A look back
A few days prior to the opening of the 2014 NFL season. I gave my annual predictions for the season. In 2013 I wasn’t close to being right. I was a little better in 2014 but not much. While I graded myself an “F” in 2013, I could probably give myself a “C-” this year.
AFC East – I went out on a limb and picked the New England Patriots. That may have been the easiest pick I had. The Pats have been the class of the East for years. I was surprised, though, as I thought that the other three teams may not have a winning record. Buffalo had an outstanding turnaround and finished 9-7 and Miami at 8-8 was respectable.
AFC North – My choice to win the North was Cincinnati with Baltimore getting in the playoffs as a wild card team. I was partially right as both Baltimore and Cincinnati are in the playoffs, but both are as wildcard entries. I didn’t feel Pittsburgh was going to be strong enough to win the division, but I was wrong. They won five out of their last six to finish 11-5. Another great job by Mike Tomlin, Keven Colbert and company.
AFC South – My pick to win the South was Indianapolis and they won going away with an 11-5 record. The surprise team in the division was Houston. A year ago they had the worst record in football. This year they finished 9-7 and should challenge for the division in 2015.
AFC West – I hit on this prediction also as Denver was my choice. I figured the Kansas City would be a wild card team but they fell just short finishing 9-7.
NFC East – In September I wrote, "Just like the AFC East, the NFC East is weak. The Eagles will win by default”. I looked bad on that one. Dallas was a very consistent team and won the division with a 10-4 record. Philly was a respectable 10-6 but missed out on the playoffs because of one too many losses. They needed to be 11-5 to get in.
NFC North – This was my absolute worst prediction of the year. I bought into the hype that Marc Trestman could fix Jay Cutler. He couldn’t! The Trestman experiment turned out to be a disaster as the Bears finished last with a 5-11 record. Green Bay, as usual, won the division with a 12-4 record. Detroit got a wild card slot finishing 11-5.
NFC South – This is another division where I missed badly. I wrote, “The Saints have the best offense in the NFC and will be tough to stop”. That didn’t come close to being right. The Saints were one of the most disappointing teams in the league, finishing 7-9. The division, as a whole, was weak, as Carolina won it with a 7-8-1 record.
NFC West – I got this one right, as Seattle successfully repeated as the division winner with a 12-4 record. Seattle was also my pick to repeat as World Champs, but we will have to wait a few more weeks to see if that holds true. While I knew Arizona would be good, I didn’t feel they were a playoff team. Despite losing two quarterbacks they still held on to finish 11-5 and get in as a wild card. I thought that San Francisco would easily be a wild card team, but the front office/coaching staff soap opera carried over to the field and the 49ers finished a disappointing 8-8.
Super Bowl - My Super Bowl prediction was Seattle over Cincinnati, but while the Bengals are improved over a year ago, they aren’t nearly the class of the AFC. I am going to stay with Seattle to win the NFC, but with the playoffs about to begin, I have to figure that New England with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will be tough to beat in the AFC. My pre-playoff Super Bowl winner is the same as it was in September….Seattle!
Happy New Year everyone!
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe