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NFL INSIDER: Midway through, a look back at what was foretold in August

2013-11-14T19:00:00Z 2013-11-22T02:44:07Z NFL INSIDER: Midway through, a look back at what was foretold in AugustMatt Erickson NFL Insider nwitimes.com
November 14, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

LAS VEGAS | Just past the midway point of the season, it's time to look back in a combination of awe and mockery at just how well our full-season predictions are doing.

The 2013 NFL season has had its typical roller-coaster moments. Just when you think you can count on picking against a pair of 0-8 teams, they manage to both win in the same week. It's continued proof that throwing darts at a board might just have better accuracy than trying to pick NFL games these days, given the parity in the league – where even the worst teams are sometimes just a few plays away from keeping even with the best.

AFC East

I said then: Pats will rule again … Jets will be bottom-feeders.

Now: The Patriots are two games up on the Jets, who have been very up and down. A little consistency here on out, and they could put a scare into New England.

AFC North

I said then: Bengals will surpass Ravens and Steelers.

Now: The Bengals are in the lead, but the Steelers have been a surprise cellar-dweller with that rough 0-4 start.

AFC South

I said then: Texans will outpace the Colts, Jaguars will be terrible.

Now: At least I was right about the Jags. But I sure didn't see things completely falling apart in Houston.

AFC West

I said then: Broncos will roll past Chiefs to division win.

Now: The Chiefs are a pleasant surprise at 9-0, a game up on the 8-1 Broncos – but they play this week to find out just how real things are in K.C.

NFC East

I said then: The Cowboys, Giants and Redskins will duke it out to rule the division.

Now: The Cowboys are there. But the Eagles, who I picked to finish fourth, are tied with them while the Giants and 'Skins languish two games back.

NFC North

I said then: The Packers rule again, but the Bears should be a wild-card team. Vikings will struggle.

Now: It's still tight, but the Lions are in control and hold a crucial sweep over the Bears. Things could go awry for Green Bay in a major way without Aaron Rodgers. But the Bears are decimated with injuries maybe in an even worse way – on defense.

NFC South

I said then: Saints will have a leg-up on the Falcons. Panthers will bring up the rear.

Now: The Saints have been great, as predicted. But the 2-7 Falcons are making me look foolish. Instead, it's the Panthers breathing down the Saints' necks.

NFC West

I said then: Seahawks sneak past the Niners.

Now: It might not be sneaking past at this point at 9-1 against San Fran's 6-3. The Seahawks are very much for real.

PLAYOFFS

I said then: Patriots, Bengals, Texans, Broncos, Ravens, Colts from the AFC. Cowboys, Packers, Saints, Seahawks, Bears, Falcons from the NFC.

Now: Looks like things are reasonably solid for four of those six in the AFC. Sorry, Texans. You're broken. And the Ravens could get consistent and make a run. In the NFC, the Falcons are the big stunner. The Saints and Seahawks look like sure things now, with the other three having decent chances of getting in. But my Broncos-over-Saints Super Bowl prediction still seems tight.

Baltimore (4-5) +3 (46.5) at BEARS (5-4)

MattE's pick: Bears 24, Ravens 20

Detroit (6-3) -2.5 (48) at Pittsburgh (3-6)

MattE's pick: Steelers 27, Lions 23

Atlanta (2-7) -2 (43) at Tampa Bay (1-6)

MattE's pick: Falcons 24, Bucs 16

NY. Jets (5-4) +1.5 (40.5) at Buffalo (3-7)

MattE's pick: Jets 23, Bills 20

Cleveland (4-5) +6 (42) at Cincinnati (6-4)

MattE's pick: Bengals 27, Browns 20

Oakland (3-6) +7 (42.5) at Houston (2-7)

MattE's pick: Texans 26, Raiders 13

Washington (3-6) +3.5 (52.5) at Philadelphia (5-5)

MattE's pick: Eagles 31, Redskins 27

Arizona (5-4) -6.5 (41.5) at Jacksonville (1-8)

MattE's pick: Cardinals 24, Jaguars 17

San Diego (4-5) -1.5 (45.5) at Miami (4-5)

MattE's pick: Chargers 26, Dolphins 23

Green Bay (5-4) +6 (42.5) at N.Y. Giants (3-6)

MattE's pick: Giants 24, Packers 20

Minnesota (2-7) +13 (45.5) at Seattle (8-1)

MattE's pick: Seahawks 31, Vikings 13

San Francisco (6-3) +3 (47.5) at New Orleans (7-2)

MattE's pick: Saints 34, 49ers 24

Kansas City (9-0) +8 (49.5) at Denver (8-1)

MattE's pick: Broncos 31, Chiefs 24

New England (7-2) +2.5 (46) at Carolina (6-3)

MattE's pick: Patriots 27, Panthers 23

Last week: 6-8 straight up, 5-8 against the spread. Season: 91-55 (.623) straight up, 72-70-4 (.507) against the spread

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times for 12 seasons. He covers mixed martial arts for The Times and is assistant MMA editor for USA Today and MMAjunkie.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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