Updated 2012 Team Win-Loss Record Predictions After NFL Week 4

Alessandro Miglio@@AlexMiglioFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

Updated 2012 Team Win-Loss Record Predictions After NFL Week 4

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    We are 23.5 percent through the season—a quarter, for all intents and purposes—and there is no shortage of storylines, thus far.

    The referee lovefest was predictably short, certain teams separated themselves from the pack and others simply continued their bad luck last week.

    How did the Week 4 results affect predicted records?

Arizona Cardinals

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    Current Record: 4-0

    The Cardinals were flying high after beating the Seahawks, Patriots and Eagles to open up the 2012 season. Then, they were nearly bamboozled by the Dolphins at home.

    Miami came to town and punched Arizona in the mouth, leading for much of the game only to give it away late. The game exposed Arizona's defense a bit as rookie Ryan Tannehill nearly broke the all-time single-game rookie passing record with 431 passing yards.

    The birds in the desert survived, though, and they still sit atop the NFC West. They will be playing the majority of their games on the road from here on out, though, and the rest of their division is no picnic.


    Predicted Finish: 10-6

Atlanta Falcons

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    Current Record: 4-0

    Speaking of nearly getting bamboozled, the Falcons can thank a heave and a prayer for their victory over the Panthers last week.

    OK, it was a nice deep pass to Roddy White, whom the Panthers seemingly decided to avoid covering closely for much of the game. It was only set up because Ron Rivera did not have the stones to go for it on 4th-and-1 to ice the game, despite having Cam Newton in the backfield.

    Atlanta looks like one of the league's elite teams, but last weekend was a bit of a wakeup call. It cannot take any teams for granted, not even ones that are likely to dwell in cellars this season.


    Predicted Finish: 12-4

Baltimore Ravens

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    Current Record: 3-1

    It was a bit less dramatic for the Ravens last week than it was for the previous two teams discussed, but they still nearly blew a lead against the lowly Browns at home.

    Brandon Weeden's pick-six wound up being the difference in the game as the Ravens improved to 3-1 and stayed tied with Cincinnati Bengals for the top spot in the AFC North.

    They must avoid letdowns against Kansas City, Cleveland and Oakland while dealing with Dallas and Houston in between before they get Pittsburgh, whom they play twice in three weeks beginning in late November.

    If they can get to the first Pittsburgh matchup at 7-2 or 8-1, they will be sitting pretty for the North crown.


    Predicted Finish: 11-5

Buffalo Bills

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    Current Record: 2-2

    Where has the defense gone?

    In yet another example where winning free agency means little, the Bills' revamped defense has been awful for much of the season.

    Granted, the Patriots are not exactly a bad offensive team, but the Bills got their tails handed to them last week in a game that looked competitive early in the second half. The Bills were winning 21-7 with less than nine minutes to go in the third quarter and wound up losing 52-28.

    There is really nothing more to be said.


    Predicted Finish: 7-9

Carolina Panthers

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    Current Record: 1-3

    The Panthers nearly stole one on the road against the mighty Falcons last week. Alas, Cam Newton's massive presence on the field was not enough to entice Ron Rivera to go for it on a 4th-and-1 conversion attempt that would have iced the game.

    Perhaps the extra days of practice afforded by a Thursday night game helped because against Atlanta, Carolina did not look like the team that was shellacked by Eli Manning and the Giants at home in Week 3.

    Perhaps Jonathan Stewart is the answer. He did not have a terribly productive game, but the Panthers have looked much better in the two games he has played than the two he has missed.

    Coincidence? Probably. But it's nice to be at full strength.


    Predicted Finish: 6-10

Chicago Bears

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    Current Record: 3-1

    There is a dramatic difference between the Bears team that was wiped off the field in Green Bay and the one that mopped the floor with the Cowboys.

    Somehow, against all odds, Chicago's woeful offensive line kept Jay Cutler relatively clean against a good pass rush led by DeMarcus Ware. Good game-planning was a big reason as the Bears looked to get the ball out early and help Ware's blocking assignment whenever possible.

    Cutler and the offense still seems to be feeling for more consistency, but they played well enough to pull away from the Cowboys. If that defense plays at that level all season long, they will be serious contenders in the NFC.


    Predicted Finish: 10-6

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Current Record: 3-1

    A win against the Jaguars was a predictable result for the Bengals. They have a good offense, and their defense is adequate enough to contain the likes of Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars offense.

    It is not, however, adequate enough to hang with the big boys, at least not in its current state. The pass defense, in particular, has been atrocious, largely due to injuries.

    If they can get healthy and improve the defense, the Bengals will make the playoffs and contend for the division crown. Otherwise, things might just fall apart.


    Predicted Finish: 10-6

Cleveland Browns

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    Current Record: 0-4

    It was an encouraging scene in Baltimore as Brandon Weeden nearly led his team back to tie the game in the waning seconds.

    Unfortunately, his receivers' hands were dipped in cement before the game, causing seven drops, including a costly one in the end zone by none other than Greg Little.

    At least that near-miss rendered the jokes about Cleveland losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide pointless, not that they were particularly relevant to begin with. This team will win a few NFL games before the year is out.


    Predicted Finish: 3-13

Dallas Cowboys

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    Current Record: 2-2

    This has been a quintessential Cowboys season.

    If that line seems like deja vu, it is because it is even truer today.

    The Cowboys could not get out of their own way last week against the Bears. Tony Romo will unfairly garner most of the blame, but two or three of his five interceptions were not really his fault.

    Still, that marks two turnover-filled weeks in a row for Romo and the Cowboys. They were fortunate that the Buccaneers offense was stuck in reverse most of the day in Week 3, but they could not stand up to the Bears with that kind of performance.

    Will the Cowboys ever get out of this funk?


    Predicted Finish: 8-8

Denver Broncos

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    Current Record: 2-2

    It was a nice bounce-back game for the Broncos at home after two tough losses to the vaunted Falcons and Texans.

    Peyton Manning looked like the field general of old as Denver pummeled its old nemesis, Oakland. 

    Starting center J.D. Walton is out for the year with a broken ankle, though; that is one big injury that could impact Manning and the offense in an underrated way. Manning is used to quality play from his centers.

    It is starting to look like a two-horse race in the AFC West, and the Broncos have the talent to buck the Chargers down the stretch.


    Predicted Finish: 10-6

Detroit Lions

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    Current Record: 1-3

    This season is quickly spiraling down the proverbial toilet for Jim Schwartz's Lions.

    A tough schedule could be blamed for their first two losses, but a home loss to the upstart Vikings is a real cause for concern. Matthew Stafford has regressed a bit this season, throwing just three touchdown passes in his first four games. 

    His receivers have not helped him, dropping passes left and right—Calvin Johnson is not even immune.

    Outside of the game in Tennessee, the defense has done an admirable job of keeping the Lions in games, a dramatic reversal from last season.


    Predicted Finish: 8-8

Green Bay Packers

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    Current Record: 2-2

    Graham Harrell got the call when Aaron Rodgers got poked in the eye. Perhaps he should have simply taken a knee.

    The Packers were in the red zone after the Saints had taken a 24-21 lead. Harrell took the snap, turned to hand it off to Cedric Benson in one of the most telegraphed play calls in history, then promptly fumbled the ball away as he tripped and fell.

    Fortunately, the defense held New Orleans and referee Jeff Triplette to another field goal, and Aaron Rodgers was able to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory.

    It was a much-needed win for the Packers, who still find themselves looking up at the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears in the NFC North.


    Predicted Finish: 11-5

Houston Texans

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    Current Record: 4-0

    There are too many ways this Texans team can kill you. Whether it is with a tough defense, led by J.J. Watt and Johnathan Joseph, or a multifaceted offense that can pound a team into submission or air it out, this team is looking more and more like the team to beat in the NFL.

    It looks like the Texans will be able to run the table in the AFC South. Outside the division, the Ravens, Patriots, Bears and Packers loom largest.


    Predicted Finish: 13-3

Indianapolis Colts

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    Current Record: 1-2

    Thoughts and condolences go out to head coach Chuck Pagano of the Colts, who has recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Godspeed in battling and beating cancer. Bruce Arians will take over as interim head coach as Pagano begins his journey toward recovery and remission.

    This will be a big test for a relatively young team. Can they overcome the loss of their leader? The grizzled Saints have certainly felt the loss of Sean Payton and Joe Vitt this season.

    The Colts were on a bye last week. Some of their schedule looks tougher than it did a week ago, though, as games against the Dolphins and Browns are no gimmes.


    Predicted Finish: 3-13

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Current Record: 1-3

    The Jaguars do not look any better than a year ago.

    Blaine Gabbert might have gotten an upgrade at receiver, but it has barely registered with an offense that continues its pedestrian ways. The second-year quarterback is doing a good job of avoiding turnovers, but he is completing passes at an atrocious 5.6 yards per attempt (YPA).

    The defense has not been up to snuff either, unable to replicate its performance from the 2011 season. It looks like another long year for the Jacksonville faithful.


    Predicted Finish: 3-13

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Current Record: 1-3

    It looks as though there is more Jekyll than Hyde to this team.

    The Chiefs are the latest team to get pantsed after beating the Saints—teams that have beaten the Saints have lost their following matchups by a combined score of 104-55. (The Packers should break that trend as they face the Colts this week.)

    The Chargers came to Arrowhead, a traditionally difficult place to play for divisional rivals, and beat them 37-20. The game was never really that close, and Kansas City is left wondering if the defense will ever be any good under defensive-minded head coach Romeo Crennel.


    Predicted Finish: 6-10

Miami Dolphins

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    Current Record: 1-3

    The Dolphins are a couple of missed field goals away from a 3-1 record.

    Of course, it is never that simple, but had Dan Carpenter put up three more points in each of their last two contests, Miami would be on top of the AFC East.

    Whatever the circumstances, moral victories ring hollow. Brian Hartline put it succinctly when he said the Dolphins must stop "finding ways to lose" during The Finsiders postgame show.

    If they can stay away from the mistakes that have cost them victories in recent weeks, the Dolphins will be a tough out for any team this season. They might even steal a game or two from a favored opponent.


    Predicted Finish: 7-9

Minnesota Vikings

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    Current Record: 3-1

    Speaking of stealing games against favored opponents, the Vikings got one on the road against the suddenly hapless Lions.

    Are the Vikings for real? After many picked them to vie for the top pick in the draft—including yours truly—they have beaten the likes of San Francisco and Detroit in the first quarter of the season.

    The Lions look like they have fallen off from a year ago, but the rest of the NFC North will prove tough for Minnesota. If Christian Ponder can continue to play mistake-free football and the defense plays at this level all season long, they could threaten for a playoff spot.


    Predicted Finish: 8-8

New England Patriots

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    Current Record: 2-2

    For nearly two-and-a-half quarters against the Bills, the Patriots looked like they were on their way to the AFC East cellar and a 1-3 record.

    Then, the offense showed up. The Patriots scored 45 points in the game's final 24 minutes, throttling the Bills 52-28 and restoring order to the AFC East.

    With the Bills defense looking like the same old unit, the Dolphins going through growing pains with a rookie head coach and quarterback and the Jets turning into the Jest, the Patriots should easily be sitting atop the division standings come January.


    Predicted Finish: 11-5

New Orleans Saints

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    Current Record: 0-4

    Starting 0-4 has all but eliminated the Saints from playoff contention before interim coach Joe Vitt could even coach a game.

    It was a much better showing for New Orleans on the road in Lambeau this week than in the previous three, but there are no extra credit points for a near-win. The 28-27 loss to the Packers is a sign they will be competitive going forward, but it will be too little, too late.


    Predicted Finish: 8-8

New York Giants

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    Current Record: 2-2

    A 19-17 loss was not the outcome the Giants wanted in Philadelphia.

    Lawrence Tynes had an opportunity to win it late for the Giants, but his 54-yard field goal attempt fell short. Inconsistency seems to be a plague in the NFC East; one week the Giants look like world-beaters, the next they have trouble getting the offense going.

    The truth is this team barely made the playoffs last season before another magical run at a championship. It appears things have not changed much.


    Predicted Finish: 9-7

New York Jets

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    Current Record: 2-2

    The hits keep on coming for the Jets, who were trounced at home without scoring a point last week. Losing Santonio Holmes means they have lost their best offensive and defensive players in consecutive weeks. 

    San Francisco figured to give New York a tough time last week, but the boo birds were out in force for Mark Sanchez, who simply looked terrible. Calls for Tebow Time have begun in earnest. Congratulations if you had "Week 4" in your office pool. Enjoy your commemorative Mark Sanchez Fathead.

    This is a team rapidly heading in the wrong direction, threatening to splinter under ridicule and scrutiny. Will the Jets rally behind their boisterous coach?


    Predicted Finish: 6-10

Oakland Raiders

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    Current Record: 1-3

    The Raiders are a long way from the team that went 8-8 last season and nearly made the playoffs.

    Injuries have decimated this team all around, but they have looked the part of a cellar dweller for three of four weeks this season. The defense cannot stop anybody, and the offense has sputtered, despite the presence of Darren McFadden and Denarius Moore.

    They could not make a dent against San Diego or Denver, the top two teams in the division, and Kansas City might have enough to outscore them twice this season. Reggie McKenzie is rebuilding, but it could take a while.


    Predicted Finish: 5-11

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Current Record: 3-1

    Good things happen when Michael Vick and the Eagles can avoid turnovers.

    Fortunately for Eagles fans, Andy Reid's decision to try to ice Lawrence Tynes did not backfire like it did with Joe Philbin in Week 3, and the Eagles find themselves alone at the top of the NFC East.

    They have won three games by a combined total of four points, though—not exactly an encouraging sign. If they can continue to play solid defense and the offense can get rolling without turnovers, they can be a dangerous team.


    Predicted Finish: 10-6

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Current Record: 1-2

    Pittsburgh was on a bye last week, and it gets Rashard Mendenhall, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison back from injury this week.

    Is it enough to turn things around and make some headway in the tough NFC North? Perhaps a little. But, the defense looks old, and Polamalu and Harrison may not be enough to bring it back to the top of the league.

    At least Ben Roethlisberger looks good, despite an offensive line ravaged by injuries.


    Predicted Finish: 8-8

San Diego Chargers

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    Current Record: 3-1

    The Chargers have gotten off to a fast start, a refreshing change from the recent trend of starting slow that goes back to the Marty Schottenheimer era. Can they continue their success?

    They get a desperate Saints team that gets their interim coach back this week. New Orleans nearly beat the Packers on the road last week as the offense appears to be clicking.

    To win, the Chargers will likely need a big game from Ryan Mathews. A.J. Smith and Norv Turner might be shooting themselves in the foot if they want to continue punishing one of their best players for fumbling. 


    Predicted Finish: 9-7

San Francisco 49ers

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    Current Record: 3-1

    What a response.

    A week after a letdown against the Vikings, the 49ers took a whooping stick to the Jets on the road. It almost seemed like Jim Harbaugh was mocking the Jets, running over them and like the team New York aspired to be before the season began.

    San Francisco's swarming defense overwhelmed Mark Sanchez, and Colin Kaepernick did his best Tim Tebow impersonation, outrushing the entire Jets offense on just a few plays in the process.

    The 49ers are back to form.


    Predicted Finish: 11-5

Seattle Seahawks

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    Current Record: 2-2

    Each week, the chorus grows louder: Seattle has a problem at quarterback.

    In yet another example of why the preseason is overrated, Russell Wilson is not lighting up defenses the way he was in August. He has not been atrocious, but the third-round pick has hindered more than helped a team being buoyed by its defense.

    Pete Carroll has backed his starting quarterback, pledging to roll with the rookie for the time being. If the offense does not pick things up and the Seahawks lose a few more games in the next month, he might have to go to the bullpen and Matt Flynn.


    Predicted Finish: 9-7

St. Louis Rams

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    Current Record: 2-2

    It seems like Jeff Fisher and the Rams like the home cooking in St. Louis. Perhaps, the thought of Pappy's after the game is extra motivation.

    St. Louis is 2-0 at home, improbably beating a strong Seattle team behind the powerful offense of Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein.

    "Big G-Z" has been money from any distance this season, but the Rams need to figure out how to get in the end zone more often if they are going to be competitive throughout the season.


    Predicted Finish: 6-10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Current Record: 1-3

    Much like the Dolphins, the Buccaneers keep finding ways to lose.

    Whether it is in a shootout with the Giants, a defensive tilt against the Cowboys or a late-game collapse against the Redskins, the Bucs have been snake-bitten. It seems the Eagles have stolen their mojo.

    It is difficult to gauge how the Bucs will fare over the next 12 games, but they have the grit and skill to stay with their opponents. If they can turn their luck around and continue to improve, they could do some damage. 


    Predicted Finish: 6-10

Tennessee Titans

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    Current Record: 1-3

    Is Chris Johnson back to form, or is this an elaborate way to bamboozle fantasy owners yet again?

    That is not important right now, considering the state of Jake Locker's shoulder. Whispers of surgery are spooking Titans fans, who must deal with 36-year-old Matt Hasselbeck while they await Locker's fate.

    Locker might not have been able to stem the tide against the Texans last week, but losing him for the year would be a big blow. Hopefully, this is just a one- or two-week affair for the young Titans quarterback.


    Predicted Finish: 6-10

Washington Redskins

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    Current Record: 2-2

    A maligned defense did a decent job against Josh Freeman and the Bucs last week, giving Robert Griffin III a chance to get the team into field-goal range for a victory.

    Fortunately, Billy Cundiff's kick sailed true after he missed three field goals earlier in the contest. Otherwise, he might have incited another fan rebellion in the middle of the Eastern seaboard.

    As long as RGIII doesn't miss any time due to injury, this team will be dangerous. Unfortunately, the defense will be a liability throughout the season.


    Predicted Finish: 6-10


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