What I pick now, before the season begins, often tends to look silly come the end of the season.
Case in point: my pre-season baseball predictions.
I’m starting to be reminded about some of those right now, as in how could I possibly drink Miami Marlins kool-aid??
Thus, with redemption on my mind, I will now provide my annual win-loss picks for all 32 NFL teams in 2012.
Quick preview: While one Vegas book had the 49ers as 4-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl, I have a different Harbaugh lifting the trophy.
And for the fantasy folks out there, the following picks also include a few late pointers from a fantasy football perspective.
AFC East Predictions
New England (13-3)
For what it’s worth, the Patriots won the pre-season AFC East Championship by finishing a mere 1-3. The other three teams went 0-4 – can you say cakewalk?
A trendy pick has the Bills ending a 13-year dry spell as the NFL’s longest playoff drought. It is going to have to be the defense that gets them there if it is to happen.
Note: Second round pick Cordy Glenn (6’6” 345) has been given the starting job at left tackle.
NY Jets (6-10)
They weren’t featured in Hard Knocks this year, but the Jets have been the lead on SportsCenter throughout training camp. I don’t want to hear about them getting secondary treatment ever again.
One rumor has the Dolphins trading for Green Bay’s James Jones, who would immediately move up to the top of the Dolphins depth chart. Yes, that’s how bad it is down there.
AFC North Predictions
Ray Lewis is the Brett Favre of recent defensive players, and I don’t mean that in a negative way.
But can Joe Flacco/Ray Rice and the Ravens finally get over the hump 12 years after last reaching (and winning) the Super Bowl?
Pittsburgh (10-6, WILD CARD)
Run, don’t walk, to your fantasy leagues waiver wire now and grab RB Jonathan Dwyer before he gets 20 carries in Denver Sunday night and you’re left wondering where the hell he came from…
I still think the two playoff appearances over the past three years will be as good as it gets with the Bengals – and BenJarvus Green-Ellis isn’t going to be plugged in nearly as well as he was in New England.
The Browns are coming off one of their most significant victories since Bernie Kosar left town by scoring a 35-10 pre-season rout in Green Bay.
Trent Richardson has returned to practice and may have a role in Week 1.
AFC South Predictions
How will the Texans handle being the hunted rather than being the hunter? On paper the Texans should have the division by default, but the bar is now set higher.
Indianapolis (8-8, WILD CARD)
I’m calling my shot right now – just like Jerod did in his article “6 Bold Predictions for the 2012 NFL Season” – that Blue Horseshoe sneaks into the playoffs as the AFC’s #6 seed.
Let’s just say Andrew Luck is an upgrade over Kerry Collins.
The Titans open at home against a Patriots team they lost to 59-0 a few years back. At least they know it won’t snow this time. What happens besides that could set the tone for rest of season.
Fantasy owners now can just hope Maurice Jones-Drew doesn’t buckle like he just did to owner Shahid Khan. That was union-busting hardball!!!
AFC West Predictions
Is Peyton Manning now just a shell of his own self? Possibly, but his presence good enough to win evenly matched division.
Kansas City (8-8)
Jamaal Charles/Dexter McCluster/Peyton Hillis is a pretty good RBBC. If the Chiefs can avoid the rash of injuries that hit last time around, Romeo Crennel’s second go-around as a coach should go much better.
San Diego (7-9)
Window closing or…WINDOW CLOSED?
If this prediction comes true the long overdue housecleaning will come to pass in the 6-1-9.
This year’s Tim Tebow-like experiment will come when Terrelle Pryor gets a shot after the team tires of Carson Palmer (and you can forget Matt Leinart as even a number 2).
It will be exciting to watch but will kill the fantasy value of Raiders receivers.
And now it’s time for the NFC (which includes two Wild Card choices that will shock you) and Kurt’s Super Bowl prediction…which just might make you feel like dancing.