As we sit on the doorstep of Super Bowl 52, it’s time for me to take my bows… and my knocks. Looking back at my opening week predictions (made on the Friday before the first Sunday), some were brilliant. Some were a disaster. Let’s pick it apart like a turkey vulture sifting through some roadkill.
Best Call: “An opening-night embarrassment will only serve to refocus the Pats with Belichick cracking the mental whip. Are the Pats vulnerable or just victims of a terrible game? I’ll go with the latter. I say the Pats are last team standing as Super Bowl champs yet again.” This wasn’t going out on a limb, but I called this after the debacle against the Chiefs on opening night. Clearly they had all the pieces it took to get back to where they were last year. They’re a win away from my preseason prediction being correct (who says I hate the Pats?).
Worst Call: “Ben McAdoo seems extremely comfortable as the head coach in his second year. This season comes down to Beckham’s health and keeping Eli upright. When pressured, Manning is a puddle. But the Giants will win the NFC East.” Yes, Beckham’s health submarined the whole season, but ranking a 3-13 team in the top 5 and glossing McAdoo was brutal.
Hits: Vikings at #7 – “But a nasty defense, and Dalvin Cook’s potential means the Vikes could be an excellent team. Vikes could be a scary team in January if it gets decent quarterbacking.” Vikes became a scary team, and that nasty defense led the way.
Dolphins at #19 – “Jay Cutler is going to realize midway through the season this paused retirement was a bad idea. He’ll have a 375-pound defensive tackle land on him and will start dreaming of the beach with Kristin Cavallari.” Cutler’s body language on his fake route said it all.
Bears at #30: – “They spent tons of money on Mike Glennon, so he’ll have to get some starts. But all of the Windy City is panting for The ‘Bisky. There’s not much else to look forward to, and John Fox’s expiration date as a head coach has already come and gone. I see 4-12.” They went 5-11.
Misses: Eagles at #20: “I think Doug Peterson is mediocre as a head coach and there’s still enough question marks on the roster to keep them out.” Huge miss, the rest of the roster turned out to be fantastic.
Saints at #23: “No defense. Sean Payton’s best days are behind him. Could probably swap them with the Rams, but I’ll give the Saints another 7-9 season.” The defense became a strength of the team.
Jaguars at #27: “They were so close to contending for the AFC South last season… that’s if Blake Bortles could actually throw a ball to his own team. Since he couldn’t (and Gus Bradley was swimming in the deep end without his water wings), the Jags’ season was toast. Bortles, Henne, meh. Six wins at best.” Try six losses, and two playoff wins.
Dumbest line: “Denver is my surprise pick to be one of the best teams in the AFC.”
Smartest line: “The Texans could be a top-three team in the AFC with good quarterbacking.”
Crystal Ball line: “Zeke helped mask a brutal Dallas defense, and this year that side of the ball will be exposed.”
Almost nailed it line: “The Steelers will be one of the final four teams standing. Pittsburgh goes 13-3.”
Since we’re finally at the Super Bowl it’s time for some final predictions. The list of props always entertains me, and they’re calling for beverages to win the commercial wars. Mountain Dew and Budweiser lead the odds to win the night (give me Bud in a landslide). I love the under in total “Dilly Dilly’s” in all ads (o/u is 15.5). And I like Tedy Bruschi to hand the Pats the Lombardi if they win the game (9:1). See ya next September for another round of “D.A. Throws Darts at the NFL Board.”
D.A. hosts 9am-12 pm ET on the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10.” D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and began looking for ways to make a sports radio show into a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY.