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Lambeau Leap of Faith


February 12, 2010 12:47 PM

My Preseason Prognostication Proficiency

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Before the season, I had a series of articles describing what the Packers needed to do and predicting what they would do in the 2009 season. From now on, you can call me Carnac the Magnificent--and if you do not understand that reference, you are under 30...Google it!

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I was right on four of the five points--the exact number I predicted I would be right on--in my article entitled Five Packers Predictions for 2009. The only one I got wrong was Tramon Williams beating out Al Harris for the starting cornerback position opposite Charles Woodson--while he was starting by the end of the season, one cannot assume that is what would have happened without Harris' season ending from a knee injury.

I also said the Packers top positional battles would be at tight end, fullback, outside linebacker, and offensive tackle and guard. That did not exactly make me Nostradamus.

However, in more detail, I said that the Packers would at best have four mediocre linemen and a hole at right tackle--that was generous compared with the truth. I had tight end being neither a strength or a weakness, while it proved to be somewhat of a strength. At fullback, I expected the Packers to keep only two players (they kept all three), but was right that none would stand out.

On defense, I did not project Clay Matthews to play so well, and had Poppinga starting. I thus had the linebacking corps as only above average, while in fact it is widely considered to be in the top quarter of the league.

In an article entitled Green Bay Packers 2009 Expectations, I predicted a 10-6 record and that the defense would make the adjustment by November; Green Bay went 11-5 mostly because the transition did not take as long as I projected.

Now for the humility check: I ran one article entitled Packers Odds and Endings, using odds from Bodog.com on various milestones. I advised potential bettors on which side they should wager on, and I hope no one took my advice--there were 15 categories, and my bet won only five.

In some cases, odds were offered that affected my predictions. For instance, I said bet on the Packers to win the NFC North even though I predicted the chance of them winning the division at only 40 percent because the pay-off was 2:1, an appropriate level for a 33 percent chance. I also had the Packers chance of winning the NFC at 1:8, making the 1:9 a marginally good bet.

Obviously, in these cases I was not wrong about what was likely to happen, but felt the payoff was worth it. But lest the reader think this is the cause of my poor outcome, I was also 4-7 on the over/under bets on milestones.

Over the course of this article, I was consistently too pessimistic about the Packers. In only one of these 11 categories did I overproject an accomplishment. I had Aaron Kampman getting more than 10 sacks; he was the team sack leader when he got injured, but not on pace to hit that mark.

On one other over/under, I took the under for Greg Jennings' touchdowns (9.5), and he finished with just four. However, in all nine other categories--Jennings' yards, team wins, Aaron Rodgers' picks (the three others I got right), and yards and touchdowns for Donald Driver, Ryan Grant, and Rodgers--they finished above the over/under.

I will remember that the next time someone tells me about my pro-Packer bias clouding my judgment...you know who you are! Someone with a pro-Packer bias who took the over in all 11 cases would have finished 9-2, rather than my 4-7.

That being said, one Aaron Rodgers injury for the season in September, and likely the only positive result among the seven passing-related categories would have been Rodgers' interception total. That is always the risk in these bets--one bad occurrence and the house of cards falls.

That is why I do not bet, and why I recommend no one else bet, either. (This has been a public service announcement from the Green Bay Packers...)

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