At the beginning of the 2008 NFL season, there were high hopes for the New York Jets. The team had acquired several big name players such as Alan Fanaca, Kris Jenkins, Brett Favre, and Calvin Pace. The Jets lost their last game of the season winding up with a 9-7 record. It was a disappointing end to the season for Jets fans and Favre fans alike. But what did we expect?
Looking back to August, 2008, I poured through the on-line preseason predictions, particularly, here, in the Bleacher Report. I reviewed 48 articles making prognostications for the 2008 Jets looking at what everyone thought back then. For the most part, the predictions were right on.
Out of 33 writers predicting wins and losses, the average was 8.9 wins. Zeroing in on 17 Bleacher Report writers, the average prediction was 9.05 wins for the Jets for 2008. Interestingly, on-line sports books had the Jets over/under at winning 7.5 games.
No one predicted the Jets winning the AFC East Division. New England was the unanimous pick for taking the No. 1 spot while The majority of prognosticators thought the Jets would finish second place in the division, a few third, no one predicted last place. Eight writers out of 54 said the Jets would snag a wild card play off spot.
Sean Crowe, in a Bleacher Report article was dead on, “Jets will go 9-7, barely missing the playoffs.” Mike Noffke was the most optimistic with a predicted 12.5 wins for the Jets. Jason Ward thought the Jets could finish eighth overall in the NFL (about 11-5) while Mike Sausa went out on a limb with an 11-5 prediction.
Meanwhile, Curly said “With Favre, the Jets do just well enough to take us out of the top of the draft list.” Benjamin Ward was similarly pessimistic saying the Jets would finish 24th in the NFL (Green Bay is 24th with a 6-10 record). Many writers predicted a 7-9 season. One of my favorite lines from all the predictions was Raider Card, “If Favre can make this squad go 9-7, he probably could walk across the East River, too (not including pollution or ice).”
In spite of all our hopes, the Jets did just what was predicted before the season started.
The Jets started out inconsistent, and then had flashes of greatness, only to be followed by down right poor. They started out 1-2 and then pulled to 3-3, six weeks into the season. That is when all the fans were stirred into a fever pitch when the Jets reeled off five straight wins, climaxed by a road win in Tennessee against the previously 10-0 Titans.
The Jets had a record of 8-3 with sole possession of first place in the AFC East. However, the Jets only won one more game; losing four out of five to close out the season 9-7, just as everyone predicted.
What nobody predicted, is the Miami Dolphins winning the AFC East with an 11-5 record, eliminating the New England Patriots on tie breakers. The Dolphins went from 1-15 the year before, to the playoffs with 29 new players on their roster, including Chad Pennington, cut by the Jets. The Dolphins were a consensus pick to be fourth in the division again, with analyst predicting up to five wins in 2008.
The Dolphins started out 0-2, and clinched the division in the fourth quarter of the last game of the season. Congratulations to the Dolphins and all the other teams that kept us on the edge of our seats for seventeen weeks of the NFL season.