by NFL Gimpy (follow him on Twitter)
Sorry for the late column, I put a lot of time into making some bad predictions. I’m not always a fan of these type of columns because the chances your predictions will be right are slim to nil (ie who outside of Giants fans called a Super Bowl last year?). But, it’s fun to put some predictions down on paper to ignore if you’re wrong or bring up months later if you get one right.
I’ll start off with playoff predictions, individual awards, and finish off with some random predictions.
AFC North Champions: Baltimore Ravens (#2 seed)
AFC East Champions: New England Patriots (#3 seed)
AFC South Champions: Houston Texans (#1 seed)
AFC West Champions: Kansas City Chiefs (#4 seed)
Wildcards: Buffalo Bills (#5 seed) and Jackson…haha I kid. Denver Broncos (#6 seed)
Patriots over Broncos. Brady once again tops Peyton in the playoffs.
Chiefs over Bills. With a playoff victory, Leinart and Palmer’s USC backup Matt Cassel wins a playoff game before either of them.
Ravens over Patriots. Brady is stifled by the last hurrah of Ray Lewis.
Texans over Chiefs. Chiefs simply aren’t in the same league as the Texans
Texans over Ravens. Texans have one of the most well rounded teams in the NFL. Elite running game, elite WR, top 5 defense. The Ravens are just a hair shy once again.
NFC North Champions: Green Bay Packers (#2 seed)
NFC East Champions: New York Giants (#4 seed)
NFC South Champions: New Orleans Saints (#3 seed)
NFC West Champions: San Francisco 49ers (#1 seed)
Wildcards: Philadelphia Eagles (#5 seed) and Chicago Bears (#6 seed)
Saints over Bears. The Bears defense is nowhere near what it used to be and the surprisingly good Bears offense simply can’t keep up.
Eagles over Giants. Vick gets his signature victory as an Eagle.
Eagles over 49ers. The 49ers offense fails to move the ball against the Eagles defense and the offense makes enough plays to pull off a close win.
Packers over Saints. In an offensive shootout, the Packers get the ball last and get the win.
Packers over Eagles. Aaron Rodgers is too much for the Eagles defense to handle.
Texans over Packers.
What can I say, I’m high on the Texans this season.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers.
Best Offensive player that isn’t the MVP: Calvin Johnson.
Defensive player: Demarcus Ware. Ware sets the NFL record for sacks in a season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year that isn’t a QB: Doug Martin. Martin leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards. Trent Richardson struggles to stay healthy.
Defensive Rookie of the Year that isn’t Luke Kuechly like everyone else is predicting: Mark Barron. Barron wasn’t worth the high selection, but he’ll be a solid force in the secondary and make enough highlight plays to win the non-Kuechly ROY award.
Comeback Player of the Year that isn’t named Peyton: Jamaal Charles. After a knee injury last year, Charles looks like he hasn’t lost a step and is a key reason for the Chiefs playoff birth.
Breakout Player: Call me a homer, but I can’t go an entire column without one homer pick, and that is Jonathan Baldwin. Baldwin got a ton of reps as the top guy in KC with Dwayne Bowe holding out and I think he has a borderline Pro Bowl season. At least for the sake of my one FF team I hope so.
-As stated earlier, DeMarcus Ware breaks Michael Strahan’s single season sack record. Jared Allen is close, but Jason Babin doesn’t get enough snaps to get close. The Eagles have too many talented DEs to keep Babin in enough to get the record.
-Passing and receiving numbers are down a little bit, but not much. Records will not keep breaking at the pace they have been lately.
-The most disappointing team is likely the Detroit Lions. I’ve said this before, but they just seem ripe for a big let down. A close second is the Atlanta Falcons for missing the playoffs. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Pittsburgh Steelers miss the playoffs. Too many lost veterans, a questionable offensive line and running game will result in a season that’s not quite good enough.
-While making my predictions, it’s obvious that the NFC is top to bottom better than the AFC. I see several NFC teams that I’d possibly put in the playoffs if they were in the AFC, such as the Falcons, Panthers, and Seahawks.
-Some players to keep an eye on who aren’t necessarily breakout players or MVP caliber, just players who will make some noise in 2012.
1)CJ Spiller. CJ and Fred Jackson will form a great RB duo and CJ finally lives up to his high draft pick status.
2) Bobby Wagner. Wagner is the starting MLB for the Seahawks and will garner Rookie of the Year attention leading the Seahawks D behind their massive DL.
3) Brandon LaFell. LaFell does a good job taking attention away from Steve Smith and becomes a reliable target for Cam Newton.
4) Torrey Smith. Smith breaks out big time as the deep threat Baltimore desperately needs.
5) Vikings OL. With the addition of Kalil, they prove to be one of the best units in the NFL.
-Some players that their teams have high hopes for that will disappoint:
1) Tyron Smith. Smith is not the elite LT the Cowboys hope for.
2) Jake Locker. His first season as a starter does not go well. He will have one of the lowest completion percentages in the NFL.
3) Pierre Garcon. Garcon is simply not the high end WR the Redskins want him to be.
4) DeMeco Ryans. Ryans is OK in the middle for the Eagles, but isn’t the great run stuffer they were hoping for.
5) Mario Williams. Williams has a really good season, but not a dominant season, and is outperformed by numerous other DEs in the NFL.
Free prediction for the opener on Wednesday:
The Super Bowl champs start off their season with a solid victory over the Cowboys.
That’s all. Feel free to taunt me on twitter after my guys lost to an FCS school. I can’t believe I sat in the rain for hours to watch that garbage. I could have been sitting at home and drinking heavily instead.