The 2014 NFL season came to a close on Sunday with the Patriots defeating the Seahawks in what was one of the most dramatic and exciting games in Super Bowl history.
In just a few short weeks, the NFL will shift into full offseason mode, as the league begins to provide fans with their fix on a monthly basis in the form of the combine, free agency, the draft, minicamp, training camp and the preseason. Hogs Haven will be there to provide analysis and predictions for each of those events, but before we do we should first look back to see what we got right and wrong in 2014.
Back in September, each writer made their predictions on the 2014 playoff teams, the Super Bowl, the NFL awards and more. Now that the season is over, it's time for us to revisit those predictions and to see how we all fared as a group and individually. It's time for us to face the music. In the following two tables the writer's predictions have been re-posted alongside of the actual results.
|Justin Byram||James Dorsett||Mike Harar||Hog Hunter||Ken Meringolo||Actual|
|NFC Wild Cards||Bears, Falcons||Bears, Bucs||Redskins, Bears||49ers, Bears||Eagles, Falcons||Cardinals, Lions|
|AFC Wild Cards||Steelers, Ravens||Ravens, Steelers||Bengals, Chiefs||Chiefs, Ravens||Dolphin, Chiefs||Bengals, Ravens|
|1st Pick in 2014||Bills||Bills||Cowboys||Titans||Browns||Buccaneers|
|Comeback POY||Julio Jones||Rob Gronkowski||Robert Griffin||Julio Jones||Robert Griffin||Rob Gronkowski|
|Coach of Year||Marc Trestman||Lovie Smith||Jay Gruden||Chip Kelly||Jay Gruden||Bruce Arians|
|Offensive ROY||Brandin Cooks||Kelvin Benjamin||Brandin Cooks||Brandin Cooks||Bishop Sankey||Odell Beckham|
|Defensive ROY||Khalil Mack||Jadeveon Clowney||Jadeveon Clowney||Ryan Shazier||Kyle Fuller||Aaron Donald|
|Offensive POY||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers||Peyton Manning||Drew Brees||Aaron Rodgers||DeMarco Murray|
|Defensive POY||Darrelle Revis||Gerald McCoy||Richard Sherman||J.J. Watt||Patrick Peterson||J.J. Watt|
|MVP||Adrian Peterson||Aaron Rodgers||Peyton Manning||Drew Brees||Peyton Manning||Aaron Rodgers|
|Redskins Off. POY||Alfred Morris||Jordan Reed||Robert Griffin||Robert Griffin||Robert Griffin||DeSean Jackson|
|Redskins Def. POY||Ryan Kerrigan||Brian Orakpo||Ryan Kerrigan||Brian Orakpo||Keenan Robinson||Ryan Kerrigan|
|Playoff Finish||None||None||Wild Card Loss||None||NFC Champ. Loss||None|
|Sean Patterson||Alex Rowsey||Bernhard Samuel||Steve Shoup||Mark Tyler||Actual|
|NFC Wild Cards||Cardinals, Bucs||49ers, Bears||49ers, Bears||49ers, Bears||Seahawks, Packers||Cardinals, Lions|
|AFC Wild Cards||Chargers, Bengals||Chargers, Ravens||Chargers, Ravens||Chiefs, Ravens||Chiefs, Bengals||Bengals, Ravens|
|1st Pick in 2014||Cowboys||Raiders||Rams||Raiders||Jets||Buccaneers|
|Comeback POY||Robert Griffin||Robert Griffin||Robert Griffin||Dennis Pitta||Darren McFadden||Rob Gronkowski|
|Coach of Year||Marc Trestman||Chip Kelly||Jay Gruden||Marvin Lewis||Sean Payton||Bruce Arians|
|Offensive ROY||Mike Evans||Sammy Watkins||Sammy Watkins||Jeremy Hill||Brandin Cooks||Odell Beckham|
|Defensive ROY||Jadeveon Clowney||Jadeveon Clowney||Ryan Shazier||Aaron Donald||Khalil Mack||Aaron Donald|
|Offensive POY||Andrew Luck||Drew Brees||Drew Brees||Peyton Manning||Calvin Johnson||DeMarco Murray|
|Defensive POY||Earl Thomas||J.J. Watt||Luke Kuechly||Von Miller||Vontaze Burfict||J.J. Watt|
|MVP||Peyton Manning||Aaron Rodgers||Aaron Rodgers||Peyton Manning||Drew Brees||Aaron Rodgers|
|Redskins Off. POY||Alfred Morris||Robert Griffin||Robert Griffin||Alfred Morris||Robert Griffin||DeSean Jackson|
|Redskins Def. POY||David Amerson||Chris Baker||Ryan Kerrigan||Brian Orakpo||Keenan Robinson||Ryan Kerrigan|
|Playoff Finish||Wild Card Loss||None||Wild Card Loss||None||Wild Card Loss||None|
Redskins Player of the Year Awards
Before we tally up the correct picks for each writer, I want to address how I decided on the Redskins awards.
The team has not officially named an offensive and defensive player of the year, so I took the liberty of doing it myself by selecting DeSean Jackson and Ryan Kerrigan for the respective awards. I don't think that there are many people out there that would argue with these selections, but just in case there is I'm going to provide information that will hopefully back up these choices.
I'll start by reminding everyone that Jackson was the team leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a healthy margin and that Ryan Kerrigan led the team in Sacks and the NFL in forced fumbles. If that still isn't enough for anyone, then check out how these advanced metrics ranked each player on their respective sides of the ball (links to metrics explanations provided in each category heading).
How'd We Do?
Now that we've established that Jackson and Kerrigan are more than deserving of these accolades, we can move on to the writers. The first question we'll answer is: who had the most correct picks? Just as it did with the Super Bowl, it came down to the last minute of the season.
Alex Rowsey and I both sat at 10 correct picks going into the game. Each of us had correctly picked one of the Super Bowl participants, but our picks were different. There would be no tie, somebody had to win. He had the Seahawks wining the game and I had the Patriots. I got lucky as Malcolm Butler's miraculous goal-line interception saved me and carried me to a win in this contest for the second consecutive year.
|Final Rankings||Writer||Total # Correct||Playoffs||Super Bowl||NFL Awards||Redskins Picks|
It's not my aim to make this some sort of a self-coronation because it's already bad enough that I have to write this, but I do think that it could be informative for some if I shared the reasoning behind my Patriots pick.
Pats Prediction Logic
I picked New England to bring home the title for a couple of reasons. In my mind, the Seahawks, the Broncos and the Patriots were the three most talented teams heading into the 2014 season.
My next thought was that the Seahawks would not be able to repeat. Yes, because it is very difficult to do so, but more importantly because of the underrated depth that they had lost in free agency. I thought that the departures of Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner would leave a once impenetrable secondary with a couple of small holes and that the losses of defensive linemen Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald would turn the NFL's deepest D-line into just a very talented one.
I believed that the Patriots additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner would help them to combat Denver's record-setting offense, but even with that I still saw them as two very evenly matched teams. I finally went with New England over Denver for essentially the same reason that I picked Seattle over San Francisco last year. I thought that whichever team had the home-field advantage in the playoffs would ultimately advance to the Super Bowl and win it.
I predicted each game on both team's schedules, and the difference was ultimately that the Broncos had to go New England in Week 9 of the regular season. I had the Patriots winning that game and collecting 14 wins overall, just one more than the Broncos with 13 wins.
Oh, and there's one more reason. His name is Rob Gronkowski. I picked Gronk to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award and I thought that he would play an integral role in the Patriots' championship run.
I believe that he may very well be the best tight end of all-time. Well, at least maybe he'll be to Tony Gonzalez what Randy Moss was to Jerry Rice. The worst case scenario might be that he retires early due to injuries and goes down as the Gale Sayers or the Terrell Davis of tight ends (only in terms of production in a short career). Take a look at Gronk's all-time tight end rankings on a per game basis.
|Rob Gronkowki||Receptions Per Game||Yards Per Game||Touchdowns Per Game|
|Per Game Value||4.74||67.4||0.83|
|All-Time TE Rankings||5th||1st||1st|
Analyzing the Writers' Picks
We'll finish things up but taking a look at and making some observations on the predictions of the Hogs Haven writing staff.
- My old Snap Judgments partner in crime, Bernhard Samuel, had the most correct playoff picks with seven, Justin Byram had the most correct Redskins picks, I had the most Super Bowl picks right with two and both Alex and I accurately predicted two NFL award winners.
- The writing staff unanimously predicted that the Patriots would win the AFC East, the Colts would win the AFC South and that the Broncos would win the AFC West.
- Between 80 and 90% of us had the Packers and Seahawks winning their respective divisions and the Ravens getting in the playoffs.
- There were seven categories in which Hogs Haven went O-fer on (i.e. that none us of correctly predicted). They were: the NFC East, the NFC South, the first pick in the draft, the Coach of the Year, the Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Redskins Offensive Player of the Year and the Redskins' final record.
- There were only four unique predictions (predictions made by only one writer) that were accurate. They were: Sean Patterson's pick for the Cardinals to make the playoffs as wild card team in the NFC, my pick of the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, my pick for Rob Gronkowski to win Comeback Player of the Year and Steve Shoup's pick for Aaron Donald to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
- Steve actually erred on the side of caution overall by picking the most repeat winners just as he did last year, and just like last year, he did quite well. For the second year in a row, the writer with the most unique predictions finished in a tie for last place. This time it was Mark Tyler. I guess sometimes it pays to go with the chalk.
- I want to give some props to a few people that made some smart, but not quite unique picks. Mark and Ken did come in a tie for last place, but they also accurately identified Keenan Robinson as one of the best players on the Redskins' defense. Steve and Hog Hunter made a good call by predicting a losing record for the Redskins. I guess they were the only writers that stayed away from the spiked Kool-Aid. Kudos to Alex and Hunter for being the only ones among us that were not dumb enough to pick someone other than J.J. Watt to win Defensive Player of the Year.