Mad World: 5 (fittingly) Crazy Predictions For the 2011 Offseason

Mike WasowskiCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2011

Mad World: 5 (fittingly) Crazy Predictions For the 2011 Offseason

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass the ball during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    What a year it has been in the NFL. It was one of the strangest in recent memory. A losing team made the playoffs, the Chiefs and Raiders are relevant again, Jacksonville's epic collapse, Detroit looks decent, the Cowboys and Vikings looked awful, I could go on and on. There is potential for this coming offseason to be just as crazy as the season itself. Now bear in mind, that some of these may seem ridiculous, but are possible. So, lets take a quick look at the playoff forecast and get to these crazy predictions.

New England Wins the Super Bowl 42-39 Against...da Bears????

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 02:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown by teammate BenJarvis Green-Ellis in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Ok, so the Pats win the Super Bowl, not too crazy a prediction, but against the Bears? It's not as crazy as it sounds. Chicago will play every one of their playoff games (except the NFC Championship in this scenario) at Soldier Field. Soldier Field is a rough place to play in January, and I see the Packers succumbing to Vick and the Eagles this weekend. That pits Vick against the Bears, and Vick doesn't do so well in the frigid temperatures he will likely experience in Chicago. So the Bears would then have to travel to Atlanta, and before you scream at me "Matt Ryan is 20-2 at home" I would just like to remind you that Jay Cutler was responsible for one of those home losses when he was with the Broncos in 2008.

5. Andrew Luck Is Staying In School... Jim Harbaugh Won't

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal walks out of the tunnel to lead his team onto the field and play against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miam
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    UPDATE: just saw the breaking news from ESPN. This is official.

4. The Denver Broncos And Miami Dolphins Will Be the Big Winners In Free Agency

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Stephen Ross owner of the Miami Dolphins poses for a photo before his team plays against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Gett
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Stephen Ross reportedly was willing to offer a contract to Jim Harbaugh  worth upwards of $8 million a year. That sends a loud and clear message that he is going to spare no expense in trying to get the Dolphins back to their winning ways. 

    New Broncos VP John Elway also said that his franchise would undergo some major changes. Look for Denver to target and spare no expense when trying to acquire coveted free agents this year.

3. The No. 1 Pick In This Year's Draft Will Sign a Contract Upwards Of $65 Million

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Da'Quan Bowers #93 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This will prompt the owners to say enough is enough and a strict Rookie Salary cap will be discussed during the CBA.

2. The CBA Will Be Reached By June This Year

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    WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 18:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (C) listens to testimony during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee with NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw (L) and Pro Football Hall of Fame
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    This may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I can't really imagine that there could be no NFL in 2011. Under the new CBA, I am expecting that the season will be expanded to 18 games, salary caps and rosters will increase, teams will have two byes during the regular season, and plans for two new franchises will be unveiled for the 2014 season. 

    Rule Changes would include:

    OT for the regular season will adopt the OT rules of the playoffs

    The Neutral Zone will be expanded

    This may be the most unrealistic slide of all (although Colts fans will beg to differ when they see #1) but do you really think there could be no 2011 season?

1. ESPN's Biggest Story Of the Spring: The Destination

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts gives instructions to his team during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Peyton Manning is going on 35 this year. His sunset is creeping closer and closer. He is playing behind an aging line on a team that struggles to run the ball, and struggles to stop the run. For much of his career, Peyton has carried is team, but he may not be able to do it by himself anymore. 

    What's the point of all this? Peyton Manning could become a free agent as soon as this Sunday. If the Colts lose to the Jets in their own building, Jim Caldwell could be in trouble. The Colts would have to rebuild, from the ground up. Manning is smart enough to realize that he can not afford to wait for the Colts to return to dominance.  All he has to do is look at his arch nemesis Tom Brady to see what an elite QB can do with a complete team around him. 

    I know Manning said Indy was his home, and that contract talks stalled because he wanted to focus on the season, but what do you expect him to say? I am not saying this is a lock by any means, but Manning could find a situation like Minnesota, with all their potential on defense and their incredible running game, very attractive. If the rumors about Josh McDaniels going to be the Vikings O-Coordinator are true, imagine Manning in a system that made Matt Cassel look like a star.

    Again, I am not saying this is a lock, but I for one would not be surprised if Manning decided to test the waters of free agency.  

    What are your crazy (or not so crazy) predictions for the upcoming offseason?