Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Prediction: 2012 NFL Season

It has been unfortunate that I have been unable to submit blog posts recently, due to a busy and hectic schedule that only bound to become busier. Fortunately, the NFL season is on its way and as I hope to make tradition by doing, I will be making my predictions for the upcoming NFL season. I'll give my ranking in the division, a record, a brief summary defending the ranking, and playoff predictions. The win-loss record is set for an individual record and will likely not add up. However, the rankings are accurate and that's really what matters most.

Last year, I correctly predicted the New England Patriots would finish runner-up in the Super Bowl and that the Green Bay Packers would have the best record, but much else was switched up. To my surprise, the Bengals, who I thought would tank, did well and Andy Dalton is a fine quarterback. Let's see how this year goes with regards to predictions...

AFC East

New England Patriots (12-4)- Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of the group remain in healthy form and in a division that's in a serious rebuilding process. Their long reign of dominant, winning seasons shouldn't be ending as long as Tom Brady's in good shape and able to play and play well.

Miami Dolphins (7-9)- The Dolphins made an effort this offseason by bringing Ryan Tannehill onto the team through the draft. They're making an effort by moving into a new direction with Joe Philbin as the coach, and I already respect the man for not putting up with Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson's crap and releasing him following his arrest for assault on his wife. Unfortunately, it's going to be a long road for the 'Phins.

Buffalo Bills (6-10)- I like what the Bills have to offer. I like the fact that they are garnering pieces together to come up with a potentially strong team. I just question how Ryan Fitzpatrick will do orchestrating the team. Will his surrounding team provide him with everything he needs like the Niners did for Alex Smith or will it just be another season that could have been but wasn't? It will be unfortunate for head coach Chan Gailey, who has really done what he could.

New York Jets (5-11)- The Jets are a mess. The Jets are a huge, exploding mess that has terrible chemistry off the field and it's bound to overflow on it. This team is going to be about Mark Sanchez getting benched and Tim Tebow getting on the field. It will be an incredibly ugly season for the team that will lead to horrifying cuts, releases, and possibly the firing of Rex Ryan if he can't hold the team together.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans (10-6)- I am quite surprised that I could see the Titans winning the division. I actually intended to have the Texans win it, but a tiebreaker put the Titans in this slot instead. The team is growing and Jake Locker looks to have the potential of bringing this team far. This looks like a team on the rise.

Houston Texans (10-6)- The Texans finally made their big break last season with Wade Phillips finally answering the questions on defense and with that and an already good offense, everything was set. The playoffs or being in the playoff hunt should become familiar to them, as this division is about to become competitive.

Indianapolis Colts (7-9)- The Colts should make a decent jump from where they were last season. Andrew Luck is going to have a good career with the team, but he needs to reach a point in which the rest of his team is ready to contend with him. Once he has a stage to play on, the Colts are going to see a heyday like they had with Peyton Manning. I don't necessarily agree with selecting a coach based off of one good season, which was how Chuck Pagano got in, but he should do a decent job with who he has.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13)- The Jags just seem to do a poor job getting talent on their team. Their big talent, Maurice Jones-Drew, is having some contract issues that will either keep him off the field or make him less enthused about being on it. Besides that, the team is simply shaky everywhere else. With what they have, it's going to be incredibly rocky for this team and things will not go their way.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens (13-3)- The Ravens seem to be in a situation in which it's now or never. They have an incredibly memorable defense with veterans that have their eye on the prize and perhaps this may be their time. Ray Lewis may be looking at his final season and the way he wants to end it is on top. The rest of the team seems to be hungry to make big plays as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)- Like last year, the AFC North is a shootout between these two teams. Only this year, it will be a shootout just between these two teams. The Steelers still have the mighty defense they are well known for having and they should propel them into the playoffs. The Ravens and Steelers will simply fight for the division, but the Ravens look to have this one.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)- The Bengals had their heyday last season, but it seems as if things simply go on and off for them. This season will be an off season and maybe a moment in which they part ways with Marvin Lewis to start anew. While Marvin Lewis has brought them to points in which they haven't been in a decade, he only brought them to the playoffs three times, producing a record of 0-3 with wildcard exits each time.

Cleveland Browns (2-14)- Everything about this team reads mess. The management looks like a hot mess and they're in the works of finding new people, meaning a quick end to the Mike Holmgren era. The season is going to ride on how well Brandon Weeden performs as a quarterback. Still, he deserves a better background than this.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)- The Chiefs look like a dark horse team for the playoffs this season. They have plenty of underrated, but fine fantasy football choices that are ready to make a break for it like they did just two seasons ago. Romeo Crennel has the respect from his team in which he may find that playoff appearance that he just couldn't find with the Cleveland Browns. Many are looking at the Chargers to make a big break or the Broncos to excel under Peyton Manning. I see a surprise, instead.

Denver Broncos (9-7)- Peyton Manning should bring the Broncos to form in a different way that Tim Tebow seemed to do with his high fortune. Though it will all come down to a division battle that they will shockingly lose out to against the Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers (7-9)- Speaking of surprises, the Chargers are going to finish under .500. Last season, the team really didn't show up to form and Phillip Rivers really performed below expectations. Yet plenty of the team got voted into the Pro Bowl. This time around, true colors will show and it may be time for the team to enter a new direction, meaning the end of the Norv Turner era that started out bright, but ended on a dull note.

Oakland Raiders (5-11)- Unlike in recent seasons, in which they actually contended for the playoffs, such as with an 8-8 record last season, the Raiders will take a few steps back in a division and will games that should prove to be a bit more difficult and against teams that should be garnering some strength.

NFC East

New York Giants (10-6)- The NFC East will clearly be the most competitive division this season and all four teams will contend. The Giants do have the hardest schedule, but I feel they're in form to be able to come out on top with some of their tough matches. They seem to have answers for the majority of their positions and that should help them claim the division.

Dallas Cowboys (9-7)- I would have given the division to the Cowboys if I were to make my predictions a few weeks back. However, this seems to be a team with a bit more question marks. These marks primarily lie on offense, where tight end Jason Witten is seeing injury woes and wide receiver Dez Bryant is having off the field problems. I do, however, see them overcoming these distractions and seeing the playoffs in one of the most competitive six seed battles ever.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)- If this align for this team, they could go on to win the division. However, this will all lie on one thing. That one thing is: can Michael Vick stay healthy? He already had an issue in the preseason and an injury will really hurt the team. I also expect him to be a bit weaker than he has in the past few seasons. I also don't get how Juan Castillo is still the defensive coordinator. I just don't get it. Maybe it is time for the Andy Reid era to come to an end and have a new coach start a new era.

Washington Redskins (8-8)- Even the Skins will see improvement with underrated stars at many positions and an answer to their quarterback question with the draft selection of RGIII. The team still has a long way to go, but meeting .500 will be something they can likely accomplish. It should also extend the time Mike Shanahan has left with the team, because they are bound to reach the playoffs within a season or two.

NFC South

Carolina Panthers (12-4)- The Panthers look like they are on their way to making the big break they need with Cam Newton garnering experience and enlightening a team that really didn't look so good. I can put my wagers on the fact that they will be the ultimate shocker. I did say the Bucs would be the dark horse of 2011, but they faltered to 4-12. I see the Panthers doing far better, as they have a more mature coach and a good cast.

Atlanta Falcons (9-7)- The Falcons will remain consistent with the times and how things have been treating them under the tenure of Mike Smith and they've been seeing back to back seasons with positive records or playoff appearances. The positive record should remain, but they will fall short of the playoffs, but by a very quick margin.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)- With Greg Schiano in the captain's seat, the team looks like they're on their way to seeing a bit more proper order. However, whether or not that delivers wins will really take a lot of time to find out.

New Orleans Saints (6-10)- It's unfortunate that this team had to deal with Gregg Williams and his cruel, pay to play schemes that caused Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt, and Jonathan Vilma to be suspended for so many games (for Payton, it was the whole season). We can only hope Williams never returns to the NFL. As for what remains, the Saints are scrapped down to what they had and it will require a new game plan. All of these complications and constant changes with two coaches may really hurt them.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (14-2)- The Packers are highly dominant and will show this in the regular season. They have the explosive offense that's going to make them a team that produces fantasy football gems. However, everything is going to come down to whether or not their defense also holds answers. For the regular season, they should be able to play to a point in which they easily reach the playoffs.

Detroit Lions (10-6)- This team should see much similarity to last season. They seem to be in the same condition in which they were the last time around and nothing should change from then. The only differences would come down to the fashion in which they win their matches. Aside from that, they will come out on top in one of the most grueling wildcard battles in the history of the NFC.

Chicago Bears (9-7)- Plenty of people have said that the Bears are ready to strike a comeback and that they will cap off an NFC North that will feature three playoff teams. I agree that the NFC North will produce three strong teams, but the Bears will fall short by an incredibly small margin. Predicting between the 9-7 teams that will form a trend was an incredibly tough decision, but the Cowboys would be the ones that come out based on wins. It'll be a fine effort for the Bears, but Jay Cutler is on and off.

Minnesota Vikings (2-14)- I see them fighting with the Browns for the #1 pick in the NFL Draft in 2013. When the Brett Favre era came to an end due to Favre's injury, the Vikings entered a great depression of their own. Adrian Peterson will have it rough and the remainder of the team doesn't look like they'll be producing. They should seriously think about tearing things down to rebuild, starting with the disposal of Leslie Frazier.

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers (11-5)- The Niners are entering an era in which they have made their biggest comeback in a decade. After a string of mediocrity, they found true leadership in Jim Harbaugh, and his competitive style brought them to the NFC Championship. It will be a much more grueling season for this team, but they'll still do a fine job.

Seattle Seahawks (9-7)- The Seahawks look to be a team on the road to returning to form. The fact that rookie, third round selection Russell Wilson outplayed Matt Flynn for the starting role on the team really shows that this time will have some fine talent. Plus with Braylon Edwards AND Sidney Rice, this team looks like they could make a decent run. I see them involved in the playoff hunt, but falling just short.

St. Louis Rams (6-10)- With Jeff Fischer and his strong contract, the Rams have some high expectations, but it will be a long road for this struggling team. There will, however, be slight improvement with a 6-10 record compared their previous record of 2-14. While Fischer may have been a big name, he was only decent with the Titans. It was his earlier performances and Super Bowl appearance in 1999 and AFC Championship appearance in 2002 that made his career look attractive. They should be trekking upward nonetheless.

Arizona Cardinals (3-13)- The most spoken of topic with this team is the quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. Both of them seem is be just okay and this will dominate the season. I see it going back and forth throughout and it will mess up their opportunities and cost Ken Whisenhunt his job.



(6) Houston Texans
defeat (3) Tennessee Titans, 27-19
(5) Pittsburgh Steelers defeat (4) Kansas City Chiefs, 24-3
(3) San Francisco 49ers defeat (6) Dallas Cowboys, 34-28
(4) New York Giants defeat (5) Detroit Lions, 24-20


(1) Baltimore Ravens
defeat (6) Houston Texans, 29-16
(2) New England Patriots defeat (5) Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-21 (OT)
(1) Green Bay Packers defeat (4) New York Giants, 34-24
(2) Carolina Panthers defeat (3) San Francisco 49ers, 28-26


AFC: (1) Baltimore Ravens defeat (2) New England Patriots, 27-24
NFC: (1) Green Bay Packers defeat (2) Carolina Panthers, 38-13

Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens defeat Green Bay Packers, 28-27

Based on these records and results, other predictions of mine include...

1. After winning Super Bowl XLVII, Ray Lewis decides to call it a career.

2. Rex Ryan (Jets), Pat Shurmur (Browns), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Norv Turner (Chargers), Andy Reid (Eagles), Leslie Frazer (Vikings), and Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals) are the head coaches let go. Chan Gailey may join this list if the Bills feel that they need a response to the position of head coach or they would give him one more chance with more tools. Lovie Smith will receive another chance, as he would have led a fierce team with the Bears. Andy Reid's exit would be expected and to some Philly fans relieving, but nevertheless shocking like Jeff Fischer's, because of his long tenure (as he was hired in 1999). Mike Mularkey (Jaguars) will likely be granted another chance due to rocky circumstances.

3. Head coaching nominees for 2013 will include Perry Fewell (Giants DC), Pete Carmichael Jr. (Saints OC), Mike Zimmer (Bengals DC), Mike McCoy (Broncos OC), Rob Chudzinski (Panthers OC), Vic Fangio (49ers DC), and Mike Sherman (Dolphins OC) on the coordinator end. I don't see Super Bowl winning coaches like Bill Cowher or Tony Dungy looking for a return, but Jon Gruden may be a possibility. Marty Schottenheimer may also see another chance, as he saw an interview with the Bucs before they picked up Greg Schiano. Each of the fired coaches will likely find either a head coaching or coordinating job in the league. Reid may be the only one to get an immediate head coaching position, while Ryan may get a head coaching position if he doesn't taint his name with the Jets, but will otherwise get a coordinating position. The others will likely be coordinators if fired. Rob Ryan has generally been a favorable pick for me, but if the Jets saga blows up, it'll hurt his chances as well.

4. Matt Flynn will likely see a starting gig, but away from the Seahawks, given that Russell Wilson is on his way to establishing himself as a quarterback.

5. Either Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow will not be with the Jets after the 2012 season. A direction will be declared following a turmoil season.

6. Matt Barkley goes to the Vikings and allows them to start a new era. If they pass him up, he'll go to the Cardinals and the Vikings would have wasted a valuable opportunity.

Otherwise, my final verdict will be Ravens over Packers in Super Bowl XLVII, which I predicted back in 2010 in an article I wrote on a Facebook group I created before I became a blogger. This time around, it seems like a strong possibility. The Ravens have an offense that produces and a defense that's incredibly aggressive. While Chuck Pagano, the previous defensive coordinator, went to the Colts, Dean Pees seems to be perfectly qualified. He was on the Patriots before heading to the Ravens and made an impact there. The Packers will be the excellent offense that they have proven, but it will be the best offense versus the best defense, and offense tends to win games as defense tends to win championships. This is prove no exception.

The season begins Wednesday, so let the season begin!

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