WASHINGTON — Remember back in September when I
previewed the 2018 NFL season and made team-by-team predictions? Yeah, well it’s time for me to cop to what I got wrong, and strut a little over what I got right. It’s worth noting (read: bragging) that my Super Bowl pick remains a very real possibility.
This year, I’m doing something a tad differently. I’ll still highlight my best and worst calls from each division, but as a fun nod to
a famous TV sitcom line, I’m adding a “See, What Had Happened Was…” entry to try to explain away my predictions that turned out to be loud wrong.
Without further ado, enjoy the slideshow.
Best call: Picking the Redskins to finish below .500 despite all the preseason Alex Smith hype.
Worst call: “(The Cowboys defense) won’t be enough to keep Big D out of the middle of the pack.”
See, what had happened was … nobody really thought the Eagles would get their MVP-caliber starting QB back and actually regress, or that Amari Cooper would end up being an in-season life preserver for Dallas.
(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Best call: The only good call in this division was picking Detroit to go 6-10 and finish last.
Worst call: Underrating Chicago and overrating Green Bay by six games.
See, what had happened was … Khalil Mack transformed the Bears defense from good to dominant, and Aaron Rodgers has thrown the ball away at a historic rate — to the point where his Super Bowl-winning coach was fired in-season. No one could have seen that coming!
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Best call: “New Orleans is one of the most complete teams in the league, and it would be a surprise if they’re not the division champion — and perhaps, conference champ.”
Worst call: “While the Saints seem primed to go marching into Atlanta on Super Bowl Sunday, don’t count the Falcons out if New Orleans falters.”
See, what had happened was … Atlanta suffered a pretty bad rash of injuries to their already suspect defense, and the offense wasn’t nearly good enough to offset that. And the Bucs have an entertaining passing offense, which is the only reason they didn’t fully bottom out as I expected.
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Sean Gardner)
Best call: “Even with legend Larry Fitzgerald and all-purpose RB David Johnson back, a last place finish (for Arizona) might just be in the cards for a rookie coach and rookie QB simultaneously learning on the job.”
Worst call: Finding seven wins for the Cardinals. Oy.
See, what had happened was … Russell Wilson couldn’t drag Seattle into the playoffs last year, so expecting him to fail to do so in 2018 without the surrounding name recognition as in years past wasn’t a bad call. San Francisco would have easily won more games if Jimmy Garoppolo stayed healthy, and Steve Wilks presiding over such a bad defense was a fairly big surprise.
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Best call: “…methinks the famous line from The Waterboy will be uttered pretty regularly in Buffalo.”
Worst call: Picking Miami to finish last rather than the Jets.
See, what had happened was … I figured age and mediocre quarterbacking would catch up with Miami and derail their season. Who knew only one of those things would come to pass?
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Jim Rogash)
Best call: Picking Cincinnati to go 6-10.
Worst call: “The Steelers will win their third straight division title almost by default, but if the edge rush improves (I’m looking at you, T.J. Watt), the road to the Super Bowl might come through The Confluence.”
See, what had happened was … Pittsburgh was off-track early because of the Le’Veon Bell saga, and late-game failures derailed their season at the end. Cleveland would probably be awful if Hue Jackson were still at the helm, and Baltimore’s unforeseeable reemergence probably doesn’t happen if Joe Flacco doesn’t get hurt and give way to Lamar Jackson.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
Best call: “Houston (is) in contention for a Wild Card spot, if not the division title.”
Worst call: “… Jacksonville has enough to repeat as division champs.”
See, what had happened was … Whatever magic Jacksonville had in 2017 must have been transferred to Indianapolis because Blake Bortles’ playoff performance turned out to be a mirage, and the Jags defense was apparently high on its own press clippings because that much talent shouldn’t be so ineffective. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck returned to form, he has more help around him than ever, and no one saw that Colts defense coming!
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Scott Halleran)
Best call: “Case Keenum steps in to fix last year’s mess at QB, but he could revert back to the mediocrity he showed before his unlikely renaissance in Minnesota.”
Worst call: “The big-play ability of (Patrick) Mahomes and the offense will ensure the Chiefs are competitive, but I don’t expect them to return to the postseason.”
See, what had happened was … Patrick Mahomes wasn’t supposed be the most electric and prolific passer in the league so soon!
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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