The absurdly premature playoff picture presents one man's projection for the NFL playoffs, at each given week in the season -- even if that week is unreasonably early. This week, we look back on how moronic and/or brilliant those projections were.
It took me until Week 4 to realize that the Chargers weren't very good, and by then, I was horn-riding Buffalo pretty well, and then it wasn't until Week 8 that I abandoned ship on them.
Denver was the team that really monkey-wrenched things in the AFC. I didn't get to the Broncos until Week 14. I don't consider that tremendously embarrassing, though, because who saw that coming? I was supposed to anticipate that Tim Tebow would morph into a comic book superhero and make the Broncos unbeatable?
What I am ashamed of, though, is that I waited so long to get the Bengals into the picture. It wasn't that I thought they were a bad team ‒ I just thought they'd be victims of playing in a division that was too deep. I didn't get them in the mix until Week 10.
Meanwhile, the Jets appeared in the Absurdly Premature Playoff picture an astonishing nine times, and the Raiders had eight appearances. The Chargers made four.
I am not proud of my AFC performance. I didn't get things right (and by getting things right, I mean the teams ‒ I'm giving myself a pass if the seeds were off) until just before Week 16.
I was better in the NFC. I had things right there in Week 10. In fact, there's really not much in the NFC that I consider hugely embarrassing, except that I wouldn't let go of the Cowboys. And that's not even embarrassing so much because it was wrong (I mean, it was wrong, but they were alive right until the very end), but because I somehow believed that they could hold up with that secondary. I should've known better.
Other NFC trends, I hopped on pretty quickly. After Week 1 with the Cardinals and Week 2 with the Rams, I got the 49ers into the playoffs in Week 3 and never looked back. I also dropped the Eagles in Week 4, and they never got back in.
To bottom line things:
• From my projections from prior to Week 1 of the season, I had four of six AFC playoff teams correct, and four of six NFC playoff teams correct. That's a percentage I can live with.
• Team I most overrated: San Diego Chargers. In the preseason, I had them as the two-seed in the AFC. However, the fact that they fell so far short of expectations doesn't mean that the head coach and GM shouldn't get to come back next year and do it all again.
• Team I most overrated, runner-up: New York Jets. I had them in the playoffs nine times, and as late as Week 15. I feel shame.
• Team I most underrated: San Francisco 49ers. They didn't appear in the preseason A3P, and finished as the two-seed. In my defense, though, they were in the playoffs as early as Week 3, and had the two-seed as early as Week 7.
• Team I most underrated, runner-up: Cincinnati Bengals. Not getting them in the mix until Week 10 was inexcusable.