Real NFL football returns tonight! We've waited nine long months to get here. We've slogged through the dog days of summer - including the dead zone on the sports calendar that is July, heard countless reports on some guy's deflated balls and endured yet another quarterback controversy in Washington. We have been through enough and thankfully the 2015 season is finally upon us in all of its glory.
To mark the occasion we are sharing the third annual Hogs Haven NFL season predictions article with you tonight. Just as we did in 2013 and 2014, the staff has provided predictions on 25 categories ranging from everything to the Super Bowl winner to the Redskins' final record. I know I'm personally hoping for similar results, as I came away with the most correct picks in both years. However, I'm not counting on a sure repeat this year, because with few clear favorites this is setting up to be potentially one of the crazier seasons in recent memory and truly anything could happen.
Check out my picks and the picks of the rest of Hogs Haven's talented group of writers to try to make sense of it all and to get a feel for what might happen in the upcoming season.
|Category||Anthony Brown||James Dorsett||Bryan Frantz||Jennifer Filsinger||Mike Harar|
|NFC Wild Card||Vikings||Cowboys||Eagles||Cardinals||Lions|
|NFC Wild Card||Redskins||Vikings||Cardinals||Cowboys||Cardinals|
|AFC Wild Card||Dolphins||Patriots||Dolphins||Bengals||Ravens|
|AFC Wild Card||Steelers||Ravens
|1st Pick in 2014||Raiders||Browns||Titans||Browns||Jaguars|
|Comeback POY||Sam Bradford||Sam Bradford||Victor Cruz||Eric Berry||Carson Palmer|
|Coach of Year||Bruce Arians||Chip Kelly||Gary Kubiak||Chip Kelly||Pete Carroll|
|Offensive ROY||Todd Gurley||Amari Cooper||Nelson Agholor||Amari Cooper||Jameis Winston|
|Defensive ROY||Vic Beasley||Vic Beasley||Vic Beasley||Vic Beasley||Leonard Williams|
|Offensive POY||Aaron Rodgers||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck||Adrian Peterson|
|Defensive POY||J.J. Watt||Von Miller||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt|
|MVP||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck||Peyton Manning|
|Redskins Off. POY||DeSean Jackson||DeSean Jackson||DeSean Jackson||DeSean Jackson||Kirk Cousins|
|Redskins Def. POY||Ryan Kerrigan||Ryan Kerrigan||Ryan Kerrigan||Ryan Kerrigan||Chris Culliver|
|Category||Chris Hess||Hog Hunter||Ken Meringolo||Alex Rowsey||Steve Shoup|
|NFC Wild Card||Giants||Cowboys||Redskins||Vikings||Eagles|
|NFC Wild Card||Seahawks||Vikings||Seahawks||Cardinals||Lions|
|AFC Wild Card||Steelers||Dolphins||Patriots||Dolphins||Dolphins|
|AFC Wild Card||Broncos||Chiefs||Bengals||Steelers||Ravens|
|1st Pick in 2014||Cowboys||Browns||Browns||Raiders||No Pick Made|
|Comeback POY||Navarro Bowman||Sam Bradford||Sam Bradford||Sam Bradford||Sam Bradford|
|Coach of Year||Jay Gruden||Chuck Pagano||Joe Philbin||Mike Zimmer||Chuck Pagano|
|Offensive ROY||Jameis Winston||Marcus Mariota||Marcus Mariota||Amari Cooper||Marcus Mariota|
|Defensive ROY||Leonard Williams||Leonard Williams||Preston Smith||Vic Beasley||Vic Beasley|
|Offensive POY||Drew Brees||Andrew Luck||Adrian Peterson||Aaron Rodgers||Antonio Brown|
|Defensive POY||Ryan Kerrigan||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt||J.J. Watt||Aaron Donald|
|MVP||Philip Rivers||Andrew Luck||Carson Palmer||Andrew Luck||Andrew Luck|
|Redskins Off. POY||Alfred Morris||Alfred Morris||Kirk Cousins||DeSean Jackson||Pierre Garcon|
|Redskins Def. POY||Ryan Kerrigan||Ryan Kerrigan||Terrance Knighton||Ryan Kerrigan||Ryan Kerrigan|
|Playoff Finish||Super Bowl||None||Wild Card||None||None|
- The Hogs Haven staff has the Eagles as the heavy favorites to win the NFC east, as seven of our ten writes have them taking the division crown back to Philadelphia. Only two of us had the Cowboys repeating. I suppose Philly winning the division would at least be the lesser of two evils.
- In 2013, we unanimously selected the Redskins to win the East. The majority of the writers also selected Washington to bounce back and win it last year. This year only one writer had that special combination of courage and ignorance to pull the trigger on that pick. Chris Hess takes home this year's honors for the biggest homer on the site; he picked the Redskins to win both the division and the Super Bowl. The latter pick, however, makes it seem pretty clear to me that isn't very interested in whether or not he is right or wrong. Although, I'm sure he would tell you something like "If picking the Redskins to win it all is wrong, then I don't want to be right."
- Chris wasn't entirely alone with his playoff prediction though. Anthony and Ken also had the skins sneaking into the tournament as a wild card. There was actually a lot of disagreement on the final record of the team. The only record that got more than two votes was 5-11.
- There was not one unanimous selection across the 25 categories that we looked at, but there were several near misses. The Packers and Colts winning their respective divisions were tied for the most popular pick, with nine votes each. The Patriots, Seahawks and Broncos were each picked to win their divisions by eight of us. Ryan Kerrigan also got eight votes to be the Redskins defensive player of the year.
- The majority of the writers have the Colts taking home the AFC title, but were split on the NFC, with four votes each going to the Packers and the Seahawks. The top pick to win it all in Santa Clara this year was the Indianapolis Colts with four votes. The Packers were the only other team picked to win the Super Bowl by more than one of us.
- Not one single writer picked the Patriots to win the Super Bowl or to even return to the big game in 2015. The reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and last year's Offensive Player of the Year Demarco Murray also did not receive any votes to repeat.
- Six different head coaches were picked to win the coach of the year award. Only Chip Kelly and Chuck Pagano received multiple votes.
- It was no surprise to see that Chris Hess made the highest number of unique selections, with 13 of them. He was followed by Ken with eight and Mike with seven. The person with the most unique picks in this contest has finished in last place two years in a row. Sorry, Chris.
- I've never met Steve in person, but I imagine him to be the type of guy that double and triple bags all of his groceries, brings an umbrella out with him on a sunny day and buys insurance on every purchase that he makes over $50. I don't know for sure that "safety first" is Steve Shoup's motto in real life, but it certainly is when it comes to making preseason predictions. For an incredible third year in a row, Steve has played it safe by picking the most repeat winners. You can't really knock his strategy though, because he is the only writer besides me to finish in the top five with the most correct picks in each of the last two years. Steve was followed closely in this category by fellow chalk lover and Hogs Haven rookie Bryan Frantz.
We'll check back in on our predictions in February to see how we all did. If I win this thing for a third consecutive year, then expect the aforementioned companion article to equate to what amounts to a parade in my honor. I will then follow that up by immediately heading to Vegas to bet everything I have on the 2016 season, but I digress. No matter who makes the most correct picks, it will be interesting for us all to come back and reflect on how we thought things would go and compare them to what actually took place.
In the meantime, let us know what you think about our picks and share your own in the comments section. Happy season kickoff day and enjoy the games!