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Jan
11
2012

Rob's Raw 2011 Predictions Revisited

Remember how Rob had the Bengals and Niners being bad enough to pick in the top 10 of the 2012 draft? About that...

 Remember how Rob had the Bengals and Niners being bad enough to pick in the top 10 of the 2012 draft? About that…

Well, it’s that time of year. Time to own up to the shit I got wrong (like the records of the two teams above) and to preen and make an ass of myself for the stuff I got right (you’re welcome Pats and Panthers fans). As usual, I’ll pause just long enough to look back and see if you’re not entertained.

Just know this isn’t a total season wrap. I’ll still be around to recap the playoffs, and I’ll do a write up of the NFL champion once Super Bowl XLVI is all said and done. But this is just closing out the regular season since for most teams in the league, that does indeed signify the end of the season.

So to save you from clicking here to see what I predicted (I still suggest you do so you can get the full scope of the stuff I’ve been saying), I’ll show you what I said and then what actually happened. So we can commence the pointing and laughing, and/or the patting me on the back. Here we go:

NFC EAST:

What I predicted:

Eagles 10-6
Giants 8-8
Cowboys 8-8
Redskins 8-8

Best call: “While the hype surrounding the Eagles borders on masturbatory, I don’t buy it at all. To me this whole thing smacks of the 2000 Redskins, who as we know, failed spectacularly.”

Worst call: “The Skins will be competitive thanks to guys like O.J. Atogwe, Barry Cofield and Tim Hightower upgrading areas of need, and the offense and defense will be much better than expected.”

What happened:

Giants 9-7
Eagles 8-8
Cowboys 8-8
Redskins 5-11

I nailed the Cowboys (both their record and their status as the most overrated team in the league), came pretty close on the Giants (just a game off, and while 3-2 isn’t a December swoon, it’s not exactly a great run), and even though I didn’t buy the Eagles’ hype I still managed to overrate them like everyone else. I had the 2000 Redskins comparison right, so I should have just committed to the analogy all the way and predicted them to finish with the same record as the Fortune .500 Skins. Speaking of the Skins…there are no words. The defense was indeed better, but the combination of Rex “The Human Turnover” Grossman and John “Who?” Beck proved lethal.

NFC NORTH:

What I predicted:

Packers 11-5
Lions 9-7
Vikings 8-8
Bears 7-9

Best call: “No more toothless Lions…I look for Detroit to be in the mix for a wild card spot in the NFC playoffs.”

Worst call: No quote in particular; the Packers and Vikings records basically speak for themselves.

What happened:

Packers 15-1
Lions 10-6
Bears 8-8
Vikings 3-13

Once again, I picked the wrong year to go out on a limb. I had the Packers at 14-2 in 2010, and they went 10-6. I had them at 11-5 this year, and they go 15-1. Had I swapped them, I’d be a god in Green Bay. Oh well. Off by a game, but I was right to jump on Detroit’s bandwagon this year and to downgrade the Bears (although not for the reasons I predicted). Though I picked them to go .500, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the Vikes win only 5 or 6 games. But 3? Can’t believe they haven’t cleaned house after that massive disappointment.

NFC SOUTH:

What I predicted:

Falcons 11-5
Saints 10-6
Bucs 8-8
Panthers 6-10

Best call: “The Panthers are coming off a 2-14 season, and navigate the league’s toughest schedule (based on 2010 results, of course) with a rookie QB and a rookie head coach (Cam Newton and Ron Rivera, respectively). Not exactly the recipe for an immediate rebound.”

Worst call: “The Saints will be plenty good…just not good enough to overtake the Falcons for the division.”

What happened:

Saints 13-3
Falcons 10-6
Panthers 6-10
Bucs 4-12

I was wrong not to buy the New Orleans preseason hype. Though I had them taking the division, I got within a game of getting the Falcons right and I hit the Panthers right on the nose. But the Bucs? Nobody saw that epic fail coming.

NFC WEST:

What I predicted:

Rams 8-8
Cardinals 7-9
49ers 6-10
Seahawks 5-11

Best call: “In 2011, don’t expect much. From Kolb or Arizona.” –Note: the Kevin Kolb comparison to Tarvaris Jackson was also money.

Worst call: “If Bradford can quickly pick up on the new offense, and Long can make himself known for more than just being Howie Long’s kid, then the Rams could be better than expected.”

What happened:

49ers 13-3
Cardinals 8-8
Seahawks 7-9
Rams 2-14

The Niners’ immediate ascension caught everyone by surprise, so no shame in dropping that ball. But I was loud wrong in that prediction, so I’ll own it like a man. Got within a game of nailing the Cards, but that was about it in this division. I looked good early in the year by predicting the Seahawks to tank, but they acquitted themselves well late in the season. As for the Rams…they’re battling the Bucs and Eagles for the most disappointing team of 2011. Injuries and inexperience would excuse a step back, not a total cratering.

AFC EAST:

What I predicted:

Patriots 13-3
Jets 10-6
Dolphins 5-11
Bills 4-12

Best call: “Brady will once again play at an MVP level and the Pats will get deep in the playoffs.”

Worst call: “I think with Tom Moore’s influence, Mark Sanchez takes the next step and does just fine with Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller as his primary targets.”

What happened:

Patriots 13-3
Jets 8-8
Dolphins 6-10
Bills 6-10

This was probably my best division. I was right on the money with the Pats and wasn’t far off on the Dolphins and Bills, and got the order of the four teams dead on. The Jets flew way below expectations this year and missed the playoffs, killing one of my wild card predictions. But taking into account my showing in the next two divisions, I’d consider this one a win.

AFC NORTH:

What I predicted:

Steelers 11-5
Ravens 10-6
Browns 7-9
Bengals 3-13

Best call: “The lockout has shifted the balance to teams with continuity, and nobody has encapsulated that better than the Steelers…they’ve got a great chance to not only go back to the playoffs, but return to the Super Bowl.”

Worst call: “Count on Cincy assuming the position they’re all too used to: dead last.”

What happened:

Ravens 12-4
Steelers 12-4
Bengals 10-6
Browns 4-12

I got the Steelers and Ravens atop the division (shocker), just botched the order. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the Browns, and I’m now at the point where I don’t even wanna try to predict the Bengals anymore. I pick them to win the conference, they suck. I pick them to suck, they make the playoffs. I’m done with Cincy.

AFC SOUTH:

What I predicted:

Colts 9-7
Texans 8-8
Jags 6-10
Titans 4-12

Best call: “Coach Jack Del Rio’s 9th year in Jacksonville could very well be his 9th life as a Jaguar.”

Worst call: “(Peyton) Manning is a gamer, and I’d be stunned if he missed more than a game or two.”

What happened:

Texans 10-6
Titans 9-7
Jags 5-11
Colts 2-14

Once we found out the severity of Manning’s injury, I was quick to ammend my prediction. Still got it wrong. It was truly amazing to see that team lose key player after key player (remember…they also lost Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt for the season, plus had to go without Dallas Clark and others for portions of it), put their scant depth on display, and see them quickly transform from a perennial contender into a cellar-dweller. The only thing I got more wrong than that was thinking Tennessee would be putrid. They weren’t. They were just mediocre. I basically got the Jags right and while I wasn’t sold on Houston to begin the year, my ammendment to make them the default division winner was dead on.

AFC WEST:

What I predicted:

Chargers 9-7
Chiefs 8-8
Raiders 7-9
Broncos 4-12

Best call: “(Denver’s) defense should be better with new head coach John Fox and stud rookie Von Miller on board, but I don’t trust their offense at all.”

Worst call: “So when handicapping San Diego, I’ve found it’s always safe to guess their record based on their talent level–and then subtract two games because of Turner.” –Note: For the first time, I overestimated Norv. I should be subtracting three games instead of two. I’ll bear that in mind next season.

What happened:

Broncos 8-8
Chargers 8-8
Raiders 8-8
Chiefs 7-9

I was right to think this division was mediocre top to bottom, but I–like everyone else outside of Denver–underestimated the Broncos. Otherwise, I was within a game of getting the rest of the division right.

Well, that’s every division and every prediction. This year was tougher than most because of the lockout, but all things considered I had a decent year. Like at least 31 NFL teams, I’ll just have to hope I do better next season.

Rob Woodfork writes about TheFanManifesto. Follow us on Twitter

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