NFL Preview 2012
Posted by: Paul Nichols
05 Sep 2012
Here’s your 5-minute NFL preview for the 2012 season. Teams are listed in their predicted finish in their division:
New England Patriots – On top until proven otherwise. I barely have to edit this column from year to year thanks to good quarterbacks. Unfortunately, at some point this column does have to rate the teams in the AFC South.
Buffalo Bills – I like their QB, but can’t remember his name. I’m always rooting for them to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2nd millennium, but they’ll miss ‘em. Let’s go with 8 wins here.
New York Jets – Their reputation for being spastic last year haunts them again this year. That Mark Sanchez is a Vince Young kind of character—always bashed for being terrible, yet always seems to have the team in contention. I must admit I’m a Tebow fan, and would love to see what havoc he could cause on the field. This team could end up anywhere. Like you, I have to confirm every year that Thomas Jones is not their running back. I think it’s Tebow this year. I just don’t see anyone other than New England in this division being good enough to make the playoffs. 7-win season.
Miami Dolphins – Always frisky. Can’t name a player on their roster. Tannehill at QB, right? If he’s half the QB Cam Newton is, that’s what, 3.5 wins? I’d figure about 6 wins considering the other resources this team has, not that I can name them to even consider them.
Pittsburgh Steelers – My continuing logic on Pittsburgh is that it’s an every-other-year kind of team. Last year was their “let-down” year. No Super Bowl last year. 12-4 the year before. 9-7 the year before that. 12-4 the year before that. The best 8-8 team ever the year before that. The Super Bowl team the year before that. Hello division winners and possible Super Bowl entrant this year!
Baltimore Ravens – This year it’s a wild card for them. Not for any great insight that I have. Just cause Pittsburgh is predictable. And how did they get better from last year?
Cincinnati Bengals – Overrated last year. Overrated the year before that. It’s Cincinnati, people. I didn’t even have to change this text.
Cleveland Browns – zzzzzzzz. Internet searches such as “who plays for the Cleveland Browns” are beyond me. So I’mma guessing they’ll probably get to 5 wins by stealing one from Cincy and Baltimore, but how could they win more than that?
Houston Texans – They lost some important pieces from last year, I think. But they should still be the class of this division. 11 wins. Their time in the playoffs is still like 6 years away, though.
Tennessee Titans – I really miss Vince Young on this team and Jeff Fisher as coach. Someday my political platform will be “NO CHANGE WHATSOEVER,” and I’ll make sure those two end up back with the Titans. What do you think, 8 wins? Or a 3-way tie at the bottom with 6 wins? Let’s average it out at 7. We’ve got a dearth of mediocre teams (but the AFC West is coming up below).
Indianapolis Colts – It’ll be fun to see what lies in store for them—6 wins will give them third in this division. I think they’ll get there.
Jacksonville Jaguars – This team vexes me. I can’t remember where they even finished last year. But they seem comfy down here at the bottom of this division. Running backs who hold out typically underperform during the year.
Oakland Raiders – Alright, going out on a limb here. Picking the Raidahs’ to come out of this division on top. They’re frighteningly underrated, I think. These guys are flying right through the radar with all the noise the Denver Mannings and San Diego Turners are generating. 9-7. I said “frighteningly!” 9 wins are a lot in this division!
San Diego Chargers – Could we have a 4-way tie atop this division with all 4 teams going 8-8? Practically happened last year. 8-8.
Kansas City Chiefs – It’s not just me that thinks Kevin Kolb quarterbacks Kansas City, right? But no, they’ve got the New England guy who wasn’t too bad except for when he can’t play because of injuries. With their running game coming back from injury, they present an enigma, along with the rest of this division. 8-8?
Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning—woo hoo! Oh, how I’m rooting for these guys. But I’m not sure how they’re any better than 8-8. Their defense was overrated last year. Though they got a lot of credit for keeping Denver in games, defensive stops are very psychological. Knowing they’ve got a more capable offense will lead to a defensive breakdown this year.
New York Giants – Super Bowl champs. Still got that swagger. 12-4, baby!
Philadelphia Eagles – I see a lot of folks have Philly in the Super Bowl. That is a physical impossibility, though I’m rooting for good things from Vick.
Dallas Cowboys – Same players who underperformed last year and the year before. Washington could catch them this year. Still, 9-7 could be enough to get that second wild card.
Washington Redskins – Very consistent 6-win team. Again.
Green Bay Packers – Boom. Team to beat.
Chicago Bears – Surprising season last year (worse than what they hoped for due to injuries) and the year before (better than expected). Will they iron it out this year? A wild card is a gimme here.
Detroit Lions – A let down is sure this year after all the hype they’re getting. It’s tougher to make the playoffs in the NFC than the AFC—more good teams over here. This’ll be a tough season for them, and I see them just outside the playoffs, along with Dallas.
Minnesota Vikings – Uhhhhhhhhh, nothing to say about these guys that you don't already know. That's right, I don't know anything about these guys either.
Atlanta Falcons – Underwhelming even though they win. They practically take this division by default. They’ll be dancing the dirty bird as division champs this year.
New Orleans Saints – Can this team recover from being penalized for bounties? The defense can’t be any worse, but not having your head coach around will hurt. 9 victories and fighting for a wild card spot.
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton is good for at least 6 or 7 victories. Still unsure of their other weapons.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Meh. 6 or 7 victories vying for the bottom of this division. Just based on their 2002 reputation.
San Francisco 49ers – Surprised like crazy last year. But can’t be as good. Can be almost as good. 12 wins.
St. Louis Rams – Bradford seriously let us all down last year. Or someone did. Count me among those that thought they would keep on getting better. Where does that leave them this year? Back at 6 wins with the rest of this division? Why not.
Arizona Cardinals – At least they've got Fitzgerald. 6 wins.
Seattle Seahawks – Still upset about their playoff win from 2 seasons ago. Bottom of the NFC West for them!
AFC 1st Round: New England, Pittsburgh, Houston, Oakland, Baltimore, San Diego.
2nd Round: New England, Pittsburgh, Oakland, San Diego.
3rd Round: New England, Pittsburgh.
NFC 1st Round: Green Bay, New York Giants, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia.
2nd Round: Green Bay, New York Giants, Chicago, Philadelphia.
3rd Round: Green Bay, Chicago.
Super Bowl: Green Bay over Pittsburgh.
Alright. I'm never happy with these picks, but someone's gotta win these games. That AFC playoff picture is Uuuug-LY! There’s a whole bunch of teams that could make it. I don’t think Pittsburgh’s the best team in the AFC, but I can’t help picking trends, even though everything points to the New England Patriots coming out of the AFC as champs, especially considering Big Ben’s injury status. The NFC playoff picture is clearer, though there’s still room for interplay between the top dogs. One-for-two so far with predicting Super Bowl winners. Here’s hoping!