With the NFL season now officially over, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at where it all started. If you have been following Vikings Territory and purplePTSD for some time, you know that I wrote Power Rankings reacting to each week of the NFL season.
Today, I am going to go back to the rankings I wrote before week one and react to where I stood back in early September compared to where we ended up. If you want to follow along or point out any other bad takes that weren’t included, here’s a link to that article. Without further ado, these are my biggest wins and losses of the 2020 NFL season.
It may be a little pretentious to brag about my preseason takes. However, I can’t lie, looking back on a few of these made me feel validated in my NFL knowledge. It also feels a little sentimental to me. This was the first NFL season that I actually got to publish articles, so it’s a special one. Being right is a good feeling, so if you had any strong takes that ended up being right, feel free to share in the comments.
10 out of 14 playoff teams were correct
I tried to make my power rankings unique in that first I would rank the 14 teams that I considered playoff teams before ranking the other non-playoff teams. In my preseason ranking, I was 10/14. 71% may not be a great grade in the classroom, but I never was the smartest kid in school so I’ll take it. I was especially in tune with the AFC, projecting six of the seven teams correctly. The only one that I missed entirely was Cleveland, but to be fair, it’s still the Browns.
I also believe that there is a case to be made for the teams that I missed. I picked San Francisco and Dallas to make it, and we all know how those teams were ravaged with injuries. While I was probably too high on the 49ers (they were my top NFC team), it should have been reasonable for them to at least snag a wild card spot if they were healthier. We all know how bad the NFC East was, too, so Dak Prescott could have reasonably made a difference. As for Minnesota, well, so many things went wrong, and I would just like to apologize for jinxing them.
Josh Allen as a top QB and Bills as a top-five team
I’ve been driving the Josh Allen bandwagon since Buffalo drafted him. I felt stronger about this than ever when the Bills traded for Stefon Diggs. In 2020, Allen led his team to a 13-3 record and threw for over 4500 yards and 37 TDs. Until Aaron Rodgers’ insane stretch at the end of the year, it was not unreasonable to consider him the MVP. Diggs also led the league in receiving yards with 1535 and proved he can be a WR1.
Carson Wentz, Eagles struggling
When the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts, my first thought was that this was going to be the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow Jets all over again. Things got off to a horrible start when the Washington Football Team shocked the world by dominating Philly in a week one victory. It just got worse from there. Wentz seemed to be pressing the entire season, trying to prove he deserved a starting role. It didn’t go nearly as planned as the 4-11-1 Eagles limped to the finish line with Wentz on the bench.
For every correct opinion, there is an equally wrong one, and boy, there are some doozies in here. Everyone who said throughout the season that I should quit my journalism career and take up accounting, dentistry, or McDonald’s drive thru operating gained some credibility with these. Misery loves company, so if you have any takes that went horribly wrong feel free to share those in the comments as well. Let’s get them out in the open and laugh them all off together!
Tampa Bay below New England
This one is pretty egregious. I had both teams making the playoffs, but I had New England ranked 13 and Tampa Bay ranked 14. I became the latest victim of the “Tom Brady is going to fall off a cliff” take, and I did not think Leonard Fournette or Rob Gronkowski would make a difference for that team. Obviously, I was dead wrong. Fournette helped Tampa Bay’s rushing attack greatly, and Gronkowski arguably should have been Super Bowl MVP with his two touchdown performance. Then there’s also the fact that I believed in Cam “can’t throw further than five yards” Newton to lead the Patriots to the promised land.
Yikes. Not only did I have Washington missing the playoffs, but I ranked them worse than both the Jets and Jaguars. My apologies, Washington fans. Credit to Alex Smith, though, because much of my reasoning had to do with little faith that he could come back from such a devastating injury. It got scary at times, but he certainly played well enough to get Washington to an NFC East title (if we can call ending up at the top of the NFC East a title). I apparently didn’t have much faith in a defense that ranked fourth in scoring, either.
LA Chargers ahead of LA Rams
This take had less to do with my trust in the Chargers than it did my distrust of the Rams. After missing the playoffs in 2019, I thought another mediocre season was on the way for the Rams. Instead, their defense led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey proved me horribly wrong. Not only that, but Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Malcolm Brown were the head of a decent enough running game. Meanwhile, I was still very wrong about the Chargers. I didn’t think Justin Herbert would be good enough to lead the team, but he turned in one of the better rookie seasons in NFL history.
These past few months of covering the 2020 NFL season have been a blast. It has been a long, winding road of uncertainty through this COVID season, but we made it through. I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do this had it not been for all you readers, so thank you for tuning in for every correct and wildly incorrect take. Here’s to 2021!