AFC North 2014 Predictions Revisited

AFC North 2014 Predictions Revisited
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Teams of the AFC North were not able to reach out and grab these win numbers

Like many publications, the AFC North end of offered predictions on how teams in their division would fare in 2014. However, unlike most others who make sure to highlight the one prediction out of 32 they got correct, we will revisit all of our season’s predictions for both the Browns and Bengals, and the Ravens and Steelers so the world can see how smart we really are(n’t). Unfortunately the specific game-by-game preseason predictions were written in posts, so you will have to take my word for it.

Predicted:                    Actual:

Ravens 10-6                  10-6

Steelers 10-6                 11-5

Bengals 9-7                   10-5-1

Browns 5-11                  7-9


Baltimore Ravens

For the most part, the 2014 Ravens beat the teams they were supposed to beat, and lost to most teams in the playoff hunt not named the Steelers. Overall they did just enough and finished the season with 10 wins and squeaked into the playoffs.

Where did we go right?

Although the Ravens did not win the AFC North, they did make the playoffs with the exact record predicted, and they did advance further in the playoffs than their Northern rivals. Those pesky Steelers and Bengals just played better than expected in the regular season.

Biggest preseason hit: The Ravens were predicted to go 1-2 against the Dolphins, Chargers, and Texans, and they did.

What were we thinking?

The Ravens did not end up 4-2 in the AFC North, but slid a game to 3-3 because they couldn’t figure out how to beat the Bengals. They made up for it by unexpectedly beating the Saints in New Orleans.

Biggest miss: the Ravens losing to the Bengals at home, but it most likely would not have prevented a divisional playoff showdown with the Patriots.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers grabbed the AFC North title despite stumbling out of the gate. They did well in the preseason’s “positive outlook” category with a much improved running game, renewed swagger on both offense and defense (at times), and Hailey and Ben came together despite Snoop Dog’s expert insight.

Where did we go right?

This will be a short one because of of how the Steelers reached 11-5. Although the actual prediction was just a game off,  the Steelers lost to several teams they were predicted to beat, and won many difficult match ups.

Biggest hit: The Steelers had a 4-2 conference record.

What were we thinking?

Lets start with the two losses to the Jets and Buccaneers who won a combined six games the entire season, which could have set the Steelers back to 8-8 or worse. Then add the fact that four of their five losses were to sub .500 teams. Instead of obsessing over those losses, the Steelers literally looked like world beaters when taking down Indy and the Ravens in record-breaking fashion, then knocked off a tough Chiefs team, and the Bengals twice. Their 4-0 stretch run against potentially tough opponents (remember these predictions were preseason) put the Steelers over the top.

Biggest miss: It has to be the loss to the Buccs, despite the Steelers recent struggles versus subpar teams.

Cincinnati Bengals

Despite the Bengals recent success, they were predicted to finish third based on their schedule. Having to play the Broncos and Patriots is far more difficult than any other team those divisions have to offer.

Where did we go right?

The Bengals did finish with a 3-3 division record although not exactly how it was drawn up (predicted a split with each team). Also, minus a freakish tie to the Panthers, all inter-division games held true to predicted form until week 10.

Biggest hit: 3-3 division record

What were we thinking?

The Bengals swept the Ravens and were swept by the Steelers. They also went into New Orleans and dominated the Saints (the Saints hadn’t lost at home since 2012), and crushed Peyton and the Broncos hopes for a #1 seed in prime-time no less. We weren’t close on those.

Biggest miss: The Saints and Broncos wins were unexpected and nearly gave the Bengals 11 wins.

Cleveland Browns

This team is always a struggle to predict because despite having more talent than 5-11, they usually fall below loftier expectations. This year started out much differently, but a late season losing streak kept the preseason prediction from being too laughable.

Where did we go right?

The Browns were predicted to have an upside because of their schedule, and potentially because of a stable quarterback. It was also predicted that if Johnny Manziel was given the starting job, the Browns hopes would essentially end for 2014.

Biggest hit: the Browns would struggle to win a game in the second half of the season.

What were we thinking?

The Browns beat the Saints. That unlikely early season win coupled with their victory over the Steelers helped the Browns finish with two more wins than expected.

Biggest miss: It has to be the Saints win. Preseason Saints hype with uncertainty with the Browns offense seemed like a Saints victory lock despite being played outdoors.

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