A Look Back at My “Ten Bold Predictions for the 2015 NFL Season”

Written by :
Published on : March 3, 2016

 

 

 

Back in mid-August, I wrote a piece giving ten bold predictions I expected we would all see happen during this past NFL season. In this article, (which can be found here) I mentioned all of the obvious predictions like, “Who will win the Super Bowl?”, “Who will win MVP?”, as well as some other more “out there” ideas. So with the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 about a month ago, (spoiler alert: I didn’t get that one right) and thus concluding the 2015 NFL season, I figured now would be a good time to check back into that crystal ball and see how my picks turned out.

 

1. Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title

Result: CORRECT

 

I got off to a good start here as AP led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards, edging out Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin. While drafting him didn’t help me win my fantasy football team this year, I had a feeling Peterson would come back strong this year after being suspended for much of last season and he helped the Vikings earn their first playoff spot since 2009.

 

2. The New England Patriots will finish 2nd in the AFC East

Result: WRONG

 

Well this took a quick turn. I think what makes this worse is I predicted Miami to win the division. Gross. Let me explain my rationale here though. At the time this article was published, Tom Brady was still set to be suspended for the first 4 games and I figured with Jimmy Garoppolo under center for those games, a 2-2 start was the best case scenario for the Patriots. If that were the case, New England finishes 10-6 instead of 12-4 and who knows what happens seeing as how the Jets also finished 10-6.

 

3. Ray Rice will be back in the NFL

Result: WRONG

 

I took a loss on this prediction as well and I still am a little bit surprised about it, especially once Greg Hardy put an NFL uniform back on. Now I fully understand the severity of what Ray Rice did and I don’t by any means condone it, but after being suspended for all of last season, I figured someone would be willing to take the chance and may have needed a veteran back. The Cowboys made the most sense to me when I made the prediction, fittingly, they wound up being the ones to sign Hardy.

 

4. Jameis Winston and Amari Cooper win NFC/AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year

Result: WRONG-ish 

 

So the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to Todd Gurley, and rightfully so as he finished third in the league in rushing yards. However, I feel like I should get half-credit or something because Jameis Winston won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year at the same NFL Honors Award Show. Amari Cooper had a solid rookie year with Oakland as well.

 

5. Leonard Williams and Landon Collins win AFC/NFC Denfensive Rookie of the Year

Result: WRONG

 

Kansas City corner Marcus Peters won this award by a landslide after leading the NFL with 8 interceptions and helping to make the Chief’s defense one of the best in the league. Leonard Williams was third in the voting, and according to Mel Kiper Jr should have won, so I guess I had someone in my corner.

 

6. The Carolina Panthers will have the biggest increase in wins from 2014

Result: CORRECT

 

By finishing 15-1, Carolina easily had the league’s best record as they narrowly missed perfection during the regular season. Following a dreadful, 7-8-1 record last year, (granted they still made the playoffs in an embarrassing NFC South) I figured at least 11 wins was very realistic for the Panthers. Instead, Cam decided to put up video game numbers and they won 15. Either way, a win for me.

 

7. The Dallas Cowboys will have the biggest drop off in wins from 2014

Result: CORRECT

 

I knew the loss of DeMarco Murray would hurt this team…well I guess the loss of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for much of the season didn’t help either, but regardless, I knew this team wasn’t duplicating its 12-4 season from 2014. While I didn’t predict 4-12, the Cowboys still had the biggest drop off in the wins column.

 

8. Peyton Manning will retire following the 2015 season

Result: To be determined…

 

Despite Peyton’s best efforts, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last month after he had an absolutely miserable regular season. Easily his worst professional season, and one that even caused him to miss a stretch of games late due to injuries. Peyton came back just in time for the playoffs and looked rather pedestrian in the process. However, because of an absolutely dominating defense, Denver made it so Peyton could ride off into the sunset a now two-time Super Bowl champion. The question still remains as to whether he will take that ride or jump back into the saddle with another NFL team.

 

9. Aaron Rodgers will win MVP, again

Result: WRONG

 

After a 6-0 start to the season, the Packers fell flat after their bye week and never really turned it around. Aaron Rodgers never looked like himself. While his stats were nowhere near, say Peyton’s, they weren’t what we have come to expect from him. Again, a 31 touchdown, 8 interception season isn’t anything to sneeze at, but he had his lowest QB Rating since becoming a starter in Green Bay. Cam Newton wound up dabbin’ his way to the NFL MVP Award in what was a fantastic year for him.

 

10. The Green Bay Packers will defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 50

Result: WRONG

 

Ugh, this one is right up there with picking New England to lose the AFC East. First, allow me to defend myself a bit with my reasoning here. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL just days after this article was written, which certainly hurt Green Bay going forward. For Indianapolis, Andrew Luck missed most of the season as well, but frankly they were better off without him (record-wise) as Hasselbeck wound up winning 5 games for the Colts, while Luck finished 2-5 on the year.

 

Overall Record: 3 CORRECT, 5 WRONG, 1 WRONG-ish, (1 TBD)

 

So there you have it. Not the best showing, but with only 90% of precincts reporting (a little election pun for you), I still have a shot to steal one more if Peyton would just make up his damn mind. So help me out, Peyton. Grab a few of those Budweisers you were talking about after the big game, open another Papa John’s Pizzeria, and just enjoy what retirement has to offer: Growing thick beards, Wrangler commercials, and copper sleeves for aching joints. Hey, it’s working for Brett Favre.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Weeks 11 and 12

Written by :
Published on : December 4, 2015

 

All right gang, this week you get a two’fer seeing as how I take off the entire week of Thanksgiving every year come hell or high water. After the belt is loosened, the naps slept, and the leftovers properly sandwiched, I’ve got fat reserves a-go-go to bring you the greatest plays from the NFL’s weeks 11 and 12, respectively.

 

 

Week 11: Matt Hasselbeck Flips to Ahmad Bradshaw for 7 Yard TD

Bradshaw for the TD!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

If you’re gonna pull a comeback it needs to start somewhere. This time, the Colts three point victory over the Falcons got off the ground thanks to an old familiar face. Ahmad Bradshaw turns to Hasselbeck, as the replacement QB is about to get run-over under pressure, and catches the quick shovel pass. It ain’t too difficult for Bradshaw to take it seven yards to the house with two big blockers and a lot of green in front of him.

 

It certainly doesn’t look like a planned screen to me, and regardless whether or not it was, it took some quick reflexes and smarts on the part of both Hasselbeck and Bradshaw to pull it off. If Bradshaw can remain a viable back, it certainly takes some pressure off fellow old-timer Frank Gore, and would give the Colts a more successful running game down the stretch.

 

 

Week 12: Chris Ivory Refuses to Be Tackled

He won’t be stopped!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Chris Ivory has always been a beastly downhill runner, and he really lives up to his rep with this diehard effort. The play doesn’t look great to start as Dolphins linebacker Neville Hewitt bolts through a hole in the line, but Ivory manages to elude Hewitt, making him whiff on the tackle. Ivory gains a few, and by all rights should be stopped as the Jets back runs afoul of three linemen attacking from three different directions. Inexplicably Ivory twists out of this and gets free. Throw in one more missed tackle by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and you’ve got a Review ‘N Brew worthy highlight on your hands.

 

Of course Ivory deserves all the credit and respect on the play, but there’s something troubling in the listlessness shown by a defense that some thought would be an elite squad at the beginning of the season…

 

 

Weeks 11 and 12: A Ceramic Mug of Congealed Turkey Gravy Melted in the Microwave

 photo mugofgravy01_zps1uoljd1v.jpg

 

Another sweet sweet Lions win in the books, and a blowout on Thanksgiving to boot! Every bite of turkey tasted like an eagle, and every mouthful of fluffy mashed potatoes like Chip Kelly’s fragile dreams. That night I gave thanks to Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, and especially Ziggy Ansah. There was even room in my heart for Joique Bell and Stephen Tulloch. Commensurate to the room in my belly for pumpkin pie (whipped cream, please.)

 

On Thanksgiving, that most pigskin friendly of holidays, I ate and drank my fill. Fine wines and side dishes, brewskies and desserts: all traveled merrily down my gullet as I celebrated with friends and family. I didn’t want it to end. I never want Thanksgiving to end.

 

One of Calvin’s three touchdowns on Thanksgiving

 

That night I couldn’t sleep, as I was unsurprisingly afflicted with indigestion. I crept downstairs and watched highlights from the day’s games. Poor Tony Romo. Bears win at Lambeau! I opened the fridge, but I wasn’t hungry. I was now possessed by either the spirit of the holiday, or by the ghost of a vengeful Native American exiled from his homeland after lending a helping hand to the pale-faced new arrivals.

 

I pulled a tupperware of gravy from the fridge and a spoon from the drawer. The cold gravy, once so warm and velvety, had now become the texture of jelly as the turkey grease congealed around the flour and mushroom chunks. This wouldn’t do. Not one bit. I looked for an appropriate receptacle and came upon a ceramic coffee mug. Inspired, I started spooning gobbet after gobbet of the meat slurry into the cup. 30 microwavable seconds later the gravy had returned to its former glory, with the mushrooms proudly floating atop my beautiful brown elixir. The aroma of rendered fowl fat was intoxicating.

 

I drank and I drank. I sucked up that damned gravy in one go. Sated, I hit replay on the day’s Lions highlights, smiling with joy between grimaces brought on by chest pains. Tomorrow would be a rough one, but right now everything was just as it should be.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 12

Written by :
Published on : December 3, 2015

 

As we flip the calendar to December, we enter championship season in college football as the conference championships take place this weekend, and we’ll get to see who makes it to the second ever College Football Playoff. The NFL enters it’s final five weeks and the Philadelphia 76ers have even decided to win a game. Can I just say, this NBA season is setting up to be the all-time worst. Aside from watching the Warriors and their quest to win 70+ or hell, even go undefeated at this point, the league is pure filth right now. But ’tis the season of giving and being nice so instead, let’s take the time to recognize this week’s great performances while also seeing who had NBA-esque moments. This week the champs and chumps all come from football and futbol, as their seasons begin to wind down. We’ve got old and young, teams that have surprised us and teams that just flat out don’t get it. To the Champ and Chump!

 

Champ: Matt Hasselbeck

26-42 for 315 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 turnovers

The Ageless Wonder, Matt Hasselbeck.

 

Statistically speaking, Hasselbeck wasn’t the top quarterback this week, but it’s what he’s done over the course of the last four weeks that gives him the nod here. Hasselbeck is now 4-0 as a starter this year while filling in for injured Andrew Luck, and has put the Colts in a tie for first place in the AFC South. At 6-5, the Colts remaining five games aren’t the toughest, and Luck is only expected to remain sidelined until around mid-December. However, Indy can wait patiently with this 40-year old arm slinging it like he’s 25 again. Hasselbeck became only the third 40-year old quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win four straight, joining Brett Favre and Warren Moon.

 

Honorable Mention:

Jamie Vardy-  From Leicester City of the Barclay’s Premier League, he scored a goal in a 1-1 draw vs Manchester United. It marked the 11th consecutive game Vardy has found the back of the net, breaking Ruud Van Nistelroy’s record.

Ezekiel Elliott- A week after throwing his coaches under the bus, Elliott ran all over the Michigan defense for 214 yards on 30 carries and 2 touchdowns in a 42-13 victory for the Buckeyes over their rival Wolverines.

Iowa football- Debate all you want about their strength of schedule, it’s about time Iowa gets their due. Following a win in Nebraska on Saturday, Iowa is one of two undefeated teams as they head into the Big Ten Conference Championship this weekend where they’ll play Michigan State.

 

 

Chump: The Cleveland Browns

This organization has continually brought shame to its players, fans and the city itself.

 

“The Mistake by the Lake” is how a lot of Michiganders like to refer to Cleveland, and with the Cleveland Browns organization the mistakes seem to happen in bunches. Being a Lions fan, it’s hard to say too much about other NFL teams and their struggles, but it is the Browns. On Monday night, Cleveland lost in a way that only a few unfortunate teams have, when they had their potential game-winning field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown. Yet that isn’t even why the Browns find themselves as this week’s Chump. Instead, it’s because of how they have handled Johnny Manziel. Sitting on the bench as a 3rd stringer, Manziel watched Austin Davis take over late when starter Josh McCown went down with a broken collarbone. While Davis did relatively well and gave Cleveland a shot to win, Manziel needs to be the guy. To make matter’s worse, Austin Davis has been named the starter for next week over Johnny Football.

 

While it’s clear Manziel has to mature and has some issues to work out, we are talking about issues that don’t even involve arrests. While Cleveland tries to send a message to Johnny, what message are they sending to their fans? After years of mediocrity, they draft the most exciting player in football, and in almost two full seasons now, he’s started just a few games. This year in fact, those few games he has started in he has actually done quite well. With 5 passing touchdowns and just 2 interceptions Manziel has a QB Rating of 88.4 which would put him 20th in the league (Cam Newton has a QBR of 89.5), if he qualified with enough attempts. Even though 20th is just the final third of the league, you have to consider he has had no chance to establish a rhythm, one week he practices with the first unit, one week it’s the second unit, and this week with the practice squad. He’s had no chance to prove what he can do on the field consistently and the Browns have put themselves in a position where they eventually are going to have to make a decision to keep him or see him get the chance somewhere else. Meanwhile for coach Pettine, who keeps sending Johnny to timeout, he’s a few weeks from being a coordinator somewhere else.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Tommy Armstrong- The quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers finished with 4 picks in a loss vs the Iowa Hawkeyes and was held without a touchdown in a game the Cornhuskers needed to win to solidify a bowl game

Florida Gators- While the Gators will still play for the SEC Championship on Saturday, the last couple weeks are incredibly discouraging for their fans. Needing overtime to beat FAU a couple weeks ago, the Gators played Florida State with an opportunity to remain in the playoff hunt. Unable to score a single point on offense, the Seminoles dominated the Gators 27-2.

Todd Gurley- The St Louis Rams’ running back had a fantastic start to his NFL career rushing for 125+ yards in four of his first five games but is yet to hit the century mark since, and is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry in his last two games.

 

 


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