2011 NFL Season: Revisiting My Bold Predictions
I wanted to revisit my earlier article of "8 Bold Predictions to Wow Your Friends" on the 2011 NFL season. They were not your standard predictions and were meant to either make me look like a genius or a fool.
I think the picture of the collapsed Metrodome aptly speaks for my predictions. So, let us go back and review ... ugh.
Mike Martz Will Be Fired Before the End of the Season: Somewhat Right.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
OK, he was fired at the end of the season (come on, you don't think he really resigned). This season played out exactly as I predicted.
Martz passed too much to start, and the Bears struggled to start 2-3. When they hit a bye week, Lovie Smith had a heart-to-heart with Martz. The coach's philosophy changed, but there was one added thing: Mike Tice became run coordinator.
They ran the ball more and went on a tear until they lost Forte and Cutler. Then, inexplicably, they went back to pass-first.
This was the nail in the coffin for Martz. Once Tice started calling plays for running, Martz had to have known he was on his way out.
So I will call this one kind of right. It was just timing.
Sam Bradford Will Win the MVP Award: Wrong and Wronger
Jay Drowns/Getty Images
I could not have been more wrong about this one—I mean across the board. St. Louis was terrible and Sam Bradford showed he still has to develop. San Fran almost made the Super Bowl under Jim Harbaugh (who is foiling another prediction). Seattle looked kind of good at times this year (wrecking yet another prediction) and Kolb struggled in Arizona. Wow, did I stink this one up.
After the 2010 season, Bradford looked to only be better. He just never turned that corner. His QB rating dropped, his completion percentage dropped and even the addition of Brandon Lloyd didn't help. There was even talk that if the Rams had the first pick, they should take Luck and trade Bradford (due to the economics).
This one didn't even come close to fruition.
The Jets Miss the Playoffs: DING DING DING!
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Finally, one I got right.
It was amazing how contrite Rex Ryan can be when his team isn't winning. I was right about the internal reasons as to why the Jets didn't make it, starting and ending with Mark Sanchez. He proved once again that he is not an amazing QB in the regular season. While his passing yards and TDs were his best yet for a season, he still threw 18 INTs.
His paltry 78.2 QB rating is nothing to crow about, either. It didn't help that the running game wasn't there and the defense was allowing 312 yards per game and ranked 20th in points per game.
This helped make my point that you cannot put the game on Sanchez's shoulders.
This one was sooooo right.
Colt McCoy Will Finish 1st in Yardage and TDs in the AFC North: Blew It.
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Then 2011 crashed the party and took all the cake. He was statistically the worst QB in the AFC North. Andy Dalton, a second round rookie, looked more impressive. Flacco had a good season, while not one of his best. Big Ben looked like Big Ben, despite his injuries.
McCoy's passer rating put him at the bottom of the NFL. Two rookies had better QB ratings and Christian Ponder wasn't that much worse with less playing time.
This one gets me back into the "Got It Wrong" Category.
The Offensive Rookie of the Year Will Be: Mark Ingram: Could Have Been Right
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Darn you, Saints depth at running back! Mark Ingram could not get going thanks to Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
Sproles came over from the Saints before the 2011 season and responded with 603 rushing yards and 710 receiving yards. He had nine TDs when it was all said and done. Thomas had almost 1000 all-purpose yards. That kind of production limited Ingram's carries and didn't help his Rookie of the Year chances.
Well, that and a rookie QB that somehow proved every one of his critics wrong with over 4000 yards passing.
I got Cammed on this prediction.
Jim Schwartz Wins Coach of the Year: Could Have Been Right
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
What Jim Schwartz has done with the Lions is nothing short of "The Miracle Worker." The previous three seasons were 0-16, 2-14 and 6-10. This season a .500 record would have been a success.
Instead, the Lions went 10-6 and went to their first playoffs in over a decade. That should have given him the Coach of the Year. The problem is the Lions weren't the only turn around story this year.
Jim Harbaugh took a 49ers team that had less talent and turned them into a team that was a mistake away from going to the Super Bowl. The Bengals were not supposed to win more than two or three games and yet they made the playoffs with a rookie QB and WR.
I still cannot figure out why Belichick won it over those three. He has Tom Brady, for gosh sakes!
Missed, but could have been right.
The Redskins Will Win the NFC East: Oh, This Was Close
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The NFC East came down to the last game, and neither team was The Washington Redskins.
Six straight losses and a QB switch (then back again) spelled doom for the 2011 season. The Redskins eventually fell victim to the fact that they simply do not have a good QB. Grossman and Beck were not the answer. Even their defense, which played well, could not overcome their bad performances.
With a QB, the Redskins could be dangerous.
My prediction was wrong again. This is getting repetitive.
Andrew Luck Will Be Drafted by the Seattle Seahawks: No Luck Next Year.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The Seahawks blew it by playing decent football at times. They just had to finish 7-9. Oh, the Seahawks started out promising by going 2-6 in their first eight games, but then the wheels fell off and they finished the season by going 5-3. Three of their games they lost by three points or less.
Another contributing factor was that the Colts were lost without Peyton Manning until Week 15 when they got their first win. The Rams went 2-14, not getting a win until Week 8. In fact, the Seahawks finished with a better record than 10 other teams.
That does not bode well for drafting one of the most hyped QBs since Peyton Manning.
I was wrong again, but Seahawks fans have something to cheer about. Their team doesn't stink like most people think.
Finally, this death march of inept soothsaying is over. So, I will call my predictions at 1-6-1. I was really close on some and completely off on others, and yet it still makes me look like a buffoon.
Then again there is always next year.