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Reflecting on our five predictions for the sports world in 2021

(AP Photo / Ron Jenkins)

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that it’s tough to know what the future holds.

Even with the knowledge about the effects of the pandemic, we tried to do just that in December of 2020.

Towards the end of one of the most unpredictable years of all time, we did our best to guess what sports fans would be saying by the time the end of 2021 rolled around.

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Some of our ideas aged like a fine wine. Others didn’t see the same sort of success. But, no matter what, we can at least say that we tried.

Before we attempt to go through the same process as you prepare to switch your calendars to 2022, it’s time to reflect on the five things we thought sports fans would be saying at the end of 2021.

“Cardinals QB Kyler Murray deserves to win NFL MVP honors.”

Had he not gotten hurt in the middle of his 2021 campaign, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray would likely have a great case for winning NFL MVP honors.

The Cardinals were rolling to start the 2021 season, and found themselves with an undefeated record through their first seven games in the process. Then, they met Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, and everything went sour.

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Murray got hurt, Arizona lost four of their next seven games, and the Cardinals even fell to a Detroit Lions team that had one win at the time.

There’s still time for Murray to pick up the slack towards the end of the 2021 season and for the Cardinals to make a run in the NFC playoff picture, but Murray’s overall MVP chances don’t seem great.

“Wow, what a comeback season Dak Prescott just put together.”

Only two of our five predictions came true, but this one is likely the best of the bunch.

After such a sad ending to his 2020 season as a result of a serious knee injury, seeing Dak Prescott return to the field in 2021 was enough of a treat. Having him lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 10-4 record through their first 14 games and helping them become the second NFC team to clinch a playoff spot is icing on the cake.

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Even with Prescott’s late-season struggles under center, the NFL’s “Comeback Player of the Year” race will likely come down to Prescott, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa.

Regardless of who wins the award, you can’t argue with the fact that Prescott pulled off an impressive feat with his 2021 season.

“How does LeBron James keep doing this?”

This one didn’t age too well.

Yes, LeBron James is still playing at a pretty high level for a 36-year-old NBA player. But, injuries got the best of him and Anthony Davis as the Los Angeles Lakers limped to an early exit in the 2020-2021 playoffs, and L.A. had a 16-17 record heading into the 2021-2022 season’s Christmas Day slate.

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The Lakers have loads of talent on the floor at any given moment when everyone’s healthy and playing as they should. But, Father Time may be catching up with James this year, and it doesn’t seem like it’s doing our prediction any favors.

“Can you believe James Harden got traded by the Rockets this year?”

This one was so easy that I almost feel bad about saying it’s correct.

Within a few weeks of the time the 2021 predictions were released, Harden snapped his fingers and got traded from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets.

At the time, it seemed as if Harden had just helped to create one of the greatest superteams in the NBA’s long history.

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Instead, the trio of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving have run into a litany of issues in Brooklyn, between injuries, potential chemistry issues, and the impacts of Irving’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Regardless of how the whole situation has played out, I’ll take my wins where I can get them. We’re 2-for-4 at this point, a solid 50%.

“How crazy is it that the Dodgers became the first team to repeat as World Series champions since 2000?”

Unfortunately for my predictions, the Los Angeles Dodgers forced me to go 2-for-5 on the year, which is an average that honestly would’ve helped them at the plate when they took on the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.

Heading into the year, the Dodgers were loaded with talent in all facets of the game.

Between having big names like Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy at the plate, and a rotation that, at one point, included Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, the Dodgers looked like a lock to repeat as World Series champions.

>>RELATED: Should MLB be concerned about drops in World Series viewership?

But, injuries to Kershaw and youngster Dustin May on the mound and Muncy at the plate, combined with the controversy surrounding pitcher Trevor Bauer in the midst of the season, thwarted Los Angeles’ hopes of another championship.

The Dodgers’ all-out pursuit of dominance in the National League will likely continue throughout the first half of the 2020s (as long as a lockout doesn’t hinder the sport as a whole), but the team failed me with their performance in 2021.

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