2012 NFL Season Predictions, Including Playoffs and Award Winners

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2012 NFL Season Predictions, Including Playoffs and Award Winners
Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Maybe it's a little too late in the preseason to be doing NFL predictions, but better late then never. At any rate, here are my predictions for the 2012 NFL season.

PROJECTED STANDINGS

*=Wild Card

AFC East

1. Patriots

2. Bills

3. Jets

4. Dolphins

I just don't see any other team winning the division other than the Patriots.

Buffalo's defense is on the rise, but they are about a year or two away from seriously contending. It all depends on Ryan Fitzpatrick, although the recent trade for Tarvaris Jackson could end up causing a QB controversy.

The Jets' offense is too weak to really contend, and not even Tebowmania will save them. They'll at least beat out the rebuilding Dolphins.

 

Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

AFC North

1. Ravens

2. Bengals*

3. Steelers

4. Browns

The Ravens are slowly running out of time. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are aging. I think the defense will be fine even without the injured Terrell Suggs, and their explosive offense will end up helping them hold off the Bengals.

Andy Dalton and AJ Green emerged as a premier QB-WR duo. The Bengals are certainly on the rise, but who will be their reunning back.

Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs not only because of their age, but also Ben Roethlisberger's torn rotator cuff.

Cleveland is rebuilding, and they're not expected to really contend.

 

AFC South

1. Texans

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

2. Titans*

3. Colts

4. Jaguars

I expect Houston to win the division. Unless Tennessee shocks the world, or the Texans get major injuries, I highly doubt they'll have much competition.

If Chris Johnson can bounce back after his poor season last year, the Titans should make the playoffs.

Andrew Luck should have a good rookie season, and the Colts definitely have a shot of at least finishing in third.

Without MJD and a real passing game, the Jaguars will fall to last in the division.

 

AFC West

1. Chiefs

2. Broncos

3. Raiders

4. Chargers

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The worst division in the conference will once again be a tight battle, but in the end, if the Chiefs stay healthy, they will win the division.

It's hard to ever count out a Peyton Manning team, but the Broncos will fall just short of the playoffs.

Give the Raiders another season, and they may make the playoffs.

As for San Diego, they will once again underachieve as usual, and Norv Turner will be gone.

 

NFC East

1. Eagles

2. Giants*

3. Redskins

4. Cowboys

Michael Vick has been hurt twice in the preseason. If he can get over his injury bug, the Eagles will fly. If not, they will crash and burn as they did last season.

New York has looked impressive this offseason, but will it be enough for them to make a return trip to the Super Bowl?

David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Washington will surprise people this season. Look for a good year from RGIII, and the defense will be destructive.

With Felix Jones unable to pass a fitness test, and Dez Bryant allegedly beating his mother (allegedly the key term), Dallas is a total mess right now, and I don't expect much from them this year.

 

NFC North

1. Packers

2. Bears*

3. Lions

4. Vikings

To be the man, you gotta beat the man. In the NFC North, the Packers are "the man." Will Aaron Rodgers and Co. bounce back from that disheartening playoff loss to New York?

If Jay Cutler and Matt Forte stay healthy, the Bears will be Super Bowl contenders. Yes, you read that correctly.

I am somewhat of a superstitious person, so I think Calvin Johnson may have a down year due to the Madden Curse.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

As for the Vikings, give Christian Ponder one or two more seasons, and the Vikings should legitimately contend.

 

NFC South

1. Saints

2. Panthers

3. Falcons

4. Buccaneers

Suspensions aside, the Saints still have one explosive offense. Having four guys who can run the football (Pierre Thomas, Marc Ingram, Darren Sproles, Chris Ivory/Tavaris Cadet) really takes the pressure off Drew Brees. They'll miss Jonathan Vilma, but they should be fine.

If the Panthers' defense can step up, they might have a shot at making the playoffs behind Cam Newton.

The Falcons are as overrated as a team can get. Sure, they have a good passing game, but Matt Ryan is inconsistent. The Falcons will miss the playoffs, and Mike Smith might end up getting fired.

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Greg Schiano's Buccaneers are rebuilding. I think they'll end up having the worst record in the league this season. Give them a year or two.

 

NFC West

1. 49ers

2. Seahawks

3. Rams

4. Cardinals

It's really hard to imagine anyone beating the 49ers out for the division. They are explosive all over the field, and definitely Super Bowl contenders.

Seattle is on the rise, but will rookie Russell Wilson be good enough to lead them to the playoffs? Maybe not this season, but based on his preseason performances, he has the potential to a be a solid quarterback.

With new head coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams will finally get out of the cellar of the NFC West, but don't expect too much out of them, especially if Sam Bradford can't stay healthy.

With an uncertain QB situation, the Cardinals may end up having a poor season this year, meaning the end of Ken Whisenhunt's tenure in Arizona.

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

 

AWARDS

Coach Of The Year: Romeo Crennel, Chiefs

I don't know how good the Chiefs' record will be this year, but Crennel has them going in the right direction.

Offensive ROTY: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts

He has more weapons than RGIII, and I expect the Colts to pass the ball a lot more than the Redskins will.

Defensive ROTY: Melvin Ingram, OLB, Chargers

He suffered an injury against Minnesota this past week, but he should be ready to play come the season opener. He'll have a monstrous year for this Chargers defense.

Comeback Player Of The Year: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos

Come on, who else could it possibly be, considering all that Manning went through last season.

Offensive Player Of The Year: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

People can say that anyone can run the Packers' offense based on Matt Flynn's huge season finale last year, but that was one game against the Lions, who got torched the next week against New Orleans.

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Besides, this is the Offensive Player of the Year Award, not the MVP award. Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, if not the best.

Defensive Player Of The Year: Patrick Willis, ILB, 49ers

Willis may just be the best defensive player in the league right now, let alone linebacker.

Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

This isn't just about offensive production. This is about value to a team. Tom Brady is the most valuable player to this Patriots offense. If he gets hurt this year, they will suffer. If not, he'll have yet another huge season.

 

PLAYOFFS SEEDING

AFC

1. Patriots

2. Ravens

3. Texans

4. Chiefs

Do these playoff projections seem reasonable to you?

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5. Titans

6. Bengals

 

NFC

1. 49ers

2. Packers

3. Eagles

4. Saints

5. Bears

6. Giants

 

PLAYOFFS

WILD CARD

Texans over Bengals

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Titans over Chiefs

Eagles over Giants

Saints over Bears

 

DIVISIONAL

Patriots over Titans

Ravens over Texans

Packers over Eagles

49ers over Saints

 

CONFERENCE

Ravens over Patriots

49ers over Packers

 

SUPER BOWL XLVII A.K.A. THE HARBAUGH BOWL

49ers 24, Ravens 21

Alex Smith finally proves his worth by leading the 49ers to a game-winning drive, and their first Super Bowl since 1994. Smith will be the MVP, of course.

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