It's prediction season again, and we are here for it. Not for the predictions, mind you (those are mostly shit), but because it means that the NFL is just around the corner.
To celebrate, we decided to look at what the experts were saying this time last year and how accurate they were.
As we will see, predicting the NFL is a fickle mistress. There are so many things that could change the direction and trajectory of a team's season that trying to get it right in August is a fool's errand.
This is probably why I am partial to Five Thirty Eight's approach to things: come up with a predictive model that is refreshed with the results from each passing week. It's not going to win you any preseason Vegas bets necessarily, but it does seem to be the only effective way to account for the chaos of a given season.
Now, on to the hot take bashing-
First, let's take a look at reality:
Now let's take a look at what the experts had predicted:
Incorrect Predictions are in red
Playoff teams are bold and italicized
Now I know what you're thinking, "How is it possible that ESPN predicted that the Steelers would come in 3rd place in the AFC North and still make the playoffs?" I'm afraid I don't have a great answer for you, and yes, I did go back to double-check, and yes, that is what they did:
But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are just a few random observations that cracked me up:
Almost everyone had Cleveland pegged to be on top of the AFC North when the dust settled. Sports Illustrated had them going 11-5 lol.
Man, the Colt's really let people down huh? Now to be fair there is a timing issue here with when the predictions came out vs when Luck retired, but still.
It's fair to say no one saw that Baltimore freight train coming
Despite being average at picking the league's standings, ESPN and CBS correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner, although I don't know where CBS' head was at with picking the Vikings to represent the NFC
Man the Chargers really feel from good graces huh?
The NFC East was potentially the most predictable division in football for people not named Skip Bayless
If you want more hot take destruction and reality checks, take a look at our Hot Takes and Shit Talking categories.