Some predictions were spot on, others atrocious

Published 8:11 am Friday, January 2, 2009

Now that the NFL regular season is over, I looked back at my column from Aug. 1. Some of my predictions were good; some were awful. That’s the danger of making predictions one week into training camp.

I was correct that Green Bay, Cleveland and Washington would not make the playoffs, despite being last year’s sleeper teams.

I was also correct that Arizona would make the playoffs, although the Cardinals limped in.

My NFC playoff predictions were not good. I got only two of my NFC playoff teams correct — New York and Arizona. My pick of New Orleans as NFC champs obviously did not happen with the Saints missing the playoffs. Tampa Bay killed me by losing to Oakland — the last game of the season.

And then there’s Detroit.

Here’s my last word on the 2008 Lions, who I amazingly picked to win their division but instead failed to win a game:

They say you need to hit rock bottom before things start looking up. Obviously, the Lions have hit rock bottom, but some good things actually came out of the season. Matt Millen, who ran the team into the ground for years, is finally gone. The coaching staff has also been cleansed. Detroit will now have the first pick in the 2009 draft. Hopefully they have the wisdom to pick a player who will relish the challenge of rebuilding this atrocious team.  If the Miami Dolphins can rebound from a 1-15 season to make the playoffs, the Lions have hope.

As for the AFC, I did do better there. Pittsburgh, San Diego, Indianapolis and Tennessee all got in. New England, playing without Tom Brady all season, got knocked out the last day. Jacksonville was a huge disappointment. San Diego recovered from a bad start and rallied to get a wild card.

I called the AFC West putrid, and I was correct. The Chargers took the division at 8-8, the first time that has happened since 1985. I actually picked that division in the correct order of finish. It was amazing that with just a few weeks left in the season, the Oakland Raiders had a chance to make the playoffs.

I said San Diego and New Orleans would play in the Super Bowl. That can’t happen on the NFC side, and I doubt San Diego will get there either.

Since I am so bad at predictions (at least this year), I asked my son Aaron for his Super Bowl prediction — Carolina Panthers 24, Indianapolis Colts 17.

* To me, this was one crazy NFL season. Have you ever seen so many teams crash and burn to fall out of the postseason?

* Denver had a three-game lead with three weeks to play and was the AFC West leader from the first day of the season until the last day when the Broncos lost to San Diego, a team everyone thought was dead right from the start.

* The Dallas Cowboys, who fought their egos, were smoked by the Philadelphia Eagles on the final day.

* The Washington Redskins opened the season 6-2 and then finished 2-6.

* The New York Jets lost four of their last five games to fall from first place down to third in the AFC East.

* If you are looking for something to do on Saturday, trek on down to Murfreesboro to watch the Chowan University men’s team play Columbia Union at 2 p.m. The Hawks are on a four-game winning streak.