BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012-2013 NFL Projections

The AFC is going to be a strong conference again. QB Peyton Manning joins the Broncos this season, Houston QB Matt Schaub returns after a foot injury sidelined him for the last eight games of the 2011 season, and Brady and company look to be the dominant team of the AFC.  The race for the conference championship will again be between New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Denver.  Other potential teams that could find themselves in the playoffs this season are San Diego, Buffalo, N.Y. Jets, and Kansas City.

AFC Projections

AFC East           W-L

1. New England 13-3     There is no surprise about the New England Patriots this season. They are back and ready for another Super Bowl run. QB Tom Brady, WR Wes Welker, and TE Rob Gronkowski will look to lead an explosive offense again this season. The defense should be much improved this season, after ranking 31st in the league last season. It will be another solid season for the Patriots as they will have another thirteen win season.

2. Buffalo            9-7       Buffalo started the 2011 season off to an impressive 5-2 start, then the Bills dropped their next 8 of 9 games due to injuries. The Bills defense will be solid this season with the addition of DE Mario Williams. Also, if QB Ryan Fitzpatrick can stay healthy, the Bills could make their first playoff appearance since 1999.

3. N.Y. Jets         9-7       Sanchez or Tebow? As of this point, neither have thrown a single touchdown pass in the pre-season. Once again, the Jets are going to have to run the ball the whole season with Shonn Greene. The defense will be heavily relied on with CB Darrelle Revis and LB Aaron Maybin. Head Coach Rex Ryan and his Jets will be in the playoff hunt again this season. The real question for the Jets this season is if Antonio Cromartie has gained two children in the off-season for a total of fourteen?

4. Miami             7-9       The Dolphins are going to struggle again this season with new Head Coach Joe Philbin. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill looks promising for the future of the franchise though, and there will be much improvement in the running game with the leadership of Reggie Bush. The Dolphins will be a seven win team this season.

AFC North            W-L

1. Baltimore         10-6    The Ravens will battle it out with the Steelers again for the AFC North Division. The Ravens will rely heavily on RB Ray Rice, who rushed for 1,364 yards and 15 total touchdowns last season. QB Joe Flacco, who is always questioned on his quarterbacking ability, will  again be a valuable part of the Raven offense. Once again, the Raven defense will be one of the best in the NFL if Ray Lewis and Ed Reed can stay healthy.

2. Pittsburgh         10-6    In a tie-breaker scenario, the Ravens will get the nod as the winner of the AFC North. The Steeler offense will be one of the best in the league with Ben Roethlisberger throwing to wide outs Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, who both recorded 1,000 receiving yards last season. The play of RB Rashard Mendenhall will also be key in the offense being successful. The Steeler defense is stacked again, and will be the best in the NFL with LB LaMarr Woodley and S Troy Polamalu. The Steeler defense ranked first in the league in total defense last season.

3. Cincinnati          8-8      The Bengals would have a legit chance to make the playoffs this season, but it is going to be difficult. The Bengals must play the NFC East this season, which consists of Dallas, N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia, and Washington. The Andy Dalton-A.J. Green tandem is going to be key in the success of the Bengals again this season, along with a defense that was seventh in the league in total defense last season. The Bengals will again be in the playoff race, but it will be trickier this season.

4. Cleveland         4-12     The Browns have one of the toughest schedules in the league and it doesn't help that they were among one of the worst teams in the league last season. The Browns will start 28-year-old rookie QB Brandon Weeden in an offense that was the third worst in the league last season. There were not many changes to the Brown defense this off-season, and the defense should be around the same talent level as last season. The Browns defense were second in defending the pass last season. Look for Cleveland to win four games again this season.

AFC South            W-L

1. Houston           12-4          The Texans finally made it over the hump last season, and were one of the biggest surprises in the league. The Texans return starting QB Matt Schaub, who missed the last six games of the season and both playoff games with a foot injury. The great thing about the Texans is if anything happens to Schaub again, they know they can rely on back-up QB T.J. Yates. Schaub will be joined again on offense with RB Arian Foster, WR Andre Johnson, and TE Owen Daniels. The Texan defense, who ranked second in the league in total offense, will be led by ILB Brian Cushing and CB Johnathan Joseph. The Texans will win the AFC South and head to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

2. Tennessee         8-8           The Titans just missed the playoffs last season, and will look to make a run again this season with new starting QB Jake Locker. The Titans will first need to make it through their first six games of the season though, as they must face New England, San Diego, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh. If they make it through this part of their schedule with three wins, they will have a legit chance of making the playoffs. The Titans offense returns 1,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson and WR Nate Washington. The defense was at best mediocre last season, and will need to play better this season if they want to get a birth in the playoffs.

3. Jacksonville     5-11         The Jaguars will be the same team as last year, except that Blaine Gabbert will be a more experienced quarterback and Maurice Jones-Drew may not rejoin the team. The interesting aspect about the Jaguars is how talented their defense is and how untalented their offense is. In the five games the Jaguars won last season, the Jaguar defense gave up an average of 10.2 ppg. The offense will add rookie WR Justin Blackmon, who had his share of off-season problems, and return MLB Paul Posluszny, who recorded 119 tackles last season.  

4. Indianapolis     4-12         The Colts have franchise QB Andrew Luck and are ready to improve on one of the worst seasons in Colt's history. Luck will be fortunate enough to have a talented group veteran wideouts in Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie. Luck will also have Stanford TE Coby Fleener. The Colts defense will include OLB Dwight Freeney and ILB Pat Angerer, who will be out the first six weeks of the season with a broken foot.

AFC West           W-L

1. Denver           12-4           The Broncos made the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 last season with the magic of QB Tim Tebow. Tebowmania is officially over in Denver, and the Broncos have acquired future Hall-of-Fame QB Peyton Manning. With Manning at the helm, the Broncos will now have a a more consistent passing game and will be an even stronger team than last year. Manning will have RB Willis McGahee and WR Eric Decker. The Broncos defense will be good this year as well with OLB Von Miller, DE Elvis Dummervil, and CB Champ Bailey. The Broncos should win the AFC West again this season.

2. San Diego       11-5            The Chargers should have been a lock to win the AFC West last season, but couldn't find a way to win in close games. The Chargers are back this season with high expectations of redeeming themselves and showing they are one of the best teams in the AFC. The Chargers will have one of the best offenses in the league with QB Phillip Rivers, RB Ryan Matthews, who will miss the first six weeks of the season with a collarbone injury he suffered in preseason, and TE Antonio Gates. The Charger defense returns Pro Bowler Eric Weddle, who had seven interceptions last season. The Chargers have a favorable schedule and will be a threat to win the AFC West.

3. Kansas City      9-7               I feel the Chiefs this season will be one of the most improved teams in the league. They have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball with QB Matt Cassel, a solid running back, and wide receiving core. RB Jamaal Charles returns after suffering from torn ACL early last season, and will be backed up by a solid runner in Dexter McCluster. The wide receiving core will be solid with Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin, and rookie Devon Wylie. TE Tony Moeaki also returns after suffering an ACL injury last season. On defense, SS Eric Berry returns after tearing his ACL in week 1 last season, and pro-bowler ILB Derrick Johnson, who recorded 131 tackles last season, will be the leader of the Chiefs defense. The Chiefs have a favorable schedule this season and should hit nine wins.

4. Oakland          8-8               Oakland was the ninth best offense in the league last season. The Raiders should be talented offensively again, even with a new offensive scheme. The Raiders return QB Carson Palmer, RB Darren McFadden, and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. The defense should be improved this season with Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver. The Raider defense was the third worst overall defense in the league last season. If McFadden can stay healthy, Palmer can cut down on interceptions, and the defense can show up to play every week, the Raiders have a chance to contend in the AFC West.

AFC Playoff Seeding
1. New England
2. Houston
3. Denver
4. Baltimore
5. San Diego
6. Pittsburgh

Wild Card
Pittsburgh over Denver
Baltimore over San Diego

Divisional Round
New England over Pittsburgh
Baltimore over Houston

AFC Championship
New England over Baltimore

The NFC is going to be interesting this year to say the least. It consists of the best division, the NFC East, and the worst division, the NFC West. The battle for the top spot in the NFC will be between Green Bay, N.Y. Giants, and San Francisco. Atlanta will battle it out with New Orleans for the South Division, who will be without Head Coach Sean Peyton the whole season. The battle for who will get the wild card spot in the playoffs will be fun this season. Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta/New Orleans, will fight for the fifth and sixth seeds.

NFC Projections

NFC East               W-L

1. N.Y. Giants        10-6      The Giants always find a way to make a surge at the end of the season. Last season, the Giants ended up winning their last six games of the season to win their second Super Bowl in five years. The Giants will be tough again, even with the losses of WR Mario Manningham and RB Brandon Jacobs to the 49ers, because of free agency. Eli Manning has proven that he is one of the elite Quarterbacks in the NFL, and the Giants passing game should be potent with wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. The running game though will again be a mystery for this team. The Giants defense was inconsistent last season, but seemed to come up big when it mattered the most. DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks last season, will look to have another big season again. The Giants defense also consists of DE Osi Umenyiora and CB Corey Webster.

2. Philadelphia        10-6      The Eagles disappointed last season and were supposed to be one of the best teams in the league. This season, the Eagles are my dark horse to make the playoffs. Dual-threat QB Michael Vick with have RB LeSean McCoy in the back field and an explosive wideout in DeSean Jackson. The Eagles had one of the best defenses in the league and were ranked eighth in total defense last season. The defense returns CB Nnamdi Asomugha and DE Jason Babin.

3. Dallas                  8-8        The Cowboys have not hit expectations the last two seasons and Cowboy fans continue to be split over QB Tony Romo. The Cowboys are going to struggle to get over the eight win total with a tough schedule this season. The offense should be solid this season with Romo, TE Jason Witten, and WR Dez Bryant. One of the main issues with the Cowboys could be if the defense hasn't improved from last season. The Cowboys are in the toughest division in the NFL and will need Romo, along with the defense, to be clutch when it matters most if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs.

4. Washington         6-10      Overall, the Redskins should be an improved team this season. Their record won't improve much due to a tough East Division, but we should see improvement in the offense with rookie QB Robert Griffin III aka RG3. The defense should be just as strong as they were last season with ILB London Fletcher, OLB Brian Orakpo, and CB DeAngelo Hall. If the offense can improve this season by decreasing the number of turnovers, the Redskins could actually exceed everyone's expectations.

NFC North             W-L

1. Green Bay          14-2       The Packers were upset in the playoffs last season by the N.Y. Giants and were not able to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. The Packers are the clear favorite to win the North again this season, and will at most lose three games during the regular season. The Packers offense, which was ranked third in total offense last season, will be led by QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Greg Jennings, and TE Jermichael Finley. The Packers passing game will be one of the best in the league again this season, but the rushing attack is questionable. The rushing attack was 27th in the NFL last season. The defense is also questionable, as it was the worst defense in the entire league. This is one of the main issues for the Packers, and it costed them last season in the playoffs against the N.Y. Giants.

2. Chicago              11-5     The Bears are going to be back in the playoff picture this season. If QB Jay Cutler and LB Brian Urlacher stay healthy this season, watch out! The Bears added a lot of depth to their team in the offseason. The Bears added RB Michael Bush, QB Jason Campbell, and WR Brandon Marshall. This team could be dangerous both offensively and defensively. The play of DE Julius Peppers will also play an important role in the Bears success this season. Watch for the Bears to be a wild card team this season.

3. Detroit                 9-7        The Lions are back and ready to make another run at the playoffs this season. The Lions are that new team on the block that like to play a really physical style of football. The Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson tandem is one of the best in the NFL. Stafford passed for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdown passes. Calvin Johnson had 1,681 receiving yards and 16 touchdown receptions. The offense will continue to be the success of the Lions. What is most surprising about the Lions is that they were ranked 23rd in the league in total defense. The ferocious Lion defense consists of some of the most physical players, or dirtiest players, in the NFL in DT Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. There is no way this defense should be struggling. The Lions will fight for another wild card spot this season.

4. Minnesota           6-10        The Vikings were among one of the worst teams in the NFL last season. Just about everything the Vikings did went wrong. The Vikings can only go up this season with the return of RB Adrian Peterson and a more experienced QB Christian Ponder. The defensive line will still be solid with the veteran leadership of DE Jared Allen, DT Kevin Williams, and DE Brian Robison. Six wins will be ideal for the Vikings this season, as they will not be able to compete at the same level as their opponents in their division.

NFC South              W-L

1. Atlanta               11-5        The Falcons have made the playoffs the last two seasons and will be the heavy favorite to win the South Division this season because of the problems surrounding the Saints. The offense and defense were both ranked in the top half of the NFL last season. The offense is potent with gunslinger QB Matt Ryan and his four weapons RB Michael Turner, WR Roddy White, WR Julio Jones, and TE Tony Gonzalez. The defense has their own weapons in LB Sean Weatherspoon, who recorded 115 tackles last season, and DE John Abraham, who had 9.5 sacks last season.  

2. New Orleans       9-7         The Saints will take step back this season without Head Coach Sean Peyton and LB Jonathan Vilma, because of a bounty probe. The Saints will still be a competitor though, and have a shot at winning the South Division. QB Drew Brees, who led the NFL in passing yards last season with 5,476 yards, will be the heart and soul of this team again. He will be the main reason if the Saints are able to win the division. Brees will be joined again by always scrappy running back Darren Sproles and possibly the best receiving core in the league. Brees will have WR Marques Colston, WR Devery Henderson, WR Adrian Arrington, WR Lance Moore, and TE Jimmy Graham. The Saints will need to improve defensively this season, as they ranked 30th in the league against the pass last season. The Saints defense consists of SS Roman Harper, who had 95 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season. DE Will Smith will also play a crucial role in the Saint defense this season.

3. Carolina              7-9           The Carolina Panthers were reenergized last season with dual-threat rookie QB Cam Newton. The Panthers upped their win total to six last season and won impressively against Washington and Houston last season. The Panthers offense improved drastically last season and ended the season being ranked first in the NFC in rushing and seventh in total offense in the league. The rushing attack will again be led by DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers defense was the fourth worst last season and gave up an average of 26.8 ppg. The Panther defense should be improved this season with the return of seven players who suffered from injuries last season.

4. Tampa Bay         4-12         The Buccaneers started the season off to a 4-2 start, then lost the rest of their games. New Head Coach Greg Schiano will have his hands full in his first NFL season. QB Josh Freeman had a rough season last year throwing 22 interceptions, but still managed to pass for 3,592 yards. The rushing attack will hopefully improve this season with rookie Doug Martin and LaGarrette Blount. The passing attack was the only positive aspect of the Bucs offense last season, which consisted of Mike Williams. The Bucs defense is going to be what needs to improve tremendously this season. The Bucs were ranked dead last against the run last season, and were 30th in total defense. It could be another rough season for the Bucs with one of the youngest teams in the NFL.

NFC West               W-L

1. San Francisco     13-3         Second year Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers are the only contender to win the NFC West. There are no other teams that even come close to the talent level of the 49ers in the West Division. Alex Smith and the offense were cool in the clutch last season, and the defense was one of the elite in the league. An offense that was ranked 26th in total offense last season will have the additions of wide receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, as well as RB Brandon Jacobs. The additions of these three players joining forces with QB Alex Smith, RB Frank Gore, and TE Vernon Davis, will be to give the 49er offense an element they didn't have last season. The defense consisting of NaVorro Bowman, who had 143 tackles last season, and OLB Aldon Smith, who had 14 sacks last season, will be a force to be reckoned with again this season.

2. Seattle                 6-10          Pete Carroll led the Seahawks to a seven win season last year. The chances of hitting seven wins again will be difficult though with a tougher schedule. The Seahawks will start rookie QB Russell Wilson, who proved in college that he has the arm strength and accuracy to play at the NFL level. The pressure will lie on the Seahawks offense, and if there will be improvements in the rushing and passing game. The defense is another story. The Seahawks defense will be good again, and the secondary will be the best part of it with FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor, and CB Brandon Browner.

3. St. Louis             4-12            St. Louis has new Head Coach Jeff Fisher, who has proved he can take a mediocre team and make them good. The Rams need to improve on a 2-14 campaign from last season, and will need QB Sam Bradford to be that quarterback from two seasons ago. Bradford threw just six touchdown passes last season. LB James Laurenaitis and DE Chris Long are the main forces on the defensive side of the ball and will need to be the heart and soul of the defense this season. The offense needs to make major improvements, as they ranked dead last in the league in scoring at 12.1 ppg. The Rams should improve and get two more wins this season.

4. Arizona               4-12            Nobody knows who wants to be the starting Quarterback for the Cardinals this season. Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the clear starter this season, but has proven to be inconsistent and timid in the pocket. John Skelton could very well be on his way to being the starting quarterback for the Cardinals. The rushing game will be led by 1,000 yard rusher Beanie Wells and wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd. The defense is up in the air still and should be mediocre like last season. The Cardinals could potentially have their worst season since 2003. Time to put those brown lunch bags over your faces Cardinal fans, like 2003, and hope for a number one draft pick. Can you say Matt Barkley???

NFC Playoff Seeding
1. Green Bay
2. San Francisco
3. Atlanta
4. N.Y. Giants
5. Chicago
6. Philadelphia

Wild Card
Atlanta over Philadelphia
N.Y. Giants over Chicago

Divisional Round
Green Bay over N.Y. Giants
San Francisco over Atlanta

AFC Championship
San Francisco over Green Bay

Super Bowl XLVII
New England over San Francisco

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