Man was the 2017 NFL Regular Season a fun, crazy, surprising, frustrating, depressing, maddening, elating year. We had the Chargers almost make the playoffs, the Bills ACTUALLY MAKE THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1999, two young QB’s vault themselves to elite status then promptly go down for the season, Jimmy Garropolo go perfect 5-0 with the 49ers late into the season, a player not named Gurley, Bell, McCoy, Fournette or Elliott rush for the most yards, the Vikings cycle through 3 QB’s and be brilliant on all fronts, the Broncos cycle through 3 QBs and be terrible on all fronts, the Chiefs start 5-0 and the Chargers start 0-4 and finish just one win apart from each other, the Browns go 0-16, and the injuries, oh boy the injuries.
1. For the first time in 5 years, Matt Ryan is NOT in the top 5 in passing yards.
Recap: He finished 6th, which sounds like he was close but he was a full 156 yards out of 5th place (Big Ben) so while he sat just outside 5th place he wasn’t a few yards short.
Verdict: Correct! They still made the playoffs which I did not think would happen and I think they will be fun to watch in the playoffs this year.
2. Both Los Angeles teams fall in the bottom ten in % of attendance (a ringing endorsement for why this city shouldn’t have one let alone two NFL franchises)
Recap: The Chargers finished in dead last at less than half the next closest team (Cincinnati). The Rams, (to me boosted by a strong outing) finished…26th smack in between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
Verdict: I consider this largely a correct prediction with the outlier being the Rams and talented coach Sean McVay propelling them into the playoffs. Fun side factoid – the 13-3 Pittsburgh Steelers finished 27thfilling 91.3% of their stadium 3 spots below the 0-16 Cleveland browns who were 24th filing 87% of their stadium.
3. Isaiah “Crow” Crowell who was 15th last season in rushing yards lands in the top 3 in rushing yards this year.
Recap: Hue made good on his word to get ‘Crow’ more touches…by 8. Instead, Duke saw a heavy uplift in usage as Crowell went from 952 yards and 7 TDs in 2016 finishing 15th in rushing yard to 18th with 853 yards across 206 carries and just 2 Touchdowns!
Verdict: Failure by Crow, Hue, the Browns etc. etc. etc.
4. BJ Goodson – get to know this name, 4th round pick out of Clemson in his 2nd seasons has vaulted from a practice squad to what appeared (in the Browns game vs. Giants) to be one of the best linebackers in the league. He will be in the top 10 in tackles this year. For anyone keeping track at home I’m essentially saying this guy goes from 9 total tackles last year to 130+ this year.
Recap: He started out electric, he was the top tackler after game 1 with 18 tackles!!..and then he got hurt. Not just hurt but he injured his entire lower body from leg to shin to ankle. This limited him to just 8 games this season and he was placed on IR late in December. If he can stay healthy, I maintain he is an absolute BEAST!
Verdict: Curse you injuries!!
5. Nick Folk to the rescue – 22nd last year in total points he lands in the top 8 this year.
Recap: Epic Epic meltdown here. After beating out both Roberto Aguayo and Zach Hocker I felt good about his season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Well he missed 3 field goals in week five then a month later, he got hurt, went on IR and was ultimately released. I think he is officially done.
Verdict: Cue the Price is Right losing horn here.
6. Russell Wilson was 10th last season in passing yard with 4,219. This year he is in the top 5 with at least 4,600
Recap: More of the same as he actually decreased from 4,219 yards to 3,983 yards but moved up from 10th place to 9th place on the passing chart. He had some brilliant games – 452 yards against Houston, 334 yards against the Giants and 373 yards against Tennessee but some clunkers as well – 93 yards against Dallas, 142 yards against the Rams and 158 yards to finish up the season against the Packers.
Verdict: Nothing bold here, in the immortal words of Dennis Green – he was who we thought he was.
7. Rookie of the Year – Dalvin Cook.
Recap: Well, as 2017 was the year of injuries (Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, ODB, Joe Thomas, Carson Wentz, DeShaun Watson, Julien Edelman, Ryan Tannehill, Eric Berry, Andrew Luck, David Johnson, Richard Sherman etc..etc…) so went Dalvin Cook. In Week 4, Dalvin tore his ACL averaging 88.5 rushing yards with 2 TDs in his first 4 games.
Verdict: Curse you injuries!!!
8. The 5-11 San Diego Los Angeles Chargers make the playoffs this year.
Recap: I had the right idea, the LA Chargers finished 9-7, same record as the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills who both made the playoffs but I forgot to factor in the unlucky factor meaning, even if they had the same record they would win the wrong games and lose the right ones such that they sit on the outside looking in at the end of the day.
Verdict: Correct if not for the important piece that the Chargers will have the luck of the Chargers.
9. Philadelphia Eagles go from worst to first 7-9 last year, they lead the NFC East at 12-4 this year.
Recap: I’m going to stop, take a deep breath and try to recap this one in a calm and collected manner. I….was….so….right….it’s insane. Amidst some clunkers this year, this selection has me on cloud nine. I could have gone 1-9 and been ecstatic with how right I was here. Ok that last comment was a lie, but you get my drift.
10. This one isn’t particularly bold (or is it??) Super Bowl: Steelers vs. Packers with the Packers winning it all
Recap: Well considering the Packers didn’t make the playoffs (again, thanks a lot injuries) I don’t expect this to happen. I will double down though and say that the Steelers will beat the Patriots and be in the Super Bowl.
Verdict: Already half wrong, TBD on the rest.