Now that the regular football season is over, it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball of, er, the past and see how my many predictions panned out.

Named after the Michael Jackson song, of courseRavens Draft Day Roundup (May 1 ’07): I predicted good things of Yamon Figurs (lots of punt returns for TDs) and Troy Smith (Heisman winning QB; potential replacement for McNair). Figurs posted 1138 yards on kickoff returns with an average of 24.7 yards per carry. This put him in the top 10 for the year.

Troy Smith didn’t start a lot of games, but he finally showed us something against the Steelers. 16 for 27, 171 yards passing, no interceptions and only 1 fumble. Not that impressive, until you remember that he’s wearing a Ravens uniform, and suddenly he becomes the best quarterback in franchise history. Maybe. We’ll see.

I call this one close enough, only by virtue of the vagueness of my original promises.

The Game in Game Theory: (Aug 28 ’07): I predicted that Michael Strahan would stay retired and that Brady Quinn would have cause to regret holding out. I was, of course, as wrong as wrong can be about Stray: he helped carry his team to the postseason with 57 tackles, including 4 solo hits against the Patriots in Week 17 and a herculean 8 solo hits at Tampa Bay.

This is MUCH better than football!Brady Quinn, on the other hand, started his only game of the season in the ultimately meaningless 20-7 shellacking of the 49ers. And then, only to sub in for Derek Anderson. And then, only to go 3 for 8 and all of 45 yards. Holy hell. Notre Dame’s current quarterback put up better numbers this season.

I call this one a wash, tending toward “ehh …”. I was wrong on Strahan, but I submit history will bear me out on Quinn. Keep watching Cleveland, I, er, guess.

Fantasy Football Woes (Sep 25 ’07): I predicted that my fantasy football team would do terribly. The Baltimore Colts finished 3-10, 14th out of 14. Of course, I stopped updating my roster after about week 9. That may have something to do with it. But I prefer to blame the Champagne of Running Backs and his unapologetic just-above-averageness. I call this one worse than I expected.

Old Man Easterbrook: I predicted that Gregg Easterbrook would keep saying the most bafflingly dumb things. Viz:

In other football news, 9-7 City of Tampa hosts a playoff game, but 11-5 Jacksonville opens on the road, 10-6 Cleveland is eliminated and the 10-6 Giants travel to the 9-7 Bucs. Has there ever been a better case for making the NFL postseason a seeded tournament? No one cares about the AFC versus NFC Super Bowl setup any more: My guess is you don’t even know how that series stands. (Basically, tied; yawn.) The postseason brackets should reward the teams that perform best, and the best Super Bowl pairing — Indianapolis versus New England — should at least be possible when the countdown begins. The NFL could retain conference and division structure for the purpose of organizing regular-season play, then make the playoffs a 12-team seeded tourney. Performance would be rewarded, and pairings would be better. What’s not to like?

Read the New Republic!  Braaaagh!“Oh man! The Steelers totally robbed the Ravens in November!”

“You said it, Chip! But with the wild card slot, we’ll meet them again in the postseason, right?”

“You couldn’t be more wrong, Frank! Thanks to the Easterbrook Rule of 2008, we have to face the correspondingly highest seed in our bracket! Looks like we’re going to Dallas!”

“Dallas? I can’t afford a plane ticket to Dallas!”

“Then that’s a hearty Go Screw Yourself from Gregg Easterbrook to you, Frank!”

“Ah ha ha! Good one, Easterbrook!”

I call this one dead on.

Never Tell Me The Odds (Oct 23 ’07): I called the Colts, Ravens, Giants and Steelers games to be the biggest challenges between the Pats and 16-0. As it turns out, the closest scoring games between Week 8 and Week 17 were the Colts, Eagles (?!?!), Ravens and Giants. I call this one close enough.

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  • Joe

    I kind of like Easterbrook’s idea. Indianapolis v. New England would make a much better Super Bowl than Indianapolis/New England v. NFC Sacrificial Lamb.

  • We’ll see that game two weeks before the Super Bowl, though, in the AFC championship. When the two best teams in the league are in the same conference, it’s not as if they never meet in the postseason. (Statistical anomalies and unpredictable upsets notwithstanding, o’course)

    And so long as you have separate conferences, someone’s going to be curious for “hey, what happened if the best guy from X and the best guy from Y met up?”

  • Phhhhbt. Eli v Peyton. Manning Bowl. Mark your calendars. Eff the two best teams.

    (Final score: NYG 24, IND 23.)

    MJD is going to make the Pats’ defense look stupid this weekend, and the offense just won’t click after Randy Moss dies in a zeppelin accident. And is then stabbed, drawn & quartered, shot, and thrown into another zeppelin accident. Also Tom Brady dies the same way.

  • Joe

    Why see the game two weeks BEFORE the Super Bowl, when it can BE the Super Bowl? You have to admit the NFL’s signature event is often a gross mismatch.

  • I will admit that the AFC/NFC championship can be kind of boring. If you proposed a system where the AFC/NFC game were some post-season grudge match on par with the Pro Bowl, and there were an All-Time Best Champion earlier, I might be down with it. I just don’t like Easterbrook’s system.

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