Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Revisiting My 2008 Season Predictions

In the first of a few mid-season-themed entries on the blog, I'm taking a look back at my 2008 predictions made prior to the season. I predicted the division standings, the playoffs as well as the main player awards. Let's see how I did.

Standings predictions

Starting with the AFC East, it seems I underestimated the Bills. I predicted the Patriots to win the division followed by the Jets, Dolphins and finally Bills. I have it correct except for the Bills and Dolphins switched, and with the division so close we could see it shake out how I predicted.

In the AFC North, I stupidly overestimated both the Bengals and Browns while underestimating the Ravens. I had Cleveland taking the next step and claiming a wild card spot, while I had Cincinnati finishing third ahead of Baltimore. That's obviously all wrong.

In another serious underestimation, I had the Titans finishing third in the AFC South behind Indianapolis and Jacksonville. In my defense though, they probably wouldn't be undefeated if Vince Young had started all year!

I have the AFC West correct except for San Diego and Denver switched. However, Denver's been playing pretty bad football lately and with that defense, I still expect San Diego to come out on top there.

Moving over to the NFC East, the toughest division in football proved very difficult for me to predict with any accuracy. I had the last-place Cowboys winning the division, and injuries have seen to it that won't happen. Meanwhile, I also underestimated both the Redskins (who I had fourth) and the defending Super Bowl champs (third).

It seems I underestimated the Bears, who have been led to first place with Kyle Orton's emergence. However, Orton is now out with an injury and my predicted division winner (Green Bay, 4-4) has a good chance to go ahead soon.

Once again, a division where my predictions are a complete mess. I had New Orleans winning the division followed by Tampa Bay, Carolina and finally Atlanta. This division is still close and it's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out.

I got the NFC West predictions horribly wrong too. Let's just end this section now.

Player predictions

Here are my preseason awards picks along with updated comments:

NFL MVP: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers

Like his Chargers team, Tomlinson isn't having quite the year he's used to. I'm sure he'll be fine (and in that weak division the team should be too), but right now Tomlinson is nowhere near an MVP candidate. He currently ranks 11th in rushing yards and has just a 3.9 average.

Offensive Player of the Year: Randy Moss, Patriots

Well Tom Brady's injury sure ruined this pick, didn't it?

Defensive Player of the Year: Jared Allen, Vikings

Allen started off slow this season but has come on strong, recording five sacks in his last two games. If he keeps it up he should be able to get in the mix for this award, but right now he's not there. He currently has 25 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Matt Ryan, Falcons

Finally a prediction that appears to be on the money. Ryan has been extremely solid for the Falcons and has helped turn the franchise around much faster than anticipated. Guys like Chris Johnson, Steve Slaton and Matt Forte are all worth consideration, but for a rookie quarterback to come in and play like this (especially for one of the NFL's worst teams in 2007) has to get him the hardware. For the season, Ryan has 1,661 yards, nine touchdowns, five interceptions and an 85.4 passer rating.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jerod Mayo, Patriots

This still seems like a solid pick, as Mayo currently leads NFL rookies in tackles with 59. Still, he has no sacks, interception or forced fumbles and some "big plays" would really solidify his status. Chris Horton deserves a lot of consideration as well.

Coach of the Year: Wade Phillips, Cowboys

My Coach of the Year pick might not even make it through the season without being canned. Enough said.