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How confident (or not) NFL fans were about their teams in the 2018 season

Where does your team fall?

All season long at SB Nation’s 32 NFL team sites we’ve been tracking how confident each fanbase is in their team. FanPulse is a weekly survey sent out to fans at each of our team sites that asks the question: How confident are you in the direction of your team?

Our full season results are below in the form of awards for what we learned about each team.

The You Can Pinpoint The Moment Their Heart Rips In Half Award

The Jaguars were supposed to be very good this season. They started off well enough by winning three of their first four games. Then came a 16-point loss to the Chiefs in Week 5. Then a 33-point loss to the Cowboys the next week. That two-week stretch is when the Jaguars fans gave up hope. As Bart Simpson once said, you can pinpoint the second their heart rips in half.

The Unnecessary Freakout Award

The Saints finished the year at or near the top of most power rankings. They went 13-3 and they’re the most popular Super Bowl pick in the NFC. It was by all accounts a great season. But do you remember when Saints fans thought they were sunk? It came in Week 1 with a very weird 48-40 loss to the Bucs. Saints fans’ confidence in their team plummeted after that first week but all turned out well.

The We’re Good, We’re Good, Wait Are We Actually Bad? Award

The Rams were 11-1 and arguably the best team in the NFL before facing two teams who would end up in the playoffs — the Bears and Eagles. They lost both those games which made them 11-3 on the season. Still pretty good! It was hard to tell that to Rams fans who had their own freakout moment late in the season as they doubted how good they really were.

The Ryan Fitzpatrick Is Still Ryan Fitzpatrick Award

The Bucs QB started off the season with a bang — back-to-back four-touchdown games in wins over the Saints and Eagles and then a three-touchdown performance in a tight loss to the Steelers. Then reality set in. The Bucs visited the Bears and lost by 38 (!) points. You can see precisely when in Week 4 that Bucs fans remembered that Ryan Fitzpatrick is still Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Make Up Your Mind Award

The Vikings made it to the NFC title game last season and after bringing in Kirk Cousins in free agency they were expecting big things this season. They won just one of their first four games, then won four out of five, and then lost three out of four. They were still in the playoff hunt as fans teetered on the brink. Alas, the Vikings’ 8-7-1 finish wasn’t enough for the playoffs.

The We Traded Khalil Mack Award

Raiders fans were trying to be confident in their team at the start of the season. They had the big hire of the offseason in Jon Gruden and a young quarterback and a good defense. Then they went and traded Khalil Mack. You can see Raiders fans figured out pretty quickly that trade was not a good idea.

The How Did They Stay So Confident Award

The Colts made the playoffs and Andrew Luck has some very slight MVP buzz. But do you remember how the Colts season started? They were 1-5 in October. There was a slight dip after that but overall Colts fans trusted the process. The confidence in their team was consistently among the highest of anyone throughout the season.

The We Really Are That Bad Award

The Cardinals had a new head coach and a rookie quarterback so you expected a rough start to the season. But did you expect to lose by a combined 52 points in the first two weeks of the season? Cardinals fans knew pretty quickly what type of season this would be.

The Late-Season Loss That Terrifies You Award

Patrick Mahomes quickly stated his MVP case with 10 touchdown passes in the first two games of a record-breaking season for the Chiefs. That told Chiefs fans very early that they would be very good this season. A couple of late-season losses — perhaps a reminder of previous playoff heartbreak — caused a brief freakout.

The Remember When We Had A Shot Award

Eighty-six percent of Lions fans were confident in their team heading into Week 8. You can see on the graph when, at 3-3, they thought they had a shot. Then they went out and lost three in a row. The low point was 6 percent of fans reporting they were confident in the team after Week 10.

The Our Star QB Got Injured Award

The 49ers were supposed to be a contender this year and maybe they would’ve been if Jimmy Garoppolo hadn’t gotten hurt. He was injured against the Chiefs and the 49ers’ worst fears were realized when it was reported shortly after the game that he was done for the season. You see the big dip after Week 3, but 49ers fans knew he would be back so some kept the confidence looking to the future.

The Our Star QB Got Injured Award (Part 2)

See above but with Alex Smith. The injury came in Week 11 and that’s when Washington fans saw their confidence plummet. Get better soon, Alex!

The It’s Happening! Award

The Bears have a lot of new parts in the past couple of years, namely second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky and first-year head coach Matt Nagy. With new parts, you can hope things go well, but you don’t really know until you get on the field. Bears fans had hope and the team delivered winning three of their first four games. Bears fans never really lost confidence in their team after that, and they were rewarded with a 12-4 record.

The You Should Be Better Than You Are Award

You can see the sliver of hope late in the season when 72 percent of Falcons fans were confident in the direction of their team. Then the wheels fell off with five consecutive losses.

The Are The Patriots Done? Award

The Patriots graph is funny. Every year there’s a moment when we ask: Is the Patriots dynasty over? It came early this season after losses to the Jaguars and Lions, and our FanPulse data shows the plummeting confidence after Week 3. As usual, the Patriots recovered and will be playing yet another home playoff game.

The I Don’t Know What This Is Award

Imagine the emotions a fanbase goes through when in one week there are just 12 percent of fans who say they’re confident in the direction of their team (Titans fans after Week 6) and then a month later 94 percent of them say they’re confident in their team (Titans fans after Week 10). I can’t even explain this one.

The Maybe We Have A Shot Award

The Broncos finished the season 6-10, fired their coach, and were left with questions at GM and quarterback. You might not remember that as late as Week 14 the Broncos had a shot. The late-season spike shown below is the Broncos at 6-6 and in the playoff hunt. Four straight losses to finish at 6-10 changed that.

The That’s A Heck Of A Slide Award

The Jets finished the season 4-12 so you may not remember there was a time when things were looking up. They were 3-3 after six weeks and things looked promising with a rookie quarterback. Of course, they lost nine of their last 10 to finish the season, which created this slide.

The We Will Dig Out Of This Award

The Seahawks weren’t supposed to be good. Field Gulls remembers. After four weeks, just 24 percent of Seahawks fans said they were confident in the direction of their team. Something changed. They started winning — a lot. The Seahawks won six of seven down the stretch (the one loss was in overtime).

The Firing Your Coach Works Award

Browns fans were fairly confident throughout the season despite some, uh, recent troubles. They hit rock bottom midway through the season and responded by firing Hue Jackson. A funny thing happened after that. They got a lot better!

The Firing Your Coach Works Award (Part 2)

Firing your coach works, apparently. Seventeen percent of Packers fans said they were confident in the direction of the team after their embarrassing loss in Week 13 to the then 3-9 Cardinals. They fired their coach, Mike McCarthy. The next week confidence jumped up to 40 percent.

The Back From The Dead Award

Sitting at 4-5 and losers of three straight, the Ravens looked dead in the water midway through the season. Just 8 percent of their fans said they were confident in their team. Of course, winning cures all, and they slowly but surely worked their way back into playoff contention.

The Back From The Dead Award (Part 2)

The Texans are 11-5 with the third seed in the AFC so it’s hard to remember when they started out the season 0-3. It’s easy to lose confidence in your team early, but the team won it back with a nine-game winning streak after its slow start.

The Late Season Plunge Award

The Steelers won seven of their first 10 games, but a three-game skid against the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders crushed their confidence.

The Hope For Next Year Award

The Giants had one win in the first half of the season but went 4-4 in the second half of the season, which has their fans thinking more optimistically about next season.

The Hope For Next Year Award (Part 2)

Like Giants fans, Bills fans have some hope for next season with a 4-3 finish to the season. They have some Josh Allen believers over at Buffalo Rumblings.

The Biggest Win Of The Year Award

Heading into their Week 15 game against the Rams, 18 percent of Eagles fans said they were confident in their team. After their big win over the Rams, that number jumped to 67 percent. Their confidence was rewarded with a playoff berth.

The Slowly But Surely Award

Cowboys fans were all over the place early in the season as one of the most inconsistent fanbases when it came to confidence in their team. Then they started slowly but surely building wins, which culminated in a playoff berth.

The Slow Start, Hot Finish Award

Remember when the Chargers were 1-2 to start the season? I had forgotten about that because of the way they finished. Their Week 11 dip in the graph below was a loss to the rival Broncos.

The You Finally Fired Marvin Lewis Award

Fire, retire, mutually part ways ... whatever you want to call it, Marvin Lewis is no longer the head coach of the Bengals. That was good enough to go from 10 percent of Bengals fans confident in the team to 30 percent after news of his departure came out.

The Miami Miracle Award

The Dolphins finished the season 7-9 ... BUT THEY BEAT THE PATRIOTS!

The Miami Miracle is what you see with that jump in confidence after Week 14. Then, of course, back to reality after that.

The This Hurts To Look At Award

I’m not really sure what to say, Panthers fans. It should’ve been better this year.