Ryan Bradley’s a big enough man, a good enough man, to admit what he got right this year, and what he got wrong. He looks back in Week 17 of his NFL Diary.
When I first started writing this column it was only natural to make predictions and as I did so I thought, “I’m really jinxing myself here.” The previous two seasons my predictions and analysis, which were kept between me and friends, was spot on. I predicted one half of the Super Bowl match ups both those seasons and many other observations paid off along the way.
I believed in my analysis coming into the 2013 season, too. In a lot of ways I still do, even in cases where I appear to be wrong. For instance I predicted the Seahawks would end 9-7, and that the Panthers would end 7-9. At the moment I look dead wrong. Both teams won their divisions going 13-3 and 12-4, respectively. However, I think both these teams showed some very concerning weaknesses along the way and I won’t buy into either until I see playoff proof. I also expressed concern about Peyton Manning’s ability to stay healthy and we all know how that’s turned out.
But I wasn’t always wrong. I nailed two team’s records (the Bengals at 11-5 and the Jaguars at 4-12), not to mention my prediction that rookie Kiko Alonso would have a big impact for the Bills. He ended up finishing 3rd in the league in tackles (he also had two sacks and four interceptions). I firmly believe he deserves to be the defensive rookie of the year.
I said Chip Kelly and Andy Reid would have big impacts on their new teams and they did. Bigger ones than even I expected. Of course, Kelly was helped by the fact that he stopped trying to make Michael Vick a starter, which he’s just not anymore. I knew the Texans and Falcons would have let downs this season, but never would’ve guessed how big those let downs would be.
So, it was a season of ups and downs and a lot of surprises. I was way off in some places and pretty damn right in others. And why not focus on the successes? Maybe the best way to measure that is how many teams finished within one game of my predicted records: 8. That’s 8 out of 32. Expand it to within two games? 19 out of 32. Let’s just say it was a mediocre year for me.
But you know what they say about the playoffs, it’s a blank slate. And my Super Bowl teams, San Francisco and New England, are in the playoffs, so I can look a little better if they help me out. Here, then, are my predictions for this weekend’s wild card games:
Kansas City beats Indianapolis: 24-17
Philadelphia beats New Orleans: 35-14
Cincinnati beats San Diego: 21-7
San Francisco beats Green Bay: 35-31
Photo: Associated Press