About four years ago I was trying to explain to my then 8-year old daughter (who is a rabid football fan) that all the predictions, prognostications and pre-season bluster from so-called "experts" was about as accurate as flipping a coin. So, to prove a point, I did just that.
On a lovely late Summer afternoon I sat down with her and two copies of the NFL schedule. With one I did my best picking every NFL game, one-by-one, including the occasional crazy upset and came away with records for all 32 teams. Then I did the same thing with a coin. Heads for home teams and tails for away teams. We tucked those predictions away and in January pulled them back out to find that Daddy had correctly predicted 7 of the 12 playoff teams that year...the coin had predicted 8 of 12.
So every year since, my daughter and I do our "Coin Toss Predictions" and every year we are pleasantly surprised by the accuracy we have over various "experts" in the field of NFL prognostications. Below you will find this year's Coin Toss Predictions. Division champs are designated with (D) and wild cards are designated with (W). Some quick observations follow. I'll say this now...the coin told you so...
New England - 10-6 (D)
Buffalo - 10-6 (W)
NY Jets - 7-9
Miami - 7-9
Cincinnati - 9-7 (D)
Pittsburgh - 8-8
Cleveland - 7-9
Baltimore - 4-12
Houston - 11-5 (D)
Jacksonville - 9-7 (W)
Tennessee - 6-10
Indianapolis - 4-12
Kansas City - 12-4 (D)
Denver - 8-8
San Diego - 7-9
Oakland - 4-12
Philadelphia - 11-5 (D)
Washington - 10-6 (W)
Dallas - 9-7 (W)
NY Giants - 6-10
Green Bay - 10-6 (D)
Chicago - 8-8
Detroit - 8-8
Minnesota - 7-9
Atlanta - 10-6 (D)
New Orleans - 8-8
Tampa Bay - 8-8
Carolina - 7-9
Arizona - 10-6 (D)
Seattle - 8-8
San Francisco - 7-9
St. Louis - 5-11
Some quick observations:
*The coin had Dallas start 7-0 but then crash and burn, going 2-7 the rest of the way. The coin has them making the playoffs though (and beating the Giants twice).
*Speaking of the defending champs...6-10? The only NFC East team not in the playoffs? That's not impossible but would be a SB hangover of epic proportions.
*The coin had Green Bay start off 1-4 but rally to still win 10 games and claim the division crown once again.
*The coin had the Saints at 4-2 in their first six games and 4-6 the rest of the way. Why is this interesting? Because this year after six games the Saints will be making their second head coaching change of the season when interim head coach Joe Vitt comes off suspension. Hmm...
*The coin has Eagles coach Andy Reid lose for the first time the week after the team's bye week. He's currently 13-0 but the coin has them lose at home to Atlanta on 10/28. (Side note: They better not. I have tickets for that game.)
Teams The Coin Likes Better Than Me:
1) Kansas City - I think they have the potential to surprise some people. But 12 wins and the #1 seed in the AFC. Color me shocked if that happens.
2) Arizona - I know they finished strong last year and they have talent in various places on their roster, but a division title? I'm not seeing it unless Kevin Kolb becomes the QB Andy Reid duped them into believing he was.
3) Washington - I think the 'Skins are going to be a tough out this year. I think RGIII will help them steal a few games they have no right winning. But not enough to be a playoff team...yet.
Teams I Like Better Than The Coin:
1) Baltimore - Four wins?!? One of the three worst teams in the league?!? Is the coin predicting some kind of massive team plague? The coin has them going 1-5 in the division. I'm high enough on Cincy and Pittsburgh though to believe that this year.
2) Chicago - Eight wins seems liek a pretty fair assessment for a team that has really lived up to expectations in the Cutler era (sans one season). But I actually think this team is going to be pretty good this year. I could see 10 or 11 wins and battling Green bay for the division title.
3) San Francisco - I am a firm believer that this team takes a step back this year. Possibly a big step back. But, a losing record? No. I still think they win their division but a repeat of last year is not going to happen.
Surprises I Think The Coin Could Be Right On:
1) San Diego - I could totally see this team crapping out this year. They just don't impress me at all.
2) Detroit - Rough off-season. Could easily translate on the field come the Fall.
3) Pittsburgh - I don't put a lot of stock in pre-saeson games but did you see how many times Big Ben was running for his life and having to move out of the pocket against the Eagles 2nd string DEs? (Trent Cole and Jason Babin were both out with minor injuries.) This team could be fantastic or they could get their QB killed with another year of poor O-line play. The jury is out for me on Pittsburgh right now.
Coming next week I'll show you how The Coin shakes out the playoff match-ups all the way to a predicted Super Bowl champ.