Hello, loyal readers.
The preseason is over, thank God, and for once there weren't many devastating injuries, at least not devastating to the team's chances. I'm pretty sure Mike Espy is pretty devastated. Devastated. Fun word, despite the meaning.
From this point forward, my predictions will mostly deal with the upcoming games of that week. So now is a good time to review what I've predicted so far; that is, the preseason predictions. If you missed them, thumb through my blog to see why I would predict something so ridiculous.
For purposes of record-keeping, I only am including the predictions listed as "Today's absurd prediction." So the mini-predictions such as "Champ Bailey gets 12 interceptions, more than anyone has yet this decade" don't factor in.
So here they are - all 57 pre-season predictions, and the date by which we'll know if I was right or wrong.
#PredictionDate Resolved57Bill Belichick will wear a suit at some point29-Dec56Jesse Chatham will be mentioned in Pro Bowl consideration1-Dec55Nnamdi Asomugha will finish 2nd in INTs30-Dec54Thomas Jones' loss will cost the Bears a few gamesunquantifiable53Peyton Manning will only lead league in TDs30-Dec523 of 9 backs traded before deadline16-Oct51Baltimore will win the AFC20-Jan50Denver wins AFC West, gets 1st-round bye30-Dec49Chiefs' defense finishes ranked higher than offense30-Dec48Chargers miss the playoffs30-Dec47Raiders have top 5 defense, but have worst record in AFC30-Dec46Wali Lundy leads Texans in rushing30-Dec45Colts win AFC North, but have worst defense in AFC30-Dec44Byron Leftwich is not the week 1 starterCORRECT43Vince Young has a bad season, perpetuating Madden curse2-Dec42Ravens win AFC North30-Dec41Brady Quinn starts for first time in week 1225-Nov40Carson Palmer makes Pro Bowl, Bengals make playoffs30-Dec39Steelers will not have a top 10 defense30-Dec38Bills won't best last year's 7-930-Dec37Dolphins have one of the league's most tumultuous seasonsunquantifiable36um... The Patriots make the playoffs30-Dec35The Jets improve on 10-630-Dec34The Eagles win the NFC20-Jan33Some NFC team has a lower YPC than Arizona30-Dec32Niners fans show up in droves to protest this predictionINCORRECT31Seattle wins the NFC West again30-Dec30The Rams have a top-3 offense30-Dec29Tumultuous season leads to change (as in Vick goes away)UNDERSTATED28Panthers lose tiebreakers to miss playoffs, Fox loses job10-Feb27Saints earn best record in NFC30-Dec26Bucs do just well enough to keep Gruden from being fired10-Feb25Bears fail to get past divisional round of playoffs13-Jan24Lions will not yet be out of playoffs going into week 1515-Dec23Brett Favre retires after frustrating season10-Feb22Vikings finish dead last in NFC30-Dec21Cowboys fall just short of playoffs after strong start30-Dec20Tom Coughlin is fired before season's end1-Dec19Donovan McNabb plays 16 games30-Dec18Redskins achieve a winning record30-Dec17MVP: Brees; OPotY: Tomlinson; DPotY: Bailey5-Jan16Coach of the Year: Eric Mangini5-Jan15During last weeks of season, Leinart puts up Pro Bowl statsunquantifiable14Jay Cutler has a superb seasonunquantifiable13Calvin Johnson will not lead rookie receivers in yardage30-Dec1249ers will not improve record this year30-Dec11At least 9 RBs not listed #1 before preseason will lead team30-Dec10Favre: INT record in week 3, TD record in week 94-Nov9Comeback Player of the Year: Domanick Williams5-Jan8Jaguars trade Leftwich before week 1CORRECTISH7There will be more than one dogfighting suspension30-Dec6Jon Kitna will make Pro Bowl18-Dec5Top 5 rushers include T. Jones, Maroney, not L. Johnson30-Dec4Fewer coaches (less than 7) will lose jobs this offseason10-Feb3Randy Moss will not put Patriots in Super Bowl20-Jan2Rookies of the Year: Marshawn Lynch and Leon Hall5-Jan1Most impressive rookie coaching job: Ken Whisenhuntunquantifiable
The "unquantifiable"s can still be correct or incorrect, with extreme results but there's also a solid chance that the results will be debateable. Cutler may put up good numbers, but what does "superb" mean? What if Ken Whisenhunt and Bobby Petrino both do a great job coaching and it's debatable which was better? And if the Bears lose two more games last year, it's impossible to say for certain whether the loss of Thomas Jones was the reason.
A few other notes:
The two Leftwich predictions have more or less come true. Despite assurances the job was his and that there would be no battle, he's off the team. The only asterisk is that he wasn't traded, as per prediction #8. The Jags put themselves in a stupid position by saying "we'll either cut him or trade him by such and so a time." Chances are not more than two teams wanted him, and even they didn't HAVE to have him. So they might as well wait until he was released and worry about outbidding each other then.
The only definite "incorrect" prediction so far was my attempt to be cute and predict the reaction to my blog. Naturally, when you tell someone they're going to say something, they're not going to say it just to prove you wrong.
One jumps out that will be wrong: Comeback Player of the Year. Domanick Williams wasn't even given a shot by any team during the preseason, and there are plenty of players who went through the conditioning of training camp who will be available for trade if the need arises. If I had to give someone else my nomination now, I'd go with Kelly Holcomb, who got traded to the Vikings and has a better chance to take over than most veteran QBs currently backing up youngsters.
The "Understated" prediction involving the Falcons deserves mentioning. At the time, I believed that Vick would receive a partial-season suspension, and that the trial would be distracting and Petrino/Blank would cut ties with him after the season. I had no idea how much worse it would actually be. At the time, the federal indictment had not happened, and it was believed that the case against Vick would be much weaker than it turned out.
I also contradicted myself in one place in particular: I made a prediction that the Niners would not improve on their 7-9 of last year, then proceeded to predict an 8-8 finish in my team-by-team breakdown. This was not a concession that their free-agent haul will pan out, but rather the fact that they have a beautifully easy schedule. The sentiments are the same, the outcome is very slightly different.
Along with my Niners' prediction, my Patriots' prediction was a bit of a cop-out in another attempt to be cute. The true absurd prediction for the Patriots is that they will win home-field advantage with the first seed in the AFC playoffs.
It was hard to pinpoint a date for my predictions for next offseason - who knows when the coach firings will be complete? Who knows when Brett Favre will announce his retirement if, indeed, he does so?
If I could take one back, it'd be the Wali Lundy-leading-the-Texans-in-rushing one, which few of you seemed to care about anyway. Samkon Gado had a far better preseason, and now I think it'll be him. I maintain that it won't be Ahman Green or Ron Dayne.
And finally, here's my confidence in each of my team-record predictions:
Washington97B-Dallas97APhiladelphia115A+NY Giants511A-Green Bay511BChicago106BMinnesota313B+Detroit79C+Tampa Bay79CCarolina97B-New Orleans124B+Atlanta412ASeattle106B-St. Louis97ASan Francisco88A-Arizona79ANew England133B+NY Jets115DMiami511A-Buffalo79B+Cleveland610A-Cincinnati106B+Pittsburgh610C-Baltimore115A-Tennessee610B+Houston610BIndianapolis115B+Jacksonville88C+Oakland313B-San Diego106AKansas City610B-Denver124B+