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    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
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    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
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    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
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    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
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  • Some Hits and Some Misses 2012

    On the eve of the 2012 season, we offered 10 things to keep an eye on. Here is a look at the original piece, with a few updates. Which of the stories or trends below proved to be your favorite?

    The league’s 93rd season (and 47th of the Super Bowl Era) is less than two weeks away and once again, we’ll keep an eye on a few things that may or may not occur, as well as trends that have made the modern-day NFL so unpredictable (or is it predictable?)…

    --In 2011, we saw the Packers (560), Saints (547) and Patriots (513) all score 500-plus points, the first time in NFL history three teams reached that mark in the same season. But Green Bay and New Orleans were eliminated the same weekend in the NFC Divisional Playoffs and New England fell to the Giants in the Super Bowl. That brings the total number of teams to score 500 or more points to 15 during the Super Bowl Era and only 4 of those teams went onto win the Big Game…
    2012: The New England Patriots were the lone team to score 500-plus points and their total of 557 is the third-highest total in NFL history. But Bill Belichick’s team scored a season-low 13 points in a 28-13 loss to the Ravens in the AFC title game, making it 16 teams to score 500 or more points during the Super Bowl Era and only 4 teams going onto win the Big Game…

    --We’ve not only not seen a team repeat as Super Bowl champions since the Patriots in 2003 and ’04, they were also the last club to make consecutive appearances in the Big Game. The 8-year gap between a team making back-to back Super Bowl appearances is the longest in the history of the game regardless if the Giants reach New Orleans. And Tom Coughlin’s club is looking to become the first NFC team to win consecutive NFL titles since the 1992 and ’93 Cowboys…
    2012: It’s now a 9-year gap as the Patriots lost in the AFC Championship and the Giants became the 14th defending Super Bowl champion to miss the playoffs after winning the NFL title…

    --The team or teams with the best win-loss record in the league has not won the Super Bowl each of the last 8 seasons and 13 of the last 15 seasons, the last club to achieve that feat being the 2003 Patriots. This latest trend seems to infer that the regular-season is meaningless and that figure is bolstered by the fact that 5 Wild Card teams have also won the Super Bowl over that span, as well as the 9-7 Giants in 2011…
    2012: The Broncos and Falcons both finished with an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2012 but neither made it to New Orleans. The streak now stands at 9 straight and 14 of the last 16 season…

    --The NFC has given us 10 different conference champions in the last 11 seasons, meaning it’s easier to name the 6 clubs that haven’t been to the Big Game (Cowboys, Redskins, Lions, Vikings, Falcons and 49ers) over that span rather than the teams that have. In the AFC, it’s been just 4 different teams over the same time frame (Patriots, Raiders, Steelers and Colts) and just New England, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis the last 9 seasons. Will we make it 11 of 12 in the NFC and will we have a breakthrough club in the other conference?
    2012: Make it 11 of 12 in the NFC as the 49ers are playing in Super Bowl XLVII. And the Ravens’ trip to Super Bowl XLVII means no appearance for by the Patriots, Steelers or Colts for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVII…

    --We’re all anxious to see Peyton Manning play football again and he has a chance to move up on the all-time touchdown pass list, with a twist. The former Colts’ quarterback ranks third in NFL history behind Brett Favre (508) and Dan Marino (420), his 399 scores coming in 13 seasons on the field with Indianapolis. But it’s also worth noting that the Broncos’ franchise record for TD passes in a season is 27, co-owned by John Elway (1997) and Jake Plummer (2004). During his playing time with the Colts, Manning never threw fewer than 26 touchdown passes in any of those 13 campaigns…
    2012: Manning wound up with a franchise-record 37 touchdown passes for the Broncos in 2012, shattering the previous team record, and now sits in second place with 436 career touchdown tosses…

    --Under head coach John Harbaugh and QB Joe Flacco, the Ravens are 4-for-4 making the playoffs, the longest current active streak in the league. Last season, Baltimore both swept the Steelers and captured the AFC North for the first time since 2006. Can the Ravens not only fend off Pittsburgh and Cincinnati within the division, but break the Patriots, Steelers and Colts’ stranglehold of the conference for the last decade or so…
    2012: You can make it 5-for-5 for the Ravens, who are in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2000 season…

    --Meanwhile, we haven’t seen the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs since 1999 (the league’s longest-active postseason drought) and they haven’t enjoyed a winning season since finishing 9-7 in 2004. Will one or both happen in 2012 for a franchise that went to a record 4 consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-93? There are high hopes in Orchard Park for Chan Gailey’s team, one that looks improved on defense via the additions of DEs Mario Williams and Mark Anderson…
    2012: High hopes but no results as the Bills once again finished dead last in the AFC East with a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs…

    --Since the division was formed in 2002, the last-place team in the NFC South always rebounds with a strong showing. In 6 of the 9 instances, the fourth-place club rallied to win the division the following season, another season saw the Falcons finish 11-5 and capture a wild card berth in ’08 and a year ago, the Panthers tripled their wins from 2-14 to 6-10. But perhaps the most amazing number is the fact that of the 8 current divisions in the NFL, the NFC South is the only one minus a repeat champion…
    2012: And that was indeed the case again. While 6 of the 8 division winners from 2011 repeated in 2012, the Atlanta Falcons unseated the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South…

    --Last season, the Lions reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and won at least 10 games for the first time since ’95. The Texans not only reached the playoffs, they won a division title and at least 10 games for the first time in franchise history, while the Falcons reached the postseason for the second straight year, a team first. Now the Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to kill a few birds with one stone. Off last year’s 9-7 Wild Card appearance, the franchise has the chance to return to the playoffs for the first in two straight seasons since 1981 and ’82. And if by chance Marvin Lewis’ club comes up a winner in the postseason for the first time since 1990, it will ended the league’s longest current drought in that department…
    2012: One out of 2 is not bad. The Bengals did return to the playoffs in 2012 but just as was the case in 2011, they lost in the Wild Card Round to the Houston Texans…

    --Dating back to realignment in ’02, 27 of the 32 teams have captured at least 1 division title. That means the Bills, Browns, Jaguars, Redskins and Lions have yet to wear the crown in their current homes, but could that change this season? While all of these teams have their work cut out for them just reaching the playoffs, is one or more capable of walking away with their respective top spot?
    2012: Now you can make it 28-of-32 as the Redskins rallied from a 3-6 start to win their last 7 games and win the NFC East for the first time since 1999…

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Love these look backs at preseason predictions.

      Is there a defensive stat that is the equivalent of 500 points? And if there is, what percentage of those teams won a SB in that season? You know, the whole "defense wins titles" thing.

      I think there's a decent chance the NFC South trend will continue next season, with Atlanta making the playoffs but not as a division winner.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Always a big fan of the stat about the NFC representatives. Forgot about the stat on division champions. Unfortunately, Jags, Browns, Bills and Lions all will have problems crossing themselves off the list next year.
    1. Russell S Baxter's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Love these look backs at preseason predictions.

      Is there a defensive stat that is the equivalent of 500 points? And if there is, what percentage of those teams won a SB in that season? You know, the whole "defense wins titles" thing.

      I think there's a decent chance the NFC South trend will continue next season, with Atlanta making the playoffs but not as a division winner.
      Not a solid number but I'm sure I could find one, although as time wears on you'll see teams winning allowing more and more points (Giants allowed record 400 last season)...
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Russell S Baxter View Post
      Not a solid number but I'm sure I could find one, although as time wears on you'll see teams winning allowing more and more points (Giants allowed record 400 last season)...
      Thanks for the article, Russell!

      I apologize if I'm stepping on your toes, but I think I may have found a defensive equivalency...

      16 teams in the Super Bowl era have allowed fewer than 12 points per game for a full season. Of those 16, 7 made the Super Bowl, and 4 of those teams ('66 Packers, '73 Dolphins, '75 Steelers, '00 Ravens) won the big game.

      15 of the 16 top scoring defenses made the playoffs, with 10 of the 16 reaching the conference championship game.

      13 of the 16 teams won their division. Of the three that didn't...

      -The 12-4 '00 Ravens lost their division to the 13-3 Titans (another of the top 16 scoring defenses), but went on to defeat the Titans in the playoffs, and ultimately won the Super Bowl

      -The 10-4 '71 Colts lost the AFC East by a 1/2 game to the 10-3-1 Dolphins, then lost to the Dolphins in the AFC Championship.

      -The '77 Falcons, despite holding the record for fewest PPG allowed in a season (during the SB era), only allowing 9.2 PPG, are the only one of the 16 teams to miss the postseason entirely. They only scored 12.8 points per game, and finished 7-7.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      To poke a hole in those numbers...

      The Ravens and Titans from 2000 are the most modern teams to make that list.

      Perhaps the new number will be fewer than 14 PPG allowed. Since 2002, only 4 teams have allowed fewer than 14 PPG ('02 Bucs, '05 Bears, '06 Ravens, '08 Steelers). Of those, the Bucs and Steelers each won the Super Bowl.

      *EDIT* If total points works better than an average, 14 PPG over 16 games = 224. Even if we made that number 225 (14.06 PPG), the standard would still hold true.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Is the turnover ratio a good predictor?
    1. Russell S Baxter's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Is the turnover ratio a good predictor?
      Not really...There is no concrete number off the top of my head when it comes to defense, although some good suggestions above...There have been teams with 500+ points to win the Super Bowl ('09 Saints scored 510 but did a not with returns)...It really comes down to balance and controlling the football...
    1. darvon's Avatar
      The 500 pts is a 25% correlation to winning a SB is a little misleading.

      25% correlation is a HUGE correlation.

      Find any OTHER regular season stat which is even close to 25% (that is a simple level not a ranking, i.e. more than 1 team per year can qualify) for WINNING the SB.

      And the one stat more than any other, how many teams have MISSED every SB?

      Just one.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Old Yahoo article looks at season stats which might predict a winner.

    1. wxwax's Avatar
      2. Turnover Ratio. Thirty-nine of the 45 Super Bowl champs had a positive turnover ratio; 21 of the 45 had a +10 or more turnover ratio in the regular season. The Patriots were a +17 in turnovers this year, New York was +7.
      Different article.

      I wonder how many teams with a +10 turnover ratio did not win a SB?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      ps Both those articles revolve around the NE-Giants SB. By every regular season measure, NE should have won that game. That's why they play the games and why we watch them!