A Look Back at My 2012 Preseason Predictions
I think every writer and football analyst should make predictions. Most agree. But here’s a crazy idea: we should examine those predictions at the end of the season. Then we might be able to see who knows what the hell they’re talking about and who will continue to repeat that the Cowboys need to run the ball more if they want to win.
My obsession with predictions is why I make so many before the season and why I’ve openly published my game picks (you know, before the games actually happen) right here for the past three years. At Dallas News, I posted every one of my 2012 preseason predictions that I could find. Many were right. Some were wildly wrong.
Looking back at 2012, it was a pretty good year of predictions for me. Here they are:
Prediction: Bryant will have a 63.0 percent catch rate, 125 targets, 15.5 YPC, 1,224 yards, and 11 touchdowns.
Result: Bryant surpassed my expectations, slightly, with a 67.2 percent catch rate on 137 targets, 15.0 YPC, 1,382 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
Prediction: The loss of Bennett—one of the league’s best blocking tight ends—will hurt the running game.
Result: There are lots of reasons the Cowboys’ running game suffered in 2012, but much of it had to do with Bennett’s departure.
Prediction: Murray will total between 950 and 1,050 rushing yards.
Result: Due to missing six games, Murray rushed for only 663 yards. Otherwise, he was on pace for 1,061.
Prediction: Ratliff will have just 20 tackles and two sacks in 2012.
Result: Ratliff ended the season with 10 tackles and zero sacks in six games.
Prediction: The Cowboys’ guards and center will struggle at the point-of-attack.
Result: Exactly that.
Prediction: Witten’s production will remain stable in 2012 before dropping substantially in 2013.
Result: In terms of receptions, Witten had an historic season. However, he also scored only three times and had the worst efficiency of his career in terms of both YPC and yards per route. We’ll see if his bulk production does indeed dip this year.
Prediction: Church will have a strong year as a starter.
Result: Injured in Week 3, we never really saw much of the safety.
Prediction: Romo’s deep ball rate will increase, perhaps to 15.0 percent.
Result: Romo did throw more deep passes than ever, but his rate—10.8 percent—didn’t increase much over previous seasons.
Predictions: Dez Bryant will lead the NFL in touchdowns, Tyron Smith will allow fewer than four sacks, Jason Witten won’t top 850 receiving yards, DeMarco Murray will catch over 50 passes, and the Cowboys will win the NFC East.
Results: Bryant was second in the NFL in touchdown receptions—one behind Eric Decker, Smith allowed only three sacks, Witten had 1,039 yards with a career-high in targets, Murray was on pace for 56 receptions before getting injured, and the Cowboys clearly didn’t win the NFC East.
You can see more of my predictions right here.