Shots in the Dark: Revisited

Back in September, I posted my predictions for the 2009 NFL season, making no claims to accuracy or even basic competence.  Now, with the season winding down and most of the playoff spots set, I thought it would be fun — and highly embarrassing — to look back and see how I did.  Here’s my predictions, followed by my commentary on how they turned out.

AFC EAST
*New England
Miami
New York
Buffalo

I was dead-on with New England winning the division and Buffalo bringing up the rear, and the Dolphins haven’t really taken a huge step back.  And while the Jets may just make the playoffs, Sanchez sure isn’t leading them there — they’re getting in on their defense and running game.  Still, I give myself a solid B+ on this one.

AFC NORTH
*Pittsburgh
**Baltimore
Cincinnati
Cleveland

“Cincinnati is third simply by the virtue of the Browns not being good enough to be any higher than last.”  Yeah, that was some smart analysis there.  But really, who saw the Bengals being the beasts of this division back in September?  Baltimore still might get a wildcard spot and somewhat salvage my picks here, but boy did I give the Steelers too much credit.  A C grade here.

AFC SOUTH
*Tennessee
**Indianapolis
Houston
Jacksonville

Yeah, losing Dungy really held those Colts back, didn’t it?  Sheesh.  The other three teams are only separated by one game, but seeing as how I had Tennessee winning the division and they’re not even making the playoffs, I botched this one pretty badly.  Del Rio still might be getting fired though.  Another C grade.

AFC WEST
*San Diego
Denver
Kansas City
Oakland

Well, the Chargers did win the division, but they certainly didn’t back into it like I thought they would.  And they look like they may actually be a threat in the playoffs.  But Oakland certainly isn’t the worst team in the league, and Denver isn’t as good as the second-place team I envisioned them as.  Let’s go B- here.

NFC EAST
*Philadelphia
**New York
Dallas
Washington

The title is still up for grabs, so the grade may change on this one, but I was right having the Eagles in the mix.  But a big miss on a wildcard prediction for the Giants and no playoffs for the Cowboys.  At least the Redskins didn’t let me down like they did everybody else.  Right now, this grades out to a C-, up to a C if the Eagles win the division.

NFC NORTH
*Minnesota
Green Bay
Chicago
Detroit

The only thing keeping me from a perfect grade here is not picking the Packers to make the playoffs.  And the fact that the defense I thought would hold them back has actually turned into a strength.  I was dead-on about Cutler struggling, although dead-wrong about Matt Forte.  Still, my best predictions so far, so an A- for me.

NFC SOUTH
*New Orleans
**Atlanta
Carolina
Tampa Bay

Another perfect prediction as for as order, but whiffed on picking the Falcons for the playoffs.  Carolina turned into the exact Jekyll and Hyde team I thought they would, and I was extraordinarily optimistic about 6 wins for my Buccaneers.  Still, another strong set of picks, and another A-.

NFC WEST
*Seattle
Arizona
St. Louis
San Francisco

Yeah, those Cards sure are slumping, aren’t they?  And the closest Seattle came to the top of the division was when they player Arizona.  San Francisco has a shot at finishing .500, so I totally botched this division in every way imaginable.  Big ol’ D for me.

So that boils down to a C+ average for me.  Looking at it another way, out of 32 teams, I positioned 16 correctly.  A C no matter how you slice it.  Didn’t make a total fool out of myself.

My Super Bowl pick of New England and Minnesota is still alive, but not looking all that solid right now — I don’t think the Patriots have that “it” this year they’ve had in the past, and the Vikings look to be imploding.   If I had to pick right now, I’d say a San Diego/Philadelphia Super Bowl isn’t out of the question.

Of course, I’ll probably only be half right.

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