By: Mike Patt
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. We have reached the halfway mark of the NFL season (weird that it is after week 9 now that we have an 18 week schedule), and the league is really starting to take shape. Contenders are contending, re-building teams are not, and some are naturally stuck in the middle as is the standard. Now would be a great time to review those pre-season predictions I made back in September. Overall I would not say I am doing poorly, but there have been some big BIG misses to go along with a couple of nice guesses. Let’s take a look at the best and worst of my predictions at this point of the year.
Closest Division Prediction: NFC North
None of the divisions are fully correct, but the NFC North is excruciatingly close. Not only do I have the order correct, which warrants a perfect score based on last year’s scoring system, but I have the general gist of the seasons for three out of four. I said Green Bay was the best team by far with Aaron Rodgers, and given recent events that continues to be true. Chicago indeed did not go anywhere with Andy Dalton and is trending upward with Justin Fields, boom. Detroit is a mess, and everyone called that. Minnesota is not as good as I was hoping for, and while they may still finish 2nd, they keep me from absolutely crushing this prediction. Still pretty good though.
Furthest Division Prediction: AFC West
On the surface it looks like it’s the Chiefs fault that my prediction is failing. Unfortunately it goes a bit deeper than that. Las Vegas and Denver have both performed better than expected (had both as sub .500 teams), so I lose credit there. The Chargers are the only ones who I have been right about, and even with them I am not 100% because they sit in first place instead of the predicted 2nd. The Broncos are tied for last so there is a half point for that. Overall the combination of the Chiefs lack of success and the other teams doing well has this prediction all messed up.
Closest Team Prediction: Chicago Bears
I want the words from the pre-season prediction etched in lore if the season finishes they way it is currently going. Before the season I had them down as a 6 or 7 win third place team under the assumption that they transition from Andy Dalton to rookie Justin Fields at some point. Well that transition happened earlier than expected, and while it has been bumpy at times, Fields is finally starting to come in to his own. I had him ranked as the 2nd best QB in this past draft (yes, even ahead of Zach Wilson), and at times he has certainly looked like it. No, Chicago may not make the playoffs or get winning record, but they are trending the right direction with a franchise player.
Furthest Team Prediction: Arizona Cardinals+San Francisco 49ers
My NFC West prediction is middle of the road right now since I am close with the Rams and Seahawks. These two are together because I literally picked the opposite of the current results. The forecast was for Arizona to be competitive but ultimately struggle to get to a .500 record, and for San Francisco to bounce back and be great. So far Arizona has been great overall and Kyler Murray is putting up an MVP caliber season. The 49ers on the other hand are playing competitive football but sit in last place. Well, what can I say? If I was perfect I would be working for ESPN.
Team I am Optimistic About: Atlanta Falcons
Early on in the season this prediction looked rough. Atlanta lost three of it’s first four games and the defense was allowing 32 points per game. However, they have now won three of the past four games to make it back to .500. Matt Ryan is playing his usual level of football, rookie TE Kyle Pitts has been excellent, and Cordarrelle Patterson is on pace for over 2100 all-purpose yards. The Falcons currently sit in third place in the division, but with Carolina faltering fast and New Orleans fighting injuries, 2nd place (which was my pre-season forecast) is well within reach. The remaining schedule is not overly difficult as well, so they’ve got a shot.
If I use the same scoring system as was used at the end of the season last year, I would have a total of 18 points out of a possible 40. It’s really 18 out of 32 since there are bonus points for getting the whole division right, which I have one completely correct at the moment (NFC North). That is 56.3%, which would be considered a failing grade and I am not happy about that. What I need for that grade to improve would be the AFC North and NFC South to start to break a little more in my favor the rest of the season. Not impossible as those are both close races at the moment. It should be a wild second half of the season, and we are looking for to it with great excitement. That will do it for this post. Thank you all for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports!
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