In less than a week, the regular season for the NFL begins.
For some teams, expectations are really high, for others, it’s a chance to
relinquish the demons of last year’s failures. For many, it’s a chance to build
on your current success. Here are my predictions for how the NFL season will
-The Green Bay Packers are still the team to beat. They have
a top-tier QB in Aaron Rodgers and a very solid offense and defense. They have
a very favorable schedule and one many experts consider to be relatively easy
this year. Look for them to make a good run into the postseason.
PROJECTED FINISH: 14-2-0 (1ST IN NFC NORTH)
-The Detroit Lions were one of the biggest surprises in the
league last year. They no longer are a team that is overlooked, but they’ll
have to continue their success of winning games this year in order to prove
last season wasn’t a fluke. They have a great offense led by QB Matthew
Stafford, WRs Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, but they need to find a RB
who’s not only healthy but consistent enough to carry the load. Also, their
defense is suspect at best. Their defensive line finished last in the league in
sacks, and their line-backing and secondary core needs to step up their game
and improve in order for them to be successful. They’ll battle the Bears for a
wild-card spot. I see this team getting back to the playoffs again this year.
How far they go, will depend on how explosive their offense can be, and if
their defense can improve.
PROJECTED FINISH: 11-5-0 (2ND IN NFC NORTH)
-The Chicago Bears had a tough season last year. They were
considered by many to be a top contender in the division, but they suffered
devastating injuries to their main core players, and never recovered down the
stretch. I still feel this team is a top contender, but if the injury bug hits
them again, it could be another long year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 10-6-0 (3RD IN NFC NORTH)
-The Minnesota Vikings are awful. They’re better off with
Joe Webb as their QB. Christian Ponder is not the answer for them. They won’t
be very good this year, and their record will show it. Expect another last
place finish, and a very high draft pick in 2013.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4-12-0 (4TH IN NFC NORTH)
-The New Orleans Saints are still the front-runner in an otherwise
semi-tough division. I feel they will have a hard time recovering from the
penalties sanctioned on them by the league as a result of a bounty program
initiative that started a long time ago. It will be interesting to see what
type of aggressive mentality their defense has. Since they’ll be constantly
under the microscope, one has to wonder how tough they will actually be this
year. I see this team making the postseason again, but look for another exit in
PROJECTED FINISH: 10-6-0 (1ST IN NFC SOUTH)
-The Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed to capitalize on their
recent success from two years ago last season, and slipped to 3rd
place in the division. They have a lot of young talent, but they’re also
inexperienced and inconsistent. They’ll battle the Falcons for last place. If
Josh Freeman can stay healthy though, a possible Cinderella season isn’t out of
PROJECTED FINISH: 9-7-0 (2ND IN NFC SOUTH)
-The Atlanta Falcons were another big surprise in the NFC
last year. Unfortunately, I see them as one of the middle of the pack teams in
the NFC South division this year. They have a good offense, but a below-average
defense that will need to improve could be their Achilles heel. They’ll battle
the Buccaneers for 2nd place, but I don’t see them getting to the
playoffs this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 6-10-0 (3RD IN NFC SOUTH)
-The Carolina Panthers are probably wishing one of their
players had kept his mouth shut. He practically guaranteed that his team would
win the Super Bowl this year. Really? This team has a good offense, but their
defense is terrible, and they really didn’t show any signs of improvement last
year. I feel they’re not only going to have a bad year this year, they’ll learn
a very painful and valuable lesson about setting your expectations too high.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2-14-0 (4TH IN NFC SOUTH)
-The New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions.
The problem is there’s a lot of pressure on them to repeat this year. Not only
that, they lost 3 division games last year, including a season series sweep at
the hands of the Washington Redskins. I see them being a sub .500 team or
better this season, but to make the playoffs again, they’ll have to pour it on
down the stretch.
PROJECTED FINISH: 11-5-0 (1ST IN NFC EAST)
-The Dallas Cowboys are always a team that is mentioned in
the playoff hunt, but I feel this year, could definitely be their year to
shine. They have a favorable schedule, and they went to the wire last year in
two games against the Giants; if it wasn’t for a few misplays on special teams,
they probably would have won them both. I feel this is the team to beat in the
division this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 9-7-0 (2ND IN NFC EAST)
-The Philadelphia Eagles are a team at a crossroads. I feel
the talent and experience to win the division is there, the key variable is
Michael Vick. If he can stay healthy, they should have a great year. If he gets
injured or plays badly, they’re in real trouble, because they don’t have a very
reliable backup. I see this team battling the Cowboys for first place this
PROJECTED FINISH: 8-8-0 (3RD IN NFC EAST)
-The Washington Redskins have been the cellar dwellers in
this division for quite some time, and unfortunately, I see that happening to
them again this year. They have talent and a good system, but they don’t have a
reliable QB that they can trust to get the job done for them. Expect another
last place finish and a high draft pick for them in 2013.
PROJECTED FINISH: 6-10-0 (4TH IN NFC EAST)
-The San Francisco Giants are the front runners once again
in an otherwise mediocre division. I see them running away with the division
again this year. I just hope their head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t create any
more controversy with his unusual post-game celebrations.
PROJECTED FINISH: 13-3-0 (1ST IN NFC WEST)
-The Arizona Cardinals will try and build on their late
season success of come-from-behind victories, but I don’t see them making the
playoffs this year. I do however; see them making plans for the future and
rebuilding the franchise into a legit contender.
PROJECTED FINISH: 6-10-0 (2ND IN NFC WEST)
-The Seattle Seahawks are a team in a shambles right now.
You talk about working 24/7? Head Coach Pete Carroll will have to work 48/14 to
whip this club into shape. They’re terrible. The one key variable is Matt Flynn.
Is he for real or is what he did against the Lions in the last game of the
season last year a fluke? Only time will tell, but I see this team fighting to
stay out of last place in the division this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 3-13-0 (3RD IN NFC WEST)
-The St. Louis Rams are awful. They’ve been that way ever
since Marshall Faulk retired. Worse, their best weapon RB Steven Jackson can’t
stay healthy on a consistent basis. Expect another miserable year in the cellar
of an otherwise mediocre division.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2-14-0 (4TH IN NFC WEST)
-The Baltimore Ravens are the division’s top dog. They won
all their games in the division last year. If it wasn’t for a bone-headed play
by their kicker Billy Cundiff, they probably would have upset the New England
Patriots in the AFC Championship game, and made the Super Bowl. This team
relies on its defense to win games for them, but their offense can complement
them as well. Look for them to be at the top when it’s all said and done.
PROJECTED FINISH: 13-3-0 (1ST IN AFC NORTH)
-The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the surprising teams
last year, making it to the playoffs. They should battle the Ravens for the
division title this year, but I feel that their defense will need to improve in
order for them to make a long playoff run.
PROJECTED FINISH: 12-4-0 (2ND IN AFC NORTH)
-The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the biggest mysteries in
the division. They ran into a lot of injury problems, and worse, not only did
they get swept by the Ravens and Bengals, they got blown out in all of those
games. Ben Roethlisberger will need to stay healthy in order for them to be
successful, because Charlie Batch although experienced, can’t be counted on to
lead the offense every Sunday. Look for them to be in the middle of the pack
when it’s all said and done.
PROJECTED FINISH: 8-8-0 (3RD IN AFC NORTH)
-The Cleveland Browns are terrible. They’re due for another
last place finish. I don’t see much relief in sight for this beleaguered
franchise, but at least they won’t go winless this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2-14-0 (4TH IN AFC NORTH)
-The Houston Texans seem to have the division by default.
They only lost one game all season within their division. I like their offense
with Andre’ Johnson at WR, but their defense will need to improve as they
traded away their best defensive player Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills in
the offseason, and drafted an unproven rookie to take his place. Still, no team
will benefit from playing in a mediocre division than the Texans.
PROJECTED FINISH: 9-7-0 (1ST IN AFC SOUTH)
-The Indianapolis Colts had a terrible year last year. I
feel that their new rookie QB Andrew Luck will have a hard time adjusting to
the NFL this year. They won’t finish in last place like they did last year, but
I still think they won’t be very good either.
PROJECTED FINISH: 5-11-0 (2ND IN AFC SOUTH)
-The Tennessee Titans are a team that’s at a stand-still.
They don’t have very high expectations and are in a state of flux. I look for
them to battle the Jaguars for the last place seed in the division this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 4-12-0 (3RD IN AFC SOUTH)
-The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the biggest mysteries
in the NFL. They don’t have a lot of players you can account for and they
really don’t have many marketable commodities either. They’ll battle the Titans
for last place this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 2-14-0 (4TH IN AFC SOUTH)
-The New England Patriots are still the top dogs in the
division. They were proven last year, that they weren’t invincible though. If
they can avoid a Super Bowl hangover, they should be able to rebound in a big
way this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 14-2-0 (1ST IN AFC EAST)
-The Buffalo Bills started last season off very well, but
bookended those games by collapsing down the stretch. I’d be interested to see
how the position battle at QB will pan out for them. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the
starter for now, but if he falters, Vince Young is waiting in the wings for
another chance to prove himself a winner once again.
PROJECTED FINISH: 9-7-0 (2ND IN AFC EAST)
-The New York Jets are one of the biggest mysteries in the
NFL this year. They’re always considered a contender, but they always seem to
underachieve down the stretch. I see them in the middle of the pack this year.
They have a tough schedule. This is another team that has a position battle at
QB. If Mark Sanchez doesn’t improve in a hurry, it could be Tim Tebow’s time to
PROJECTED FINISH: 8-8-0 (3RD IN AFC EAST)
-The Miami Dolphins are awful. They’re in for another rough
stretch and they really don’t have much hope for the future. Don’t be surprised
if they do a fire-sale after this season. Expect another last-place finish from
them this year.
PROJECTED FINISH: 5-11-0 (4TH IN AFC EAST)
-The Oakland Raiders just lost out to the Denver Broncos for
last season’s division title. I feel that this year will be different. If
Carson Palmer can stay healthy and accurate, they will definitely be a
contender for the top spot. Look for them to be in the mix.
PROJECTED FINISH: (12-4-0) 1ST IN AFC WEST
-The Denver Broncos are ushering in a new era. Goodbye Tim Tebow
and hello Peyton Manning. My question is: Does Peyton still have the ability to
bring the intensity week-in and week-in, and can he still be an it-factor? Only
time will tell. They’ll battle the Raiders for the division lead. Look for them
to be in the thick of things when it’s all said and done.
PROJECTED FINISH: (11-5-0) 2ND IN AFC WEST
-The San Diego Chargers are a team that usually sets its
expectations high, but then falters down the stretch run. The Chargers are a
big mystery. They’re like the San Jose Sharks of the NFL. They always seem to
have good regular seasons, but when it comes time to step up their game to the
next level in the playoffs, they never seem to get the job done. I see them in
the middle of the pack of this division with a below .500 record.
PROJECTED FINISH: (7-9-0) 3RD IN AFC WEST
-The Kansas City Chiefs were a team that came on last
season. A lot of people think they’ll be better than last year, but I think
they still have some development that needs to take place. Granted they ran
into a lot of injuries and caught a few tough breaks last year, but a lot of
their wins were against less than stellar teams and even when they beat quality
teams like the Raiders and Broncos, the other team had their 2nd and
3rd string units in the game. Bottom line: I see them having a
miserable season, and taking the offseason to try and reshape their team up.
PROJECTED FINISH: (3-13-0) 4TH IN AFC WEST