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NFL: Preseason Prognostications Were Pretty Accurate

John PhythyonContributor IJanuary 7, 2010

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 29:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Just like every sportswriter in the nation, I made some predictions back in September about who was going to the playoffs. Unlike the rest of those guys, I’ll own up to my calls. Here they are:

AFC Playoff Teams:
New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers
San Diego Chargers
Miami Dolphins
Tennessee Titans

Dark Horses:
Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals 

NFC Playoff Teams:
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints
Chicago Bears
Seattle Seahawks
Philadelphia Eagles
Carolina Panthers 

Dark Horses:
Arizona Cardinals
Green Bay Packers

Amazingly, I got four out of six right in each conference. That’s not bad, but I was hoping for better. Here’s a brief rundown of the highlights.

I correctly noted you have to give the Patriots and Colts automatic bids until they prove otherwise. I don’t see any proof.

Of the Chargers, I wrote: “I’m not sure how good the Chargers are. I am sure they play in the same division as the Chiefs, Broncos, and Raiders. Put San Diego on the board.” As accurate as that turned out to be, I think I may have sold San Diego short. They are playing really good football right now.

On the Bengals: “If the reconstituted offensive line keeps (Carson) Palmer clean and can open some holes for Cedric Benson, the Bengals are going to be the surprise of the league in 2009.” Okay, I wasn’t surprised, but a lot of people were.

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My thoughts on the Saints? “What do you get when you cross one of the most prolific passers in the NFL with a quality defense? A division championship.”

And there was this on Philadelphia: “There’s just something about the Eagles. They scratch and claw and find a way to win enough games to be in the thick of things in the final week.”

Of course, I made some boneheaded calls too. Like betting the Steelers wouldn’t suffer a Super Bowl hangover, or this gem on the Panthers: “there’s just so much to like, starting with Jake Delhomme. . . .”

Speaking of quarterback disappointments, how about this line from my analysis of the Bears: “Jay Cutler’s a guy who can make a difference in a tight game. Expect him to.” Oh, he made a difference alright. It just wasn’t a positive one.

Smartest Thing I Wrote:

“Okay, this is pretty simple. If you fire one of your coaches before the season starts, you have a huge managerial problem.”

Records of teams that fired a coordinator before the start of the season: Bills 6-10; Chiefs 4-12; Buccaneers 3-13.

Dumbest Thing I Wrote:

“Brad Childress has an awesome defense and the best running back in the league. All he needed was a franchise quarterback. So it’s too bad he signed Brett Favre. Favre passed the playoffs away last year and the Super Bowl the year before. Opposing cornerbacks should be licking their chops.”

Favre’s Touchdown to Interception Ratio in 2009: 33-7
Vikings’ Record:12-4 

Super Bowl Prediction:

So now that the tournament is about to start, who do I think is going to win it all? I’ll take the Bengals over the Saints in the Who Dey vs. Who Dat Bowl. It probably won’t happen, but that’s what I’m rooting for. If it does come true, I’ll come back and gloat in February.

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