Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions

Well, here we are ladies and gents. The NFL preseason is finally over and all the unnecessary injuries are already done and we are ready to strap it up for week one. By my count this will be the fourth season of writing for the Steelers and the first three were great with one of them finishing with a Super Bowl championship. The last three years I have done this preseason predictions and every single year I pick the Steelers to win so I guess I am 1-for-3, I will take that.

I want to preface this by saying that any of the records that I give for teams aren't going to be very scientific. I don't go through the schedule and say that team A defeats team B, this is more just me thinking out loud how many wins they may have so don't get all up in my grill if the wins and losses don't match up.

without further ado here is my 2012 NFL preview sure to go right wrong.

NFC

East - The NFC East is one of the best divisions in all of football. We can sit here and make fun of Eli Manning, the Cowboys and the Eagles but truth be told they are uber talented. Eli Manning is the difference in this division though. Whether you like to admit it or not he is elite and he has taken the Giants to two Super Bowl titles and will lead them to the NFC East crown. Last season the division was super close with the Giants having nine wins and the Eagles and Cowboys both having eight wins. I think it will be much of the same this year except the Cowboys will be able to outlast the Eagles. I see the Giants with ten wins and the Cowboys getting nine with with the Eagles also getting nine and missing out via a tiebreaker. The Redskins are going to be much of the same but it is going to be really exciting to watch RG3 play as he is a great athlete that also can throw the ball a little.

South - This division is really split in half in my opinion. It is the Saints and the Falcons and then there is a line and the Panther and the Bucs. I think the gap is closer than a lot think with the Saints and the Falcons and if Atlanta can come up with a way to win a big road game then they are in good shape but I just don't think they are there yet. The Saints have dealt with some tough situations over this past year and are going to have a ton of new faces but they are stacked with talent and while I don't see them winning 13 games like a year before I think that they can get to 11 wins and beat out the Falcons by one game for the division title. I think the Panthers are going to be better than most people think. They won seven games last year and they bring back some good talent on the offensive side of the ball. If they can figures out the defense a little bit they can have a chance to contend but I think 8-8 is pretty reasonable for them this year. Tampa is bad and might get three wins.

West - The West once again is an absolute mess with teams that just aren't very good. The 49ers probably have this wrapped up before the season even started because there just isn't enough competition to go around. The 49ers rely on a great defense and some game management to get by. They are not going to be 13 wins good this year but they might get close with 11 wins or maybe 12. A key is going to be if Frank Gore stays healthy which is never really a good thing to bet on because he is literally never healthy. The defense should be good but it will be amazingly hard for them to replicate what they did last season. The Cardinals finished second with an 8-8 record and to be honest if they get eight wins this year I would be shocked. They have nothing at quarterback and Beanie Wells might be their best weapon outside of Larry Fitzgerald. Maybe three or four wins for Arizona. Seattle should be right around where they were next year with eight wins, maybe nine, and St. Louis could really make a nice jump after only winning two game last year. St. Louis could surprise you with seven wins if Sam Bradford stays healthy.

North - The North is a really fun division to look at. While the Packers have basically run this division for the past couple of years I think they are going to come back to the field this year and Chicago is going to have a great chance to take the division. I know every year it seems like I get way too high on the Bears and they ultimately let me down but while I don't think they win the division this year I do think they beat ou the Lions for the second playoff spot out of the North. The Pack are still loaded with talent but the defense has a pretty hard time getting to the QB and the offense is looking a little beat up with injuries to Greg Jennings. They should get to 12 wins but I think the Bears are going to be right there with 11 wins to pounce on the Packers if they slip. I think the Lions are going to fall back a little bit. They have the talent but last year they were predicated on so many comebacks of double digits. You just can't expect that to continue and think you can make a living off it. They are a very emotional team which can work to their favor but it can also work against them as we say at points last season.

AFC

East - The East still runs through New England. Mainly because I don't think any teams got any better in that division and the Patriots are kind of in that same boat. The Patriots do what they do. They have a ton of talent and they have Tom Brady so you can pencil them in for 12 wins. The rest of the division is going to be a little different. I think the Bills are going to be a really solid team this year and will finish second in the division with nine wins. I think the defense is going to be really solid and if they can find a complimentary receiver to go along with Stevie Johnson then they can really push the Patriots a little bit. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller gives them a ton of athleticism on offense so it should be a fun team to watch. The Jets are just an absolute mess. Preseason doesn't mean anything but they went three games, three whole games without scoring a touchdown. Woof. Mark Sanchez isn't very good at the QB position and neither is Tim Tebow. Santonio Holmes is the only receiver on the team. Bart Scott is still Bart Scott which means he isn't very good. How an I supposed to know about the Dolphins if they don't know what they are all about? But hey, Hard Knocks, right?

South - The South isn't very good either. The Texans should run away with this division with around 11 wins but the division isn't very good which is what I generally think about the entire AFC as a whole. I am sort of a fan of the Texans as I love Matt Schaub and Arian Foster on offense and the defense is still going to be good despite the loss of Mario Williams who is now with the Buffalo Bills. Tennessee should be good enough to finish second in the division right around where they were last year with nine wins. I think Chris Johnson will be much, much better than he was a year ago and that will go a long way to balance the offense and let them win some football games. Indianapolis should be in decent shape, all things considered, with Andrew Luck at quarterback and will finish ahead of Jacksonville who is just a mess right now.

West - The West might not have the best teams but it is going to be a fun division to watch as it will most likely come down to the last couple of weeks. Last year Denver, San Diego and Oakland all finished 8-8 with Kansas City finishing 7-9 so literally every team had a chance to make the playoffs and I think this division will be better overall this year. A lot of people are talking about Denver with Peyton Manning. While Manning is going to instantly make this team better offensively I think their defense was overlooked last season. I do not think that the Broncos will win the division because I actually think San Diego will take the division if only by a tie breaker. I do think the Broncos will make the playoffs with nine wins and Oakland will actually be much improved. I know Carson Palmer is the butt of many jokes but he makes the offense work in Oakland and if Darren McFadden can stay healthy they will make it interesting. Kansas City just will not have enough on either side of the ball although they play in one of my favorite stadiums.

North - The AFC North. In my mind the best division in the league. I don't much care if you agree with me because that is my opinion and you can't change it. The division got a new look last year with the emergence of Cincinnati and should be a three team race again. While both the Ravens and Steelers are getting a little longer in the tooth I think they are still the cream of the crop in the division. The Bengals have a ton of young talent with some good tight ends and the duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green but I don't think it will quite be enough this year in part to the extensive injuries they had in the preseason. The Steelers and Ravens should split their season series which should bring it down to other division games for the AFC North title and likely first round bye. I have both the Steelers and Ravens getting ten wins with the Steelers taking home the title. I think the Bengals might get nine wins but if they only went 8-8 I would not be shocked either. The Browns still are going to sit at the bottom but I don't think they will be as bad as they were last year and might sneak in with five(ish) wins.


NFC Final Standings

New Orleans
San Francisco
Green Bay
New York Giants
Chicago
Dallas

NFC Champion: New Orleans

AFC Final Standings

New England
Pittsburgh
Houston
San Diego
Baltimore
Buffalo

AFC Champion: Pittsburgh

Super Bowl XLVII Winner: Pittsburgh

Yea, like I wasn't going to be a homer there.

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