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After further review: Revisiting 2020’s sports predictions

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Like the vast majority of you, I’m looking forward to putting 2020 in the rearview mirror. Still, there are certain things that warrant looking back upon.

Every year, I make all sorts of sports predictions. And every year, I use this year-end edition of The Maine Edge to hold myself accountable for those predictions. It’s not quite as robust a collection as you’ve seen in the past, of course.

For instance, the CFL cancelled its entire season, so there was neither a season prediction nor a Grey Cup pick. And when MLB began its truncated season in late July, I held off on a preview, largely because I questioned whether the season would actually reach its conclusion.

Even so, we’ve got a few predictions that we can look back on. As usual, I got some right and some wrong – par for the course, really. We’re doing things a little differently this time through – I’m offering up my championship game/series predictions for examination first, followed by a look at my NFL season picks.

Super Bowl LIV

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 35 – San Francisco 49ers 17

Actual: Chiefs 31 – 49ers 20

Not much to complain about here. I gave KC a touch too much credit and San Francisco a bit too little, but all in all, this is a solid pick – maybe the best one I made all year, which, considering the Super Bowl was on February 2, maybe isn’t ideal.

2020 NBA Championship

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers 4 – Miami Heat 0

Actual: Lakers 4 – Heat 2

First things first – I tip my cap to the NBA for the success of the bubble plan they used to finish their season. They made it work despite the misgivings of many – myself included.

I looked at that Lakers team and the one-two punch of LeBron James and Anthony Davis and genuinely thought that the Heat would get blown out of the gym four times and that would be that. Jimmy Butler had other ideas, however, as did young guns like Tyler Herro. I might have conceded one win, but the fact that the Heat took this one to six games was legitimately impressive.

2020 World Series

Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers 3

Actual: Dodgers 4 – Rays 2

All things considered, I should count myself fortunate that I only completely whiffed on one of these title matchups. Unfortunately, it just happens to be in the sport I know the most about (or at least, the sport that I THOUGHT I knew the most about).

I really felt good about the Rays going into this series. I liked what I had seen from their pitching staff and thought they could manage to hit enough to get it done. Instead, the Dodgers pitchers stepped up big and their stacked lineup proved too much for even the talented Tampa hurlers to handle. Ultimately, the gap between the Rays and Dodgers on the mound was much narrower than that between their offenses – I wanted the Rays to come out on top, but I think deep down, I knew it was probably a reach.

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NFL Season

(Note: The actual standings noted here are accurate through Week 16)

AFC

Prediction: AFC East – New England Patriots; AFC North – Baltimore Ravens; AFC South – Indianapolis Colts; AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs; Wild Card – Buffalo Bills; Wild Card – Tennessee Titans; Wild Card – Cleveland Browns

Actual: AFC East – Buffalo Bills; AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers; AFC South – Tennessee Titans; AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs; Wild Card – Miami Dolphins; Wild Card – Baltimore Ravens; Wild Card – Cleveland Browns

NFC

Prediction: NFC East – Dallas Cowboys; NFC North – Green Bay Packers; NFC South – New Orleans Saints; NFC West – San Francisco 49ers; Wild Card – Los Angeles Rams; Wild Card – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Wild Card – Philadelphia Eagles

Actual: NFC East – Washington Football Team; NFC North – Green Bay Packers; NFC South – New Orleans Saints; NFC West – Seattle Seahawks; Wild Card – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Wild Card – Los Angeles Rams; Wild Card – Chicago Bears

You know, all things considered, this is pretty good work out of me. I went five for seven in playoff teams in the AFC, though I was off on a couple regarding whether they’d be division winners or wild card teams. The biggest misfire was picking the Patriots to win the AFC East. I think deep in my heart, I knew this was how it would play out, but it’s tough to be too hard on myself; sure, I’m a total homer, but this is also the first time the Pats have missed the playoffs since 2008. Also, I didn’t think the Steelers would be this good. Far from perfect – the only division winner I got right was Kansas City – but still, not bad.

The NFC was both better and worse. Better in that I got two of the four division winners correct – the Packers and the Saints – and two wild cards, Tampa Bay and LA. Worse in that I only managed four of the seven playoff squads, thanks largely to my failure to anticipate precisely how utterly abysmal the NFC East would be. I picked two East squads to make the playoffs and neither were right. Also, I gave the 49ers far more credit than I should have. So I was a bit more precise here, but had more overall success in the AFC.

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So there you have it. A much shorter list than we’ve had in previous years. Here’s hoping that it is back to its usual length in 2021 so we can really dig into how bad I am at this stuff. You’d think my scattershot results would dissuade me from venturing down this path again and again, but I’m not one to give up. Besides, I’ve got you all to think about – if I’m not out here making inaccurate predictions, where else are you sports fans going to find that vague sense of general superiority?

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 December 2020 06:34

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