NFL 2012 Schedule: 5 Matchups That Won't Live Up to Hype
There are plenty of games on the 2012 NFL schedule that will be hyped by many, but in the end, will turn into complete flops. It happens every season, and this year will be no different.
Last year at this time, it was still the Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots matchup that had everybody antsy for football to return. Then, one Peyton Manning injury later, the matchup turned into what most thought would be a laugher for the Patriots.
Teams change from year to year. There are bad teams on paper, right now, that will give us a phenomenal game with playoff implications in December.
But the opposite is true too. Good teams on paper will be bad, and those top-flight games will turn into sleepers.
Here are the five matchups in 2012 that won't come close to living up to the hype.
5. Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
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Don’t worry, this is not a knock on the Green Bay Packers. They will be one of the best teams in the NFL this season.
But the Chicago Bears are definitely being over-hyped. Because of that, so will their matchup with the Packers.
However, there are a lot of question marks for Chicago.
Matt Forte, the Bears’ star running back, has yet to sign his franchise tag. According to Adam Schefter, Forte will not sign any contract with the Bears until he is offered a long-term deal.
Even with Marshall, the Bears are very thin at wide receiver. They would receive a huge boost if Johnny Knox can come back in 2012-13, but that seems unlikely for now.
And how will the offensive line for the Bears block anybody, let alone the relentless pass rush of the Packers led by Clay Matthews?
The Bears and Packers are a great NFL rivalry, but that doesn’t make every matchup great.
This season, the Packers will excel, and the Bears will be a third-place team in the division.
2. New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
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This matchup has become a pregame talk show, led by New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan.
The New England Patriots are far superior to the Jets and the margin between the two teams isn't even close.
That should be evident by the Jets' 2-4 record against the Patriots during the Mark Sanchez/coach Ryan era.
The Jets have been able to make up for Sanchez’s inability (low completion percentage, low yardage and high turnover totals) at quarterback with their defense. But last season, the defense struggled when it needed to step up.
There has not been a lot of movement with the Jets' defense this offseason and they will again struggle offensively.
The signing of Tim Tebow is being over-hyped too. Opponents will have an easy time shutting him down when he’s in the game since he'll likely be running the football.
Tom Brady will again lead one of the most potent offenses in NFL history, making it too hard for the Jets to keep up. Which for the fans, means another year of an over-hyped rival.
2. Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers
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Don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a repeat of last year’s “Handshake-Gate” with head coaches Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh.
Actually, this matchup will be blown out of proportion—and may be nationally televised—because of the near fight at the end of last season’s game.
But, it shouldn’t be, because this game will be nowhere as good as last year’s.
The San Francisco 49ers will take a big step back this season.
While the defense will still be very strong, the offense will be the culprit for the team’s overall regression. And it all starts at quarterback with Alex Smith.
Last season, Smith only threw five interceptions. That number is almost unheard of in the NFL.
There has only been one other time in Smith’s career that he threw under 10 interceptions (2007). It happened in 2007, when Smith only played in seven games.
Plus, Smith has to show that he can stay on the field. The six-year veteran has never played 12 games or more in consecutive seasons.
The Lions will be a much better, more disciplined team in 2012-13.
The Lions should be able to improve their pass defense and running game this season, and it could make them one of the best teams in the NFL.
Don’t be surprised if the Lions win this game easily and make the people hyping the matchup look foolish.
2. New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
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Yes, the New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions. But that doesn’t mean any matchup they are involved in will be fun to watch.
The coverage of the Giants and the Dallas Cowboys is a tiresome act. When will it end?
The Cowboys are “America’s Team,” according to some. But, until they become a playoff team, I’m not sold.
Last year, both matchups between these two teams were nationally televised. Neither one lived up to the hype that they were given—unless, of course, you enjoyed watching the Cowboys choke the game away in the first matchup.
It’s amazing how quickly everybody forgets that the Giants were 7-7 going into the final two weeks of last season.
There is no doubt they played great over the last five weeks, including the playoffs. I just need to see they can be great again, before I believe it.
One thing that doesn’t help the Giants is that they have the toughest schedule in the league (on paper) in 2012.
Either way it’s sliced, the Giants and Cowboys will be put in the national spotlight in 2012.
Just don’t get too excited, there will be plenty of better matchups that are overlooked that week.
1. Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
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Peyton Manning is healthy and ready to play!
But this matchup with Tom Brady will be nowhere near the caliber that NFL fans have become accustomed to watching in the last decade.
What has the public seen to be sure that Manning’s neck is healthy enough to make it through the rigors of an entire NFL season?
Pardon me for being a skeptic, but Manning is coming back from a very serious injury. It was just three months ago that former quarterback, Joe Theismann, said he thought Manning would retire.
Even if Manning stays healthy—and I really hope he does—how good will he be?
A full season of not playing football, and more importantly, not taking hits, could lead to on-field problems for Manning and the Broncos.
Plus, didn’t we see how much better the New England Patriots were than the Broncos, not once, but twice, last season?
In case you forgot, the Patriots outscored the Broncos 86-33 in two matchups last season (the Patriots won the divisional playoff game, 45-10).
Sure, Manning is a much better quarterback than Tim Tebow when healthy, but is he five touchdowns better? Not a chance.