Re-Visiting My 2019-20 NFL Season Predictions

Using the magical website playoffpredictors.com, on September 6th I brewed a strong cup of coffee and predicted all 256 regular season and 11 post season games in the 2019-2020 NFL season.  The results were… well… we’ll find out shortly.  Of course there have been things nobody could have predicted or accounted for, but then again there were many things someone such as myself probably should have accounted for (cough cough Cam Newton).  But enough justifying let’s get to it, here’s exactly how I laid it out division by division, compared with the actual record in bold, Regular Season followed by Playoffs.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
  3. Cleveland Browns (9-7)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)

 

  1. Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
  3. Cleveland Browns (6-10)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14)

I, like many, fell into the trap that was the 2019 Cleveland Browns.  We don’t need to go into the talent they had on the roster, but what I didn’t take into consideration was the one-man wrecking crew himself.. Freddie Kitchens. Other than Cleveland I feel pretty good about this division, with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger I have no doubt the Steelers get two more wins, I felt really good about Baltimore going into the year, but nobody expected 14-2, and the Bengals were the Bengals.

AFC South

  1. Houston Texans (9-7)
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
  4. Tennessee Titans (6-10)

 

  1. Houston Texans (10-6)
  2. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (7-9)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)

Ah the shit show that is the AFC South.  You can pretty much set in stone this whole division will be between 6 and 10 wins for the next 5 years, it’s just a matter of getting them into the right order.  Hitting the division winner is always nice, and almost nailed the Colts post-Andrew Luck.  The Titans caught fire when they sent Mariota to the bench, and the Jaguars were an organizational shit show from day 1.

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots (12-4)
  2. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
  3. New York Jets (6-10)
  4. Miami Dolphins (4-12)

 

  1. New England Patriots (12-4)
  2. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
  3. New York Jets (7-9)
  4. Miami Dolphins (5-11)

The only thing to be ashamed of here is the Buffalo Bills.  I liked the future of the Bills going into the season, but I didn’t think they were ready to take the next step this quickly and get to the playoffs.  They played an easy schedule but I give them a ton of credit for winning the games they were supposed to win, something that’s harder said than done in the NFL.  There was some buzz about the Jets going into the season after Sam Darnold’s promising rookie season, I wasn’t entirely sold on him from draft day so I didn’t think playoffs were close on the horizon, and his injury certainly didn’t help.  I feel like I was bullish on the Dolphins having them at 4 wins, so Brian Flores getting them to 5 was super impressive.

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)
  2. Denver Broncos (9-7)
  3. LA Chargers (8-8)
  4. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
  2. Denver Broncos (7-9)
  3. Oakland Raiders (7-9)
  4. LA Chargers (5-11)

Well I hit the division winner, but who didn’t?  Other than KC and Oakland this division was a disaster for me.  Admittedly I did the predictions after the Derwin James news, and I completely undersold his impact.  I thought his injury would account for a win or two, but in hindsight that was a huge reason for the Chargers falling to oblivion (that and 9 one-possession losses).  Denver was a team I felt good about going into the year, but the pass-rush just didn’t flourish the way I thought they would in Bradley Chubb’s 2nd year.  Oakland was a team that was pretty easy to peg going into the year, a team with enough veteran talent and a good enough QB to find themselves somewhere in between a top 10 pick and the playoffs.

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
  2. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
  3. Detroit Lions (9-7)
  4. Chicago Bears (8-8)

 

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
  3. Chicago Bears (8-8)
  4. Detroit Lions (3-12-1)

Well well well… the NFC North.  I knew Green Bay would be good with an improved defense and running game, but I didn’t expect 13 wins.  The Detroit Lions faced a ton of hardship that led to a 3-12-1 season starting with some poor officiating in Green Bay, and concluding with a Matt Stafford back injury that caused him to miss the final 6 games of the season (all losses).  Not saying the prediction would have been correct without the Green Bay game and the Stafford injury, but it would have been a hell of a lot closer.  Nailing Minnesota was nice, but that’s a team with a great running game, an above average defense, an above average QB, and a quality coaching staff, a team you can pencil in for 8+ wins with no questions asked.

NFC South

  1. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
  2. New Orleans Saints (9-6-1)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (7-8-1)
  4. Tampa Bay Bucs (3-13)

 

  1. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
  2. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
  3. Tampa Bay Bucs (7-9)
  4. Carolina Panthers (5-11)

This division is going to give me nightmares until approximately September 2020.  Let’s start with the obvious, I ignored the blatantly obvious signs and thought that Cam Newton would somehow play 16 games this year.  In hindsight, even with a healthy Cam 11-5 would have been a bit of a stretch, but I thought Cam with a bevy of playmakers on offense would have been deadly.  Beyond Carolina, I was way too low on New Orleans, who I thought would have a bit of a hangover after back to back playoff heart-breakers.  On top of all of that, Bruce Arians and his vertical offense put together a pretty nice season down in Tampa Bay.  The Falcons prediction was right on, counting on a down year for a team that has seems content relying on pure talent and poor coaching, but all in all a brutal prediction for the the NFC South.

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
  3. Washington Redskins (4-12)
  4. New York Giants (3-13)

 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
  3. New York Giants (4-12)
  4. Washington Redskins (3-13)

Not much to talk about here, because I pretty much killed it.  A healthy Eagles roster wins at least one more game, and Dallas was 2 games lower than predicted, but give them a win at the NY Jets and we’re pretty much there.  The Giants and the Redskins both sucked, nothing surprising there.

NFC West

  1. LA Rams (11-5)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (8-8)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

 

  1. San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
  3. LA Rams (9-7)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1)

Let’s not get it twisted, at the time 8-8 was relatively optimistic for San Francisco, who were coming off a 4 win season with the health of their starting QB in question.  A healthy Jimmy G, the best front 4 in the NFL, and a tremendous running game propelled them to 13 wins.  I wasn’t too confident about LA, but the roster is so talented that I thought they could sleepwalk to 10 wins, however the Rams kept the tradition of the Super Bowl loser’s hangover going and ultimately missed the playoffs.

PLAYOFFS

AFC

Predicted seeds:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Houston Texans
  5. Baltimore Ravens
  6. Cleveland Browns

Championship Game: Chiefs over Patriots

Actual seeds:

  1. Baltimore Ravens
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Houston Texans
  5. Buffalo Bills
  6. Tennessee Titans

Championship Game: Chiefs over Titans

4/6 playoff teams, not bad, the Browns in the playoffs, bad.  Nobody could have foreseen the Titans making the run they did, even if you did have them in the playoffs, so there’s no shame there.  Ultimately when you hit the conference winner you have to be happy about it, the Chiefs are helping me look a little less incompetent.

NFC

Predicted seeds:

  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. LA Rams
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Green Bay Packers
  6. Seattle Seahawks

Championship Game: Panthers over Eagles

Actual seeds:

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. New Orleans Saints
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Seattle Seahawks
  6. Minnesota Vikings

Championship Game: 49ers over Packers

Again, 4/6 playoff teams feels okay, but only when you ignore the 1-2 seeds.. and the championship game participants.  The Niners are probably the best top to bottom roster in the NFL this year and have absolutely earned their Super Bowl birth, though not a soul in sports writing could have predicted that.  I’ve said my piece on the Panthers and Rams, and won’t try again to justify that ridiculous prediction.

Super Bowl

Prediction:

Chiefs over Panthers

Actual:

Chiefs over 49ers

Hey, say what you want about the panthers pick, nobody had the 49ers either so I’ll take my victory lap predicting the Super Bowl champ.

Best Picks:

We’ll start with the good parts here, all in all there was a lot to feel good about, but a couple picks really stand out.

The Chicago Bears were a team that had a ton of hype going into 2019 after their 12-4 season and the double doink that ended their year.  They had basically their entire core coming back, the reigning coach of the year in Matt Nagy, and the media was eating it up.  Well they forgot about one huge problem.. Mitch Trubisky.  In the end, poor QB play, a step back for the defense led to a disappointing season in the Windy City.

I’m definitely not alone in picking the Chiefs as the super bowl champs, but it feels good nailing the pick nonetheless. There were a lot of great teams heading into this year with the Patriots, Eagles, Packers, Saints, Rams, etc. so it was far from an “easy pick”. Chalk one up for ya boy.

Worst picks:

The Panthers obviously stands out here, picking in the top 10 after predicting them to be NFC champs isn’t a good look for me. I hope you can see my reasoning at the time and why it made sense as a flyer pick, but regardless this was a big time miss.

There are a couple others to pick from here, namely the Lions and Titans, but I’m gonna go with Buffalo here. With the way their schedule laid out and with the young talent on the roster combined with a really good coaching staff I should have had them in the playoffs. You can question the validity of the record, but when you take into consideration the schedule they played we should have seen this run coming.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: