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2011 NFL Predictions: Final Regular Season Records for All 32 NFL Teams

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2011

2011 NFL Predictions: Final Regular Season Records for All 32 NFL Teams

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    With all the current NFL talk about arbitration, collective bargaining agreements and a potential season-long lockout, how about we change things up and take a fresh, new approach to football talk.

    We all want the NFL to work this out and there to be football in 2011. With that said, it is never really too early to look ahead into next season.

    The Green Bay Packers return as the defending champs, but will they be even better in 2011?

    Or what about the New England Patriots, a team that finished with the best record in the league last season, but failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs?

    Let's put our Swami hats on here and dive into the 2011 NFL season by predicting the final regular-season records for all 32 NFL teams.

    Sit back and enjoy—this one should be a whole lot of fun.

32. Carolina Panthers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This might be difficult to grasp, but the Panthers could be even worse in 2011 than they were this past season.

    DeAngelo Williams is a free agent and is probably this team's best player. Steve Smith has been a hot topic in trade talks; he is probably the team's second-best player. Take those two away, and this team looks like a team that might be a good fit for a sequel to the movie The Replacements.

    The one thing that this team has going for it right now is that it has the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Because of the current lack of talent on this team, you would have to believe that they would take a guy who can be a difference-maker right away...perhaps LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

    Either way, 2011 looks like it's going to be another long year for Carolina fans.

    2011 Prediction: 2-14

31. Buffalo Bills

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Last season was a rough one for the Bills, and unless something drastically changes, this coming season should be much the same.

    This team simply doesn't have any playmakers on offense.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is a decent quarterback, but he isn't good enough to lead a team to the playoffs. C.J. Spiller is an exciting talent, but his frame won't allow him to carry the ball more then 10-12 times per game. Stevie Johnson had a solid year and showed promise, but put him on any playoff team, and he's a No. 3 wideout.

    The Bills might want to take a close look at Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton with the third pick in this April's draft. This team needs a new look on the offensive side of the ball.

    2011 Prediction: 2-14

30. Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The key with this team is whether or not it can find a quarterback in the offseason.

    With the troubles that the NFL is currently going through, trades are prohibited, meaning that Arizona is losing precious time to make a deal for its future signal-caller.

    With that said, it might be more likely that the Cardinals will look for that quarterback in the draft, perhaps with that No. 5 pick.

    This team has talent on both ends of the ball. Larry Fitzgerald is an all-world receiver—he just needs someone who is capable of getting him the ball. If that doesn't happen, this could be a long year in Arizona.

    2011 Prediction: 3-13

29. Cinncinati Bengals

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    When your starting quarterback demands to be traded, your head coach receives an extension after one of the worst years in franchise history and your star receiver is more interested in "Dancing with the Stars" than his football career, you've got some serious trouble on your hands.

    With Carson Palmer, this team was bad last season. Without him, the Bengals could be even worse in 2011.

    On the defensive end, this unit has some nice pieces with guys like Dhani Jones, Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers. But the Bengals do need some help on their defensive line, and that is likely where they will look with the fourth pick of the NFL draft.

    It's boggling to me why this team would want to hang on to Palmer after he demanded out and said that he would "rather retire than play for the Bengals." Looks like the ingredients to another losing season are there in Cincy.

    2011 Prediction: 5-11

28. Miami Dolphins

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Hey, Miami—at least you have a good basketball team.

    Football...not so much.

    The Dolphins have all but made it clear that Chad Henne will not be their answer at the quarterback position. Combine that with the fact that both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown might be gone to free agency and trades, and you have one huge mess on the offensive side of the ball.

    This is a team that should be praying that the lockout comes to an end, so that it can get moving in free agency and make moves in the trade market.

    This team desperately needs to address the quarterback and running-back positions if it wants to be competitive in 2011. Chances are, it's going to be a long fall in South Beach.

    2011 Prediction: 5-11

27. Denver Broncos

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    It really isn't possible that the Denver Broncos can be any worse than they were in 2010.

    The key question going into camp is: Will Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton be the Opening Day quarterback for the Broncos in 2011?

    Either way, neither of them have a whole lot to work with on the offensive end. Brandon Lloyd had a breakout year in 2010, but the guy will be 30 years old next year, and doesn't have the explosiveness of a true No. 1 wideout.

    On defense, the Broncos are expecting defensive end Elvis Dumervil back next season, which should give them a huge boost on the line. If they can snag Patrick Peterson with that second pick of the draft, then Denver will instantly be in better shape then it was last season.

    2011 Prediction: 6-10

26. San Francisco 49ers

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    Just like so many teams that have already appeared on this list, the biggest question in San Francisco will be: Who is going to be the team's starting quarterback?

    Alex Smith has clearly worn out his stay in the Bay Area. So, with that said, the 49ers have to look for a quarterback through the draft, or wait until this gray period passes and they can go after one through a trade.

    Patrick Willis is an absolute phenom on the defensive end, and he makes this defense respectable.

    Jim Harbaugh is a good coach, and all signs point to his coaching style transitioning well to the NFL game. He has some solid playmakers on the offensive end in Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore.

    But, if the 49ers are going to compete this year, they are going to need to find a guy that can get those playmakers the ball.

    2011 Prediction: 6-10

25. Washington Redskins

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    There might not be a team in all of football that has more personnel problems than the Washington Redskins do.

    Donovan McNabb, who is still a top 10 NFL quarterback, was pushed out of town and will be somewhere else next season. Albert Haynesworth is in Mike Shanahan's doghouse and might never play a snap again in Washington. The team recently announced that Clinton Portis has been released, as well.

    The issues just keep piling up for the Redskins and it seems like this team is just going on a continual downward slope.

    They do have a top 10 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but not even that can help this organization at this point in time.

    2011 Prediction: 6-10

24. Tennessee Titans

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The trend with a lack of quarterback continues here with the Tennessee Titans.

    A new coach is here, but the plan to get rid of Vince Young is still a go in Tennessee. If this team plans to hand the ball over to 17-year veteran Kerry Collins, the Titans might as well just pack their bags up and call it a lost season.

    But it doesn't end with the quarterback position. The Titans are weak at receiver, and I wouldn't expect Randy Moss to be sporting a Titans jersey this fall. The Titans defense is nothing short of horrendous, allowing over 250 passing yards per game, which ranked 29th in the league.

    This team needs a lot of help, and it seems like just a few years ago that the Titans were being talked about as a potential Super Bowl contender.

    Not so much this year.

    2011 Prediction: 6-10

23. Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    As sick as people in Minnesota might have been getting with Brett Favre, the reality of the situation now is that the Vikings are without any good options at quarterback.

    Let's be honest here—Joe Webb is not going to win you football games. It doesn't matter if you do have Adrian Peterson to hand the ball off to—the running back can't do it all by himself.

    This team needs to address the quarterback position, and then the Vikings have to make sure that they are able to re-sign Sidney Rice, so their new signal-caller can have a top target to throw the ball to.

    After that, the Vikings are a pretty good team. They ranked in the top 10 in opponents' rushing and passing yards last season. They just need to cut down on the turnovers on the offensive end.

    This could change depending on who they get at the quarterback position, but as of now, this looks like a pretty average team on paper.

    2011 Prediction: 7-9

22. Cleveland Browns

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    For the first time in a long time, things are starting to look up for the Cleveland Browns.

    The team has found its running back in Peyton Hillis, who had a monster season in 2010. The team has found its quarterback of the future in Colt McCoy, who showed promising signs in his rookie season, and should only get better with time.

    Now, the key to putting it all together on the offensive end is to find that No. 1 wideout. With a top 10 pick in this April's NFL draft, many draft experts believe the Browns will take either Georgia's A.J. Green or Alabama's Julio Jones.

    On defense, the Browns need to improve their rush defense, and they can do that in the second round of the draft. This year's class is filled with good talent on the defensive line. The Browns are still rebuilding, but this should be a nice, steppingstone year for this club.

    2011 Prediction: 7-9

21. Oakland Raiders

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    The most dysfunctional organization in all of sports actually showed some signs of functionality last season.

    Gone is Tom Cable and in is Hue Jackson, who takes over a team that finished last season with a respectable 8-8 record.

     

    The main reason that Oakland was so successful last season was because they committed to and dominated in the run game. As a team, the Raiders averaged 156 rushing yards per game last year, ranking second in the NFL.

     

    Another area that Oakland excelled in was pass defense. A large part of that was Nnamdi Asomugha, who might leave town this offseason. If the Raiders are smart, they will do everything in their power to make sure that does not happen.

     

    2011 Prediction: 8-8

20. Detroit Lions

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Detroit Lions should be the most improved team in the NFL next season.

    After what looked like another lost season for the Lions last year, Jim Schwartz's team ran off four straight wins to close out the season, and was without Matthew Stafford in the lineup.

     

    When this team is healthy, it has the makings of an explosive offense with guys like Stafford, Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew.

     

    On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have developed one of the top defensive lines in the league with the emergence of rookie Ndamukong Suh. Now, the Lions need to look to improve at linebacker and defensive back.

     

    If they can address those two positions in the draft, then this will be a solid team in 2011.

     

    2011 Prediction: 8-8

19. Houston Texans

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The Houston Texans took a step backward last season, despite featuring an explosive offense.

    The problem here is that the Texans simply couldn't stop anyone. The team ranked dead last in the NFL in pass defense last season, allowing over 267 yards per game in the air. The Texans weren't much better in the run game either, giving up 110 yards per game on the ground.

     

    If I were the general manager of this team, I wouldn't even contemplate taking an offensive player in the first four rounds of this April's draft.

     

    If the Texans can improve their defensive product, this very well could be a playoff team.

     

    2011 Prediction: 8-8

18. Seattle Seahawks

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    Pete Carroll did a great job with this team in his first season, leading them to a spot in the playoffs and a first-round victory over the Saints.  The Seahawks could be back in 2011, but the issue is that Matt Hasselbeck isn't getting younger. This club is eventually going to have to address the quarterback position, as Hasselbeck probably doesn't have more than one more year left in the tank.

     

    Seattle struggled last year on the defensive end, especially in its pass defense. Look for Carroll to continue to add pieces through the draft to complement his promising young defensive back, Earl Thomas.

    If the Seahawks address the defense, Hasselbeck should be able to lead this group to another solid season.

     

    2011 Projection: 8-8

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    This is a team that seems to be in limbo and just completely content with being a .500 football team.

    Last season, it looked like it was going to be their year to finally overtake the Colts in the AFC South, but then, just like that, the Colts closed the gate, beat the Jags in their final matchup, and took the division crown.

     

    David Garrard is a pretty average NFL quarterback, and it may be time for this organization to begin to look in a different direction. But, where this team really needs help is on defense, specifically in its secondary.

     

    The Jaguars ranked 28th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing opponents to throw for more than 250 yards per game. Unless this team can drastically improve its pass defense, it looks like it'll be another average year in Jacksonville.

     

    2011 Prediction: 8-8

16. St. Louis Rams

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The St. Louis Rams were so close to making the playoffs last year, and with the core of their team set to return in 2011, this team should get over that hump and climb into the postseason.

    Sam Bradford had a spectacular rookie season, throwing for over 3,500 yards and 18 touchdowns. All signs point to him only getting better in his second year, especially if the team can add a No. 1 wideout in the draft.

     

    On the defensive end, the Rams were pretty average, ranking in the middle of the pack in both run and pass defense. They should look for a receiver with their top pick, and then focus on beefing up that defense in Round 2 and beyond.

     

    2011 Prediction: 9-7

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    One thing is pretty clear when talking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman is going to be a star in this league sooner rather than later.

    Freeman led a solid offense that ranked highly in both passing and rushing behind standout rookie LeGarrette Blount. Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow proved to be solid targets in the passing game.

     

    On defense, this team needs to get more productivity out of Gerald McCoy, who the Buccaneers selected with the third overall pick in the 2010 draft. They also need to bulk up in the secondary, and that might be their plan in this year's draft.

     

    With an improved defense, this team should get over the playoff hump in 2011.

     

    2011 Prediction: 10-6

14. Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Chiefs had an outstanding season in 2010, finishing with a 10-6 record and winning the AFC West Division.

    The good news is that Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and crew are going to be back, assuming there is football in 2011. The bad news is that San Diego should be healthy heading into the season, which means that the Chargers could be dangerous.

     

    The Chiefs showed that they have one of the best running games in the NFL, as well as a young and promising defense. This should be an ongoing race throughout the season to see if they can top the Chargers for the AFC West title.

     

    2011 Prediction: 10-6

13. Dallas Cowboys

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys were the most disappointing team in all of football this year.

    Rating them this high up isn't to say that they are going to be the best team in football next year. But, with a healthy Tony Romo, this team should be improved in 2011.

    The Cowboys need to address their running game on offense and their secondary on defense. With a top 10 pick, they should be able to address one of those.

    The 'Boys aren't going to win the Super Bowl in 2011, but the playoffs should sound pretty good to this team at this point.

    2011 Prediction: 10-6

12. San Diego Chargers

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    Not many teams in the NFL can say that they lost as many important players as the San Diego Chargers did last year.

    Vincent Jackson was out with a suspension, contract dispute and an injury. Malcolm Floyd was hurt, Antonio Gates was hurt, Ryan Matthews was hurt, Shawne Merriman was hurt; the list keeps going and going.

     

    The key with this team is obviously its health. If they can stay healthy, the Chargers are not only a playoff contender, but they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

     

    Just look at the numbers Phillip Rivers put up last season. Now imagine a full season with all his top targets being healthy. 

     

    2011 Prediction: 11-5

11. Chicago Bears

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    The Bears shocked the football world last season by posting an 11-5 record, winning the NFC North and making it to the NFC Championship Game.

    This is a good team, but the Bears aren't going to be as good in 2011.

     

    There are clearly some internal issues with Jay Cutler that need to be worked out. Add that to the fact that this team has the worst set of receivers in the NFL, and there is bound to be trouble brewing in 2011.

     

    Chicago has a good defense, led by Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but it's the offensive end where the Bears need to improve. This group has to find a go-to playmaker and a dominant offensive tackle to protect Cutler's blind side.

     

    Like I said—they will be good in 2011, but not great.

     

    2011 Projection: 10-6

10. New York Giants

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    The Giants have been on the verge of making a playoff push, but just missed last year and were edged out the year before.

    The bottom line here is that this team is only three years removed from a Super Bowl championship. The core of that team is still around, and the Giants have added some nice pieces like Antrel Rolle and Hakeem Nicks.

     

    The Giants ranked in the top 10 in all major offensive and defensive categories, but they were still left out of the playoff picture when it was all said and done.

     

    That shouldn't be the case in 2011. Eli Manning is getting better with age and experience, and this team knows what it takes to get it done in the playoffs. The Giants just have to get there first.

     

    2011 Projection: 11-5

9. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Michael Vick is here to stay, and that could mean big things for the Eagles in 2011.

    With Vick under center, this offense was explosive at times last season. LeSean McCoy was one of the best backs in the league, posting over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. DeSean Jackson is arguably the most talented receiver in the game, accounting for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in 2011 and dominating in the return game.

     

    The Eagles need to improve on the defensive end if they want to make a deep playoff run next season. They ranked 15th in both pass and run defense.

     

    Look for the Eagles to go for defense in the draft, and if they snag some good ones, they could be a Super Bowl-caliber team in 2011.

     

    2011 Projection: 11-5

8. Baltimore Ravens

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Ravens are consistently one of the top teams in the NFL, but they have to find a way to add some more talent to the receiving corps in order to get by Pittsburgh in the AFC North.

    Joe Flacco is a solid NFL quarterback, and adding Anquan Boldin to the mix certainly helped. But now they need to keep giving him more to work with.

     

    Ray Rice had an off year in 2010 after starting especially slowly. If he can get back on track, this should be a dangerous offense.

     

    We all know how good the Ravens defense can be when healthy.

     

    2011 Projection: 11-5

7. New Orleans Saints

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    The Saints were good in 2010, but the fact that they got bounced in the opening round of the playoffs by a below-.500 Seattle Seahawks team brings up questions.

    Drew Brees is great—we all know that. But when is this team going to go out and get an everyday running back?

     

    They need to realize that Reggie Bush is never going to be that guy, and they have to find someone who can be.

     

    On the defensive side, the Saints had a good pass defense, but they were below average in their run defense.

     

    With all the dominant defensive linemen in this year's draft, the Saints had better take a look at a defensive tackle if they want to get back to greatness in 2011.

     

    2011 Prediction: 11-5

6. New York Jets

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Rex Ryan has already gone in front of the camera and guaranteed that his team is going to win the Super Bowl in 2011.

    It's a bold prediction, but the Jets do have the talent to do so.

     

    The key here will be if Mark Sanchez can continue to improve, and if they can re-sign one or both of their free-agent receivers.

     

    LaDainian Tomlinson already made it clear that he is coming back for one more year to win a Super Bowl.

    Now, let's see if that move will be worth it.

     

    2011 Prediction: 12-4

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Not many teams have had the type of success that Pittsburgh has enjoyed over the past couple of years.

    Ben Roethlisberger led this group to the Super Bowl last year. The Steelers came up just short against Green Bay, but this year, they very well could be back.

     

    Mike Tomlin's team has an explosive offense to go along with one of the top defenses in the game today. It's scary to think that this team can still get better, but it certainly can.

     

    2011 Prediction: 12-4

4. Atlanta Falcons

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    Wow...did this franchise ever turn around quickly after the whole Michael Vick situation or what?

    Matt Ryan is on the verge of becoming an NFL superstar. Add his maturity to the fact that the Falcons already have other explosive players like Michael Turner and Roddy White in that offense, and this is one of the best units in the game.

     

    The Falcons had a good defense in 2010—that bend-but-don't-break mentality seemed to work just fine for this team...until the Falcons faced Green Bay in the playoffs.

     

    If this team can address its defensive needs and add some pieces there, the Falcons should be right back in the playoff picture in 2011.

     

    2011 Prediction: 12-4

3. Green Bay Packers

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Packers had a memorable season in 2010, capping off the year with a Super Bowl title.

     

    Aaron Rodgers proved that he can be involved in the same conversation as the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Greg Jennings proved that he can be involved in the conversation with the likes of Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne.

     

    The defense was exceptional during the playoff run, and the secondary—which looked like it might be a weak point—played far above expectations.

     

    The scary thing is that Green Bay had some key injuries last year, and should get those players back in 2011. If they can all come back healthy and jell well with the team, the Packers might repeat next season.

     

    2011 Projection: 13-3

2. New England Patriots

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Tom Brady and company had a fantastic regular season in 2010, but had an early exit from the playoffs.

    This year, Brady will be back and so will his crew of usual suspects. When you post a 14-2 record, there really aren't many things to work on. But in the Patriots' case, they need to find another receiving option.

     

    Wes Welker is great out of the slot and Deion Branch is a good possession wideout, but this team doesn't have a No. 1 option.

     

    Randy Moss says he was most happy in New England, but do the Patriots want him back?

     

    2011 Projection: 13-3

1. Indianapolis Colts

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    This is one of those teams that was severely bit by the injury bug in 2010.

    When Peyton Manning gets Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie back healthy in 2011, this should be the most explosive offense in all of football.

     

    The Colts were solid on defense last year, but might want to take a look into improving their secondary, especially with the departure of Bob Sanders.

     

    If this team can add depth in the secondary and add another running back to complement Joseph Addai, the Colts should have the best record in the NFL in 2011.

     

    2011 Prediction: 14-2

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