6 Bold Predictions For The 2012 NFL Season

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In every year of MSF’s existence, I have done a “bold predictions” column before the NFL season starts. They are fun to write, and people seem to enjoy them – especially the part where they rip apart my predictions.

And that’s fine. You are welcome, even encouraged, to rip these predictions to shreds. None of it really matters anyway.

But just know that in last year’s column, this was one of my predictions: 2010 playoff teams the Colts, Chiefs, Falcons, Seahawks, and Bears will not make the playoffs in 2011.

What actually happened? Out of those five teams, four missed the playoffs, including the Colts snapping their long string of double-digit win seasons and playoff appearances. And the Falcons may as well have. (24-2? Seriously? Who scores two points in a playoff game?)

That’s an 80% success rate, beeyatches. Hell. Yes.

Jean-Claude Van-DAMN I nailed that prediction!

So…basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m the man, and you better perk up your ears when I start looking into my NFL crystal ball.

(By the way, I implore you – beg you – not to look any further beyond that first prediction in last year’s column. I’m being serious. Why would you need to? I nailed four out of five in Prediction #1. What more proof do you need. PLEASE DON’T SCROLL DOWN AND READ THE REST.)

As I look into my crystal ball this year, I see a number of unexpected events unfolding around the NFL. You get to learn about them first here, before anyone else – hell, before they even happen.

So take these predictions to the bank, or to your bookie, or to wherever you happen to take arbitrary, meaningless, sure-to-be-wrong preseason predictions. I promise I won’t let you down.

Bold NFL Prediction #1:

The Indianapolis Colts will go from worst to first in 2012.

As chronicled here by The Big Lead, at least one team has gone from worst to first to win its division in every season since 2003.

While most pundits think the Chiefs or the Buccaneers are the best bet to have such a super turnaround this season, I am going with the Colts. And all it’s going to take is a little (okay, a lot) of Luck.

andrew-luck

Andrew Luck is looking to follow in the footsteps of the surprising majority of recent rookie starting QBs. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

If you told me right now that I could have one quarterback in the AFC South to win with this year, I would take Colts rookie Andrew Luck. That might not seem like much of a stretch over Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker, but I bet Houston Texans fans are up in arms at such flippant disrespect for Matt Schaub.

I like Matt Schaub. He’s a solid NFL starter. But he has also missed at least five games in three out of the last five seasons. And it’s not like he’s been great when he’s been healthy. He’s been good. Solid. But Luck can be that too, even as a rookie.

Plus, in the event that Schaub does get hurt, I am not a member of the T.J. Yates Fan Club. And Andre Johnson isn’t exactly the Cal Ripken of wide receivers. The Texans’ next best receiver is…Kevin Walter?

So while I think Houston can be a legit AFC contender if fortune smiles on them this season, I also think they are a fragile team with the potential to disappoint, especially if anything goes wrong early in the season and pressure starts to mount. Indianapolis, however, with no expectations and no pressure, will essentially be playing with house money all year.

Now back to Luck, the real lynchpin in my bold Colts’ prediction.

Just like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton last year, and like Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and other recent rookie quarterbacks, Luck is going to hit the ground running. He has already looked solid in the preseason.

As the most “NFL-ready draft prospect in years” (how many times has that exact phrase been used to describe him?) I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect Luck’s poise and production in his rookie year to belie his inexperience.

And here is another relevant nugget, also courtesy of The Big Lead: “…over the last eight years, nine rookie quarterbacks have started opening week. Six of those teams went on to make the playoffs…” So though some people seem to think starting a rookie QB is a death knell, or a sign that a team is sacrificing their season in the name of just getting their young QB experience, that has not proven true on the field.

Plus, the Colts are not totally devoid of playmakers:

  • Reggie Wayne is still around as a veteran presence the young QB can lean on.
  • Coby Fleener is a familiar face for Luck with talent at the tight end position.
  • Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are still around to anchor Chuck Pagano’s new-look defense.

Yes, the Colts have tons of roster holes. They were 2-14 for a reason last year. But as Peyton Manning proved, an elite QB can be difference between 10-11 wins and 3-4.

So how much of a difference can a competent QB make? The Colts didn’t have one last year, but they will this year.

If Luck himself can provide a 3-4 game bump just by offering competence under center, and if a few balls bounce the Colts’ way that didn’t last year (and let’s be honest, almost nothing bounced the Colts’ way last year), this team could reasonably find a way to 8-9 wins. The schedule isn’t particularly daunting.

I say it happens. And when it does…

Bold NFL Prediction #2:

The Colts and Broncos will meet in the playoffs.

It’s just too perfect. It has to happen. It would be so much better than any made-for-TV movie, and the NFL always seems to have fortune smile down upon it when it comes to TV.

So let’s say the Colts win the AFC South, as I’ve boldly predicted above. And let’s say the Broncos finish at 10-6 (because Peyton Manning always wins 10 games), but that places them one game behind the Chiefs (more on them in a bit) in the AFC West. If the Colts are the 4th-best division winner (which they would be) and the Broncos are the wild card team with the best record, they would meet in the first round of the playoffs.

In Indianapolis.

With Peyton Manning playing for the opposition in the facility he helped build.

I know it seems unlikely right now, especially the Colts part of it. But if the Colts can somehow hop on a magic mojo carpet ride in 2012 and hold up their end of the bargain, I see the football gods smiling down upon us all for what would be an absolutely epic sports moment.

Forget the game itself. I’m getting chills right now thinking about the roof-lifting roar that Peyton Manning would receive from Colts fans when introduced.

Even Orson Welles would love to see Peyton Manning start a playoff game in his old stomping grounds.

That the stage for Manning’s return to the Circle City would be the playoffs would just make it all the more emotional.

Once the game started, of course, Colts fans would be behind their new guy, and their upstart team. But something tells me it wouldn’t matter.

Peyton, back on his true home turf and wanting to author one final signature Lucas Oil Field moment, would probably carve up the Colts’ secondary like a Thanksgiving turducken. And nothing in football is more beautiful than watching that.

I soooo want this to happen.

Bold NFL Prediction #3:

The Chiefs will also go from worst to first.

I mentioned this in the last section, so I might as well break it out in its own bold prediction.

The Chiefs fell flat last year, but many of the reasons for their downfall will have no impact on this season.

First, Todd Haley is gone, replaced by Romeo Crennel. While Browns fans may snicker at this being referenced as a positive, look closer. The Chiefs played much better with Crennel at the helm at the end of last season, and Haley did not get along with QB Matt Cassel. Really, Haley just isn’t cut out to be a head coach, as the Chiefs learned the hard way.

As for Crennel…well he ain’t Bill Belichick, obviously. But early signs point to him being the right man at the right time with a young, loaded roster in K.C.

Second, the Chiefs return much of its young, loaded roster from injury. Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry, two of the most talented players in the NFL at their respective positions, missed almost all of last season. They are back. Tony Moeaki is also back.

And just look at their depth chart. That is one talented offense. If Cassel’s mind is right – which it should be with Haley gone – then the Chiefs will put up lots of points. If the defense can just be adequate, this team should be able to navigate a decent schedule to a solid winning record.

***

For the record, I think the Patriots, Ravens, and Steelers will join the Colts, Chiefs, and Broncos in the playoffs. But there is really nothing bold about that.

Now let’s look at the NFC…

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About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. gSpangler says:

    I loved your recent bold predictions for 2012! I too have said the Colts will be better than what traditional wisdom would have us believe. The pressure is not on the Luck and the Colts .. I think #18 and his Broncos will. The Colts have a good chance to win our division and the showdown between the old and new would be the cherry on top! I hope youre right, looks to be a pretty exciting season Go Colts! and Broncos:)

    • Thank you! It’s a definite long shot. A HUGE long shot. But it sure would be fun!

    • Wow, I can’t believe that any of you think Chicago has a more balanced team than Green Bay. The Bears run the ball more because they have too. Jay Cutler isn’t even close to being in the same class as Rodgers! And the fact that the Packers are one of a very few teams to not have many holes on they’re team. The Packers are 3 deep at almost every position on Offense and defense. You’ll all see that when teams have to be down to 53. I’ll promise you that more players that are cut from the Packers team will make more rosters than any other team in the NFL. No team in any division has a better chance of winning home field advantage than the Packers and other than New England and they’re PATHETIC schedule, no team in the league will have a better record.The year before last the Packers defense was ranked 5th in the NFL and almost all the talent from that team is back and the best talent evaluator and GM in the NFL has plugged the weak spots with really good, young players. Here’s a prediction that really isn’t that bold, the GREEN BAY PACKERS WILL WIN THEY’RE 2ND WORLD TITLE IN 3 YEARS!! The Bears will be lucky to win a Wild Card spot!!!……

      • Randall Wiskur says:

        There’s a difference (and a corresponding correct way) to use the words “too” and “to”. Likewise “they’re”, “their” and “there”. Maybe you should brush up on “their” usage, you cheddar-loving meat-pita.

  2. LMAO……The Bears surpass the Packers? What drug are you on cuz I want some!

    • Hey, the Bears weren’t very far behind the Packers last year when Cutler and Forte were healthy. Now that they are? Watch out. Bears have far more balance than GB.

      • Balance? Are you serious? Balance means nothing! The Packers are a far superior team in every aspect than the Bears! The Bears didnt do enough to come close catching up to the Packers or even the Lions! Hoes that offensive line of the Bears doing? What did they do to address that issue? Hows Urlacher?

        • Ahem,Woodie, Packers better in every aspect? I belueve the Packer defense ranked 32nd in the league last year,,,’nuff said.

          • First of all, the Packers D was ranked 31rst overall(32nd against the pass). They were the 2nd worst Defense in stats NOT points given up. Most of the yards they gave up were had while the Packers were up by 20 points and the other team had to hurry up and throw all game to try and come back. They’re(the Packers) all world Safety was hurt all year. It’s funny how people who know absolutely nothing about Football make statements like enough said. Enjoy that ’85 season again this year because when the year is over, it will still be your only Super Bowl Title!! Packer fans get to look forward to winning our 5th SB title and 14th World Title!!!…. GO PACKERS!!!!

  3. I literally would bet you my life savings that the bears will not win their division. Seriously, bro?

    • Well, that’s the beauty of preseason predictions. Everyone has their own opinion and no one has any idea who is right or not. A lot of people would have bet their life savings that the Cardinals wouldn’t overcome a 10.5 deficit at this time last year and win the World Series. Crazy things happen in sports.

  4. Are you kidding about the Colts ??? What have you been smoking??? They will not win anymore than 6 games this year, and will not be the class of their didvision for alot of years !!!!!!!!!!!! Oh , and by the way, the Colts really screwed up, Peyton looks really good !!!!

    • I would say that yours is the more probable prediction. But I was trying to “bold” in the sense of finding possible predictions that seemed reasonable to me but were outside what I’d been seeing from other people. I would not at all be shocked if the Colts only win 5-6 games (which would still be a nice bounceback from 2011), but weird things sometimes happen in the NFL. There are only 16 games, so a little bit of improvement and a few lucky bounces here and there can take a team from unheralded to a surprising upstart in a hurry. I thought Cincy was a lock for a top-5 pick last year and they made the playoffs. You just never know.

      • I say give the Colts about 2 years of improvement to take the division, it’s too early to tell and I know it’s a dream to see the Colts and Broncos met in the play offs but think about it, things will change lets see how this goes.

  5. The Seattle Seahawks are a legit Super Bowl contender.

    I have been a Fan since day one and have never, and I say NEVER seen a Seattle team look this good in the preseason. Russel Willson is a true exception to the rule.
    This guy has the sort of stuff that legends are made of. Take it from a guy that has had an eye on this team since before you knew where Seattle was on the map. 12-4 baby!

    • Now that’s a bold prediction! I like it! Seattle definitely is a sleeper in the NFC West. It’s tough to trust a rookie QB…except that they seem to be having so much success. It wouldn’t be THAT difficult for Wilson to turn in the best QB season in the division considering the competition. And if he does, Seattle will have a great chance to be in the playoffs. I still think the 49ers’ roster is too loaded though. And I think Alex Smith has become a better player than people realize, plus his coach/system fits him to a T. But it’ll be fun watching the two teams play this year, for sure.

  6. DAve Louis says:

    I like your prediction for Alex Smith and the 49ers. With all 11 starters back from last years top ranked defense, it will be tough for teams to advance down the field. With the top ranked punting special teams, and the powerful defense, the 49ers should win the field position almost every timee. Harbaugh and Roman will continue to mentor Smith, and with the new weapons on offense like Moss, Manningham and Jacobs, they will be more dangerous in the red zone this year. They will be tough to keep out of the Super Bowl this year.

  7. Seattle?…lol…good one

  8. cornersss says:

    ” And Andre Johnson isn’t exactly the Cal Ripken of wide receivers.”

    Nicely written, i loved it

  9. cornersss says:

    whats with all these qb’s with these little tiny yap yap dogs like Cutler? Get a real dog, my Bengal cat is more of a dog than that thing

  10. OK JP lets here your bold prediction. Any JA can make a dumb statment like yours. Back it up, my guess you know nothing about Seattle

  11. I loved your article, I do see the colts being way better than you would expect but I dont see them stopping Foster or any legit running back.KC’s offense does not seem to be able to put enough points in the board to beat peyton manning but they could easily grab a wildcard, I completely agree with the cowboys prediction (if the amount of bad luck they had turned into good luck this year they would be superbowl contenders). Any prediction in the crazy NFC north could be considered either bold or obvios, as for my bold prediction I would ask for an unlikely playoff run by the jets at the hands of tebow (starting since week 4). The jets will square off with Denver at mile high in the wildcard game where tebow will once again make a miracle and finish a mannigless denver in the last minute. Once again great article.

    • NO!!! This was supposed to be a Tebow-Free Zone!!! Haha. Just kidding. Based on how the Jets have looked in the preseason, them making the playoffs certainly looks like a bold prediction right now.

  12. Prediction: When the judge asks Goodell for proof of a Bounty System, he’ll hold up a paper towel dispenser from the Saints training room.

  13. kzoogamer says:

    How about the Lions possibly getting one of the two first-round byes for the playoffs? They look so far like they could seriously contend!

    • The Lions definitely have the talent to do it, no question. But I worry about Stafford staying healthy, and I worry about whether the defense is good enough and if the team has enough discipline overall. No question they have the ability if Schwartz can keep them hungry and humble.

  14. Don’t heap a lot of faith onto Alex Smith. The 49ers had a breakout year last year, but watch out for the rise of the Seahawks! Russell Wilson looks like a special player. He’s every bit as good as Luck or RG3. The defense is solid. On offense, no more Tavaris Jackson. Matt Flynn is the back up (who I’d say is as good or better than Orton any day of the week). Marshawn Lynch will be bowling over safeties in search of Skittles. Plus, that Turbin kid they got in the 4th Round is no slouch, either, Upgrades at WR with Braylon Edwards and Sidney Rice healthy. Doug Baldwin came out of nowhere last year to lead the team in receptions and yards. Golden Tate is showing signs of greatness, especially in the return game. Kellen Winslow adds yet another offensive weapon. This team OBLITERATED Kansas City’s first team defense and only gave up 7 points! I think the Seahawks will be a Wild Card, if not win the NFC West outright.

  15. Really? In every aspect of the Bears? The Bears didn’t come close to catching up the Packers OR the Lions? So from week 6-11 when the Bears went without a loss, including BEATING the Lions isn’t “catching up” to the other teams? And how can you say that losing to the former Super Bowl champion Packers 35-21 with a backup QB and a 3rd string running back not be “keeping up”? Check your facts before you start spewing your hate, obviously hateful Packers fan…

    • It’s called a “bold” prediction Nick. Something that could happen but probably won’t. For your sake, I hope the Bears knock the crap out of your Pack though

  16. Hmm let me do probable results prediction-
    AFC East- Pats wins this easy, Dolphins and Jets (seriously ground and pound even in this passing era?? Rex Ryan is guzzling 60s Kool-Aid, some1 get him a DeLorean please and transport him to the present!!) are train wrecks and I believe Buffalo is far better and will finish 2nd (maybe lucky enough to snag a wild card even!)

    AFC North – Oh this one is brutal. They have a not so easy intraconference (AFC West) and a brutal interconference (NFC East). So I think Steelers would win this time around instead of Baltimore, with the Ravens getting the wild card. Cincy always seems to have one up and one down season, so this time, I am going with their one down! Less said about Cleveland the better!

    AFC South – I love your Colts prediction, although I do think it is a bit far-fetched. They still have a lot of holes and I believe Titans are not so much as a gimme this year (Kenny Brit returns, and with a solid passing game, I think Chris Johnson will find more holes) and for all the MJD’s absence Jaguars will not particularly miss him, I think Rashard Jennings will fill the hole admirably (also the NFL is more of passing these past couple of years and trending in similar way, so RBs are not a huge priority anymore. Houston is still the cream of this division (but agree 100% regarding Matt Schaub’s injury history). So bottom line I think it would be Houston, with the rest of teams missing playoffs from South.

    AFC West- I think this is no longer a weak division. Broncos ought to be the fav to win this division and Chargers breathing down their necks. But ultimately I think Chargers have more holes in their defense and loss of Vincent Jackson would hurt them. I am really not able to get a right read on Chiefs. I would agree with you that they have a strong team, but I don’t think this team can stand up against Broncos for 2 games and additionally face Steelers and Ravens without facing casualties AFC West also plays NFC South which is another brutal division and I think Chiefs are not that strong to be able to top them all. Oakland might win a few with Palmer but frankly they will not be troubling anyone or challenging for divison crown even if McFadden is completely healthy (has never happened).

    NFC North- Killer Division. I am almost inclined to be with you on the Bears, barring their questionable defense (never thought I would ever say this about Bears Defense) and Packers’s overall talent. However I still think Bears will win out one of wildcard and not the division and I see Packers as the best of em all in NFC and winning the North easily. I also feel Lions will perform in the same manner like last year and snag the second wild card (but the only caveat being they should protect Stafford and his shoulder and keep him healthy for the entire season- if they do this, to do have the Megatron :D). I don’t see them progressing far in playoffs though.

    NFC East – Another tough division and pretty bad schedule for the teams here. The top 3 in this division are so close that they are going to beat each other up and thus miss out on the wildcard. Additionally they face AFC North and NFC South (arguably the two toughest divisions). Thus I strongly believe they are not going to end with great records and ergo miss out the wildcard. That said, I am inclined to pick the Eagles to win out the division with Giants tying them with same record and losing out on head to head or something to that effect. Eagles finished on a roll last year and their defense was finally meshing well. They have an incredible defensive line and DeMaco Ryans is a MLB. Don’t be surprised to find this to be one of top3 defenses in the league. Mike Vick is obviously a question mark regarding his health throughout the season, but looks like Nick Foles is establishing wonderfully to the point that I believe Eagles might do just enough to scrap through. Cowboys are great but I am concerned about Dez Bryant’s behavior and the fact that they always seem to come up cropper in situations where the dice could fall either way. Still a mighty dangerous team and can easily win the division if things fall right as mentioned. Giants are coming off a great year and Super Bowl victory but going by the trend, I am inclined to believe that they might have a down year with a couple of injuries or some freak losses. Also Eli is not looking too sharp this year, so if this continues, expect a down in performance. Redskins will be better than last year and RGIII is real deal, but they still need some pieces to top the division, but they make enough noises to be taken seriously.

    NFC South- I believe Atlanta will win the division, Saints will play tough and Drew Brees will demonstrate tremendous leadership qualities, but I think loss of Sean Payton will be a little too much to overcome. Tampa Bay is the dark horse with their Free Agent acquisitions and could very easily rock their way to the top or at the very least tie for 2nd in division. I expect Cam Newton to have a bit of sophomore slump as teams adjust to his style and over all I think Panthers still needs some moer pieces to be a contender. I see them in similar mould like the Redskins and expect them to challenge for division in a couple of years but not this year.

    NFC West – I think SF wins the division as they pretty much have an unchanged side from last yr (made a run to NFC championship) but Seattle is going to be awfully close. The one reason is because; I believe the 49ers with their stout run defense will shut down the Beast from Seattle. Seattle is going to be super strong and if NFC North beat each other up just like NFC East, Seattle may surprise for a wildcard. Cardinals with their questions on OL and QB play is not going to be able to challenge, and Rams are too much of greenhorn and another team with a few holes and thus would have to look for another high draft pick next year.

    • “Bold” I can’t disagree with a lot of what you said but nothing plays out like it supposed to. There is always a twist in the plot. There are to many intangibles (Newton, Griffin, Luck, Bradford, Stafford) to simply go down the line and pick what looks like the best bet. Each division has to build a team to beat the rest of the teams in their own division then worry about playoffs. Take the AFC South, the Texans have spent years trying to figure out how to beat Manning and the Colts and have only been able to land a playoff season once. Peyton wasn’t there. What makes it interesting is now that they have learned to play them and win … the Colts have changed it up so much they will have to learn how to play them all over again with what looks to be a better defense and a lot of LUCK. There are a number of teams capable. Who’s your “Bold” pick?

      • Like I said in the beginning of my very looooooong (yes a satire on my post) comment, it was a very safe prediction, nothing very bold about it. But that said, I completely agree with you that nothing plays out like it is supposed to! Which is why I guess the phrase “Any Given Sunday” was coined and that’s the beauty of this game!

        Now if I have to go for a bold pick, I would say Buffalo or Tampa Bay.

  17. JSon of a Texans Fan says:

    OF ALL THE….. THE BLATANT DISRESPECT… HOW COULD YOU….I MEAN C’MON!!! Ok given we (Houston Texans) have had our injury problems in the past. but that didnt stop us from going 10-6 last year. We lost 4 major player in off season (Mario Williams, Demeco Ryans, Eric Winston, Mike Brisiel) 2 of which were ineffective last year when it came to their impact at their position, and the other 2 well smh at management. But regardless we stil;l have one of the best 1-2 RB punches in the league, and if you think Kevin Walters is our best WR after Andre you haven’t been watching our pre-season games. I expect LeStar Jean to make an impact and I hope he overtakes Kevin for that WR2 spot the kid is that good he’s like Andre 1.5 (size, speed,etc.) we have a not so secret weapon anymore in Trindon Holliday as a return man granted he did have a fumble last game but who averages 60 yds a return combined in 3 games, Holliday does. Defense we’re solid the starters will be ready for week 1 and my all time favorite player to hate Kareem Jackson has improved much to my acceptance this year if he keeps this up you will more teams rushing than passing against the Texans. Now Schaub, i’ve went over this list several times and still come to the conclusion that he’s a Top 10 Quarterback #8 to be exact behind Rodgers/ Brees, Eli, Brady, Rothlisberger, Peyton, Ryan. despite his injuries when he’s healthy he’s on point and effective and after last season of missing the teams first playoff win the guys thirsty he wants his steak and potatoes this year. Andre Johnson, oh dear AJ80 INJURIE?!?!! what injuries the guy is still a top 3 WR #2 or 3 in (#1 Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald) the league you would still draft him as your first receiver if the other 2 are picked already. The dude is a monster. Last year count how many players went down with hammie injuries several because of the lockout due to not being able to compete all summer and going straight into the season it was inevitable. Just know the Houston Texans are ready this year and its Super Bowl or BUST!!

  18. I don’t think any athlete walking that little dog should be scowling and showing the bird.

  19. Good One.. seriously you’d bet your life savings the Bears wouldn’t win the north? That leads me to conclude your either A) and idiot or B) an packer fan (synonymous with idiot). Morris has a legitmate prediction with the Bears here. The WERE one of the hottest teams in the NFL when Jay went down last year. Now i’m not saying they would win majority games vs. the pack right now, but then again the Giants beat the Pats twice, its football anything can happen.

  20. Packers were far more superior to the Giants last year. How did that work out? This is all talk the season will play out as always and as always theey never come out as predicted.

  21. I like that you make bold predictions. It is only preseason, so I cannot bash your predictions at all. I am just a little disappointed that LaMichael James wasn’t mentioned in your 49ers weapons list. Anyways, here is my BOLD prediction: Mark Sanchez is replaced by Tim Tebow after week 4 and the Jets win 7 of their remaining 12 games under Tebow.

  22. Nobody wants to read that much from you. Get to the point.

  23. Saints won 14 games last year – will win another 14 this year. They only improved in the off-season, coaching suspensions or not. Predictions that depend on change to be the precursor of success is a huge gamble. The Saints #1 offense (#5 rushing) is basically intact. The defense was bad – and they won easily with it. They can only get better.

  24. Lets face it…..the Bears really don’t stand a chance against the Packers! Our defense may have been 32 in the league and we still were 15-1….nuff said. The Packers have the best Quarterback and Rogers has a lot of awesome weapons to go to. I will be laughing all the way to the bank on this bet! Packers will end up taking it all!!!!!!

  25. The Bears do not stand a chance against the Packers! Lets face it we have the best Quarterback with Rogers and he has so many awesome weapons to use in his
    WR corps. Yeah-maybe our defense was rated 32 in the league but look at our stats with having the defense at 32nd! Enough said on that one

  26. AFC – North- Ravens (1st rnd bye)
    East – Patriots (Homefield)
    South – Texans (4th div champ)
    West – Chiefs (3rd dov champ)
    1st WC – Steelers
    2nd WC – Chargers
    Ravens defeat Steelers in AFC title game.

    NFC – North – Lions (4th div champ)
    East – Cowboys (1st rnd bye)
    South – Falcons (3rd div champ)
    West – 49ers (homefield)
    1st WC – Packers
    2nd WC – Panthers
    Cowboys defeat Packers in NFC title game.

    Cowboys edge Ravens in SB.

  27. I like that last one BIG D

  28. cshaeffer says:

    are u kidding cowboys get spanked by ravens

  29. I Boldly predict that the ref problems go on for 6 weeks into the season and we will see highlites of several bad calls that will make wins that should have been losses and this season will be a big cluster screw-up because of these calls….replay being useless of most calls that are came changers

  30. those aren’t bold predictions, those are just some shift thrown against the wall in hope of some of it sticking (and because poo-flinging gets attention)

  31. Pick’s #1&2 would be nice to see but will not happen. In fact you will end this year 80%wrong. Lions all the way baby, they will have some bumps on the way there but will over come all of them.

  32. Dakota Gordon says:

    The Colts making the playoffs? The Bears winning their division? The Cowboys winning their division? Those are predictions I can’t see happening, ESPECIALLY the Colts. Though it would be nice to see Andrew Luck off to a hot start as everyone expects him to, I don’t think he has the necessary NFL experience or stable defense to give him the boost he needs. The Packers are still the Packers and I don’t see the Cowboys improving this year.

    However, your other predictions I can genuinely see happening. The Chiefs have a semi-decent quarterback with plenty of weapons on offense. Their defense is stable and aren’t all injured as they were last year and I have a good vibe coming from their new head coach. However, the only trouble I see with this is the inevitable talent on the Chargers team. Not to mention a lot of people in San Diego are playing for their jobs this year.

    Alex Smith is a little special in my eyes. He only threw for 5 interceptions last season, but hey, he didn’t even throw the ball that much. The 49ers thrive on their defense and running attack. That being said, Alex Smith has had the whole off-season to practice and has looked well in the preseason, and has gotten some new toys during the off-season in Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and A.J. Jenkins. This year will be Alex Smith’s year, if not in the Pro Bowl, perhaps in the Super Bowl.

    Now, some bold predictions I’d like to make are fairly shocking, so I suggest you not read the rest of this comment if you’re weak at heart.

    1. The Rams won’t post a losing record this year.

    I know this is a long shot, but I can actually see this happening. The Cardinals’ offense will be formidable with Fitzgerald and Skelton’s arm power, but I don’t see that as enough of a challenge to the entire Rams’ defense. Their defense has me a bit more worried, however. Their defense is strong up front, but a few key players (Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett) are getting up their in age, and I feel are starting to curve in their overall performance. The Seahawks have a hot, up-and-coming rookie quarterback, but I don’t see a team improved from last season offensively. The Rams themselves have had quite a few important off-season pick-ups (Steve Smith, Cortland Finnegan, etc.) that I can see make an impact on the team’s overall morale. The trouble I see is Sam Bradford’s durability, but regardless of that, I see big things for this team. You never know, maybe Jeff Fisher can catch a little tuna and bring this team together quickly. Stranger things have happened.

    2. No team with a starting rookie quarterback will post a winning record.

    A long time ago, this wouldn’t seem too bold, but with this generation’s new batch of quarterbacks look good, and some of them have generally good teams… Okay, maybe not that, but decent teams. Brandon Weeden and the Browns won’t go far with the division their in, along with their dormant offense. If the preseason means anything, Ryan Tannehill’s quarterback rating will be under 70 by the end of the season, and their team may fall to the bottom of the division (if the Jets manage to clean up their mess). Robert Griffin III is also in a tough division, and I can’t help but feel he’ll get injured by mid-season from scrambling too much. Andrew Luck may as well just work on his stats to satisfy his inevitable legacy as Peyton Manning’s heir to the Colts because I just don’t see the Colts offense being able to stretch down the field, and their defense is basically a prototype to the defense they’d like to see develop. Finally, Russell Wilson may be good in the preseason, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be good in the regular season. The Seahawks have a dependable defense, but their offense doesn’t have me sold just yet. At least they got rid of T.O. Maybe Russell Wilson can try for Cam Newton’s rushing TD record this year.

    3. Every team in the AFC who made the playoffs last season will return to the postseason this year.

    Now I know it’ll be easy to believe that the Ravens, Steelers, Texans and Patriots will make the playoffs and the Broncos are the favorites for the AFC West right now with Peyton Manning at the helm, but I honestly see a better Bengals team this year than last. Despite the strong division, I don’t see many challenges to the Bengals across the rest of the AFC for a wild card spot at the end of the regular season. The only teams I see as capable to challenge the Bengals for that spot are the Chargers and Chiefs. The Chargers are playing for their lives and the Chiefs have almost all of their weapons back on both sides of the field. It’ll be tough, but I still believe in the young tandem of Andy Dalton’s arm and A.J. Green’s hands.

    Who will win the Super Bowl? Well, that’s anyone’s best guess, and I don’t plan on picking one specific team, but if I really had to choose one team from each conference to at least make the Super Bowl, I would say the Ravens from the AFC and the 49ers from the NFC. Yes, both teams from the losing side of their respective conference championships last season, which should only serve as a spark to light the fire of the spirit of both of these teams, who are a lot alike. Hell, their head coaches are brothers. Wouldn’t that be quite a Super Bowl match, huh? The Sibling Bowl? The Brother Bowl? The Harbaugh Bowl? You decide.

  33. I would love to see the Colts go to the playoffs. biggest longshot ever, but hey, we all love underdog stories. so my bold predictions… Chicago Bears, 2011 super bowl champions, bills in the afc title game, jacksonville has the worst record in the league and eventually drafts matt barkley next april. you heard it here first

  34. hi jerod!
    i have been a big fan of your articles, especially the weekly “start’em sit’em”s and i diligently follow your responses to people leaving comments and asking you questions about their teams. i hope you continue those columns this year as well!

    and as your #1 fan i will kick off the first start’em sit’em question for you if you dont mind :)

    i’m in a 14-team .25PPR league (QB, RB, WR, WR, W/R, TE, K, DEF, 5BENCH) and here’s my team:

    Big Ben, Jordy Nelson, V.Cruz, A.Foster, Percy Harvin, Jermaine Gresham, Garret Hartley, Houston.

    My Bench is: Rashad Jennings, Alfred Morris, Russel Wilson, Isaac Redman, Michael Bush.

    I know my bench sucks, but thats what happens when you have 14 teams drafting 13 positions!

    anyways, the only question i have is, for week 1, i am torn between starting rashad jennings or P.Harvin as my flex. Assuming MJD wont play a single snap in week 1, should i go with Jennings? On the other hand, Harvin looks good to be a regular target for ponder especially against a mediocre jags defense.

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks for your advice over the past 2 years! :)
    Gerald.

  35. Cedric Benson will open up offense even more. Look out!

  36. So Jerod, do you thinkthe Saints have a chance at all?

  37. I love how the Pack fans come in here and spew their cheese head vomit all over this blog because they’re appalled they were barely mentioned in the blog. They crave attention like a 4 year old, thanks for not giving it to them. The Bears were major contenders last year and if Cutler hadn’t had his injury we would have taken the Packers down late in the season.

    Now the season has started, Aaron Rogers is not what he was. The Bears beat themselves in game 2, but they’ve managed to come right out of it and they look excellent now. So don’t even go there.

    I like your predictions Jerod. Matt Ryan is looking awesome except for the now unfortunate injury. I think the predictions for the Cowboys is a bit off. We’ve seen this before where they have great talent but can’t seem to pull it together. Obviously I’m a Bears fan and that game vs. the Cowboys was a joke. Colts is a bit of a longshot, but I would like to see it happen. I like Andrew Luck and I look forward to seeing that team progress. Broncos-Colts in the playoffs would be nuts for sure.

    And to the douche Pack fans. I hope you miss the playoffs by one game because of that shitty call so you can go back to your shitty town and cry like a bunch of sissies.

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