NFL Preseason Super Bowl Predictions: How Will Each Team Do This Season?

Zack LessnerCorrespondent IIAugust 20, 2011

NFL Preseason Super Bowl Predictions: How Will Each Team Do This Season?

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    Now that the summer-long NFL lockout is over, football fans can finally exhale a sigh of relief that there will indeed be a 2011-12 season.

    That said, every team has a fresh start to make a first impression in the new season.

    Last year's under-performing teams, such as the Cowboys and Chargers, have the chance to prove that last season was a fluke, while over-achieving teams such as the Chiefs and Bears have the chance to show everybody that they are for real.

    Last year is history, so what will teams do for this upcoming season?

     

    (* = Wild Card Winner) 

AFC East

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    Tom Brady makes Deion Branch look one of the best receivers in the league. Combine Brady's rocket arm with new talented receiver Chad Ochocinco and the Patriots should have no problem scoring points this season.  

    The Jets would have been a lot higher on my list if they had signed shut-down cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. They still sport a pretty similar roster that got them to the AFC championship last year. If Plaxico Burress can pick up in the NFL where he left off, this Jets team could be very dangerous for the third straight year.

    The Bills cannot improve any more as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick remains their starting QB. Look for another year in the bottom of the division.

    The Dolphins big free agent acquisition was Reggie Bush. Enough said.

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                  W      L

    Patriots                  12      4

    Jets*                       11      5

    Bills                         5       11

    Dolphins                 5       11

AFC North

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    The Ravens ever-improving offense added another weapon in Lee Evans to compliment the passing game. They return strong, consistent defense to complement a dangerous running game. This is the year the Ravens prove that they are better than the Steelers.

    The Steelers will be neck and neck with the Ravens all season, but I'll give the edge to the Ravens because of Ray Rice and their running game.

    A full season of Colt McCoy should help the Browns get a better feeling for where they are headed in the future. I just can't see McCoy leading a bunch of no-name wide receivers anywhere this year though.

    Rookie starting QB and no Ochocinco? Not a winning recipe for the Bengals.

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                    W          L

    Ravens                    11           5

    Steelers*                 11           5

    Browns                    6             10

    Bengals                   4             12

AFC South

3 of 10

    Dallas Clark is back for the Colts, yet another weapon that Peyton Manning can use to toy with defenses this year. The Colts have been the class of this division ever since Manning started playing for the Colts, and this reign of terror isn't expected to stop.

    For a team that never really clicked last year, the Texans sure had a bunch of stars on offense. Andre Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver in the league, and Arian Foster put himself in the elite class of running backs. Too bad they sport a sub-par defense which will hold them back from being an elite team for another season.

    The Jaguars lost their best receiver in Mike Sims-Walker, turning an average team into less-than-mediocre.

    Matt Hasselback's best days are behind him. All the Titans can hope for is that Jake Locker will learn enough this year to become a productive starter next year.

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                W        L

    Colts                   12        4

    Texans                  9        7

    Jaguars                7        9

    Titans                   6       10

AFC West

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    The Chiefs made the playoffs last year based on a very effective defense and an unstoppable running game. Jamaal Charles' 6.38 yards per carry last year was second in history only to Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown. The Chiefs added Steve Breaston in the offseason and are ready to prove to everyone that they are the real deal.

    The Chargers always have a strong offense, but ever since LT stopped being effective and left, the running game has been left with questions. The Chargers lack the running game that the Chiefs have to step up and win the division.

    The Broncos still need to figure out which QB is going to be in charge of their future before they begin to have immediate success.

    The Raiders played over their heads last year and this year they will have to play without best player, Nnamdi Asomugha. Jason Campbell is still their starting QB and he has nobody to throw to.

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                W         L

    Chiefs                 10         6

    Chargers              9         7

    Broncos               5        11

    Raiders                5         11

NFC East

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    The Eagles emerged from the lockout as the winner of free agency. Not only did they solidify their offensive depth, but they completely reshaped a defense that struggled at times last year.

    The Birds signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and Pro Bowl left end Jason Babin to shore up the pass rush.  They also traded for Pro Bowl Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. But most importantly, they stole shutdown Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from the rival Cowboys, turning the Eagles defense into one of the best in the league. 

    Already with a star-studded offense, the Eagles should roll right through the regular season this year en route to something the franchise has yet to achieve: a Super Bowl title. 

    Even after losing out on the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes, the Cowboys still boast a very talented team of their own. With a healthy Tony Romo back and Dez Bryant having NFL experience under his belt, the Cowboys should bounce back from a disappointing 2010-11 season.

    The Giants have gotten off to hot starts in each of the past two seasons just to have disappointing finishes and miss out on the playoffs. Losing stud receiver Steve Smith to the Eagles doesn't help their cause very much. This division is just too talented for the Giants to make a serious playoff run.

    No, Rex Grossman, the Redskins will not win the NFC East. There are many reasons why the Redskins won't achieve this miracle, but the biggest one is because of their starting QB.  Grossman's teammates aren't talented enough to make up for his lack of professional skills.

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                  W            L

    Eagles                   13            3

    Cowboys*              10            6

    Giants                     8             8

    Redskins                4            12

NFC North

6 of 10

    The Packers dynamic offense actually improved going into this season, getting star tight end Jermichael Finley back from injury. They won the Super Bowl last year and haven't lost any significant players, so why can't they repeat?

    If Matthew Stafford can actually stay healthy, he can show what this new Lions team is finally made of. Stafford combined with young stars Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best and Ndamukondg Suh to form a core that is built to win very soon.

    Donovan McNabb is definitely a QB upgrade for the Vikings this year, but his job isn't to win now. Much like Matt Hasselbeck is doing in Tennessee, McNabb is keeping the seat warm until first round pick Christian Ponder is ready to build this team into a contender again.

    The Bears' run to the NFC championship game was a fluke. They have an average quarterback with terrible receivers and a horrible running game. Their aging defense isn't going to bail them out this season, especially with a schedule that has to face Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Green Bay twice.

     

     

     

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                            W            L

    Packers          11            5

    Lions                8            8  

    Vikings             7            9

    Bears                6          10

NFC South

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    The Falcons finished last year as a surprise No. 1 seed in a conference that many people projected would go to the Packers. As it turned out, the Falcons' season came to a close in the Divisional Round of the playoffs by those same Packers who crushed them 48 to 21. This young and talented Falcons team added star receiver Julio Jones through the draft and look to pick up where they left off last regular season.

    During the off-season, the Saints improved the team's biggest hole: the running game. They got rid of the disappointing Reggie Bush and added Heisman winner Mark Ingram through the draft and Darren Sproles via free agency. This three-headed backfield that includes Pierre Thomas should be a big reason why the Saints will return to the playoffs for the third straight year.

    The Bucs have a young squad that looks to improve on their impressive 10-6 record last year. They want to show everyone that last year was not a fluke, but they play in too talented a division to take their game to the next level.

    Steve Smith is not getting any younger, and there aren't very many other talented receivers on the Panthers' roster. This will make it a lot harder for Cam Newton to get on track with his NFL career.

     

     

     

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                 W             L

    Falcons               12             4

    Saints*                 11             5

    Buccaneers           7             9     

    Panthers                4           12    

NFC West

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    This crap-shoot of a division is once again up for grabs for the team that can claw their way out of mediocrity. Last year the division was won by arguably the worst team of them all, as the Seahawks made their way into the playoffs with a 7-9 record.

    This year the division should be a bit better than last, with all teams improving in some aspect of their game.

    The Seahawks lost longtime QB Matt Hasselbeck, but his game last year was far past his prime. A full season of Marshawn Lynch plus the addition of Sidney Rice should make the team better than last year, but in no way does that make them close to a playoff team.

    St. Louis added Mike Sims-Walker to the passing attack to help out second year QB Sam Bradford with the passing attack. Bradford should experience a bit of a sophomore slump this season and take a minor step back from his success last year.

    The 49ers spent their whole off-season trying to find a QB, but when week one kicks off this season, they will most likely be back where they started with Alex Smith taking the snaps. The receivers aren't the problem in the passing game with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and recently signed Braylon Edwards. The Niners are just one QB away from having a dangerous passing attack. 

    The Cardinals are just two seasons removed from reaching the the second round of the playoffs and three years removed from nearly winning the Super Bowl. They didn't have a real QB last year like they did with Kurt Warner in those playoff years, but this year they won't that problem.

    Trading for Kevin Kolb not only answered their question at QB, but it made Larry Fitzgerald a very happy man. The cardinals just might be a playoff team once again.

     

     

     

     

    Projected End of the Year Standings:

                                W             L

    Cardinals             9              7

    49ers                    7              9

    Rams                   6              10

    Seahawks           5               11

Playoff Predictions

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    AFC

    Wild Card Weekend 

    Jets @ Ravens 

    Steelers @ Chiefs

     

    Divisional Round

    Ravens @ Colts

    Steelers @ Patriots


    Championship Game

     Ravens @ Patriots

     

    NFC

    Wild Card Weekend

    Cowboys @ Packers

    Saints @ Cardinals

     

    Divisional Round

    Saints @ Eagles

    Packers @ Falcons

     

    Championship Game

    Packers @ Eagles

     

    Super Bowl

    Eagles 27  Patriots 24

    The Eagles take revenge on their Superbowl XXXIX loss to the Pats

What Do You Think?

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