You may or may not remember my preseason prediction column, Six Stupidly Bold Predictions about the 2013 Season, but feel free to have a refresher before I dole out some self-grading at this, the halfway point through the season. Why grade your own predictions? Well, I don't believe you can trumpet your successes until you publicly accept your shortcomings. Here, as you can probably guess, I'm about to do both.
On to the grades!
1. Rahim Moore will go to the Pro Bowl.
What I've liked best about Rahim's play this year: his tenacity, his tackling, his reliability, and his health. But, in all fairness, how do you give a Pro Bowl nod to any starting member of a defensive secondary that has been so thoroughly torched? I loved watching the "Mic'd Up" segment featuring Rahim. Cocky, confident, mouthy. His play has been a nice continuation of last year's solid effort. But as I stated in the prediction, to make the leap, he'd have to provide a small handful of highlight reel plays. He has two INTs and 40 tackles, certainly his best numbers to date. But the secondary's overall woes seriously inhibit his chances. The upside: as the pass rush improves, so do the playmakers in the backfield. I'm not ready to flush this prediction yet, but he's got some scrambling to do.
So far, the Broncos have accumulated 22 sacks (T-14th) and allowed just 11 (T-2nd). Their differential of +11 is good for 2nd in the league. If I had said the Broncos would finish as the league leader in sacks, I'd have been way off. But consider this, the Bills, Browns and Sehawks, numbers 2-4 in sacks, are all -1 in differential on the season. The top 5:
By any measure, the Broncos are still having a stellar showing in this category, which I believe to be a hugely overlooked statistic, good for measuring an entire team's performance. If they keep their pace and finish with a +22 differential, that number would have been good for best in the league last season. And with just one team in front of us, I'd say the chances of winning this statistical category are still very good. And ohybytheway, we have a game-ready Von Miller now. (Kudos to Shaun Phillips for picking up the slack, and a razz to me for trumpeting Derek Wolfe's improved production).
3. The Broncos will not have a 1000 yard rusher.
Let me go on record as saying that I am absolutely loving Knowshon's performance this year. Gritty, aggressive, no fumbles lost, reliable, good pass protection, excellent pass catching. But, to date he has only rushed for 456 yards, and nothing about this offense tells me he's going to start grinding out 100 yard games as the season wears on. To break 1000, he'd need to average just 68 yards per game for the rest of the year. But, he has eclipsed that yardage in just three of eight games so far. And if anything, Montee Ball and CJ Anderson will begin spelling him more to keep him fresh for the playoffs. For now, he's on pace for 912 yards, and while I'd love to see him get over the hump just because he has so thoroughly won me over this year, it seems unlikely.
4. Duke Ihenacho will lead the team in interceptions.
In all honesty, this should probably be an F. Duke has zero picks on the year. The only glimmer of hope I'm relying on is that the team leaders Danny Trevathan and Chris Harris, Jr. only have 3 apiece. Duke could catch them by season's end, but it is a stretch. Its so much a stretch that I'm shaking my head as I write this. Fail. But hey, props to Duke's two FFs and 50 tackles. His play has been (slightly) less erratic than I thought it would be, and I'm still happily on the bandwagon. Hope his injury isn't serious.
5. The Broncos will finish 12-4. They'll be both 6-2 at home and on the road.
Happy to get this one mostly wrong. Broncos are 5-0 at home, and 2-1 on the road. They could still very well finish 6-2 on the road (4-1 the remainder of the way is fairly likely, I'd say). But dropping two of three remaining home games ain't gonna happen. This team looks like it will settle in at 13-3 or 14-2, and I should definitely lose some points for undercutting. Sometimes I sip the kool-aid and it tastes so good that I think it must be a trick. To be fair, traditionally the Broncos have swooned at the end of the year, and though this team is different, I'm still not ready to give myself a failing grade.Trust me, I'd like to see this grade go plummeting down as the year wears on. But, I'll believe it when I see it.
6. The Broncos go to Super Bowl XLVIII. And lose.
How does one grade such a moronic prediction? I'll do it by asking three questions.
Are the Broncos good enough to make the Super Bowl? Yes. They've demonstrated a disgustingly good offense that can crush mediocre teams, and give them a fighting chance against any great team.
Are the Seahawks good enough to make the Super Bowl? I'm going to say probably. The defense still is scarily stout, and Russell Wilson is a boom or bust playmaker. Could they follow last year's 49ers blueprint? Yep.
Could the Broncos lose a big one? See: "the loss at Indianapolis" for your answer. This isn't a dominant defense. The offense is prone to turnovers. Chris Clark is our starting LT. The Broncos are a very, very good team and I'm loving every minute of this season. But if the Super Bowl were tomorrow and we were playing the Seahawks, how confident would you be that we would win (in a snowy, frigid, New Jersey Super Bowl)? Could we lose? Yes.
I would have given myself an A, but seriously, who predicts their own team will LOSE a Super Bowl. Puke.
OVERAL GPA: 2.68, or a C+.
So far, a pass!
But I don't think mom will be hanging this one on the fridge any time soon.