2022 Prediction Wrap-Up: Did Anyone Believe in the Chiefs?
NFL Super Bowl - The Kansas City Chiefs are your Super Bowl champions! Did you predict it? Could you have possibly seen that coming? No! Travis Kelce made that very, very clear immediately after the Super Bowl.
"Not one of y'all said the Chiefs were gonna take it home this year! Not a single one! Feel that shit! Feel it."- Travis Kelce #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/IXmJSPZVmp
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 13, 2023
Yes, predicting a team that had been to the AFC Championship Game four times in a row to win it all was clearly too far of a jump for us mortal minds to possibly have made. Never mind that the Chiefs had the third-best Super Bowl odds in Vegas before the season began! Travis Kelce says no one believed in them, and are you going to argue with him? I'm certainly not. He's very big.
One of the hard parts about this job is an expectation that we can predict the future. Preseason predictions age very quickly, with what we guess in August sometimes curdling away before the end of September. That can make looking back at them now, half a year later, a fun exercise. Will we learn anything deep and meaningful from looking back? Probably not. But it'll give a few of us some bragging rights, and let us laugh at the rest of us idiots.
Before the season, Cale Clinton and I ran through all 32 teams' over/unders. Aaron Schatz and I predicted the stat leaders and award-winners. And the entire staff made their own predictions. Let's go through them!
Staff Predictions Review
"Faith in Matt Ryan and the Colts," huh? Oh, this is going to be a painful one, isn't it?
Team Most Likely to Beat its FOA 2022 Projection
Picks: Colts (x6), 49ers (x2), Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Jaguars, Panthers, Titans, Vikings
The team that actually beat its projection by the most is probably the New York Giants, though the actual answer depends on how you define it. We had New York projected dead last, both in DVOA and in total wins. While they weren't as good as their 9-7-1 record would indicate, they still beat our DVOA projection by 13.9%, and a 3.3-win margin and a playoff berth are nothing to sniff at, either.
But none of us picked the Giants, and so the best pick here is shared by Tom Gower and myself. We both took the San Francisco 49ers, whom our projections had 19th, missing the playoffs. As Tom put it, "They were sixth in DVOA last year playing through a ton of injuries. They almost made the Super Bowl! Yes, they might be really injured yet again, but Kyle Shanahan is still one of the best playcallers and designers in the league." Yeah, all that holds up—don't doubt Shanahan! Admittedly, each of us name-dropped both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo when it ended up being the Brock Purdy show by the end of the year, but the point stands: the 49ers are a well-run team, and coaching helped pave over the worries our model saw on the offensive side of the ball.
The Colts were obviously a bad pick, and one where a lot of us drank the Kool-Aid, but you can at least somewhat forgive people for picking a team that was 22nd in the projections to be better than that. I'd argue that Aaron picking the Broncos might be worse—we had the Broncos at 15th in our projections, so for Aaron to be right, they would have had to be a top-10 team. They were, uh, not a top-10 team. At all. At least he did correctly point out that the defense wasn't going to be as bad as our model had it, but that offense. Yikes.
Team Most Likely to Fall Short of its FOA 2022 Projection
Picks: Cowboys (x4), Bears (x2), Saints (x2), Bills, Broncos, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Raiders, Seahawks, Steelers
The actual answer was the Los Angeles Rams, as the bill came due for the Super Bowl. We had them fifth in our preseason projections; they finished 24th in DVOA.
But honestly, the Las Vegas Raiders weren't that far behind, falling from 13th in our projections to 26th. Hats off to Vince Verhei for picking that one out of the bag. And bonus points for specifically calling out Chandler Jones, noting that they overpaid for him and that he might not match what Yannick Ngakoue had done in 2021. Ngakoue had 10 sacks with the Raiders in 2021 and 9.5 more with the Colts this past season. Jones? Just 4.5 sacks, and three of those came in one game. Kudos for going out on a limb and sticking the landing.
While we could point out that the Cowboys and Jaguars both made the playoffs, I think I have to single out Ian O'Connor's pick of the Seattle Seahawks here as the worst of the bunch. We had the Seahawks at 26th in our DVOA rankings; they hit the top 10 instead. Sure, none of us pegged Geno Smith to have a career year out of the blue, but if you're picking someone that low on the table to underperform, they better crater. The Seahawks certainly did not do that.
Player Most Likely to Beat his KUBIAK Projection
Picks: Trevor Lawrence (x2), Derek Carr, DJ Chark, Gabriel Davis, J.K Dobbins, Lamar Jackson, Trey Lance, J.D. McKissic, Elijah Mitchell, Geno Smith, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rhamondre Stevenson, Courtland Sutton, Tua Tagovailoa
Geno Smith was a great shout, as were JuJu Smith-Schuster and Gabriel Davis, all of whom finished between 60 and 90 points better than KUBIAK projected. But we're giving the nod to Rivers McCown and his pick of Rhamondre Stevenson, who went from RB34 in our final rankings to RB7 in PPR leagues. That's in large part due to Damien Harris' struggles with injuries, but kudos to Rivers for calling out Matt Patricia's offense being terrible and dumping it down to Stevenson eight-million times in third-and-hopeless situations. Those points add up!
Technically, the worst pick was Trey Lance, but I'm not sure how much we can hold a shattered ankle in Week 2 against Tom Strachan's pick there. Lamar Jackson also missed time thanks to the knee injury which never ended, but he was on pace to basically hit his projections before leaving; how much you blame Rob Weintraub for not taking Jackson's health into account is a tossup. But you know who didn't get hurt? Derek Carr. Tom Bassinger claimed Carr was a "different quarterback than he used to be." He was right—Carr's no longer a Raider!
Player Most Likely to Fall Short of his KUBIAK Projection
Picks: Leonard Fournette (x2), Christian McCaffrey (x2), Tom Brady, Brandin Cooks, AJ Dillon, Derrick Henry, Tyreek Hill, Josh Jacobs, Travis Kelce, DK Metcalf, Dalton Schultz, Devin Singletary, Jonathan Taylor
I'm torn here. Carl Yedor picked our RB1 in Jonathan Taylor, who ended up falling to RB33 and was the most disappointing player in fantasy football this season. But Carl cited the success of Matt Ryan and Nyheim Hines as the reasoning here, and that didn't quite work out. Besides, how can I not give it to Vince, who picked Tom Brady for the seventh straight year and finally, finally got one right?
Christian McCaffrey, Josh Jacobs, and Travis Kelce were all pretty big misses, but Dave Bernreuther takes home the crown of misses by picking Tyreek Hill, saying that Tua Tagovailoa was going to get Hill killed with poorly thrown passes. Instead, it was Tagovailoa who spent all year hurt while Hill ended up second in both yards and receptions.
Super Bowl LVII Winner and Loser
Winners: Bills (x7), Packers (x3), Ravens (x2), Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs
Losers: Buccaneers (x3), Eagles (x3), Rams (x3), 49ers (x2), Chargers (x2), Chiefs, Packers
See? See Travis Kelce? Someone did pick the Chiefs! Derrik Klassen took the "brave stance of betting on Andy Reid and a ticked-off Patrick Mahomes." It's right there, in digital ink! Someone get that man an FO+ subscription or something.
Derrik had the Chiefs beating the Buccaneers, so his overall prediction may have not been the best. That would probably go to Aaron and myself, as we both had the Bills beating the Eagles—we were the only two to have our two teams at least make the divisional round, and we both joined Tom Strachan in getting the NFC winner correct.
As for the worst pick? Andrew Potter is the only one who managed to find two teams that missed the postseason, taking the Broncos over the Rams. Whoops!
With the First Pick in the 2023 NFL Draft…
Teams: Giants (x3), Jets (x3), Seahawks (x3), Falcons (x2), Lions (x2), Bears, Jaguars
Picks: C.J. Stroud (x7), Bryce Young (x3), Will Anderson (x2), Stetson Bennett, Jalen Carter, "A Quarterback"
We obviously don't know who the first pick will be, nor do we know who actually will be taking it. We know the Bears currently have it, so kudos to Rob for picking them out of the hat. He had them taking Will Anderson, which is their currently most-mocked pick, too. That could actually happen! Or they could trade the pick, like Cale suggested. Cale had the Jets trading up to take Stetson Bennett which, uh, no, but hey, the Bears trading down seems entirely plausible!
As for who actually will go first? That's a big open question. Stroud, Young, Anderson, and Carter have all been bandied about, and it really depends on who ends up with the first pick when all is said and done. Best of luck figuring that one out! Probably won't be Stetson Bennett, though. I feel fairly comfortable on that.
Here's the full set of links to the eight over/under articles Cale and I wrote:
AFC North | South | East | West
NFC North | South | East | West
Cale definitely would have made money this year. He went 18-12-2 on his over/unders, beating me to the line. I went 16-14-2, which would have been pushing it when it came to the vig, but at least I got more right than I got wrong.
And at least we were pretty good, together, when Vegas' line was way off. There were a dozen teams where Cale and I agreed and the over/under line ended up being out by at least two wins, and we went 10-2 on those matchups.
We believed in our numbers by taking the over on the Eagles. We spent the Cowboys writeup joking about which round they'd be eliminated in first. We sang Dan Campbell's praises—or at least, called him fun—in Detroit. We sensed weakness in the NFC North, and shunted wins over to the Vikings. All four teams beat their over/under lines by at least two wins, though you can argue about just how right we were about Minnesota.
We believed in Russ in Denver, but had enough caution over the rest of the team to take the under. We were worried about Matthew Stafford's arm for the Rams. We sensed the bottom falling out amidst the soap opera drama in Arizona. We strongly questioned the defense and receiving corps for the Packers. We shuddered at the Colts' offense and saw the Titans falling back to earth. All six teams hit their unders by at least two losses.
The two teams we got wrong together? We, like the rest of the world, didn't believe the Giants could clear off the detritus of the Dave Gettleman era in one year, though partial credit to Cale for saying that if anyone could, it would be Brian Daboll. We also both believed that the Raiders' splashy additions would be enough to make up for holes over the rest of the roster. You can't win them all!
And speaking of not winning them all, Cale went 5-3-1 on the nine teams where we disagreed, which is why he beat me overall. A lot of that is trusting the ceiling of good teams to be high and the floor of bad teams to be low, while I was more conservative in my overall win/loss predictions. He was fine taking the Chiefs over 10.5 and the 49ers and Bengals over 10, as well as the Bears under 6.5. In each case, I hesitated and hedged, shying away from the very top and bottom of the win/loss totals, and it cost me. I'd call those procedural misses rather than being wrong about the team overall; a matter of being cautious and herding towards .500 rather than thinking the Chiefs were going to be bad or the Bears were going to compete. The one miss I have that can't be explained away like that is taking the Jaguars under 6.5. The one time I choose to be bold, and that's on saying that it would take far, far too much effort for Doug Pederson to dig out of the horrible Urban Meyer hole in one year. We said we had tepid optimism; it's just my tepid optimism was for 2023, not 2022. Pederson's a pretty good coach, and Meyer was a one-of-a-kind disaster!
That same caution did help me out at times, however. Cale went under on Pittsburgh at 7.5, on Seattle at 5.5, and on Atlanta at 5, and all three cleared those marks with varying degrees of ease. I don't want to pat myself on the back and say I saw Geno Smith coming—because I totally did not, calling Seattle the worst quarterback situation in the league—but I did see reasons for optimism among some of the NFL's lowest-regarded teams. And in the end, doesn't seeing the best in dark places make me the true winner?
No. It does not.
Awards and Stats Predictions
You can find the awards article here, and the stats predictions article here.
Aaron and I did pretty good at picking the award-winners! We both had Patrick Mahomes as the favorite to win MVP, which he won easily. We both had Matt Rhule as the first coach to be fired, and that was frankly free money. Both of these were easy picks, but hey, you have to get the easy ones right!
Aaron, in general, did better at picking award-winners than I did. He had Justin Jefferson as his best bet to win Offensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa as his best bet for Defensive Player of the Year, and Garrett Wilson as his best bet for Offensive Rookie of the Year. While he didn't call any of the three his favorite, he did pick them out of the pile of preseason odds as having the best values, and all three ended up coming home. It's too bad Aaron has things like "ethics" and wouldn't actually bet on the outcomes of the awards he votes on, because his instincts were dead-on this year.
I, on the other hand, got burned by Jonathan Taylor's struggles (though I did at least shout out Christian McCaffrey as my best bet for OPOY, and he got votes). I struck out entirely on DPOY, with my Aaron Donald/Joey Bosa/A.J. Terrell trio all getting injured, underperforming, or getting injured and underperforming. Injuries also derailed my pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year; Breece Hall may have taken the title had he stayed upright. At least my best bet, Dameon Pierce, ended up getting some votes!
Neither of us were confident in Coach of the Year Brian Daboll, as our trend of under-picking the Giants continues. We did both have Nick Sirianni as our best bet, which was a good shout—had Jalen Hurts remained healthy, and Philadelphia finished with a 15-2 record or something, he may well have taken the crown from Daboll. But we also both had Brandon Staley as our top man, in large part because of his fourth-down decisions, and no. Staley, why must you hurt us so…
The comments called us out for not mentioning Sauce Gardner in the Defensive Rookie of the Year selections, so give credit to the wisdom of the crowds there. We did both pick the runner-up, as Aidan Hutchinson looked very solid in Detroit and improved over the course of the season. But we were also reaching for Devin Lloyd (starter on the All-KCW team!) and Derek Stingley when it came to best bets, and Gardner just lapped the field over both of them. I'm more of a dry rub guy myself, but Sauce did, in fact, make everything better in New York.
Neither of us picked Geno Smith for Comeback Player of the Year—but odds weren't even offered on Smith! I will continue to argue that Smith didn't actually come back from anything, that he should win a Most Improved Player award or something. That doesn't exist, and Smith deserved plenty of praise for his Lazarus season, but I still don't agree with the voters that this was a good fit. And that has nothing to do with the fact that my favorite here was McCaffrey, who ended up getting the second-most votes! This is always a hard award to predict, and I am still going to stick McCaffrey's feather in my cap here. It's also the one award where I think I actually out-picked Aaron; he had Jameis Winston as the favorite and Cam Akers as the best bet, which, no. So shower me with praise, and ignore the fact that I had J.K. Dobbins as my best bet!
As for the stat leaders? Both Aaron and I, again, had Patrick Mahomes as our favorite in passing yards. I had him as my favorite in passing touchdowns, while Aaron picked him as the best bet there. Mahomes should be the favorite for all passing-related stats and awards until further notice. Aaron also correctly tabbed Nick Bosa as the best bet to lead the league in sacks; my pick of Miles Garrett ended up tied for second so I'm happy with that.
But most shocking of all? We got the interception leader correct! We complained about what a hard pick that was to make, as interceptions are a single-digit number of discrete events, with a lot of randomness involved. Dart-flinging of the hardest order. We both said that it was essentially impossible. And then we both picked Justin Simmons; me as my favorite and Aaron as his best bet. Six interceptions in 12 games! I am legitimately stunned we picked that one out of the hat.
For the running backs, both Aaron and I had Jonathan Taylor leading the league in yards and touchdowns; we have already talked about Taylor's flop several times. Neither of us picked actual yardage winner Josh Jacobs, or even really considered him. Our best pick here was probably my longshot: Christian McCaffrey ended up eighth and was the only one of our six picks to top 1,000 yards on the ground. The worst pick? Aaron's best bet, J.K. Dobbins, who ended up missing half the season. I don't think anyone had Jamaal Williams pegged to lead the league in rushing touchdowns, but we couldn't get anyone even in the top 10. The best pick was Aaron taking Dalvin Cook, who finished with eight rushing scores to Williams' 17. We'll just ignore "best bet Leonard Fournette" from my side of the table, shall we?
Aaron and I both had Cooper Kupp leading the league in receiving yards and touchdowns, which wasn't a terrible pick had he stayed healthy. Kupp did finish third in the league with 90.2 yards per game and would have finished second in touchdowns had he kept his pace up for a full year. It's just he only played half the season due to injuries, and we don't get credit for picking rate stats!
Your receiving yardage leader was Justin Jefferson, and your touchdown leader was Davante Adams. And I picked both of them … in the wrong categories. Whoops! Both Aaron and I had Adams as our best bet to lead the league in receiving yards, and a third-place finish there is more than respectable. And while I'm happy with acknowledging Jefferson being good, he only had eight receiving touchdowns—Aaron's best bet was Stefon Diggs, who finished tied for third in 11. Stay tuned next year for when we pick the "most likely to finish third" awards in the receiving categories, where I am sure we will clean up.
And that will do it for the 2022 NFL season! It's time to go into hibernation … for 48 hours. That's when the XFL Preview goes live. Now to just refresh my memory on the betting odds for XFL MVP…
Playoff Fantasy Update
It's back-to-back titles for Vince, as not even Jalen Hurts' massive fantasy day was enough for Aaron to catch him!
|2022 Staff Playoff Fantasy Challenge|
|QB||Josh Allen||45.45||Patrick Mahomes||67.15||Dak Prescott||52.15||Trevor Lawrence||40.65||Joe Burrow||63.05||Jalen Hurts||83.25||Brock Purdy||48.85|
|RB||Jerrick McKinnon||14.2||Joe Mixon||35.3||Christian McCaffrey||59.9||Miles Sanders||28.1||Ezekiel Elliott||9.9||Devin Singletary||16||Saquon Barkley||38.1|
|RB||Tony Pollard||17.2||Dalvin Cook||12.1||Austin Ekeler||18.3||Isaih Pacheco||38.2||James Cook||11.2||Travis Etienne||30.1||Elijah Mitchell||15.8|
|WR||CeeDee Lamb||38.5||Justin Jefferson||11.6||Ja'Marr Chase||54.3||A.J. Brown||33.6||Deebo Samuel||41.5||DeVonta Smith||40.7||Stefon Diggs||25.9|
|WR||Chris Godwin||18.5||Gabe Davis||28.7||Tee Higgins||38.5||Christian Kirk||41.8||Keenan Allen||12.1||JuJu Smith-Schuster||18.9||Brandon Aiyuk||16.9|
|WR||Michael Gallup||15.6||Marquez Valdes-Scantling||46.9||Mike Williams||0||Zay Jones||34.7||Mike Evans||13.4||Adam Thielen||8||Mecole Hardman||3.7|
|TE||Dalton Schultz||42.2||TJ Hockenson||22.9||Dawson Knox||22.5||Dallas Goedert||36.1||Travis Kelce||76.7||Evan Engram||30.4||George Kittle||28.8|
|K||Brett Maher||8||Greg Joseph||6||Evan McPherson||21||Harrison Butker||34||Tyler Bass||14||Jake Elliott||24||Robbie Gould||34|
It's not quite the 520.1 points Vince scored last year by going all-in on the Rams, but it will do. Congratulations!
Aaron vaulted from last place to third by less than a point thanks to the Eagles' performance in the Super Bowl—a little too late to make an impact, as bye weeks will kill you.
Best of the Rest
He didn't have anyone in the Super Bowl. He didn't need one. Tyler S is your winner!
It was much lower scoring than last year—Tyler's 176 points are nearly 100 fewer than last year's champion—but it was a lower-scoring fantasy playoffs in general. Picking through the remnants that were left behind and coming up with his roster was an impressive feat, and he barely put a foot wrong. His final roster:
- QB Daniel Jones (38 points)
- RB Leonard Fournette (2.7 points)
- RB Samaje Perine (23.3 points)
- WR Tyler Boyd (14.9 points)
- WR DK Metcalf (35.6 points)
- WR Darius Slayton (14.4 points)
- TE Hayden Hurst (31.1 points)
- K Graham Gano (8 points)
- DEF Los Angeles (8 points)
It was a tight race at the top: here are your top five finishers!
- Tyler S (176.00 points)
- JCypess (169.15 points)
- Fizz and Friends (163.55 points)
- Drifter75 (155.95 points)
- Andrew (153.20 points)
The best possible team for Best of the Rest would have been as follows:
- QB Daniel Jones (38 points)
- RB Kenneth Gainwell (36.6 points)
- RB Samaje Perine (23.3 points)
- WR DK Metcalf (35.6 points)
- WR Isaiah Hodgins (25.8 points)
- WR Julio Jones (20.4 points)
- TE Hayden Hurst (31.1 points)
- K Cameron Dicker (15 points)
- DEF Los Angeles (8 points)
A combined score of 233.8 points would have put you in fifth place overall in the staff league, but we did a better job this year than last of vacuuming up the best and brightest.
The best team including players taken in the staff league would have been:
- QB Jalen Hurts (83.25 points, Aaron [Round 1])
- RB Christian McCaffrey (59.9 points, Jackson [Round 1])
- RB Isiah Pacheco (38.2 points, Vince [Round 6])
- WR Ja'Marr Chase (54.3 points, Jackson [Round 2])
- WR Christian Kirk (41.8 points, Vince [Round 3])
- WR Deebo Samuel (41.5 points, Cale [Round 3])
- TE Travis Kelce (76.6 points, Cale [Round 1])
- K Harrison Butker (34 points, Vince [Round 7])
- DEF Kansas City (16 points, Aaron [Round 8])
Prop Bet Extravaganza Results
We can't quite get the final results here as they had not yet announced how many hot dogs and beers were sold as of press time; we'll be hanging on to those tickets, I suppose. What is clear is that, regardless of the outcome there, we both took a bath on this one. Some were close—we both missed on shortest field goal made by half a yard on the last play of the game! Some were not, as Nick Bolton's touchdown cost us both 400 Solaris.
I took the worst of it, by far, ending up at -1,625. I did correctly have the Eagles scoring first and no touchdown being overturned by replay, and I went out on a limb and said Patrick Mahomes would throw more touchdown passes than Jalen Hurts, so I have those to hold over Vince. But it was a distant second place in a head-to-head competition.
Vince still ended up at -731—the combination of Bolton's touchdown and Butker's field goal made sure he'd stay in the red. But he got six props right that I missed, including the most significant one. By that, I either mean Kansas City +1.5 or tails on the coin flip, depending on how seriously you take your prop bets. Vince also nailed a couple of stat leaders, taking Hurts to lead the game in passing yards and Isiah Pacheco to lead it in rushing yards. Add in the Eagles kicking the longest field goal and losing despite scoring first, and you have ... well, objectively still a bad day, but better than me. You don't have to outrun the bear, right?
34 comments, Last at 19 Feb 2023, 5:34pm
#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 15, 2023 - 11:42am
The Kansas City Chiefs are your Super Bowl champions! Did you predict it? Could you have possibly seen that coming? No! Travis Kelce made that very, very clear immediately after the Super Bowl.
Remember, intelligence is not a critical trait for success in the NFL at most positions.
Also, player self-motivation is deeply irrational.
#4 by Oncorhynchus // Feb 15, 2023 - 11:59am
Somebody's gotta check up on them Kelce boys. They're both universally loved, have one of the most listened to podcasts in America and clearly have great parental and familial support.
Yet Travis thinks no one believed in his team from that start and Jason is the lead singer of the most famous rendition of the Philly Folk classic "No One Likes Us and We Don't Care."
#3 by Sixknots // Feb 15, 2023 - 11:46am
We got the interception leader correct! Justin Simmons; ........Six interceptions in 12 games!
Well, the Seahawks rookie DB, Tariq Woolen, finished the season tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with six.
#6 by Oncorhynchus // Feb 15, 2023 - 12:23pm
Yeah, it's a 4-way tie by absolute numbers. So I guess it's the 6 in only 12 games? But Chauncy Gardner-Johnson also had 6 in 12. CJGJ did in in 729 snaps versus 809 for Justin Simmons. But Justin Simmons had fewer targets: 47 vs 52. The other guys with 6 INTs had 54 and 66 targets (Minkah Fitzpatrick and Tariq Woolen, respectively).
But if you're looking at rate stats, the leaders (among DBs) are Daniel Sorenson who went 2 for 6 targets and George Odum who went 1 for 3. Rudy Ford went 3 for 20. Tashaun Gipson who went 5 for 35. Things get goofy there though: officially Aidan Hutchinson went 3 for 5 and T.J. Watt went 2 for 3.
Which is all to say, maybe the real interception leader is the friends we made along the way.
#5 by dmb // Feb 15, 2023 - 12:03pm
Thanks for this review -- I always appreciate seeing real space set aside to reflect on how predictions went.
In that spirit, it would also be great to see a Part II looking at how preseason DVOA projections and KUBIAK fared this year.
#9 by rh1no // Feb 15, 2023 - 12:55pm
You guys weren't the only ones who were high on Matt Ryan and the Colts, which had me flabbergasted. I guess I can understand the thought process that SOMEONE has to win the AFC South, and the Titans were, indeed, due for a regression. The Texans weren't going to magically become competent and the Jags certainly looked like a miserable team for the first 12 games of the season. But "We have Nick Foles just in case the latest aging and declining quarterback to hop on our carousel of one-year reclamation projects doesn't work out" never inspired confidence in me.
#11 by theslothook // Feb 15, 2023 - 1:25pm
I wrote my predictions early in the year. I saw this Colts implosion coming.
As far as the SB. I was initially on the side of the Eagles but eventually moved to Kansas City. So I predicted a narrow Kansas City win correctly.
However, how the game played out, was way different than how it actually played out. Not only did the Philly's D struggle with Kansas City's offense; especially with the KC o line flat out winning that matchup, but Hurts played out of his mind. I thought he might struggle in terms of injuries and or inexperience.
I predicted a defensive heavy grind out game. I could see an Eagles blowout. I could see a KC blowout with the Eagles forced to throw a lot. I did not see a shoot out coming.
#12 by andrew // Feb 15, 2023 - 2:04pm
Travis Kelce was almost certainly referring to Fox, where the pregame predictions from their crew were all for the Eagles. He wasn't referring to the general public or even sportswriters in general, just the fox crew, who were all right there.
#14 by rh1no // Feb 15, 2023 - 2:31pm
I want to say that there's no way in hell that Travis Kelce was watching the Fox pregame show minutes before he was due to stop on the field in the Super Bowl, but Travis Kelce is exactly the kind of doofus who would do that.
#16 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 15, 2023 - 2:51pm
It's highly plausible that someone on the KC staff came in and told the locker room "everybody on TV just picked Philly to beat you, every one of them!"
It's also plausible that Kelce was watching the pregame show on his cell phone, because maybe that's his pregame routine, I have no idea.
#30 by mrh // Feb 16, 2023 - 11:52am
I went and looked, a lot of mainstream sites picked the Chiefs to win the division - but see the link further down in the thread which not only includes some of the louder-mouth TV personalities ("analysts" would be the wrong term) saying Mahomes would suffer without Hill - it includes some clips of other teams being picked to win the division. That clip was in the KC Star so I imagine it got floated around the Chiefs' locker room in the SB run-up.
It's pretty clear the team is aware of what some "people" are saying - the players' post-AFCCG reaction to the "Burrowhead" comments; Brown's "0 sacks, put it on a f-----g T Shirt!!!!" post-SB comment and tweet - which WAS on a lot of T-shirts the o-line and others wore at the parade yesterday.
#15 by scraps // Feb 15, 2023 - 2:43pm
I will continue to argue that Smith didn't actually come back from anything
You can continue to argue, and you can continue to be wrong. The award is not titled "Comeback From Injury", despite what you want to think it should. And yes, he did "come back from anything": he came back from being relegated to the bench.
Seriously, otherwise the award is just a recovery from a bad injury. That's pretty much random.
#22 by IlluminatusUIUC // Feb 15, 2023 - 4:26pm
A player can "Comeback" from poor performance (Tannehill) but usually its back to or exceeding some prior level of competence. Geno was never good for a significant stretch, so this really should be something like "Breakout Player of the Year."
#24 by rh1no // Feb 15, 2023 - 8:31pm
Y'all are just flat-out wrong when you say Geno doesn't deserve this award.
Smith was a highly-touted QB prospect coming out of West Virginia, and it was a surprise that he slid all the way into the second round. He replaced Mark Sanchez as the Jets' starting signal-caller just one year after Sanchez signed a three-year extension. He was bad during his freshman outing, but showed significant improvement in his sophomore effort. He was only benched during his third year because he had his jaw broken in a bizarre locker room scuffle with a teammate.
He spent the next couple of seasons behind Vick and Fitzmagic before moving on to backup roles with other organizations. But he came back as a starter this year and posted career numbers. That's what this award is for.
If anything, Ryan Tannehil would be better defined as a breakout player when he won the award. He was always considered a developmental experiment as he played WR for the first three years of his college career, and he never rose above mediocre status during his stint with the Dolphins.
He was traded to the Titans with the expectation that he'd compete for the starting role against Mariota, and spent only six games as a backup before setting personal records in completion percent, yards per attempt, and passer rating. He still hasn't beat those numbers he put up in his 2019 campaign. So what, exactly was he coming back from?
#31 by IlluminatusUIUC // Feb 16, 2023 - 2:00pm
Tannehill was brought in as a vet backup for a 4th and a 6/7 pick swap, so Tennessee clearly had modest hopes for him. He had posted a complete positive DVOA season in 2014, something Smith did not accomplish until 2022. And Tannehill won the award because he came off the bench on a 2-4 team and took them to the playoffs (and ultimately the CCG, though that didn't factor), so the voters were looking at a career and in-season comeback in the same vein.
Ultimately, I don't think CPOTY in general is all that meaningful, Geno's MVP vote and Pro Bowl nod are a much better reflection of his season.
#33 by KnotMe // Feb 16, 2023 - 6:26pm
Honestly, CPOY is kinad a dull award these days. I was originally for "star player gets injured, comes back and is star again". Modern medical science makes it alot less common that players have lingering effects of injuries. Now, players get hurt and, as long as they are still at a reasonable point on the aging curve, they can often come back as good or better than before. It's not like Culpepper where he never really came back from the second knee injury.
Given all that, I'm fine with Geno since his case is much more rare and interesting and deserves recognition.
#25 by mrh // Feb 16, 2023 - 12:09am
But there were plenty of doubters.
#32 by Steve in WI // Feb 16, 2023 - 3:23pm
Really? They were supposed to be bad for sure, but it's hard to be first overall pick bad. And they had plenty of 1-score losses as it was. I would have said it was a very safe bet that they'd win, say, 6 or fewer games, but 5-12 or 6-11 doesn't get you close to the first pick.
Actually, the most shocking takeaway from that prediction is that no one besides the Bears and Falcons is even picking in the top 10 (not counting Seattle since it's Denver's pick, not theirs, that's 5th). It would have been interesting to see them predict, say, the first 5 picks to get a better idea of the consensus on who they expected to be bad. I bet the Bears would have been in just about everyone's top 5.
#34 by IlluminatusUIUC // Feb 19, 2023 - 5:33pm
Nobody expected the Lions and Jets to be as good as they were, so the Bears schedule looked easier than it ended up being. By the same token, fewer people expected the Colts to cough up 1.5 wins to the Texans and cost them the 1st pick. Lovie Smith going for 2 and the win out of spite was a great moment.