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A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

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My 2013 Final Standings, Playoffs, and Super Bowl Predictions

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It’s that time of the year again: the time when I make more accurate predictions than any writer you’ll find. I posted my 2013 final standings at Dallas News:

Predicting Playoff Teams

We hear the same line every year: six teams from last year’s playoffs will be miss the postseason this year. Guess what? That information is useless and, if you’re using it to make predictions, it’s also dangerous. I wrote about this idea a couple years ago:

While it is a virtual certainty that some (and often times, many) different teams will make the playoffs in a given season, I disagree with the notion that it is rational to displace a talented team with a mediocre one in one’s playoff predictions simply to accommodate the “six new teams will make the playoffs” trend.

The reasoning is simple. For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that all of the playoff teams from last season have a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs again this year, while the non-playoff teams have a 30 percent chance of making it.

Which specific group of 12 teams is the most likely to make the playoffs? It is actually the same group as last season (in this hypothetical example). Of course, the chance of that exact group of 12 making it again is incredibly small, but that isn’t a reason to not predict it will happen.

While we can be fairly certain the group of playoff teams will contain some newcomers, we don’t know which newcomers it will be, and we don’t know which teams they’ll replace.  To predict that a team with a 30 percent chance of making the playoffs will do so at the expense of a team with a 50 percent chance is simply bad math.

The idea is that even though we pretty much know the playoff teams will be different from last season, it’s foolish to predict teams to make the playoffs just because they didn’t make it last year. It’s the same idea as everyone picking a 12 seed over a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament; although it’s likely that at least one 5 seed will go down, we’re still justified in choosing each of them to win, assuming they’re all the favorites, because we don’t know which 12 seed will win.

Okay, let’s get to the predictions. . .

Final 2013 Standings

  • NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
Washington Redskins (10-6)
New York Giants (9-7)
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

  • NFC North

Green Bay Packers (11-5)
Detroit Lions (8-8)
Chicago Bears (7-9)
Minnesota Vikings (5-11)

  • NFC South

New Orleans Saints (10-6)
Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
Carolina Panthers (10-6)
Tampa Bay Bucs (6-10)

  • NFC West

San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
St. Louis Rams (9-7)
Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

  • AFC East

New England Patriots (10-6)
Miami Dolphins (8-8)
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
New York Jets (5-11)

  • AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-9)
Baltimore Ravens (7-9)
Cleveland Browns (6-10)

  • AFC South

Houston Texans (11-5)
Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Indianapolis Colts (7-9)
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)

  • AFC West

Denver Broncos (13-3)
Kansas City Chiefs (6-10)
San Diego Chargers (5-11)
Oakland Raiders (3-13)

Check out my playoff results and award winners right here.

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