The Hogs Haven writers predict division winners, individual award honors, the Super Bowl champion and more for the 2021 NFL season
Before the 2020 season, 12 current and former Hogs Haven writers made their predictions about how the year would play out. And, I’ll confess, largely as a glitch in the way things were done last year, I held off writing a re-cap article. You see, in the past, at the “Welcome Home Luncheon” the team had named an offensive and defensive player of the year (which were two of the prediction categories). To the best of my knowledge, that tradition didn’t continue, leaving us with 27 categories rather than 29. For the sake of this analysis, I’ve simply dropped those two categories out.
Areas of Common Ground
In looking for trends in the predictions, I’m sorry to say the first one that pops out is that none of the writers had Washington winning the NFC East (though Ken, alone, did have them making the playoffs as a wild card team). All the writers accurately guessed the winner of the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens, incorrectly. It ended up being the Steelers. None of the writers guessed the eventual coach of the year – Kevin Stefanski – or the offensive rookie of the year – Justin Herbert – correctly.
All of the writers missed on the offensive player of the year – Derrick Henry – and only one, Andrew York, hit the eventual NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers.
None of the writers guessed the teams record correctly (7-9) with Ken and I choosing 8-8, and several other writers choosing 6-10.
The lone bright spot? All of the writers nailed Chase Young as the defensive rookie of the year.
So Who Won?
Even with 12 entrants and hundreds of predictions, we were left with one clear winner: Matt-in-Bris-Vegas, which seems appropriate, since he’s a big data guy. Matt nailed 8 of the playoff teams, the worst team in the league (the Jags), and Chase Young as DROY. Ken Meringolo and Andrew York were a close second, with 9 correct answers. The rest of the writers fell into the 6 through 8 correct range. Congratulations, Matt!
Undaunted, we’ve decided to give it another shot this year.
I was able to wrangle 13 current and former staff writers at Hogs Haven and harvest their vast football knowledge for predictions of the future. In the ninth annual edition of this series, the site’s writers and analysts were asked to guess team and individual award winners for this season.
Enjoy the predictions below, and please add your own in the comments below, as we prepare to embark, once again, into the most wonderful time of the year.
WFT and NFC East Predictions
- What a difference a year makes. Last season, none of us predicted Washington winning the East. This season, every single writer has. Only Bill, however, was bold enough to project the WFT to win the NFC (and eventually, the Super Bowl) this year. The majority of the rest of the writers predict a victory in the wild card round and a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs, with the exception of Ken, who predicts a loss in the NFC championship.
- Record wise, Bill and I are the most optimistic, predicting 12-5, though all of the writers predict an above .500 record this season. Scott, Bryan, and Jamual are the most pessimistic, predicting a 9-8 record for the WFT. That’s an incredible one season turnaround, given that .500 was the most optimistic estimate this time last year.
- In the individual superlative categories, several WFT-associated individuals got votes: Ron Rivera as Coach of the Year (3); Jamin Davis as DROY (3); and Chase Young (4) and Montez Sweat (1) as DPOY.
Super Bowl Picks
- In both the NFC and AFC, Conference Champion picks were all over the map. In the in the NFC, the top vote getter was the Packers (5), followed by the Rams (3), Buccaneers (2), 49ers (1), Seahawks (1), and WFT (1). In the AFC, things were only slightly tighter, led by the Bills (5), Chiefs (3), Browns (3), Ravens (1), and Titans (1).
- The Super Bowl predictions were far more scattered this year than last year as well. The top prediction for Super Bowl winner were the Chiefs (3) and Bills (3), followed by the Packers (2), Buccaneers (2), Rams (1), WFT (1), and Ravens (1).
Other Prediction Trends
- Besides the NFC East winner, there were 3 categories where there was unanimous agreement: NFC North winner (Packers), NFC South winner (Buccaneers), and the AFC West winner (Chiefs).
- Brandon Staley (5) of the Chargers received the most votes for Coach of the Year. Trevor Lawrence was the top prediction (5) in the Offensive Rookie of the Year category, while Micah Parsons ran away with the Defensive Rookie of the Year category (8). Both Myles Garrett and Aaron Donald collected 3 votes for Defensive Player of the Year, while Josh Allen (5) was the most popular prediction for Offensive Player of the Year. Josh Allen received votes from over half the writers (7) for NFL MVP.
- Nine of us predicted the 49ers would make the playoffs as a Wild Card in the NFC, with the Chargers collecting ten votes as an AFC Wild Card entrant.
- There was strong agreement that the Texans (7) would be the worst team in the league, but the Eagles (3), Lions (2), and Jets (1) also notched votes in this category.
So there you have it; we’ve made all of our best guesses for the forthcoming NFL season. Now we get to enjoy the fruits of our labors and finally get to sit back and watch some football, and hopefully see the WFT play well enough to make us proud.
After the confetti drops at Super Bowl LVI, I’ll be back to do a full accounting, at which time you can either mock us for our fortune-telling failures or erect virtual statues to praise and worship our infinite wisdom and foresight.
In the meantime, let us know what you think of our picks and share your predictions for the season in the comments section. Happy season kickoff day and HTTR!