Friday, January 20, 2012

NFL 2011 Division Champion Predictions in Retrospect

It's always fun to look back at predictions made months previously to see just how right . . . and just how wrong everyone was about who would end up winning each division in the NFL. In my original post on the 2011 season, I made my own predictions and then listed the predictions of Lindy's, Football Outsiders, and the clear winner of the regular-season weekly predictions, Prognosticatin' Steve. As in the year prior, the goal of our little experiment is to see whether my amateurish efforts are any worse than the big glossy magazines with their paid staffs. Remember, the chances of correctly picking a division winner by random chance is 25% (which is what me and two different magazines ended up with on our picks last year), so anything better than that will, for our purposes, be considered a success. Here we go!


Lindy's: New England
Football Outsiders: New England
Steve: New England
My Pick: New England ("someday we will look back at this decade's Patriots with amazement")
ACTUAL WINNER: New England (a safe bet, and everyone starts out well)


Lindy's: San Diego
Football Outsiders: San Diego
Steve: San Diego ("talk about a bad division")
My Pick: Denver ("my one surprise team to add a little flavour to these proceedings")
ACTUAL WINNER: Denver (I would feel smarter about this upset success, but I didn't foresee Tebow playing at all; I assumed Kyle Orton would have played well for a mediocre team in a mediocre division)


Lindy's: Baltimore
Football Outsiders: Pittsburgh
Steve: Pittsburgh
My Pick: Pittsburgh ("Big Ben just gets it done . . .")
ACTUAL WINNER: Baltimore (that Week One blowout really set things in motion for the Ravens, and they followed through . . .)


Lindy's: Indianapolis
Football Outsiders: Houston
Steve: Indianapolis ("despite Manning's issues")
My Pick: Houston ("if the defense can keep teams under thirty points, the Texans win with 31")
ACTUAL WINNER: Houston (Steve, as good as your picks were during the regular season, your one constant blind-spot was the Manning-less Colts!)


Lindy's: Philadelphia
Football Outsiders: Philadelphia
Steve: Philadelphia
My Pick: Dallas ("they get things figured out this year and pure talent shines through")
ACTUAL WINNER: New York (we all missed the boat on this one, though a Cowboys victory in Week 17 would have swung things my way . . .)


Lindy's: St. Louis
Football Outsiders: San Francisco
Steve: "The division implodes from sucking too much . . . or St. Louis for purposes of this prediction"
My Pick: Arizona ("Kolb gets this team rolling in a weak division")
ACTUAL WINNER: San Francisco (Football Outsiders' heavy-duty statistical analysis came through for this one, as I never foresaw SF winning more than 7-8 games)


Lindy's: Green Bay
Football Outsiders: Green Bay
Steve: Green Bay ("though Det will be good too")
My Pick: Green Bay ("Bears regress, Lions closing, Vikings at a standstill, leaving Packers on top")
ACTUAL WINNER: Green Bay (another unanimous pick and unanimous success)


Lindy's: New Orleans
Football Outsiders: Atlanta
Steve: New Orleans
My Pick: New Orleans ("a coin flip with Atlanta . . .")
ACTUAL WINNER: New Orleans (everyone gets this right except for Football Outsiders--methinks they need to tinker with those algorithms)

Alright, now we can tally up the big winners and even bigger losers (though actually, everyone did pretty good):


Lindy's: 4/8 (50%) (pretty good results, especially for being the only one to pick Baltimore in the AFC North)
Football Outsiders: 4/8 (50%) (also good, with bonus points for being the only one to foresee SF's rise in the NFC West)
Steve: 3/8 (37.5%) (still better than random chance, though worst of the four pickers here; tempted to subtract points for picking Indianapolis and St. Louis, teams that went a combined 4-28 on the year ;)
Me: 5/8 (62.5%) (a big pat on my own back for Denver)

Thus, I am left with only one conclusion: Where my job at, Lindy's and Pro Football Outsiders?!?!

As a footnote, Lindy's and I made Super Bowl picks, neither of which can come completely true. Lindy's went with Ravens defeating Eagles, I went with Patriots defeating Cowboys.

See you again in August!

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