2012 NFL Predictions: 5 Undefeated Teams That Will Miss the Playoffs

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIISeptember 11, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: 5 Undefeated Teams That Will Miss the Playoffs

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    Week 1 in the NFL is a time for teams to start fresh. Every team is tied at the beginning of the season and has a shot at making it their year. Half of the teams in the league start the season undefeated.

    Unfortunately, for most of the teams, that's about as good as it gets.

    Due to injuries, lucky plays or just a lucky schedule, many teams start on an optimistic note only to see the rest of the season go downhill.

    Week 1 of the 2012 season gave us some great performances and thrilling finishes.

    This list looks at five overachieving teams. These teams either looked great on Sunday or did just enough to pull out a victory.

    The teams on this list all started their seasons 1-0, but they'll eventually miss the playoffs.

    Coincidentally, all five teams come out of the NFC.

    The Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Bears, Falcons and 49ers are almost certain locks to make the playoffs. That's the reason that five 1-0 teams will be left out come January.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Week 1: Arizona 20, Seattle 16

    The Cardinals had the luxury of starting the season at home against a rookie quarterback.

    The Cardinals moved the ball on the Seattle defense even after starting quarterback John Skelton left with an ankle injury. High-priced backup Kevin Kolb came in and led a touchdown drive.

    However, if not for two dropped passes in the end zone, Seattle would have been the team starting 1-0.

    If Skelton misses any time, Arizona may struggle. Especially considering the fact that their non-division opponents include New England, Green Bay and the Jets.

    The reality is they are not going to over take San Francisco for the division crown, and second place in the NFC West will not be good enough for a Wild Card spot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Week 1: Tampa Bay 16, Carolina 10

    Tampa Bay had a strong start to the 2012 season. The Buccaneers played tough defense and intercepted Carolina quarterback Cam Newton twice.

    The offense struggled to gain many yards, but they put up enough points to get the victory. Quarterback Josh Freeman threw for only 138 yards, but he did have one touchdown and no interceptions.

    If the Buccaneers play defense like they did in Week 1, the team should be in a lot of games. However, the offensive struggles will show up more against better competition.

    The Buccaneers may have enough to compete with the New Orleans Saints for second play in the NFC South division, but even that is debatable. Games against the NFC East will add to the struggles for Tampa.

    While the Bucs may be celebrating now, they will be on the outside looking in when it comes to Wild Card spots.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Week 1: Minnesota 26, Jacksonville 23

    The Vikings play in what could be considered the toughest division in the NFC. The Packers and Bears are pretty much locks when it comes to playoff spots. Minnesota would need a miracle to make the playoffs in 2012.

    Yes, the Vikings are 1-0. No, they don't have a chance at the playoffs.

    The Vikings pulled off an overtime victory against lowly Jacksonville on Sunday that they just as easily could have lost. It took a 55-yard field goal by Blair Walsh at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.

    Christian Ponder played well, garnering 270 passing yards with no interceptions. Remember, though, that it was against Jacksonville.

    The Vikings will be improved this year if Adrian Peterson can stay healthy. They just won't be close to claiming a playoff spot.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Week 1: Philadelphia 17, Cleveland 16

    The self-proclaimed dynasty that is the Philadelphia Eagles did not get the start they were looking for in 2012. Yes, the Eagles were victorious against the Cleveland Browns, but it took a late touchdown to secure the victory.

    The Eagles looked awful in this game. The offense could not get going, and quarterback Michael Vick threw four interceptions against the Cleveland Browns. Yes, that's right, the Cleveland Browns.

    This should have been a run-away game for the Eagles. Instead, they played down to the competition and almost lost. The Eagles showed that they are a long ways away from an elite NFL team.

    The scariest thing about the 2012 Eagles is that they are just a big hit away from losing their main playmaker, Vick. If and when that happens, rookie quarterback Nick Foles will take over the offense.

    Philadelphia will win a few games this year, but their Week 1 performance shows that they are not much better than the 8-8 team that missed the playoffs in 2011.

    Nine wins is possible for this team, but that won't be good enough to make the playoffs in the tough NFC.

Detroit Lions

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    Week 1: Detroit 27, St. Louis 23

    When asked which team would likely take a step back in 2012, the Detroit Lions came to mind. There is no doubting the Lions have one of the most prolific passing attacks in the league. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is arguably the best receiver in the entire NFL.

    That being said, the Lions offense can struggle at times due to not being able to establish a running game. Starting running back Jahvid Best has been riddled with injuries over the past few seasons.

    The Lions really struggled in Week 1 and were almost upset by the St. Louis Rams at home.

    The biggest obstacle for the Lions will be the division they play in. Green Bay will most certainly be near the top of the NFC North. The Chicago Bears have an improved offense with the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Lions are now the third best team in the division.

    The Lions are a feel-good story because of how bad they had been over the years. Unfortunately, the good story ends in 2012.

    There is no doubt the Lions will be a tough team this year. There are just too many teams above them in the NFC to make the playoff field.