THE dust is finally settling from an epic end to season 2017 as Ravens/Bills fans wake up nursing two very different hangovers to welcome the New Year. Buffalo has a reason to celebrate for the first time since 1999 and Baltimore faithful are left wondering where it all went wrong. At the beginning of the season, I predicted that the Bills would end with a 6-10 record and the Ravens 8-8, neither of which were correct. While these two teams weren’t the only predictions I got wrong, I did manage to hit on a few to keep some credibility with my name.
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Right On The Money
Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) & Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
TWO teams’ records that I correctly guessed where that of the Chiefs and Cowboys. Full disclosure I did think that the AFC West would be so loaded that KC would miss the postseason and that Eric Berry would be their MVP, with an ageing Alex Smith a trade candidate. No one expected Kareem Hunt to burst onto the scene the way he did though, winning the rushing title in his rookie season. Ultimately Zeke’s confusing six-game suspension cost the Cowboys any possible chance of making the playoffs.
Image from sportsday.dallasnews.com
Close But No Cigar
Arizona Cardinals (9-7, 8-8), Atlanta Falcons (11-5, 10-6), Chicago Bears (4-12, 5-11), Detroit Lions (8-8, 9-7), Baltimore Ravens (8-8, 9-7), Cincinnati Bengals (6-10, 7-9), Washington Redskins (6-10, 7-9) & New England Patriots (14-2, 13-3)
Italics resembles predicted record
ONE quarter of my record predictions were just one win/loss away from being bang on. None of them are too surprising, with most of the seasons going according to script for the above eight teams. You could make the argument that Atlanta has looked better than their 10-6 record suggests at times and the Lions were lucky to win nine games playing with a banged up Matthew Stafford for most of the season.
New York Giants (10-6, 3-13)
Green Bay Packers (13-3, 7-9)
Oakland Raiders (11-5, 6-10), Denver Broncos (10-6, 5-11), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6, 5-11), Houston Texans (9-7, 4-12) & Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11, 10-6)
Italics resembles predicted record
EASILY my biggest miss this year was the New York Giants. Here is my word for word thoughts on their season before gameplay got underway:
‘ELI Manning dropping off at the age of 36 would definitely derail any chance of success the Giants have next season. With most people tipping them to take a step backwards though I’m going all in on the Giants for a deep playoff run and to contend for the Lombardi trophy this year. I may end up with egg on my face, but New York will find a way out of the toughest NFC division and challenge their conference rivals for a spot at the big dance.‘
I’M giving myself a pass on the shortcomings of Green Bay and Houston as both of them were on track to end around where I predicted before injuries to their quarterbacks derailed that train. Denver’s defense failed me, Jacksonville’s offense surprised me and the Raiders/Bucs were just flat out bad all year.
MY MVP pick of Aaron Rodgers went up in flames thanks to Anthony Barr breaking him in Week 6. My big bold prediction of Kirk Cousins going off and leading the league in passing yardage couldn’t have been much further from the truth as well. I thought that Julio Jones and Le’Veon Bell would lead the league in receiving and rushing and they finished 2nd and 3rd respectively, so I can’t be too mad with those picks. J.J. Watt as my comeback player of the year though? Don’t get me started.
FINALLY I hit on exactly 50% of my playoff choices, but my misses really hurt my predictions for the rest of the playoffs. I expected to see an AFC championship game of New England against Tennessee which is still an unlikely possibility, but my NFC championship game of Green Bay against Seattle won’t come to fruition. One of my big hits was predicting that Minnesota would make the playoffs and the way they are playing they are probably the favourite in the NFC right now.
Image from bleacherreport.com
THERE wasn’t a huge deal of success in regards to my predictions this year, but I know I’m not alone after a topsy-turvy 2017 season. Plenty of injuries changed the landscape of the league throughout the entire year and with another 12 months of watching football under my bet here’s to hoping my picks can be much more educated and accurate in 2018.
Banner from auburnpub.com