Way, way back in August, I made my predictions for how the NFC playoff picture would take shape. In that article, I also went through the different rounds of the playoffs and who would win, but I cannot review that yet, because I don’t know how all that will unfold. Here are my preseason predictions:
- 1 Seed: Los Angeles Rams; Predicted Record: 13-3
- 2 Seed: Minnesota Vikings; Predicted Record: 13-3
- 3 Seed: Atlanta Falcons; Predicted Record: 12-4
- 4 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles; Predicted Record: 11-5
- 5 Seed: New Orleans Saints; Predicted Record: 11-5
- 6 Seed: Chicago Bears; Predicted Record: 11-5
Post-Week 17 Playoff Picture:
- 1 Seed: New Orleans Saints; Record: 13-3
- 2 Seed: Los Angeles Rams; Record: 13-3
- 3 Seed: Chicago Bears; Record: 12-4
- 4 Seed: Dallas Cowboys; Record: 10-6
- 5 Seed: Seattle Seahawks; Record: 10-6
- 6 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles; Record: 9-7
Of the six teams I had making the playoffs, four actually qualified: the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, and Chicago Bears.
The Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, who I said would make it to the postseason, did not.
I can forgive myself for the huge miss on the Falcons due to all of those injuries. They started the season without their best player at each level of the defense, Devonta Freeman was out pretty much the entire season, their star kicker Matt Bryant missed a lot of games, well, you get the picture. Dan Quinn is safe, but they just recently fired all three of their coordinators. And I’ve been hearing that Gary Kubiak is a strong candidate for their vacant offensive coordinator position.
I don’t know how I didn’t see the disaster that was the 2018 Vikings coming. I knew that Redskins Kirk Cousins was awful against winning teams and in big games, but I figured that he’d be able to do well with that supporting cast. I think it’ll get better next season as he has another offseason to grow more comfortable with his teammates and his offense, but only time will tell.
If I had known the Vikings would collapse, the Bears (obviously) were my next favorite to win the division, and I almost nailed their record. I think Mitchell Trubisky is severely underrated by the mainstream NFL media. If people would actually go through and watch the tape, he’s actually pretty good. NFL Network, FOX Sports, and Compass Media Networks analyst Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) often does Trubisky breakdowns, and here the links to some really good ones: https://twitter.com/BaldyNFL/status/1077321306763395072/video/1, https://twitter.com/BaldyNFL/status/1079596485484924928?s=03, https://twitter.com/BaldyNFL/status/1079772514711191555/video/1. Please give these a watch, they will probably change your mind on Trubisky if you don’t think he’s very good.
The Seahawks are another team that I did not like coming into the year. Even though they had drafted running back Rashaad Penny in the first round, I still thought their run game would be broken like it has been since Marshawn Lynch left. New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has done an amazing job with fixing the run game and opening up the play action pass, and Pete Carroll has got the defense going again.
I was pretty sure the Eagles would take a step back because of the loss of offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who became the Colts head coach (and has done a great job), and QBs coach John DeFilippo, who became the Vikings offensive coordinator (and did not do a great job). For a while, it looked like they would miss the playoffs entirely, and then Nick Foles replaced the injured Carson Wentz. They won the last three games and got a little help from the Chicago Bears, who they will play in the Wild Card Round, to get into the playoffs.
I mentioned in that article that I was extremely close to putting the Cowboys in as a wildcard. For a while, it looked like I made the right decision to not put them in. But then they traded for Amari Cooper, and he made all the difference as the Cowboys finished the season 7-2 and clinched an NFC East title.