Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Sep 2013

Kacsmar (and The Smiths) Predict the 2013 NFL Season

The NFL calendar year sees us spend seven months trying to preview and predict what will happen, but much of the analysis of what did happen takes place over the next five months. I tend to prefer the next five because I am no fortune teller.

However, that did not stop me from posting full 2013 predictions with team records (and some help from The Smiths) on my blog. Something I have respected about Football Outsiders is that they do not write win-loss predictions but instead offer a mean win projection. Frankly (Mr. Shankly), win-loss records are largely filled with error. If a baseball team has two fluky losses that swung on one play in a season, that only changes their winning percentage by 0.012. If it happens to a NFL team, making them 7-9 instead of 9-7, that's 0.125 or over 10 times larger of a difference.

Now imagine these two fluky results happen in a division series such as David Akers missing two game-winning field goals for the 49ers against the Rams last year. Suddenly the 49ers could be 13-3 and the Rams 6-10 (not 7-8-1). That big difference comes with a margin as small as two swings of the leg.

So my Super Bowl pick is the Denver Broncos ("Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want") over the Atlanta Falcons ("How Soon Is Now?"). The song selections are most fitting given Peyton Manning's luck in the playoffs, and the FOA 2013 was certainly not kind to the Falcons. "I am human and I need to be loved" works well for their response.

This is my third season covering the NFL on a weekly basis. How have my big preseason predictions turned out? Well in 2011 I first wrote about Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers being a front-runner extraordinaire and a potential dynasty in the making. The Packers went on a 19-game winning streak without trailing once in the fourth quarter (previous record: 13 games by 1942-43 Redskins). It was the greatest display of front-running in NFL history. It ended terribly in the playoffs, but I will take half credit here.

Last season I had Baltimore making the Super Bowl, but losing to Dallas. I did however tell Julie Buehler on the radio (9/6/2012) that "I really think this is going to be the year of Joe Flacco" and set out the path for Baltimore to overcome adversity and get the job done. Dallas aside, that did happen with Flacco cashing in this offseason (thanks, Rahim).

So this year I have crafted a detailed (too detailed?) story for how the Broncos are the next team to bounce back from a horrible playoff defeat, overcome rough patches to put it all together late in the year with a run to the Super Bowl, which will be an awful game outdoors in February in New Jersey.

Finally, there is no truth to the rumor I have written a rough draft for the America's Game for the 2013 Denver Broncos. They are just the team I see as being the story of this season and it all starts tonight against Baltimore. So here's to five months washing away most of the work done in the last seven, but I sure as hell will enjoy it anyway.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 05 Sep 2013

13 comments, Last at 14 Jan 2014, 12:27pm by http://www.rateamateapp.com

Comments

1
by asm335@gmail.com :: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 4:13pm

God forbid we play an outdoor, winter sport outdoors in the winter. So we can play AFC or NFC Championship game in Green Bay, New England, or New York but not a Super Bowl? Give me a break.

2
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 5:03pm

The issue is that there is 100x the media coverage of the Super Bowl, and sportswriters hate being uncomfortable. I don't know of a single person who isn't attending the game who thinks that holding a cold weather Super Bowl is a bad idea.

5
by Anonzee (not verified) :: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 8:35pm

I think the issue is more that having the weather play a role in who gets crowned champion of the NFL season is a little foolish. It's bad enough to have to deal with the arbitrariness of Any Given Sunday, but to introduce more variables beyond the quality of the two teams just muddies the picture.

6
by Ryan D. :: Fri, 09/06/2013 - 12:51pm

Then every round of the playoffs should also be played indoors. Do you think the Colts wish they could have played indoors somewhere near Boston instead of outdoors at Foxboro in the playoffs early in the previous decade? It's part of the game.

If we can decide the two Super Bowl participants outdoors in (hypothetically) Green Bay/Chicago/NY and Foxboro/Denver/Pittsburgh in January, surely the two teams that win those two games could play another potentially cold/snowy game again in two weeks, right?

7
by RickD :: Fri, 09/06/2013 - 3:49pm

Do you know any people attending the game who think that holding a cold weather Super Bowl is a bad idea?

I don't think it's about the media. I think that the NFL prefers warm-weather Super Bowls because there is less likelihood of severe weather possibly forcing a postponement.

As for the sportswriters, nobody is even forcing them to go outside if they don't want to.

8
by Jerry :: Fri, 09/06/2013 - 8:02pm

If you're paying $800 or whatever face value is now for a ticket, let alone secondary market prices, you'd just as soon be reasonably comfortable.

9
by Sifter :: Sat, 09/07/2013 - 5:58am

I dunno about that, I think they could (hypothetically) hold the Super Bowl in North Korea and it would be a sellout.

Besides, a Super Bowl ticket isn't really about being comfortable for 3-4 hours, it's either a status thing just to have one, or it's a big weekend where the game itself is just a minor part. As long as there are restaurants and bars to vist, warm places to hang out etc. I don't see the issue with the venue somewhere cold. The only issue to me is quality of play, and that could be just as screwed by rain and wind. Indoors is obviously safest of course.

3
by Intropy :: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 6:59pm

The Ravens lost Ray Lewis AND Stringer Bell? Hadn't realized that.

4
by grady graddy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 8:06pm

Hack.

10
by Subrata Sircar :: Sun, 09/08/2013 - 5:13am

Mr. Kacsmar, did you perchance kick someone's dog? Pretty much every post you make, a certain poster is there insulting you (and contributing nothing to the discussion in so doing, usually) ...

11
by Chad Armstrong (not verified) :: Wed, 10/30/2013 - 8:00pm

Being from Wisconsin and a Smiths fan, what would they have to say about the Aaron Rodgers dynasty this year?