By: Mike Patt
Originally Posted On: 10/15/23
Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio blog. The 2023 NFL regular season is about a third of the way done, and we are starting to get an idea of who is for real and who is not. Before the season, I made some predictions on how the divisions would finish on my show, Let’s Wine About DMV Sports. Some of these are looking pretty good so far (thank you NFC East), while others are not looking so hot. Here is a list of some of my pre-season predictions that, as of right now, stand out as ones that could be wayyyyy bigger misses than others.
Tampa Bay and Baker Mayfield
The first team on our list is one that I owe a sincere apology to. Before the season, I believed that the Bucs would be one of the worst teams in football. The combination of downgrading from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield and undergoing significant changes on the O-Line seemed like a recipe for disaster. The only thing I thought that could save them was their weak division and the play-makers at receiver and on defense. Not only have those saving graces come into play, but Baker has done pretty well and the O-line has not been a liability. Instead of having a top five draft pick, Tampa may win back-to-back division titles.
When I was in high school, I learned from a teacher the phrase “Sin Boldly.” It was while I was in choir learning music, and the lesson to learn was that if you are loud, it is easier to catch if you do something wrong and fix your error before you no longer have the chance to do so. I do not know if that phrase is exactly applicable to the Broncos, but I took a bold position that this team would make the playoffs. Instead, they are a hot mess who now may be looking more towards a high draft pick in April as opposed to a playoff run in January. Russell Wilson is not the answer.
Another team I thought would make the playoffs, the Vikings just cannot seem to pull themselves together. If you look at the numbers, their record does not reflect how they have been playing. Minnesota’s point differential is negative, but only 12 points, and Kirk Cousins is putting up a ton of yards. The production is there on offense, and the defense is getting pressure (almost 3 sacks a game), but the big problem is turnovers. Minnesota is last in the league in turnover differential, and that will swing close games. If they want to turn their season around, this needs to change.
One division that I kept going back and forth on was the AFC South. I always felt that Jacksonville would win it, but the Colts, Titans, and Texans felt like they could go in any order for many reasons. Ultimately, I concluded that the combination of a rookie QB, decent but not great offense around said QB, and a defense with question marks would land Indy in last place. It has not been pretty, but they have a winning record through five games and are not giving the Jags any space. Now, due to Anthony Richardson’s injury, they must see if they can continue their momentum with Gardner Minshew at QB.
San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets (Together for a Reason)
I know, it’s strange for these two to be lumped together, but there is a reason. I predicted the Jets to win the division on the basis that Aaron Rodgers would vastly upgrade the QB position. Well, as you might have heard, Rodgers got injured two plays into season, firmly derailing that prediction. Based on how the Jets have played, I believe they would be in contention with him at the helm. Consequently, I predicted the 49ers to take a step back (but still make the playoffs) based on the health and question marks at QB. Brock Purdy has proven me wrong, and the Niners are rolling. For opposite reasons, the health at quarterback has made both predictions look bad.
There is still plenty of season left, so there is a chance that fates change and the Vikings, Jets, and Broncos rebound (no, I am not rooting for teams to get worse just to be right). However, based on injury factors and just pure organizational problems, I cannot say I am optimistic that this will happen. Maybe some of my not so big misses will right the ship and get me closer to a passing grade. Tune in to Let’s Wine About DMV Sports, hosted by Mike Patt, on Fridays at 9PM EST/6PM PST. Be sure to check out all of the awesome shows we have throughout the week, as well as our website iesportsradio.com. Shout out to sponsor Planet Jerky and all you loyal viewers that continue to help our network grow. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.