2012 NFL Predictions: Win-Loss Records for Every Team

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJune 12, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: Win-Loss Records for Every Team

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    Who will win Super Bowl XLVII?

    If you polled NFL writers and fans at this time last year, the prevailing sentiment would have been that the Philadelphia Eagles would meet the New England Patriots at Super Bowl 46. Half of that proved true, as the Patriots faced the New York Giants.

    As training camps and offseason workouts approach, here's how the NFL looks in a division-by-division breakdown of the 2012 NFL season.

AFC East

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    The AFC East features last season's conference champions, the New England Patriots, and three teams on the outside looking in, hoping that the offseason additions will put them in place to challenge the ever-consistent Pats.

    New England Patriots**

    Predicted Record: 13-3

    New England brings back most of the old cast, but adding Brandon Lloyd and beefing up the offensive-line depth was huge this offseason. With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still around, the Patriots have to be considered heavy favorites. 

    Buffalo Bills

    Predicted Record: 9-7

    The Bills made big moves by signing Mario Williams and keeping Stevie Johnson in town, but the question marks still exist on offense.

    Can the offensive tackles protect quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick—and can the aforementioned Fitzpatrick consistently deliver a good football over a 17-week season? If he can, the Bills are a playoff contender. 

    New York Jets

    Predicted Record: 6-10

    A predicted drop-off is coming in New York, and not even Tim Tebow can save them. The Jets' problems are along the offensive line and in their inability to rush the passer from outside the tackle box.

    These issues, plus a tough schedule, will see the Jets decline in 2012. 

    Miami Dolphins

    Predicted Record: 3-13

    The Dolphins' record will hinge on who plays quarterback. If Matt Moore is the starter, the record could be much improved. If it's rookie Ryan Tannehill back there, expect many bumps in the road.

    The Dolphins managed to get worse at receiver—an area of need in the offseason—and will have trouble scoring points in Year 1 of the Joe Philbin reign.

    ** Division Winner, First-Round Playoff Bye

AFC North

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    The AFC North is as wide open as it has been in years. The Baltimore Ravens unseated the Pittsburgh Steelers as division champs last year, but watch out for the upstart Cincinnati Bengals.

    What we know right now is that any of the three teams who made the playoffs last year—Ravens, Steelers, Bengals—have a rightful claim to the title of North favorites.

    Cincinnati Bengals*

    Predicted Record: 11-5

    The Bengals bring back their core group from an improbable run in 2011. Add in a full offseason for Andy Dalton and A.J. Green to improve, plus a better interior offensive line, and Cincinnati has the look of a major player in the NFL.  

    Baltimore Ravens+

    Predicted Record: 10-6

    How well the Ravens respond to the injury of Terrell Suggs is the key to their season. Their first pick in the draft was spent on Courtney Upshaw in early Round 2, who will be asked to step in as Suggs heals. But the defense could see a major dropoff without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the lineup.

    The offense is again solid, and Joe Flacco is good enough to get the Ravens to the Super Bowl. 

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Predicted Record: 8-8

    Don't be surprised—this has been coming for some time now. The Steelers secondary, offensive line and run game are all concerns on paper at this point in the summer.

    The defense may be younger this year, but they are also less experienced and are relying on many raw players to step in for established veterans. 

    Cleveland Browns

    Predicted Record: 3-13

    Cleveland is again, or still, going through a rebuilding phase. This time, it is with Brandon Weeden at quarterback and Trent Richardson at running back.

    The Browns are on the right track, but the holes on the offensive line, at wide receiver and at outside linebacker are still too big to overcome in the AFC's toughest division.

    * Division Winner

    + Wild-Card Team

AFC South

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    The AFC South saw a major shift last season with Peyton Manning sitting out the entire 2011 season. Now he's in Denver, and the Indianapolis Colts are in a rebuilding mode with rookie first-rounder Andrew Luck at quarterback.

    The South was dominated by the Houston Texans in 2011, and early predictions show that this is still their division. 

    Houston Texans**

    Predicted Record: 12-4

    The Texans have a chance to be the AFC's best if they can stay healthy. Losing Mario Williams won't hurt as much as losing Eric Winston did, but the schedule is relatively easy, and the offense is good enough to put up big points opposite their shutout-quality defense. 

    Tennessee Titans

    Predicted Record: 9-7

    The Titans are close, but not quite ready to enter the playoff picture. Jake Locker will be a breath of fresh air at quarterback, and Kendall Wright should have a huge season opposite Kenny Britt.

    Once the Titans defense matures, especially at cornerback, watch out.

    Indianapolis Colts

    Predicted Record: 5-11

    Luck won't be able to work any miracles in Indy this year, but the Colts will be improved thanks to the tough-nosed approach of new head coach Chuck Pagano and their determination to build a hard-hitting defense on every down.

    Luck's first season will be a success as he leads the Colts to an improved record and flashes the ability that had him called the best draft prospect of all time.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    Predicted Record: 2-14

    The early favorite to hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars need a lot of help. Blaine Gabbert won't finish the season as the team's starting quarterback—Chad Henne will—but not before the record is unsalvageable.

    Lacking talent at receiver and with the defense taking a step back—especially along the front four—the Jaguars will take two steps back in 2012.

    **Division Winner, First-Round Playoff Bye

AFC West

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    Gone is Tim Tebow, but in his place is one of the best players of all-time in Peyton Manning. The AFC West was a dogfight last year, and one that seemed no one wanted to win, as the Broncos backed into the playoffs.

    The 2012 season will be different. The Kansas City Chiefs return key starters from injury, and the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders look to play up to expectations. 

    Kansas City Chiefs*

    Predicted Record: 10-6

    Kansas City welcomes back Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki and Eric Berry after they missed considerable time in 2011 to injury. With these four back, plus big free-agent signings in Eric Winston, Kevin Boss, Stanford Routt and Peyton Hillis, expect the Chiefs to be an elite AFC team.

    Denver Broncos+

    Predicted Record: 9-7

    Peyton Manning will make a difference in Denver, but there are still too many holes for the Broncos to get completely over the hump in the West. Denver's receivers will see increased numbers, but the defensive backfield is still enough of a concern that the Broncos will find themselves lacking at times. 

    San Diego Chargers

    Predicted Record: 8-8

    The Chargers' expectations will be lower this year, but the outcome will be much the same. Philip Rivers is an elite quarterback, but his play at times in 2011 didn't back it up.

    Losing Vincent Jackson will definitely hurt, even with Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem coming to town. However, the big question mark is on defense, where San Diego has struggled with consistency and will again in 2012. 

    Oakland Raiders

    Predicted Record: 6-10

    New owner. New coach. Same Raiders. Oakland improved its roster as much as it could without a draft pick until the end of the third round, but this is still a team that has too many holes to compete in a loaded AFC West.

    * Division Winner

    + Wild-Card Team

NFC East

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    The NFC East was expected to be owned by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, but they fell on their face out of the gate and limped through the season. Instead, it was the New York Giants taking the division in a Week 17 win over the Dallas Cowboys—which they parlayed into the momentum to win the Super Bowl.

    Philadelphia Eagles*

    Predicted Record: 10-6

    The Eagles didn't show that promise to dominate until it was too late last season. In 2012, they'll hit on all cylinders and realize the promise of their offseason hype of a year ago.

    Michael Vick will do enough opposite an improved defense to get the Eagles a division title.

    New York Giants+

    Predicted Record: 10-6

    Coming off their title win, the Giants will actually take a small step back due to raised expectations and an improved division. Eli Manning will still be good enough to deliver a playoff berth, and from there, anything is possible.

    Dallas Cowboys

    Predicted Record: 8-8

    The Cowboys continue to be overrated by most in the media. Their realistic expectations with this defense and interior offensive line should be no more than a .500 season.

    This will be a make-or-break year for Tony Romo and Jason Garrett.

    Washington Redskins

    Predicted Record: 3-13

    The Robert Griffin III show comes to Washington, and while the on-field play will be better, the record won't be. As RG3 and his new targets learn to play together, there will be bumps and bruises along the way facing an incredibly tough schedule and a young playmaker at quarterback.

    * Division Winner

    + Wild-Card Team

NFC North

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    The 2011 regular season was owned by the Green Bay Packers, but that didn't culminate in playoff success. The Packers reloaded in the offseason to make another run, but in the NFC's best division, the Packers will face stiff competition.

    Green Bay Packers**

    Predicted Record: 12-4

    Adding Nick Perry in the draft, along with Jeff Saturday at center, will give the Packers the push they need to remain atop the NFC North.

    As long as Aaron Rodgers is still running the show, Green Bay has to be considered a conference favorite.

    Detroit Lions+

    Predicted Record: 10-6

    The Lions are good enough to win this division, but they need consistent and measured play from everyone involved. If a legitimate threat can emerge after Calvin Johnson and if the running backs can stay healthy, Detroit's offense could be one of the best in the game.

    The defense isn't shabby either, but the cornerback play will keep the Lions from winning the division.

    Chicago Bears

    Predicted Record: 9-7

    The Bears aren't far removed from being a playoff team, and reloading at wide receiver will be enough to push them closer to the postseason.

    The problem in Chicago is the offensive line and the age of the defense. Brian Urlacher is on his last legs, and the OL has enough issues to keep Chicago from making a run this season.

    Minnesota Vikings

    Predicted Record: 4-12

    The Christian Ponder era began last year, and there was enough promise that the team is building around him with first-rounder Matt Kalil at left tackle and free-agent tight end John Carlson. The problem is that the team lacks the talent at wide receiver and on the interior offensive line to compete in an otherwise loaded division.

    * Division Winner, First-Round Playoff Bye

    + Wild-Card Team

NFC South

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    With the New Orleans Saints facing the uncertainty of Bountygate and Drew Brees' contract situation, this is the best chance a team outside New Orleans has to take hold of the NFC South.

    And in this division, it is anyone's game.

    Atlanta Falcons*

    Predicted Record: 11-5

    Atlanta has the best chance to take the South, with its talent on both sides of the ball and consistency at key positions being enough to get it over the hump.

    Keep an eye on its defensive front four. If that unit isn't improved, Atlanta will struggle against pass-heavy offenses.

    New Orleans Saints

    Predicted Record: 9-7

    The Saints have the most talent in the division, but they also have the most drama surrounding the team. Head coach Sean Payton will miss the season, interim head coach Joe Vitt is suspended four games and franchise quarterback Drew Brees isn't under contract. Those distractions will add up to New Orleans narrowly missing the playoffs.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Predicted Record: 8-8

    The Buccaneers' 2011 season was more mirage than fact, as they lost 10 straight games to end the year. Gone is head coach Raheem Morris; in is disciplinarian Greg Schiano.

    Tampa has the talent to be a surprise playoff contender this season, but it needs big improvements from Josh Freeman and his wideouts.

    Carolina Panthers

    Predicted Record: 6-10

    If any team has a chance to be a "worst-to-first" contender in the NFC, my money is on Carolina. The team has an explosive offense, led by Cam Newton and Steve Smith, and the defense is quietly dangerous.

    If the Panthers can stay healthy, especially on defense, they have a chance to make a big improvement in 2012.

    * Division Winner

NFC West

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    Few expected the San Francisco 49ers to make the run they did through the 2011 season, but they did, and by bringing back 21 of 22 starters, the team is loaded for another run.

    The rest of the NFC West is full of question-mark teams who will need big breakout seasons to stop the loaded Niners.

    San Francisco 49ers**

    Predicted Record: 12-4

    Preseason expectations are high, and the 49ers have the talent on defense to be the best in the game.

    The question mark is on offense, where newcomers Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins will be asked to revitalize a boring passing attack from 2011.

    Seattle Seahawks

    Predicted Record: 9-7

    Depending on how the quarterback battle between Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson plays out, the Seahawks could be wild-card contenders or bottom-feeders. The defense will keep Seattle competitive, but if the quarterback play isn't improved, Seattle will again be on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

    St. Louis Rams

    Predicted Record: 6-10

    Sam Bradford will be better this year, but Jeff Fisher's team isn't quite playoff-ready. The Rams' front seven on defense should be very stout, and additions to the secondary through free agency and the draft will help, but the Rams lack a No. 1 receiver and are relying on a patchwork offensive line to get the job done.

    Arizona Cardinals

    Predicted Record: 5-11

    The Cardinals aren't expected to do much this season, and rightfully so. The O-line is flat-out bad, and the quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton is less than inspiring.

    The pieces are there for Arizona to build a winner, but it has to fix its issues on offense first.

    ** Division Winner, First-Round Playoff Bye


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