Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 NFL Predictions -- Follow-up

The NFL is really four four-game seasons--the Jets through week 3 will not be the Jets of weeks 14-17. Still three weeks offers enough of a sample size to reassess predictions.

NFC East: Playing out exactly as expected. The Giants and Skins are better teams than they're records suggest. Skins will probably be a formidable opponent weeks 10-17 (their defense can literally only get better). As long as Tony Romo is their QB, the Cowboys will peak and valley to a 7-9 win season. The only uncertainty is the Eagles. My admittedly biased support for Michael Vick usually leads me to think that any offense he leads is better than it is. That being said, I'm keeping all of the NFC East projections in place.

NFC West: Everything looks okay here except the Rams--really Sam Bradford--are worse than expected and the Seahawks are imitating a dominant team. The Rams' defense should ensure them 6 wins and galactic karma will guarantee that Pete Carroll win no more than 10 games in a season. (The guy has his own website for crap's sake.) The Seahawks could have a 12 win year but the NFL makes teams play half their games on the road.

NFC North: The projections are spot on. Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler. He will turn the ball over so the Bears regress to their 8 win mean. Aaron Rodgers is the closest thing to Peyton Manning outside of Peyton Manning. He could play for the Raiders and they would win 10 games.

NFC South: The Bucs are worse than anyone could have predicted. Schiano probably won't make it through the season and they've just named a starting QB, who was a mediocre ACC QB, which as fortune would have it has a directly inverse relationship with success. Otherwise, all predictions hold.

AFC East: The Jets are the worst 2-1 football team in the history of the NFL--things must fall apart. The center cannot hold. The Dolphins will be the opposite of the Skins. They'll win one or two of their final 8 games--just enough to spend another two seasons believing Ryan Tannehill is the answer.

AFC West: Peyton Manning's first half against the Raiders on Monday night raised serious questions about parity and competition in the NFL. Through three games he has effectively established himself as the NFL's LeBron James--it doesn't matter who you surround him with, he is so much better than every other player in the league that he actually surpasses opponent's collective talent. Unlike James, Peyton cannot sustain it for an entire season and the Broncos will still lose 5 games. Chiefs are much better (primarily defensively) that I anticipated and will probably win 9 games. Raiders are worse than expected but their futility is nothing in the face of the Jags or Jets so they'll steal a few wins.

AFC North: The season is looking to play out exactly as predicted. If Ravens were a stock I would short them and short them big. Tied with the NFC East for the worst division in the NFL.

AFC South: Jacksonville can lose 16 games. Their big chance to win comes in two weeks when they play the Rams. Whoever manages to turn the ball over less wins. While that is probably my least favorite 'NFL guru' axiom, it's meant more in terms of 'these teams offense so bad, so incapable of scoring that whichever one doesn't give the opposing offense possession with fewer than 30 yards to score will win'. Andrew Luck is the next Peyton Manning. With the current, gradual deterioration of rules that allow defenders to impede receivers in any way Luck will probably hold every major individual passing record in twelve years.

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