8), St. Louis (7-9), San Francisco (12-4)
  • Playoff seedings I nailed: #1 Seattle, #5 San Francisco

Worst of the NFC Predictions

  • On Arizona: “I honestly think they only have two winnable games, but I’ll give them a 6-10 record because I might be underrating their defense.”
  • On Atlanta: “Significant home field advantage. 10-6 seems right.” (Their final record: 4-12 overall and only 3-5 at home.)
  • On Carolina: “8-8 is doable but I’m actually going with 6-10 for the Panthers because I don’t think they can keep up offensively”
  • On Tampa: “9-7 with an extremely fun offense to watch.” (I doubt any sane person can call anything about that Bucs season “fun.”)
  • On Washington: “Isn’t Washington to win it all at 33/1 odds somewhat intriguing…I say 11-5 and a deep playoff run.” (Wow, ouch, terrible.)

Worse than any of that…

  • On Atlanta: “A tough division might cause them to limp into the playoffs looking more like a pretender than a contender, but the key is just getting there. Atlanta will improbably move through the NFC bracket while the AFC essentially goes as expected. Atlanta beats Denver in the Super Bowl. Count on it.” (Four months later, I’m no longer willing to recommend that you count on this exact Super Bowl matchup. Just a hunch.)

Best of Individual Player Predictions

  • “I’m going with Peyton Manning to lead the league in passing yards.”
  • “I’m going with Peyton Manning to win the 2013 MVP award, and sadly I think that offense might look like the 2007 Patriots when it’s all said and done.”
  • “I’m saying Josh Freeman is the first quarterback benched due to ineffectiveness.” (I may have been wrong about mostly everything else, but you gotta admit, I NAILED these QB predictions!)

Worst of Individual Player/Coach Predictions

  • Doug Martin is my 2013 rushing champ.” (Hey, he was only 1151 yards shy of LeSean McCoy’s league-leading rushing total.)
  • “I think Cleveland wins the AFC North, and if they do that, Rob Chudzinski automatically wins Coach of the Year so that’s who I’m picking.” (Worst prediction ever?)
  • I predicted Titans owner Bud Adams wouldn’t live to see the end of the 2013 season. (Technically I was right and this belongs in the “best of” section, but it just feels wrong to accurately predict someone’s death, so I’m sticking it on the “worst of” list instead.)

So if you’re keeping score at home, it turns out I’m even worse at preseason predictions than I am at in-season against the spread picks. I’m the worst.

But look out for my AFC & NFC playoff predictions later this week…I can’t be any worse than the regular season!

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