Back in September, we made our predictions for the current NFL season. Now that all teams have played either eight or nine games, we’re practically at the halfway stage of the season, and now seems a good a time as any to reflect on our initial predictions and analyse where the rest of the NFL season goes from here.
Super Bowl 51
Admittedly, we seem to have been a little off the mark with this one. In our initial prediction we had the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers going to the final. While they still could mathematically, both teams are currently off the pace in their respective conferences. With a record of 3-4-1, the Cards currently lie 10th in their Conference, four places and two wins outside of the Wild Card Spots. It’s a similar story for the Steelers with a 4-4 record that sees them two wins and two spots away from the Wild Cards. With eight games remaining each, the season is by no way over, but they need to turn their fortunes around, and quickly, if they have any hope of keeping the Super Bowl dream alive.
The most likely Super Bowl final right now is the Dallas Cowboys against the New England Patriots. The Cowboys have kind of hit a home run with their draft picks this year. Rookies, Dak Prescott (quarterback) and Ezekiel Elliott (running back) have hit the ground running and have quickly establish a chemistry like they’ve been playing together for years, and both seem unfazed by the big stage. Despite an opening day slip up, the Cowboys are currently enjoying a seven game win streak. If you fancy betting on the NFL, Dallas could be the smart money for the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, the Patriots didn’t seem to suffer too much while they were missing top QB Tom Brady for four games as a result of the ‘deflategate scandal’. Upon his return, Brady has picked up right where he left off and the team went into their bye week with a 7-1 record.
This is a tough one as there a number of NFL players who have been performing at a consistently high level. Statistically, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons is the best QB in the NFL with 2980 completed passing yards. Drew Brees and Andrew Luck are currently hot on his heels as we enter the second half of the regular season. But as mentioned above, should Dallas even get to the Super Bowl, they’ll mainly have to thank the partnership of Prescott and Elliott.
Offensive Player of the Year
We gave this to Odell Beckham in our September predictions, and while he has all the talent to be about the best offensive players of all time, so far he’s been letting his short fuse and quick temper get the better of him. When he plays well, he plays really well, but when he lets something get the better of him, he ends up lost in the shuffle. Statistically, Ezekiel Elliott is the top running back with 891 rushing yards, and Julio Jones is the top wide receiver with 970 receiving yards.
Best Defensive Player
As somewhat predicted, JJ Watt is set to miss the season after having back surgery. He did manage three games though and made 1.5 sacks.
Zach Brown has recorded the most tackles at 87, Von Miller has completed 9.5 sacks, and Casey Hayward has made 5 interceptions.
Rookie of the Year
Ezekiel Elliott has lived up to all expectations and then some, the only limit to what he can achieve with the Cowboys is your imagination. The funny thing is that his biggest competition for Rookie of the Year may come from his own teammate, in Dak Prescott.