Monday, August 13, 2012


In Preparation For Our Annual NFL Predictions
Steve Lalla Looks Back on the 2011 NFL Season 

Gearing up for the end of summer and the onslaught of the winter months, we have little to look forward to other than NFL Football, death and taxes. In preparation for the pomp and bravado of prediction season, we must make the mandatory review of last year's projections.

The 2011 NFL Season should go down in history as the Year of the Quarterback, as 3 NFL QBs achieved the 5000 yard plateau. Only Drew Brees and Dan Marino had achieved this milestone in the entire history of the NFL. While many people were astounded at the sudden explosion of yards passed, one can't help be surprised that it took so long. When Joe Namath threw 4007 yards in a 14-game season in 1967 the 24-year old, third-year QB shocked the world. Totalling 250 yards more than the previous record, Sonny Jurgensen's 3747 yards of 1966, Namath set milestone that seemed unbreakable at the time. Unbelievably, it would take the expansion to a 16-game schedule in 1978 for San Diego QB Dan Fouts to finally, in 1979, inch past Namath with a 4082 yard season. In retrospect, it seems absurd that Marino threw 5084 yards a mere 5 years after Fouts became only the second QB in history to eclipse 4000. The real oddity is that it took NFL quarterbacks twenty seven years to equal Marino's totals from that fated year. One factor that helped them do so in 2012 was the higher incidence of touchbacks caused by moving the kickoff line back to the 35 yard line, increasing the number of touchbacks almost three-fold, and giving offenses longer fields to work with. Only one player has ever caught more than 1800 yards worth in one season; how long will it take for someone to break Jerry Rice's 17-year old single-season record of 1848 yards? How long is it going to be before someone grabs 2000 yards receiving?


Dan Marino in 1984

Contrary to my predictions, Philadelphia and San Diego did not make the playoffs -although they did establish themselves as the strongest teams of December, winning 7 of 8 games in the month. New York's ability to continue their strong winter into the Playoffs and finally, the Super Bowl, confirmed what this sportswriter already knew: that the championship game goes not to the best team at the beginning of the season, but to the hottest team at its culmination. Picking two 8-8 teams to make the Super Bowl doesn't seem so absurd when we compare it to the reality that a 9-7 team won it. One less Philip Rivers fumble, one less missed tackle by an Eagle linebacker, and it could have easily happened. Although I did not correctly pick the Super Bowl winner I'm still at 50% at picking the Champ since I started my predictions, so that's pretty damn good, and as we'll see from a breakdown of my results, I still had a season that would make many gamblers rich.

Of 256 regular season games I correctly predicted the outcome, before the season had even started, of 158 games (61.7%) compared to last year's total of 161. Once again I picked nine out of twelve playoff teams, surprised only by Denver, San Francisco and the Giants. Funnily all of my competitors (listed below) also erroneously picked San Diego, the Eagles and the St-Louis Rams to make it into the playoffs last year. Due to a lack of religious fervor I was not able to predict Tebowmania -perhaps my greatest failing. My analysis of Green Bay was particularly astute, as I clearly envisioned their near-perfect season and early playoff elimination. I was also able to predict that A. Rodgers would win the Offensive MVP award, and correctly projected Denver's Von Miller to win the Defensive Rookie award (young pass rushers, like Aldon Smith as well, tend to have early success getting to the quarterback and generating the sack totals that are needed to win awards in the NFL). The continuing innefficiency of K. Kolb -similarly foretold, as well as the burst of productiveness from NO's TE Jimmy Graham. With the lack of OTAs and the sudden announcement of Peyton Matting's season-ending neck surgery only on opening day of the season (I foresaw the Indianapolis Colts finishing with a 13-3 record), I'm astonished at the accuracy of my calls.

2010
Correctly predicted outcome of game: 62.9%
Correctly predicted team's won-loss total: 83.8% (accurate within 2.6 wins)
Amount of playoff teams projected (out of 12): 9

2011
Correctly predicted outcome of game: 61.7%
Correctly predicted team's won-loss total: 80.0% (accurate within 3.2 wins)
Amount of playoff teams projected (out of 12): 9

Last year I compared my own projections to the leaders in the field, Football locks and Bleacher Report, and bested both of them. In 2011 the majors improved their game a bit and were able to compete with my standards, as the following graphs show.

Deviation in Final Records (accuracy in predicting Teams' final regular season records)
-this number represents the total difference in NFL Win totals, team-by-team, from my predictions. For example, I projected the Giants to finish 10-6; instead they finished 9-7, giving me a total deviation of 1 for that team. The total represents the total deviation across all 32 teams in the league.

                                 2010      2011
SteveLallablogs           84         102
Footballlocks              99         102
Bleacher Report          92          83

Fox's Peter Schrager had the best results I could find, deviating only 75 wins from the NFL's final records, and correctly predicting that the Pats would lose the Super Bowl, though he had the Packers winning it, and next year Schrager will be my target.

My next NFL-related post will be my annual projection sheet for the entire season, until then, happy pre-season!











Wednesday, September 7, 2011

(Part 4) Steve Lalla Predicts the 2011 NFL Football Season In Toto

Steve Lalla Predicts the 2011 NFL Football Season In Toto (Part Four), within which we will view the final records of all 32 NFL teams and learn the season's most valuable players and salient points.

AFC
East
NE 14-2
NYJ 12 -4
BUF 5-11
MIA 4-12

North
PIT 14-2
BAL 13-3
CLE 8-8
CIN 1-15

South
IND 13-3
HOU 12-4
JAX 3-13
TEN 3-13

West
SD 12-4
KC 7-9
DEN 5-11
OAK 3-13



NFC
East
PHI 12-4
NYG 10-6
DAL 9-7
WAS 3-13

North
GB 14-2
DET 9-7
MIN 7-9
DET 7-9

South
ATL 14-2
NO 12-4
TB 7-9
CAR 5-11

West
STL 7-9
SEA 5-11
SF 4-12
ARI 2-14


The most significant change to come out of the new CBA will be moving kickoffs back to the 35 yard line. Longer fields will lead to slightly less scoring around the league (around 1.5 to 2 points each game). Teams struggling for identity will find themselves emerging as apparent defensive forces (BAL, STL, WAS, DEN, MIN, SF, BUF, MIA, KC), though this won't necessarily equate with wins. New Orleans and New England will vastly improve on the defensive side of the ball -especially against the run, while Detroit, Atlanta, Houston and Buffalo will sport re-vamped defenses that will excel at pressuring, maybe even injuring, QBs throughout the season. The Giants will continue to do that as well.

Perhaps struggling to get below the cap and make ends meet, or perhaps because of the Andrew Luck Factor, many troubled teams parted with their best players for 2011, especially in the AFC: CIN's done with Ocho and Carson Palmer, JAX and Garrard, MIA with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, OAK with Asomugha and Zach Miller, TEN Vince Young, Jason Babin. The result will be -contrary to the predictions of other leading NFL sites, an unprecedented amount of teams with double-digit loss columns.

I expect significant contributors to include rookie running backs Ingram in NO and Thomas in MIA, rookie TE Kendricks in STL, DT Fairley in DET and WR Julio Jones in ATL. Young players Larod Stephens-Howling (ARI), Jimmy Graham (NO), Jerome Harrison (DET), Percy Harvin (MIN), Amendola (STL), Woodhead and Edelman (NE) are likely to emerge as bonafide stars. Blount (TB) will prove that his rookie season was no joke, expect him to compete with Peterson and Johnson for the league lead in rushing yards. Established players Ricky Williams and Lee Evans (BAL), Ochocinco (NE), Cotchery (PIT), Steve Breaston (KC) will produce in their new homes. I think Kevin Kolb will prove, like all Eagles QBs upon leaving Andy Reid's system, to be a bust.

Offensive MVP? Aaron Rodgers is my bet, with Ed Reed gaining defensive honours. Miami's Daniel Thomas and Denver's Von Miller are my bets for Rookies of the Year.

Since I'm still suffering from debilitating muscle spasms, I'll have to come back to this later. Remember, you saw it here first!

(Part 3) Steve Lalla Predicts the 2011 NFL Football Season In Toto


WEEK 13

Thursday, December 1
Philadelphia at
W Seattle, 8:20 pm

Sunday, December 4
Tennessee at Buffalo, 1 pm
W
Kansas City at Chicago, 1 pm
W
Baltimore at
W Cleveland, 1 pm
Oakland at Miami, 1 pm
W
Detroit at New Orleans, 1 pm
W
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 pm
W
NY Jets at
W Washington, 1 pm
Atlanta at Houston, 1 pm
W
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1 pm
W
Denver at Minnesota, 4:05 pm
W
Green Bay at
W NY Giants, 4:15 pm
Dallas at
W Arizona, 4:15 pm
St. Louis at
W San Fran, 4:15 pm
Indianapolis at N. England, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, December 5
San Diego at
W Jacksonville, 8:30 pm


WEEK 14

Thursday, December 8
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 8:20 pm
W

Sunday, December 11
Houston at
W Cincinnati, 1 pm
Minnesota at Detroit, 1 pm
W
Oakland at Green Bay, 1 pm
W
New Orleans at
W Tennessee, 1 pm
Philadelphia at
W Miami, 1 pm
Kansas City at NY Jets, 1 pm
W
New England at
W Washington, 1 pm
Atlanta at
W Carolina, 1 pm
Tampa Bay at Jacksonville, 1 pm
W
Indianapolis at
W Baltimore, 1 pm
San Francisco at Arizona, 4:05 pm
W
Chicago at
W Denver, 4:05 pm
Buffalo at San Diego, 4:15 pm
W
NY Giants at Dallas, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, December 12
St. Louis at Seattle, 8:30 pm
W

WEEK 15

Thursday, December 15
Jacksonville at Atlanta, 8:20 pm W

Saturday, December 17
Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8:20 pm W

Sunday, December 18
Miami at Buffalo, 1 pm W
Seattle at Chicago, 1 pm W
Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 pm W
Green Bay at W Kansas City, 1 pm
Cincinnati at St. Louis, 1 pm W
New Orleans at W Minnesota, 1 pm
Washington at NY Giants, 1 pm W
Carolina at Houston, 1 pm W
Detroit at W Oakland, 4:05 pm
New England at W Denver, 4:15 pm
NY Jets at Philadelphia, 4:15 pm W
Cleveland at W Arizona, 4:15 pm
Baltimore at San Diego, 8:20 pm W

Monday, December 19
Pittsburgh at W San Fran, 8:30 pm

WEEK 16

Thursday, December 22
Houston at Indianapolis, 8:20 pm W

Saturday, December 24
Denver at W Buffalo, 1 pm
Arizona at Cincinnati, 1 pm W
Minnesota at W Washington, 1 pm
Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 pm W
Cleveland at Baltimore, 1 pm W
Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1 pm W
Oakland at Kansas City, 1 pm W
Miami at New England, 1 pm W
NY Giants at NY Jets, 1 pm W
St. Louis at Pittsburgh, 1 pm W
San Diego at W Detroit, 4:05 pm
San Francisco at Seattle, 4:15 pm W
Philadelphia at Dallas, 4:15 pm W

Sunday, December 25
Chicago at Green Bay, 8:20 pm W

Monday, December 26
Atlanta at W New Orleans, 8:30 pm



WEEK 17

Sunday, January 1
Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 1 pm
W
Baltimore at
W Cincinnati, 1 pm
Pittsburgh at
W Cleveland, 1 pm
Detroit at Green Bay, 1 pm
W
San Francisco at St. Louis, 1 pm
W
NY Jets at
W Miami, 1 pm
Chicago at
W Minnesota, 1 pm
Buffalo at New England, 1 pm
W
Carolina at New Orleans, 1 pm
W
Dallas at NY Giants, 1 pm
W
Washington at Philadelphia, 1 pm
W
Indianapolis at
W Jacksonville, 1 pm
Tennessee at Houston, 1 pm
W
Seattle at Arizona, 4:15 pm
W
San Diego at
W Oakland, 4:15 pm
Kansas City at Denver, 4:15 pm
W

























2011 NFL PLAYOFFS


WILD CARD WEEKEND
W BAL @ IND

Hou @ SD W

NYG @ PHI W

STL @ NO W

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
W SD @ PIT

W BAL @ NE

W PHI @ GB

NO @ ATL W


CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
BAL @ SD
W

W PHI @ ATL



SUPER BOWL XLVI
Sunday, February 5, 2012, 6 pm

Lucas Oil Stadium Stadium, Indianapolis

SD vs PHI (W)

(Part 2) Steve Lalla Predicts the 2011 NFL Football Season In Toto

WEEK 7

Bye: Buff, Cincy, NE, NYG, Philly, SF
Sunday, October 23

Seattle at Cleveland, 1 pm
W
Atlanta at
W Detroit, 1 pm
Houston at
W Tennessee, 1 pm
Denver at Miami, 1 pm
W
San Diego at NY Jets, 1 pm
W
Chicago at Tampa (London), 1 pm
W
Washington at Carolina, 1 pm
W
Pittsburgh at
W Arizona, 4:05 pm
Kansas City at
W Oakland, 4:05 pm
Green Bay at
W Minnesota, 4:15 pm
St. Louis at Dallas, 4:15 pm
W
Indianapolis at N. Orleans, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, October 24
Baltimore at
W Jacksonville, 8:30 pm

WEEK 8

Bye: Atl, Chic, GB, Oak, NYJ, TB
Sunday, October 30

Indianapolis at
W Tennessee, 1 pm
New Orleans at
W St. Louis, 1 pm
Miami at NY Giants, 1 pm
W
Minnesota at
W Carolina, 1 pm
Arizona at Baltimore, 1 pm
W
Jacksonville at Houston, 1 pm
W
Washington at Buffalo, 4:05 pm
W
Detroit at
W Denver, 4:05 pm
New England at Pittsburgh, 4:15 pm
W
Cleveland at San Francisco, 4:15 pm
W
Cincinnati at Seattle, 4:15 pm
W
Dallas at Philadelphia, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, October 31
San Diego at
W Kansas City, 8:30 pm



WEEK 9

Bye: Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Jax
Sunday, November 6

NY Jets at
W Buffalo, 1 pm
Seattle at Dallas, 1 pm
W
Atlanta at Indianapolis, 1 pm
W
Miami at Kansas City, 1 pm
W
San Fran at Washington, 1 pm
W
Cleveland at Houston, 1 pm
W
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 pm
W
Denver at Oakland, 4:05 pm
W
Cincinnati at Tennessee, 4:05 pm
W
NY Giants at N. England, 4:15 pm
W
St. Louis at
W Arizona, 4:15 pm
Green Bay at
W San Diego, 4:15 pm
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, November 7
Chicago at Philadelphia, 8:30 pm
W


WEEK 10

Thursday, November 10
Oakland at San Diego, 1 pm
W

Sunday, November 13
New Orleans at Atlanta, 1 pm
W
Detroit at
W Chicago, 1 pm
Pittsburgh at
W Cincinnati, 1 pm
St. Louis at Cleveland, 1 pm
W
Buffalo at Dallas, 1 pm
W
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 pm
W
Denver at Kansas City, 1 pm
W
Washington at Miami, 1 pm
W
Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 pm
W
Houston at
W Tampa Bay, 1 pm
Tennessee at Carolina, 1 pm
W
Baltimore at
W Seattle, 4:05 pm
NY Giants at
W San Francisco, 4:15 pm
New England at NY Jets, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, November 14
Minnesota at Green Bay, 8:30 pm
W


WEEK 11

Bye: Houston, Indy, N. Orleans, Pittsburgh
Thursday, November 17

NY Jets at Denver, 8:20 pm
W

Sunday, November 20
Tennessee at Atlanta, 1 pm
W
Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 pm
W
Carolina at Detroit, 1 pm
W
Tampa Bay at Green Bay, 1 pm
W
Buffalo at Miami, 1 pm
W
Oakland at Minnesota, 1 pm
W
Dallas at Washington, 1 pm
W
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 pm
W
Arizona at San Francisco, 4:05 pm
W
Seattle at St. Louis, 4:05 pm
W
San Diego at Chicago, 4:15 pm
W
Philadelphia at
W NY Giants, 8:20 pm

Monday, November 21
KC at New England, 8:30 pm
W

WEEK 12

Thursday, November 24
Green Bay at Detroit, 12:30 pm
W
Miami at Dallas, 4:15 pm
W
San Francisco at Baltimore, 8:20 pm
W

Sunday, November 27
Minnesota at Atlanta, 1 pm
W
Cleveland at
W Cincinnati, 1 pm
Tampa Bay at
W Tennessee, 1 pm
Carolina at Indianapolis, 1 pm
W
Arizona at St. Louis, 1 pm
W
Buffalo at NY Jets, 1 pm
W
Houston at
W Jacksonville, 1 pm
Chicago at Oakland, 4:05 pm
W
Washington at Seattle, 4:05 pm
W
N. England at
W Philadelphia, 4:15 pm
Denver at San Diego, 4:15 pm
W
Pittsburgh at
W Kansas City, 8:20 pm

Monday, November 28
NY Giants at New Orleans, 8:30 pm
W


(Part 1) Steve Lalla Predicts the 2011 NFL Football Season In Toto

Unable to type due to crippling muscle spasms. Here are my 2011 NFL final projections. Commentary to come; needed to get this up before the season kicks-off.

WEEK 1

Thursday, September 8
N. Orleans at Green Bay, 8:30 pm
W

Sunday, September 11

Atlanta at W Chicago, 1 pm
Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1pm
W
Buffalo at Kansas City, 1 pm
W
Philadelphia at
W St. Louis, 1pm
Tennessee at Jacksonville,1pm
W

Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 1 pm W
Indianapolis at Houston, 1 pm
W
Detroit at Tampa Bay, 1 pm
W
NY Giants at
W Washington, 4:15 pm
Carolina at
W Arizona, 4:15 pm
Minnesota at San Diego, 4:15 pm
W
Seattle at San Francisco, 4:15 pm
W
Dallas at NY Jets, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, September 12
New England at
W Miami, 7 pm
Oakland at Denver, 10:15 pm
W

WEEK 2

Sunday, September 18
Kansas City at
W Detroit, 1 pm
Baltimore at
W Tennessee, 1 pm
Cleveland at Indianapolis, 1 pm
W
Oakland at Buffalo, 1 pm
W
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 1 pm
W
Chicago at New Orleans, 1 pm
W
Jacksonville at NY Jets, 1 pm
W
Seattle at Pittsburgh, 1 pm
W
Arizona at Washington, 1 pm
W
Green Bay at
W Carolina, 1 pm
Dallas at
W San Francisco, 4:05 pm
San Diego at New England, 4:15 pm
W
Cincinnati at Denver, 4:15 pm
W
Houston at
W Miami, 4:15 pm
Philadelphia at Atlanta, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, September 19
St. Louis at NY Giants, 8:30 pm
W

WEEK 3

Sunday, September 25
New England W at Buffalo, 1 pm

San Francisco W at Cincinnati, 1 pm

Miami at Cleveland, 1 pm
W
Denver at Tennessee, 1 pm
W
Detroit at Minnesota, 1 pm
W
Houston at New Orleans, 1 pm
W
NY Giants at W Philadelphia, 1 pm

Jacksonville at Carolina, 1 pm
W
Kansas City at San Diego, 4:05 pm
W
NY Jets at
W Oakland, 4:05 pm
Baltimore at
W St. Louis, 4:05 pm
Arizona at Seattle, 4:15 pm
W
Atlanta at
W Tampa Bay, 4:15 pm
Green Bay at
W Chicago, 4:15 pm
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, September 26
Washington at Dallas, 8:30 pm
W



WEEK 4

Sunday, October 2
Carolina at Chicago, 1 pm
W

Buffalo at
W
Cincinnati, 1 pm
Tennessee at Cleveland, 1 pm
W

Detroit at
W
Dallas, 1 pm
Washington at St. Louis, 1 pm
W

San Francisco at Philadelphia, 1 pm
W

Minnesota at Kansas City, 1 pm
W

New Orleans at
W
Jacksonville, 1 pm
Pittsburgh at
W
Houston, 1 pm
NY Giants at
W
Arizona, 4:05 pm
Atlanta at
W
Seattle, 4:05 pm
Miami at San Diego, 4:15 pm
W

Denver at Green Bay, 4:15 pm
W

New England at
W
Oakland, 4:15 pm
NY Jets at Baltimore, 8:20 pm
W


Monday, October 3
Indianapolis at
W
Tampa Bay, 8:30 pm

WEEK 5

Bye: Clev, Dal, StL, Mia, Wash, Balt
Sunday, October 9

Philadelphia at
W Buffalo, 1 pm
Kansas City at Indianapolis, 1 pm
W
Arizona at Minnesota, 1 pm
W
Seattle at NY Giants, 1 pm
W
Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 1 pm W

New Orleans at
W Carolina, 1 pm
Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 1 pm
W
Oakland at Houston, 1 pm
W
Tampa Bay at
W San Fran, 4:05 pm
NY Jets at New England, 4:15 pm
W
San Diego at
W Denver, 4:15 pm
Green Bay at Atlanta, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, October 10
Chicago at Detroit, 8:30 pm
W


WEEK 6

Bye: Den, Tenn, KC, Ariz, SD, Sea
Sunday, October 16

Carolina at Atlanta, 1 pm
W
Indianapolis at
W Cincinnati, 1 pm
San Francisco at Detroit, 1 pm
W
St. Louis at Green Bay, 1 pm
W
Philadelphia at
W Washington, 1 pm
Buffalo at NY Giants, 1 pm
W
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, 1 pm
W
Houston at Baltimore, 4:05 pm
W
Cleveland at Oakland, 4:05 pm
W
Dallas at New England, 4:15 pm
W
N. Orleans at Tampa Bay, 4:15 pm
W
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:20 pm
W

Monday, October 17
Miami at NY Jets, 8:30 pm
W