2012 NFL Standing Predictions
Let’s start with the NFC East; I’ve got the Giants and Philadelphia both at 10-6. The Eagles through the years have owned the Giants but I think the Giants beat them twice this season and turn the tables on them. I’ll take the Cowboys to go 8-8, they have upgraded their secondary and I really like their talent but am not a fan of the culture. For the first time, I rolled the dice last year on them and got burned. Redskins will be fun to watch in a lot of games but with a rookie quarterback in that division, I go 6-10 – they’ll be the most exciting 6-10 team in the league
In the NFC North, I think it’s Green Bay and Chicago’s division to lose – Packers at 12-4 is who I’ll take, Chicago at 10-6. Detroit has shown major maturity issues on/off the field, I’m not sold on Jim Schwartz being able to pull back on this team, being able to pull them in, they are an 8-8 football team as they’ve still got massive holes, no running game and their secondary is – if they don’t get a requisite pass rush, is really really average.Minnesota? Outkast! Nothing you can say about it. If you have to face Aaron Rodgers twice, Stafford twice and Jay Cutler and you’ve got Christian Ponder, you’re going to lose a lot of those games, take them at 4-12.
In the NFC South, I think it’s a bunch of good teams – no great teams, I think 9-7 for Atlanta wins the division. Carolina is 2nd place at 8-8, I’m down on New Orleans right now because I think there is simply too much noise around the organization, I think coaches matter as Sean Payton is a great motivator and he’s gone, so I’ll take them at 7-9 and their schedule also isn’t easy. Tampa is rebuilding, 5-11.
In the NFC West I don’t think anybody denies that San Francisco appears to have the best coach, best special teams, best defense, their schedule is more difficult than last year’s – so they pull back a little, but take them to go 12-4. I’m going to take St. Louis as my dark horse team in the NFC, I think their schedule is workable if Sam Bradford is upright, I love their draft picks, they improved in the front 7, and I’m rolling the dice on them and calling a 9-7 record. Seattle, everybody is high on Seattle but let’s see Russell Wilson over the course of a season, a scrambling 5-11 rookie quarterback, I’ll go 7-9. Arizona – just a mess on the offensive line and in quarterback position, take them to go 5-11.
My playoff teams in the NFC therefore are: San Francisco, Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Giants all winning their divisions, with the Eagles and the Bears as the wild card teams.
In the AFC, let’s start with the East. I’m going to take New England at 13-3, I don’t know how they landed the weakest schedule but they also face some rookie quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill a couple of times, they play Cleveland as well. I think Buffalo has really improved their defense, they’ll have a pass rush, I liked their offense last year, I think they have under-rated tight ends, under-rated backs, I’ll take Buffalo to finish 10-6 – even Vegas likes them this year. The Jets, too much of a circus for my taste, don’t have a “pop” player offensively whom they can depend on, Stephen Hill could emerge midway through the season as a “go to threat” that would certainly help a lot, 7-9. Miami is too young coupled with a rookie quarterback, 4-12.
AFC North, the excellent Baltimore Ravens should finish 12-4, they were one catch away from the Superbowl, I don’t see any erosion there though perhaps getting a little old in certain spots defensively, but like them enough to win the division. I’ll go Pittsburgh 10-6, already had an injury on the offensive line with one of their young draftee’s, Big Ben has got to stay healthy and they are getting older defensively. Cincinnati is good, still not great, it s tough division for them, I’ll call them at 8-8. Cleveland, what can I say 3-13.
I think Houston has the most talent in the AFC South although we don’t know if Gary Kubiak is a great head coach, Matt Schaub is really good, they had some defensive losses, Andre Johnson is now past his prime, I don’t think they are that great of a team, I’ll take them at 9-7. I’ll say Tennessee finishes 8-8; I still like Hasslebeck rather than Jake Locker as my starter, I’ll go 8-8. Indianapolis – one of my other dark horse teams, I think they’ll be 6-10, go look at their schedule as their first 9 games, 7 are very winnable. Take Jacksonville at 5-11, very good up front defensively, not enough firepower offensively.
In the AFC West, I’ll take Denver and Manning to win it – their schedule is just brutal though, 9-7. I think they could even be 11-5 with a reasonable schedule, but it’s 9-7 now, it was good seeing Peyton Manning take a hit last weekend and get up quickly. San Diego and Kansas City are just both missing things – I think Denver has the best personnel in this division, take Kansas City 2nd and Oakland I think is on their way – they have a new general manager, I’ll go 6-10 for the Raiders.