Playoff Predictions: Props to Raf

Back in September, Raf offered up his playoff predictions for 09. With all 6 playoff spots in the NFC decided, and 4 of the 6 AFC spots locked up, let's see how he did:


The mainstream media carneys are all making fools of themselves with their predictions so I figure it's time for me to do the same.  Here, then are my picks for the NFL playoff field.

Longtime readers know, I'm the advocate of the "Fantastic Four" theory of prognostication.  As I've demonstrated in numerous posts the past five seasons, there are two trends in the Era of Parity. First, the playoff field churns roughly 50% from year to year.  That means that around six of the teams which made the playoffs last year won't repeat. 

The second, and more interesting stat involves the NFL's rebound factor. This decade an average of four teams per season which had losing records the previous year make the playoffs the following year. Thirty four teams have made this jump since 2000.  Look at last year's field.  Miami went from 1-15 to 11-5; Baltimore from 5-11 to 11-5; the Panthers from 7-9 to 12-4 and the Falcons jumped from 4-12 to 11-5.

And this happens every year. Since I've been touting this loser-to-winner streak, I'm going to find at least three more teams to make the jump.  This requires a leap of faith on my part;  how, for example, could anybody last year logically predict that the Dolphins would improve ten games?  Here, then, the picks


Loser to Winner in bold; new playoff team with *

AFC Field


  • New England, 1st East*
  • Baltimore, 1st North
  • Pittsburgh, 2nd North
  • Cincinnati, 3rd North*
  • Tennessee, 1st South
  • San Diego, 1st West


NFC Field


  • Philadelphia, 1st East
  • Dallas, 2nd East*
  • Green Bay, 1st North*
  • New Orleans, 1st South*
  • Seattle, 1st West*
  • *    Arizona, 2nd West

So far, so good. 5 of the 6 NFC spots, including 3 non-playoff teams from last year. The only miss was Seattle instead of Minnesota, but then again, who could have predicted that Favre would play so well? Seattle turned out to be a dud, but I agreed with his rationale at the time.

On the other side of the ledger, the last two spots for the AFC are still up for grabs, but Raf could go 5 for 6 here as well, with the only miss being Tennessee instead of Indy. And the Cincy pick was inspired, if you ask me.

Good job, Raf. (Of course, we expect nothing less around here.)

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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