Saturday, August 30, 2014

Boom Mode

Bidding for its 3rd correct prediction of the Super Bowl winner in 6 tries, my crystal ball (CB, for short) advised you last September to put your money on the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl following the 2013 NFL season. And for the longest time last season it looked like CB was going to be right. But as we all know, it didn't happen, thanks to that team from the Northwest. After Super Bowl 48 was over, all the confetti was falling on the Seattle Seahawks, celebrating their no-doubt-about-it 43-8 drubbing of the Broncos.

Marshawn Lynch, as usual, was in Beast Mode for the Seahawks' offense in 2013; and the Seattle defense was definitely in Boom Mode - as in the Legion of Boom, the nickname given to group of players in the team's all-star secondary. Richard Sherman repeated as a 1st team all-Pro. Earl Thomas three-peated as a 1st team all-Pro. Kam Chancellor, a 232-pound safety no receiver wants to get hit by (just ask the Broncos) earned a 2nd team nod on the all-Pro team. And when the 4th member of the legion, Brandon Browner, was suspended (controversially) late in the season, Byron Maxwell took his place and played just as effectively (if not as physically). It was a secondary that allowed the fewest yards passing and had the most interceptions in the league. 

CB actually got it right that the Seahawks would finish the regular season with the best record in the NFC, but it got little else right in yet another year mostly clueless predicting.
Of the 32 teams in the league, CB correctly predicted only 10 of them within one game of their actual final record and only two exactly correct. CB got an 'F' (4 games or more off) for a whopping 11 teams, and got no better than a 'C' for any of the 8 divisions. Here are all the grisly numbers. (FYI: 'L5Y' stands for last 5 years, representing the grades for the previous five years, starting with 2012 and going back to 2008.)



   predicted           actual
1. MIA 11-5       1. NE 12-4
2. NE 10-6         2. NYJ 8-8
3. NYJ 4-12       3. MIA 8-8
4. BUF 2-14       4. BUF 6-10

At least 2 games off on all 4 teams ..... GRADE: D ... (L5Y: C-, C, C-, B-, D)
CB predicted WR Clyde Gates, shown here being tackled by K Matt Bosher after returning a kickoff 36 yards during a Week 5 win over the Falcons, would score 3 TD in 2013 and be one of four N.Y. Jet players with dreads to score touchdowns. Uh, no. RB Chris Ivory was the only player with dreads to take one to the house for the Jets, and Gates is still looking for his 1st NFL TD.


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

CB had a chance for the correct order of finish until Steelers rebounded from 0-4 start to mess that up ..... GRADE: C ... (L5Y: C+, B-, C-, C, F)
CB said Browns LB Jabaal Sheard, here sacking Bears QB Jay Cutler in Week 15, would lead all players with dreads in sacks with 12, edging Steelers LB Jarvis Jones. Well, Sheard did lead all players with dreads in sacks (finishing tied for 1st with Buccaneers DE Adrian Clayborn and Broncos DE Robert Ayers); but he only had 5.5 sacks, and Jones finished with only 1 sack.


   predicted           actual
1. HOU 12-4      1. IND 11-5
2. IND 8-8         2. TEN 7-9
3. TEN 6-10       3. JAC 4-12
4. JAC 5-11       4. HOU 2-14

Yo, CB, what's it gonna take for Andrew Luck to make a believer out of you? ..... GRADE: D+ ... (L5Y: D-, D, D-, D-, C-)
Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, who CB forecast to lead AFC rookies with dreads with 10 TD, makes his 2nd and last TD catch of the season during a road loss to the Chiefs in Week 7. The AFC rookie leader was Ravens WR Marlon Brown with 7 TD.


   predicted           actual
1. DEN 13-3      1. DEN 13-3
2. KC 8-8          2. KC 11-5
3. OAK 5-11     3. SD 9-7
4. SD 3-13        4. OAK 4-12

Nailed Broncos' forecast, but Chargers way better than expected ..... GRADE: C ... (L5Y: D, B, A-, B, B)
Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster makes a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch for a 28-yard TD during a Week 8 home win over the Browns. It was one of 4 TD McCluster scored in 2013, one less than the 5 CB predicted - although CB would be the first to tell you that Dexter would have had 5 if he hadn't dropped that perfect pass at Buffalo in Week 9 when there was no defender within 15 yards of him. CB also said the Chiefs would edge the Browns for the AFC team lead in TD scored by players with dreads. But with the Browns trading Trent Richardson last September, they had no chance to compete. They had only 1 TD by a player with dreads, while the Chiefs - with Jamaal Charles going crazy - had 25.


   predicted           actual
1. NYG 9-7       1. PHIL 10-6
2. WASH 9-7    2. DAL 8-8
3. DAL 9-7        3. NYG 7-9
4. PHIL 5-11     4. WASH 3-13

Last year CB picks Eagles to finish first, and they finish last. This year CB picks Eagles to finish last, and they finish first ..... GRADE: D ... (L5Y: D+, B-, D, C, C-)
Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris takes a punt return 86 yards to the house in a Week 6 home win over Washington. CB tabbed Harris to be the NFC East player with dreads to score the most TD with a total of 4. In fact, he was the only NFC East player with dreads to score any TD, finishing with 3. (But he'll have some competition next season.)


   predicted           actual
1. DET 11-5       1. GB 8-7-1
2. GB 10-6         2. CHI 8-8
3. MIN 8-8        3. DET 7-9
4. CHI 8-8         4. MIN 5-10-1

Lions' 1-6 finish foils CB's upset division winner prediction ..... GRADE: C- ... (L5Y: C-, B-, C, B, C-)
RB Eddie Lacy flies into the end zone (photo above) for a 1-yard TD with 1:31 remaining in the game to give Packers a 37-36 lead over Cowboys, capping their comeback 26-3 halftime deficit in a Week 15 road win. CB predicted Lacy would lead all rookies with dreads with 12 TD. Lacy indeed led all rookies with dreads in touchdowns, finishing with 11. Nice pick, CB.
CB also picked Bears CB Tim Jennings to lead all players with dreads with 7 INT. Jennings, shown returning an INT (photo below) late in 4th quarter that capped a Week 6 home win over the Giants, made his 2nd consecutive Pro Bowl appearance in 2013 but finished with only 4 INT. The leader among all players with dreads - and all players without dreads too - was Seahawks CB Richard Sherman with 8 INT.


   predicted           actual
1. ATL 10-6      1. CAR 12-4
2. CAR 8-8       2. NO 11-5
3. NO 7-9         3. ATL 4-12
4. TB 5-11        4. TB 4-12

Well, at least CB got the Buccaneers right - but just a bit outside on everybody else ..... GRADE: D ... (L5Y: C-, D, B+, A, D)
After bouncing off a hit by 49ers S Donte Whitner at the 3-yard line, Falcons RB Steven Jackson staggers forward and into the end zone before LB NaVorro Bowman (#53) can hit him again, for a 2-yard TD run during a Week 16 road loss. CB predicted Jackson would rush for 1,139 yards and score 10 TD, and that the Falcons would be the NFL team leader in TD scored by players with dreads. But with Jackson and WR Roddy White plagued by injuries for most of the season, Falcons had only 14 of their TD scored by players with dreads, far fewer than the league-leading 25 scored by the Chiefs. Jackson had 7 of the 14 and rushed for a career low 543 yards.


   predicted           actual
1. SEA 14-2      1. SEA 13-3
2. SF 13-3         2. SF 12-4
3. STL 6-10       3. ARIZ 10-6
4. ARIZ 3-13     4. STL 7-9

CB actually had the right idea here, but that disastrous Cardinals' prediction brings the grade down ..... GRADE: C ... (L5Y: B+, D, D-, D, D-)
RB Marshawn Lynch scores an 11-yard TD run, giving Seahawks a 7-6 lead over 49ers in a Week 14 loss that ended Seattle's 7-game winning streak. CB said Lynch would once again be the NFL leader in TD scored by players with dreads with a total of 14. Well, CB almost nailed the pick, as Lynch scored exactly 14 TD - but he wasn't the league leader, as Jamaal Charles finished with 19 TD.


3 of 8 predicted correctly ..... GRADE: C- ... (L5Y: C, C-, D, C-, F)



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


predicted      actual
1. SEA       1. SEA
2. DET       2. CAR
3. ATL       3. PHIL
4. NYG      4. GB
5. SF          5. SF
6. GB         6. NO

6 of 12 teams picked correctly ..... GRADE: C ... (L5Y: C, B, C-, B-, C-)


Predicted: DEN over NYG .... Actual: SEA over DEN ..... CB avoids an 'F' here by picking Broncos to make it to the Super Bowl ..... GRADE: D ... (L5Y: A, F, F, A-, F)

Averaging all 11 individual categories results in a final grade of D+ ... (L5Y: C, C-, D+, B-, D)
I hate to do it, but it looks I will have to resort to excessive force to get CB to perform better.

I'm really up against the clock, but I'm going to try to sneak in one more dread gallery before beginning coverage of the 2014 football season.

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