It’s that time of year again when I gaze into my crystal ball and pull out sure to be inaccurate predictions for the NFL season that is upon us. I’d like to say that there is an in depth statistical analysis that goes into my picks but it’s so much more than that. There are also my deep rooted biases and a hefty amount of guessing that goes into it as well. When it all comes down to it, those “analysts” that get paid to do this are pretty much guessing as well. There’s no way to know who’s going to get injured, who else is getting suspended, and who is just going to tank. Not since the Patriots in 2003 has the team with the best regular season record hoisted the Lombardi Trophy surrounded by confetti that same February. Just as the Packers and Giants from last season can tell you, it’s all about getting hot at the right time. So without further ado, here go my predictions sure to go wrong team by team for the 2012 NFL season.
NFC West Also known as the NFC “Worst”. This division likes to trade with the AFC West for who can be the worst division in the NFL. Last season, the 49ers under first time super douche head coach Jim Harbaugh ran away with the division going 13-3 and reaching the NFC Championship. Will he have the same success in his sophomore season? Has he learned to give a gentler handshake?
Arizona Cardinals: 2011 finish 8-8 the old saying goes if you have 2 quarterbacks than you have no quarterbacks and it couldn’t be truer in this situation. Both Kolb and Skelton have looked atrocious in the preseason to the point where Coach Whisenhunt doesn’t even want to name a starter a week and a half before the regular season starts. There just weren’t many games I’d be confident in picking them to win. 2012 Prediction: 1-15
St. Louis Rams: 2011 finish 2-14 The Rams took a giant step back last season when Sam Bradford went down with an injury and I feel like they’re still recovering. They went from a potential playoff team the season before last to the bottom barrel and I don’t think you bounce back that quickly. Even with Jeff Fisher at the reigns I don’t think they turn it around this year. 2012 Prediction: 5-11
San Francisco 49ers: 2011 finish 13-3 Slow your roll there Jimbo. You’re not coming out of the gates again with a better record than last year, just not happening. Especially with Alex (I’m not a game manager) Smith still under center and the uncertainty of whether or not Randy Moss is going to be into it or whether time has passed him by. 2012 prediction: 11-5
Seattle Seahawks: 2011 finish 7-9 Starting a rookie quarterback is always a risk and Pete Carroll is a risky kinda guy. Could be brilliant or Russell Wilson could be too short to handle the job. 2012 prediction: 7-9
NFC South This division could be wide open for the taking thanks to the bounty suspensions levied against the Saints. The Panthers are going to look to improve on Cam Newton’s rookie season by adding wins to his stats.
Atlanta Falcons: 2011 finish 10-6 The Falcons are in kind of a put up or shut up kind of situation here. They have every opportunity to take control of the division away from the Saints while they work out that messy bounty issue. 2012 Prediction 13-3
Carolina Panthers: 2011 finish 6-10 The Panthers have put all their stock in the hands of Cam Newton, and for good reason. They were an awful football team before him and it just might take a few more pieces to the puzzle to be a great football team with him. Then there’s Center Ryan Kalil who took out an ad in a local newspaper guaranteeing a Super Bowl for the team this season. Those always work out. 2012 Prediction 7-9
New Orleans Saints: 2011 finish 13-3 There’s no secret that the Saints are facing an uphill battle this season playing without Sean Payton and Jonathan Vilma the entire season. There are some analysts still thinking the Saints will continue their dominating regular season pace even without Payton. I’m thinking of the Saints can go without their coach for an entire season and still be successful than we’re not really accurately determining the value of a head coach. 2012 Prediction 7-9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2011 finish 4-12 The Bucs are starting the season with a new head coach and not much else to look forward to. With newly acquired Vincent Jackson for Josh Freeman to throw to, the young QB could turn this sinking pirate ship around or it could be another disappointing year in Tampa. 2012 Prediction 4-12
NFC East The NFC East is always one of the toughest divisions each season. Basically for the fact that towards the end of the year it seems like no one wants to win it and they all just keep losing to each other. Is this the year Romo finally takes the Cowboys to the promise land? Do the Eagles look more like a Dream Team this season? Can Eli take the Giants to back to back Super Bowls?
Dallas Cowboys: 2011 finish 8-8 Can Jason Garrett coach this team while Jerry Jones is constantly hovering overhead? It seems to me that the Cowboys aren’t ever going to be successful unless they can take the GM responsibilities away from Jones and in the hands of someone that can handle the job. 2012 Prediction 10-6
NY Giants: 2011 finish 9-7 Last season Eli Manning took a 9-7 team to the Super Bowl to beat Tom Brady and the mighty Patriots for a second time and he still can’t get anyone to say that he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer at this point. Geez, tough crowd. They sure love to put Brady up on a pedestal but don’t really want to recognize when someone beats him. I probably gave the Giants more wins than they’ll probably end up with, to be honest. 2012 Prediction 12-4
Philadelphia Eagles: 2011 finish 8-8 I’ve got Week 6 as the week Vick goes down with some kind of rib, hand, or leg injury. Otherwise with DeSean Jackson now happily under contract and Shady McCoy breaking ankles, the Eagles on paper should be very good this season. How it will all play out might be another story. 2012 Prediction 11-5
Washington Redskins: 2011 finish 5-11 It’s all about RG3 in Washington right now. It’s going to have to be. I’m thinking that RG3 has a better chance at being more successful than Luck; I still don’t think he takes the Redskins to the promise land just yet. While he’s winning the endorsements race right now, I don’t think he wins a whole lot of games his rookie year. 2012 Prediction 6-10
NFC North Everyone’s already picking the Packers to return back to the Super Bowl. After finishing the season 15-1 and embarrassing themselves against the Giants in the playoffs who knows? Maybe this is the season they have the slump and can’t measure up.
Chicago Bears: 2011 finish 8-8 People are foaming at the mouth at the idea of Jay Cutler reuniting with Brandon Marshall. Isn’t Marshall supposed to be suspended or something? So the whole umpteenth arrest or off the field incident for him this year just not a big deal Goodell? Oh ok. Still baffles me why people are thinking that recreating the 2007 Broncos that went 7-9 is going to be good for Chicago. 2012 Prediction 10-6
Detroit Lions: 2011 finish 10-6 Well it finally happened, the Lions made it to the playoffs. I was way off on my prediction for the Lions last year because I just wasn’t confident that Stafford could put together a complete season. Now I’m not confident that Ndamukong Suh can complete the season without being suspended. Still picking them to improve slightly. 2012 Prediction 11-5
Green Bay Packers: 2011 finish 15-1 The Packers have gone from being a wild card team to win the Super Bowl to finishing the season almost undefeated and losing in the first round. Now they’re going to do it with a new offensive coordinator. All the “experts” need the Packers to stay good to justify the continued verbal ass-kissing that goes on from them to Aaron Rodgers. 2012 Prediction 13-3
Minnesota Vikings: 2011 finish 3-13 Few teams are as depressing as the Vikings. At least they don’t have to suffer through McNabb stinking up the joint before going with the young guy. Adrian Peterson is trying to come back from an ACL injury, which could be dicey if he’s unsuccessful. 2012 Prediction 3-13