A Look Back at My NFL Predictions

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A Look Back at My NFL Predictions

See! What did I tell ‘ya, 4-0 on the weekend and my prediction record is now upped to 10-7. Good for a little bit of respect and ready for me to make a major breakthrough next weekend. But before we get to that, let’s revisit last Sunday so that way you can see how smart I am.

 

Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

What I predicted …
Steelers 27-20

What I said would happen …
The Steelers defense is ranked third overall and with all-everything safety Troy Polamalu back in the fold, Pittsburgh will go into a home game with the Vikings very confident. Pittsburgh’s defense may not be able to shut down Minnesota but they can definitely contain them. Pittsburgh needs this game for validation and they will be ready to capitalize.

 

What actually happened …

The Steelers won 27-17. Pittsburgh’s defense held the Vikings’ offense to 10 points and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley returned a Brett Favre fumble 77 yards before another Pittsburgh linebacker, Keyaron Fox, returned a Favre interception 82 yards to seal the deal with Minnesota driving trailing 20-17. Favre and running back Adrian Peterson did have some success against the Steelers, combining for over 400 yards but with only 10 points to show for it, Pittsburgh got the best of them.

 

My reactions …

Even with Polamalu running around at lest than 100%, his return alone infuses the Steeler defense with a lot of confidence. Polamalu showed how destructive he could be when he made the Pro Bowl in less than a half in the opener against Tennessee. The Steelers will go into a bye week with a chance to get fresher and get standouts youngsters Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace more involved in the offense. Pittsburgh has rebounded nicely from a 1-2 start and appears to be getting stronger. Stay tuned

Even though their offense could only put up 10 points on the road, the Vikings had a chance to win the game before an inadvertent interception bounced off backup running back Chester Taylor’s hands and into Fox’s hands. Minnesota is definitely a Super Bowl finalist, they just need to remain healthy. With third-year receiver Sidney Rice evolving into a top-tier target, the Viking offense gets more lethal by the week. And they’ll need it, next Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers will be HUGE!

 

San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans

What I predicted …

Texans 28-17

 

What I said would happen …

“Niners incumbent QB Shaun Hill struggles to even reach 200 yards so if San Francisco wants to beat Houston, their defense will have to step up and corral the Texans high octane unit. After allowing 45 points in their own backyard, I just can’t see how they’ll do that against the Texans, even with two weeks to prepare.”

 

What actually happened …

The Texans won 24-21. Houston held on for dear life after exploding to a 21-0 lead. Shaun Hill struggled to reach 200 yards because he was pulled at halftime after carving up the Texans for a whopping 45 yards. Backup QB Alex Smith started the second half for the Niners and threw three touchdown passes to tight end Vernon Davis. The Texans went over .500 for the first time all season with the win but star receiver Andre Johnson sat out the last drive with a bruised chest.

 

My reactions …

Even though the Niners lost, they should feel good about themselves on the plane trip home. After battling back from 21-0 deficit, the forgotten Smith gave the team a spark and the Niners may have stumbled upon a quarterback controversy. The lack of playmakers at the quarterback and receiver positions are going to cause the team to be mediocre until they can find suitable upgrades.

The Texans probably played their best half of the season in cruising to a 21-0 lead in the first but they also turned in their worse, getting outscored 21-3 in the second. Such is life for the Houston Texans. They’re not sure if they’re a playoff caliber team or a squad just happy to get by on 8-8 finishes. If they ever can just settle down and focus on being consistent, they could have something special on their hands.

 

 Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals

What I predicted …
Bengals 24-20

 

What I said would happen …

“Cincinnati knows that it can’t afford to drop another home game with the Steelers gaining steam and Ravens set to bounce back after their bye week. The Bengals got away from their running game last week when Houston jumped out to a lead, the Bears don’t have the type of offense to push them out to a big lead so the Bengals should be able to stick to the gameplan this week”

What actually happened …
Cincinnati won 45-10 and dominated the Bears from start to finish. Bengals QB Carson Palmer had the best game of his career, throwing for five touchdowns and the Bengals got back to the running game. Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson abused his former team, rushing for 189 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals jumped to a 31-0 lead before Chicago added a field goal to end the first half trialing 31-3.

My reactions …
The Bengals couldn’t have asked for a better first half to the season. They’ll go into their bye week with a 5-2 record and renewed confidence when they host a Baltimore Raven team coming off their bye that they’ve already beaten. The offense appears to be rounding into form and is finally matching the play of a surprisingly good defense. Cincinnati has a legit chance to win the division if they can maintain their play of the first half. Stay tuned.

The Bears fell to 3-3 with the obliteration and will look to rebound against lowly Cleveland next week. Chicago QB Jay Cutler hasn’t gotten much help from his running game this season and is being forced to rely on some inconsistent playmakers at the wideout position. The defense didn’t show up against Cincinnati and with Minnesota and Green Bay surging, a lot of things are going to have to turn around for Chicago to mke some noise this season.

 

 
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys

What I predicted …
Cowboys 27-21

What I said would happen …
“Austin’s emergence could have a huge impact on the Dallas offense, which was struggling with the loss of Terrell Owens and two hobbled stars in Barber and Jones. Everyone should be healthy for the Cowboys or at least closer to 100% and expect Romo to take advantage of a questionable Falcon secondary. Dallas has the defensive talent to run with Atlanta’s offense and should be able to slow down the Falcons’ attack.”

 

What actually happened …
The Cowboys won 37-21. Romo and Austin shredded the Falcons secondary, resulting in Austin catching 6 balls for 171 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys didn’t run the ball particularly well but the defense corralled Atlanta’s high octane offense and limited them to 21 points with the Falcons scoring a late touchdown with the game out of reach.

 

My reactions …
Austin’s turnaround could have big payoffs for the Cowboys offense going forward. If Dallas could ever get something close to average out of disappointing receiver Roy Williams, the offense could be back on their high level of play from the ‘07 season. Burning the Chiefs and Falcons’ secondaries isn’t really a big accomplishment but the impact of Austin’s numbers deserves respect.

Austin has averaged 210 yards in his last two games which is extremely impressive. If he can continue to produce, Dallas could just run away with the division. Stay tuned.

Atlanta is where they should be right now at 4-2. Losing road games to New England and the Cowboys isn’t anything to hang their heads about. But for a team who just got shredded by Romo, a Monday night game next week against Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense could be scary.

If Atlanta wants to avoid dropping a second consecutive game, they’re going to have to scheme around a limited secondary. Falcons QB Matt Ryan and his offensive teammates will need to be at their best if they want to match New Orleans point for point. After getting abused by Romo and the little known Austin, they’ll face their biggest challenge of the year. 

 

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