Friday, August 23, 2013

Stark Raven

When LB Josh Bynes (photo, with the Vince Lombardi Trophy) tackled WR Ted Ginn well short of the end zone on a last-ditch, all-or-nothing kickoff return on the final play, Super Bowl 47 was over, and the Baltimore Ravens were on top of the football world. Congratulations, Ravens, on a job well done. And there was no doubt about it, right? I mean, throughout the season whenever you thought you had the Ravens on the ropes, actually it was the Ravens who had you right where they wanted. Let's see, there was that missed FG by the Dallas kicker at the end of the game in Week 6 (one of only two FG attempts he missed all season); there was that ridiculous 30-yard gain by Ray Rice on 4th and 29 in Week 12; then there was that outrageous 70-yard TD by Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds remaining at Denver in the playoffs; and finally there was the Ravens' D, after being scored upon four possessions in a row, getting the job done when they absolutely had to on the 49ers' final drive of the Super Bowl. There's a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL, and in 2012 more often than not when the Ravens needed a play made, they gone one; and whenever their opponents needed one, they didn't get it.

The Ravens' championship makes it twice in the last four seasons that my crystal ball (CB) has correctly picked the Super Bowl winner before the season began. And not only that, this time CB picked the correct Super Bowl loser too.
CB was 2 points off the exact margin of the Ravens' victory over the 49ers (it predicted a 1-point win - they won by 3), but I'm not holding that against it. CB gets a solid 'A' for its Super Bowl pick.

But some of CB's other predictions were just a bit outside. In its forecast of the entire 2012 season (which you can review by clicking the link below) CB missed the mark by 4 games or more on its predicted records of 11 of the 32 teams. The only team CB got exactly right was Pittsburgh at 8-8. Three teams CB picked to win their divisions finished in last place in their divisions. And conversely, four of the eight teams CB forecast would finish in last place made the playoffs. All in all, it was another less than stellar performance by CB.

Here is the report card for 2012. (FYI: 'L4Y' stands for last four years, which in this case will be the grades for the previous four years) 


   predicted                actual

1. NE 13-3            1. NE 12-4
2. BUF 10-6          2. MIA 7-9
3. MIA 4-12          3. NYJ 6-10
4. NYJ 4-12          4. BUF 6-10

Will the Bills ever make the playoffs again? .... GRADE: C-  (L4Y: C in 2011, C- in 2010, B- in 2009, D in 2008)

CB predicted Bills' rookie Stephon Gilmore would intercept 7 passes in 2012. He finished with only 1 (although he did have 16 PBU) - this one, off a deflection against the Rams (left photo) in Week 14. Stephon took the return 62 yards to the house (right photo), but the TD was nullified by a questionable holding penalty during the return.


   predicted                actual
1. BAL 12-4         1. BAL 10-6
2. PIT 8-8             2. CIN 10-6
3. CLEV 6-10       3. PIT 8-8
4. CIN 5-11          4. CLEV 5-11

Not bad on three out of four, but way off on Bengals .... GRADE: C+ (L4Y: B, C-, C, F)
CB predicted a 1,000-yard season for Browns' rookie Trent Richardson, and he would have gotten it had he not missed Week 17 due to injury. He finished with 950 yards rushing, including a season high 122 in Week 8 against Chargers.


   predicted                actual
1. TEN 11-5          1. HOU 12-4
2. HOU 10-6         2. IND 11-5
3. JAC 5-11           3. TEN 6-10
4. IND 4-12           4. JAC 2-14

CB with its usual lousy job of forecasting this division. Andrew Luck much better as a rookie than CB expected .... GRADE: D- (L4Y: D, D-, D-, C-)


   predicted                actual
1. KC 10-6            1. DEN 13-3
2. DEN 9-7            2. SD 7-9
3. SD 8-8               3. OAK 4-12
4. OAK 7-9           4. KC 2-14

CB usually picks this division well, but not this time. Missed Chiefs by eight games .... GRADE: D (L4Y: B, A-, B, B)
CB was wrong about the Chiefs but right about Jamaal Charles. CB predicted Charles would rush for 1,225 yards in a strong comeback season. Jamaal did even better, finishing with an AFC best 1,509 yards rushing.


   predicted                actual
1. PHIL 12-4         1. WASH 10-6
2. NYG 10-6         2. NYG 9-7
3. DAL 10-6          3. DAL 8-8
4. WASH 4-12      4. PHIL 4-12

What on Earth happened to the Eagles? RG3 much better as a rookie than CB expected .... GRADE: D+ (L4Y: B-, D, C, C-)


   predicted                actual
1. GB 12-4            1. GB 11-5
2. CHI 11-5           2. MIN 10-6
3. DET 8-8            3. CHI 10-6
4. MIN 4-12         4. DET 4-12

Adrian Peterson and his 2,097 yards rushing just about single-handedly messed up CB's forecast here .... GRADE: C- (L4Y: B-, C, B, C-)  
CB predicted Bears rookie Alshon Jeffery would get into a fight with Lions rookie Jonte Green in Week 17; but it didn't happen, most likely because Jeffery had broken his hand during the Week 5 game against Jaguars - although the injury didn't keep him from making this 10-yard TD catch against Rashean Mathis on first play of 4th quarter.  


   predicted                actual
1. CAR 9-7           1. ATL 13-3
2. ATL 9-7            2. CAR 7-9
3. NO 8-8             3. NO 7-9
4. TB 4-12            4. TB 7-9

CB correctly forecast demise of Saints, but Panthers' strong finish was too little, too late .... GRADE: C- (L4Y: D, B+, A, D)
Jacquizz Rodgers did not lead Falcons with 9 TD, as CB predicted. He scored only 2 TD, the second of which came on this play in Week 12, a 5-yard run during 2nd quarter of a 24-23 victory over Buccaneers.

   predicted                actual
1. SF 12-4            1. SF 11-4-1
2. SEA 10-6         2. SEA 11-5
3. STL 4-12          3. STL 7-8-1
4. ARIZ 3-13       4. ARIZ 5-11

After years of cluelessness, CB finally gets this division right ..... GRADE: B+ (L4Y: D, D-, D, D-)
A player with dreads did lead the league in interceptions in 2012, but it was not Dashon Goldson. Goldson's 3 INT, the first of which came on this play against Lions in Week 2, were far short of the 8 picks CB picked him to get.


4 of 8 predicted correctly .... GRADE: C (L4Y: C-, D, C-, F)



predicted       actual
1. NE            1. DEN
2. BAL          2. NE
3. TEN          3. HOU
4. KC           4. BAL
5. HOU         5. IND
6. BUF         6. CIN

predicted       actual
1. PHIL        1. ATL
2. GB           2. SF
3. SF            3. GB
4. CAR        4. WASH
5. CHI         5. SEA
6. SEA        6. MIN

6 of 12 teams predicted correctly ..... GRADE: C (L4Y: B, C-, B-, C-) 


Predicted: BAL over SF ... Actual: BAL over SF .... GRADE: A (L4Y: F, F, A-, F)

The correct pick for the Super Bowl brings the total overall grade up to a C .... (L4Y: C-, D+, B-, D)
CB still not ready to take its act to Vegas.


Who were the best players with dreads in the NFL last season? Well, we'll try to answer that coming up in my annual dreaded dozen list.

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