Alex Smith Chiefs vs Jaguars

The problem with predictions

Every year, analysts, fans, random half-wit bloggers and even some players make predictions based off of little more than expectations on which teams will be heading into the playoffs and which teams will be floundering at the bottom of the standings yet again. It’s a process as old as sports, but there are huge problems with making those predictions.

New Settings: Predictions are based on knowledge we already know, at least that’s how they usually work. Still, it’s impossible to know how new players will react to playing for a different team. It’s also impossible to know how draftees will adjust to the NFL level. Sure, predictions are based on what has happened in the past, but the past doesn’t forecast the future.

Injuries: Injuries are always an unknown factor heading into the season. Some teams suffer from huge injuries (think about the Colts when Peyton Manning was sidelined for an entire season). Yeah, the Patriots look good now, but without Tom Brady, they become an average team at best.

Analysts are just guessing too: Even the best analysts on the air don’t do much better predicting weekly winners than I do from my couch. On any given day, the worst team in the NFL has a chance to uproot the best team. That’s the beauty of the NFL.

After the draft, we’ll be seeing a flurry of predictions about which team will become this year’s Cinderella story. Don’t bother reading that story; the Jaguars won’t be anyone’s pick, but that doesn’t mean they can’t rise to the top tiers of the NFL.

To become a popular Cinderella pick, a team needs to make some blockbuster moves that set it apart from other teams. Last year, the Chiefs hired Andy Reid and brought in Alex Smith. The moves worked, and they made their way into the postseason.

Although the Jaguars have acquired some new talent in free agency (and the draft yet to come), they haven’t made the big moves that would push analysts to think they’re moving the right direction. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that most fans, as well as most local media members and bloggers, believe the Jaguars are heading in the right direction, but any national predictions will likely put their final win total in 2014 at about 5 – 7, and that’s just fine.

Now isn’t the time to make a prediction from my end, but that’ll come. The Jags are on their way up, but how far they fly has yet to be determined.

Other notes:

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Shane Clemons

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.