Which Preseason Prediction Did The Media Get Wrong?
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By: Eric Thomas
It always happens: Some team that everyone has figured the Super Bowl turns in a turkey of a season. One problem (or feature) of NFL parity is that the opinions of us chattering media class are rendered useless by week three. “Can you believe (insert team)? They were supposed to be all-world!” we say with some level of disbelief even though it always happens.
Someone, or likely a few, of the can’t-miss “this is their year” kind of teams will fall flat on their faces. Who’s it going to be this year? Let’s take a look at some of the preseason favorites:
Seattle Seahawks—Russell Wilson was amazing in his rookie season. He snatched the starting job from Matt Flynn in training camp (hahaha! Hope all that MONEY will keep you company, FLYNN!), beat the Packers, and turned in a Rookie of the Year performance—beating out RG3, Andrew Luck and Doug (Muscle Hamster) Martin. They have a good group of wide outs and their running back is called Beast Mode. They made investments in the defense, bringing in good ol’ Cliff Avril and Michael Bennet. Why they could be the bust: Never believe the hype on second year QBs. Remember how Cam Newton was a huge deal, then last year not so much? Remember how Sam Bradford had a good rookie season? Not buying Seabags.
San Francisco 49ers—People are still high on Colin Kaepernick. Understandable, he took his team to a Super Bowl. They were dominant heading into Super Bowl Sunday and they’ve made some off-season pickups. Why they could be a bust: They will be a bust. The Super Bowl losers fall apart, every time. It’s a small victory if the Super Bowl loser makes the playoffs the next year. (Exception: The Buffalo Bills and Vikings…but neither won it. Ever.) If the 9ers collapse and we’ll all make GIFs of Harbaugh’s face imploding. Not to dog the entire NFC West, watch out for the St Louis Rams, they gave the 9ers fits last year. They could be that shock team this year.
Atlanta Falcons—It’s gotta happen sometime, right? Matty Ice has been predicted for the final game for the last three years. They added Osi Umanyiora in the off-season along with Steven Jackson, and Tony Gonzales is running the patented Jerome Bettis “I’m retiring after this season” magic spell (though he signed a two year deal in the off-season. There’s faith in action.) Why they could bust: The window may have closed on the Dirty Birds. Their defense, even with Osi, isn’t going to scare anybody. The Falcons score a lot, but they can’t keep a lead. Worse news: the NFC South could be better, with New Orleans on the other side of Goodell’s iron fist and the Bucs and Panthers hoping to improve off disappointing seasons, the NFC South could be a meat grinder. Maybe Atlanta’s been on the brink of a championship for a little too long? Isn’t Gonzo just asking for trouble? You can’t do the “I’m about to hang up my Hall of Fame career after this year” bit twice! C’mon man!
Cincinnati Bengals—The hot pick! Many experts cite them as the most “complete team in the AFC.” A quick observation: If you’re team is called by the media “the most complete team,” stock up on grocery bags to wear over your head. They’ve got a good defense (I wanted Vontaze Burfict in a Lions jersey), and they’ve added some talent on the offensive side of the ball. Why they could bust: The offensive upgrades hang on the abilities of two rookies: RB Giovani Bernard and TE Tyler Eifert. Rookie skill positions! What could possibly go wrong?! Andy Dalton the third best QB in his division, by a lot, and Marvin Lewis has never won a playoff game as a head coach—yet some experts have them in the Super Bowl. That’s not happening.