I just got my copy of ESPN The Magazine in the mail and after ploughing through 154 pages mostly dedicated to Michael Vick (including one bizarre article imagining what would have happened if Vick had been born white), I looked at the NFL predictions section. As I had read in some places on the Internet, the official prediction at the top right of the Redskins page is for them to go 3-13, which would, of course, be last in the NFC East.
They really don’t justify such an awful record in the nuggets of analysis that they present in the article. In fact, in one of them they directly contradict themselves.
Each team’s analysis page has a section called “Vegas Vibe” where they discuss the chances of the team going over or under its projected win total. The over/under for the Redskins is six. So, here is the pick: “They face the NFL’s fourth-easiest slate, with only six games against teams coming off of winning records. Take the over.”
So that would mean that the pick is for the Redskins to win at least seven games. The last time I checked seven is more than three. A lot more, like the difference between a full-fledged disaster of a season and a season that could indicate that things are moving in the right direction.
So ESPN The Magazine has it covered either way. If the Redskins are awful, they predicted that. If they make the playoffs, they had that scenario covered as well.
There are some other nuggets of analysis in the article that don’t quite seem to be in touch with reality. Former Redskins linebacker Antonio Pierce writes, “Then look at the defense. Who’s back there?”
Well, in case Antonio was too busy grinding axes to notice we can point out that the Redskins did lose Carlos Rogers but added Oshiomogho Atogwe, Josh Wilson, Stephen Bowen, and Barry Cofield in free agency and drafted Ryan Kerrigan in the first round. Pierce says LaRon Landry is “banged up” but it is not as though he is expected to miss a significant number of games, if any. Add in Pro Bowl performers Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, and DeAngelo Hall and you don’t have the ’85 Bears by any stretch but you have what almost certainly will be an improved unit.
You would have to be paying attention to know all of this, as there were no headline-grabbing acquisitions like Nnamdi Asomugha. Of course, they tried things that way in the past and it has not worked. The only course of action that will make the national media types pay attention to what the Redskins are doing is one that leads to winning some games. But, in the meantime, perhaps ESPN should get its various stories straight.