The 2011 NFL season is winding down, all culminating in the game of all games, the Super Bowl. This year is the rematch between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
But what if I told you that neither of those teams would make the playoffs next year? Sounds crazy, right?
That's exactly what's about to come: 20 BOLD predictions for the 2012 NFL season.
After losing Super Bowl XLVI—yes, the New England Patriots will lose the Super Bowl to the New York Giants—the luck will just get worse for the Patriots, as they will miss the 2012 playoffs.
Though the Patriots are good, I think the AFC East is getting better. The Buffalo Bills fell off towards the end of the season but they are a team on the rise.
And for the Patriots, I don't believe the "Gronk" is going to have the year he had this year, especially because he is having ankle surgery after the season. Welker will have his catches, but I don't think it will be enough.
Sorry, Patriot fans.
Now, it may seem like I am just jumping into the TebowMania, but I am going out on a limb here.
Tebow will win the NFL MVP next year. He is going to have a whole offseason to work with the coaches and Hall-of-Famer John Elway on how to throw the ball. I already predicted he would lead the AFC in touchdowns, why not be the MVP?
Say whatever you want to say about this one, Tebow winning MVP should get some serious media attention.
I know that I am going to get blasted for saying this, but I believe it 100 percent. I am the biggest supporter of Tebow, and if you give that man 365 days and a whole offseason to prepare for the season, something good will come out.
Now, I know that Tebow is not the greatest passer in the world, but he doesn't need to be to lead the AFC in touchdowns. Tebow is a dual threat kind of guy: he can beat you with both his arm and his legs.
Look for Tebow to be unleashed this season throwing the ball, and the running ability of Tebow will never go away. Tebow will lead the AFC in touchdowns.
It was pretty crazy how many interceptions Philip Rivers threw this year. He even threw an interception in the Pro Bowl. And there will be no look for Rivers next year as well.
Rivers in 2011 threw 20 interceptions and 27 touchdowns, a ratio that doesn't go over well with the fans and the organization. Though he had horrible numbers, the Chargers still had a shot to go to the playoffs on the last week of the season.
Next year, however, they might not be that lucky. Rivers probably won't throw as many interceptions, but it will be flirting with the number from this year. Until Norm Turner is out and Rivers gets a decent receiver instead of Antonio Gates, the same results will keep happening.
2,000 is a hard number to reach in the NFL in any area—especially in rushing. We all know that Chris Johnson did it a couple of years ago, and next year a new name will be etched to this famous list: Marshawn Lynch.
The Seattle Seahawks running back had 1,204 yards this season and expect him to get even more carries and yards next year. He also plays in the NFC West, where the best defense is that of San Fransisco and even then Lynch still finds a way to go "Beast Mode."
The "Beast" will be angry having to play in Seattle and he was one of the hottest backs towards the end of the season. Look for him to keep up that consistency for the whole season next year.
I know that this is a much heated debate right now in the NFL world, whether or not Peyton Manning will ever play football again. It's Peyton Manning, I cant see him in another NFL teams jersey and I can't see him retiring. He'll start opening day for the Indianapolis Colts.
Whether or not Manning will be productive is yet to be seen, but I think Manning, who is still struggling with his neck surgeries, will keep resting, skip all of training camp, miss preseason and play in the first game.
I just said that Peyton Manning would start. SO, why is he getting benched by Week Eight?
Because the star rookie sensation Andrew Luck will play. It's expected that the Colts are going to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, but when Manning comes back to play, I'm not sure he is going to be all that effective.
This is when Luck will get his chance to take over the reigns from Manning. I feel in Week Eight this will happen, when, and here comes another shocker, the Colts are 3-5.
The pressure of starting Luck will reside in the fan base, and the Peyton Manning legacy in Indy will be over.
After that, the Bears just seemed to collapse, but their defense still held strong towards the end of the season. If everybody comes back healthy, the Bears are a team to look out for, not only the NFC but the NFL.
This is my hunch for next season. The New York "dissfunctional" Jets will be the best team in the AFC.
I feel that Rex Ryan is going to work some crazy magic in the offseason and get this team fired up for the 2012 season. All the speculation of Peyton Manning coming to the Jets will get Mark Sanchez working harder.
Mark Sanchez will have the best season of his career and possibly bring the Jets the AFC championship and earn them a place in Super Bowl XLVII
The legendary linebacker says that he will be coming back next season, according to reports.
But at the end of the season, the Ravens will say goodbye to the Pro-Bowl linebacker and sure Hall of Famer.
It's sad that I am saying this, because I love Ray Lewis, but he is getting old in linebacker years and they have the next replacement in Terrell Suggs.
The Super Bowl champions, over previous years, have not had so much success trying to make the playoffs and defending their championship.
With this New York Giants team, it will be no different. The Giants barely made it into the playoffs this year. And don't forget, they still play in the NFC East; quite possibly the best division in the NFL.
You have the Cowboys, who are improving, the "Dream Team" in the Philadelphia Eagles and even the Washington Redskins beat the Giants this season.
It will be disappointing, but sorry Giants fans, the hurdle of the NFC East will be too tough to climb.
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon will have a break-out year, no matter where he goes.
He will make the transition to the NFL very quickly, and is big enough and strong enough to go up with some of the best corners in the game and come down with the ball.
Look for at least 100 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving. He will easily be the No. 1 threat for any team.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was a big part of the Detroit Lions' turnaround this season and bringing them their first playoff berth in over a decade.
This year, Johnson had 96 receptions for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. That is a great season, but it's too bad he won't have those kind of numbers again.
Johnson is a beast when he goes up against corners, but once teams start doubling him, there will not be much room for quarterback Matthew Stafford to get the ball to his favorite target.
Yes, unfortunately, the 2012 season will be the end of one of the greatest showtime receivers in NFL history.
Chad Ochocinco will retire not at season's end but in the middle of the season. Ochocinco will not be productive in the New England Patriot offense, and that will have an effect of his confidence and ego.
It's sad to see a receiver like Ochocinco go, but he will still be one of the top NFL receivers in my book—and one of the best players to never win a Super Bowl.
Cam Newton has got the Carolina Panthers going in the right direction. And next year, the NFL is really going to see why he was the number one draft pick.
The Panthers have some talent on offense with obviously Newton, but also the powerful punch of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, along with Pro-Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith as a deep threat.
Don't count out this Carolina team to be right in the thick of things for the division. And if not the division, definitely a wild-card spot.
It's only right that next year, the NFL commissioner will have his fine forms ready every time he watches Detroit Lions defensive end Ndamukong Suh. But that won't be necessary next season, as he will go the whole year without any fines.
Could this prediction be wrong?...Probably
Seeing how Suh wants to kill somebody every time he gets on the football field, which I think is sweet. But we can only dream that he won't have to dish out money to the NFL next season.
The Houston Texans came off one of the craziest, injury-prone seasons in NFL history and still managed to make it to the AFC divisional playoffs with a rookie quarterback.
With quarterback Matt Schaub back from injury, and as long as wide receiver Andre Johnson can stay healthy, the Texans can dominate any team with their offense and the defense will get one more year of experience.
Definitely one of the best young teams in the NFL today.
Though this year Thomas only had 32 receptions for 551 yards and four touchdowns, he had none bigger than the catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC wild-card round.
Look for Thomas to be Tebow's No. 1 target, as the Denver Broncos don't have any other receivers that are big time.
Thomas is big, fast and doesn't have an ego that will crush a team, just a hard working player that will get his due next season.
I love what coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers did this year. I like that they made it back to the NFC championship game.
Unfortunately, they won't get back to that style of play, so I hope they enjoyed it. The 49ers played amazing this year, and the defense really stepped up.
The defense didn't allow a rushing touchdown until Week 15—that won't happen again. Quarterback Alex Smith had a career year, but is he can be consistent for the 2012 season as well?
The 49ers will still make the playoffs because the NFC West is so weak, but them making any noise in the playoffs will be surprising.
New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers...don't believe it? Well, you should.
The Jets will be the best team in the AFC, and that defense will propel them through the AFC playoffs and on the way to the Super Bowl. And who wouldn't love to see Rex Ryan and that whole team full of egos and outspoken players on media day?
The Carolina Panthers are a surprise team from the wild-card that will make it to the Super Bowl. Cam Newton is going to get this team hot at the right time, and if the NFL playoffs haven't told us anything the past couple of years, it's if you have a hot team, then you're dangerous.
As for the winner...well, I would have to side with the New York Jets.
I can't wait for next season already.