NFL Predictions After the First Wave of Free Agent Signings

Magnus JohnsonCorrespondent IAugust 2, 2011

NFL Predictions After the First Wave of Free Agent Signings

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    Unless you've been living under a rock for the last week, you know that the NFL Lockout is officially over, and the 2011-12 NFL Season is a-go. Over the past few days, teams have been preparing for the season via a mad rush of free agent signings and trades that would happen over  four months in a normal off-season. Some teams have improved tremendously, some have stayed about the same, and some have watched their foundations dissolve before their eyes. One thing's for sure; the upcoming NFL Season is gonna be a good one. Here's where all 32 NFL Teams will finish this year:

NFC North

1 of 11

    * = made playoffs

    1. Green Bay Packers* (12-4) - The defending champs haven't changed much over this free agency period, but that's probably because they don't need to; they just won the Super Bowl

    2. Minnesota Vikings (9-7) - McNabb will get off to a good start, leading Minnesota to a tie for the NFC North title through 8 weeks. But, Donovan will begin to fall apart and when Ponder takes over as starter, the season goes down the drain. 

    3. Chicago Bears (9-7) - Chicago took chances on two questionable players that were recently cut from the Dallas Cowboys (Marion Barber and Roy Williams) and ultimately, those risks won't pay off for them. 

    4. Detroit Lions (4-12) - The Loins improved a bit over the free agency period, but they're still the underdog in a very good division. 

NFC South

2 of 11

    * = made playoffs

    1. Atlanta Falcons* (11-5) - Ray Edwards will help them out on the defensive side of the ball, and they're already set on the other side. 

    2. New Orleans Saints* (10-6) - The Saints swapped Reggie Bush for Darren Sproles, who will probably be mainly a kick returner like he was in San Diego. That leaves Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Chris Ivory in the backfield; I'll take that any day. 

    3. Carolina Panthers (6-10) - Carolina, who finished dead last in the NFL last year, still has great players like DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart, Jon Beason, and Charles Johnson. Adding Cam Newton to the mix will help them out quite a bit, and will lead to the Panthers tripling their wins from a season ago. 

    4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) - The Buccaneers have missed every opportunity to improve so far in free agency despite having the most salary cap space of any team. They'll pay the price for that. 

NFC East

3 of 11

    * = made playoffs

    1. Philadelphia Eagles* (13-3) - The additions of Asomugha and Rogers-Cromartie at the corners made a good team into a great one. 

    2. Dallas Cowboys* (10-6) - Despite staying very quiet in free agency, the Cowboys have a good enough team to make the playoffs. Now they just need to win a Super Bowl to make the fans in Dallas happy; shouldn't be too hard, right?

    3. New York Giants (8-8) - The Giants need to find some receivers fast. If they fail to resign Steve Smith, their lack of offense will be the death of them. 

    4. Washington Redskins (1-15) - The Redskins made some great moves at Wide Receiver in Free Agency and Trades, but that won't matter since they've got no one good to throw to them. 

NFC West

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    * = made playoffs

    1. Seattle Seahawks* (8-8) - Sidney Rice and Tarvaris Jackson are in town, which will help tremendously towards defending their NFC West Title, but it's gonna be a tight one. 

    2. St. Louis Rams (8-8) - The Rams just barely miss out on the playoffs once again to Seattle. St. Louis has a bright future, though, with Mike Sims-Walker joining Sam Bradford and Stephen Jackson.

    3. Arizona Cardinals (6-10) - Kevin Kolb is an upgrade for sure at the QB position from last year's fiasco, but now that Steve Breaston is in KC he'll have no one to throw to except Fitzgerald, and you just know he's gonna be double-covered. 

    4. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) - Alex Smith will get one last shot at leading the team, but when he fails to do so Troy Smith will take over again. It'll be an improvement over the former Smith, but won't be enough. 

NFC Playoff Picture

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    1. Philadelphia Eagles

    2. Green Bay Packers


    3. Atlanta Falcons

    4. Seattle Seahawks

    5. New Orleans Saints

    6. Dallas Cowboys

AFC North

6 of 11

    * = made playoffs

    1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) - The Ravens will win both match-ups with rival Steelers to take the AFC North Crown again. 

    2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) - Pittsburgh's inability to sign Burress will be a big factor for them, and their two losses to the Ravens will be an even bigger one. 

    3. Cleveland Browns (5-11) - Peyton Hillis (aka Madden NFL 12 Cover Athlete) will continue to be huge for the Browns and they will be the upset artists that they were last year once again. 

    4. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) - Carson Palmers's gone, Ochoncinco's gone, and Terrell Owens is gone. It's safe to say the Bengals are no longer contenders. 

AFC South

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    * = made playoffs

    1. Indianapolis Colts* (12-4) - The Colts have been contenders for a long time, and they will be for a long time to come, as long as the #18 Jersey still says Manning on the back. 

    2. Tennessee Titans (10-6) - The Titans have a very good season behind Hasselbeck, but it just barely isn't enough. 

    3. Houston Texans (8-8) - Once again the Texans disappoint all the fans expecting to finally see their team in the playoffs. 

    4. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) - They made some good moves on defense, but with Sims-Walker leaving for the Rams I don't see who Garrard can pass to for those big yard plays. 

AFC East

8 of 11

    * = made playoffs

    1. New England Patriots* (12-4) - Ochocinco and Haynesworth will both help tremendously on their respective sides of the ball, leading to a great season for the Pats. 

    2. New York Jets* (11-5) - The Jets will lose both hard-fought games to the new-look Patriots, but are still among the league's elite and have high expectations going into the postseason. 

    3. Miami Dolphins (7-9) - The Jets and Patriots will prove to be the killers of this talented team led by Henne, Marshall, and Bush. 

    4. Buffalo Bills (2-14) - What can I say? It's the Bills...

AFC West

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    * = made playoffs

    1. San Diego Chargers* (10-6) - Takeo Spikes will lead the defense that brings this team back to the top of the division. 

    2. Denver Broncos (8-8) - Tim Tebow will have a great year, but two losses to the Chargers will kill them. 

    3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-10) - Unfortunately for the restless sports fans of Kansas City, last season will prove to be a fluke. 

    4. Oakland Raiders (3-13) - The loss of Asomugha will force the Raiders to take a step backwards. 

AFC Playoff Picture

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    1. New England Patriots

    2. Indianapolis Colts


    3. Baltimore Ravens

    4. San Diego Chargers

    5. New York Jets

    6. Pittsburgh Steelers


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    NFC Wild Card

    No. 3 Atlanta over No. 6 Dallas - A horrible loss for the Cowboys.

    No. 5 New Orleans over No. 4 Seattle - This time, the Saints get the better of a less-experienced team.

    AFC Wild Card

    No. 6 Pittsburgh over No. 3 Baltimore - The Steelers get revenge after two regular season losses to Baltimore.

    No. 5 New York Jets over No. 4 San Diego - New York takes the first step towards a Super Bowl.

    NFC Divisional

    No. 1 Philadelphia over No. 5 New Orleans - Philly proves they can play with the best of the league.

    No. 3 Atlanta over No. 2 Green Bay - Atlanta proves that there will be a new champion this year, now they just have to prove that it's them.

    AFC Divisional

    No. 1 New England over No. 6 Pittsburgh - The Pats win a close game between two of the best teams in the past decade.

    No. 5 New York Jets over No. 2 Indianapolis - A disappointing loss for the city hosting the Super Bowl this year.

    Conference Championships

    No. 1 Philadelphia over No. 3 Atlanta - Asomugha and Rogers-Cromartie dominate Matt Ryan and the Falcons receivers to make it to the Super Bowl.

    No. 5 New York Jets over No. 1 New England - Rex Ryan and the Jets finally make it past the AFC Championship with a win over the rival Patriots.

    Super Bowl XLVI

    No. 5A New York Jets over No. 1N Philadelphia Eagles - Plaxico Burress' size helps the Jets overcome the Eagles secondary and finally get that elusive Super Bowl.