Sports Opinion & Analysis

NFL Predictions For The 2012 Season

In NFL on September 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Are you ready for some football?

The NFL season is fast upon us, as on Wednesday the Dallas Cowboys will visit the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Will the Giants continue their superb play on a quest for a repeat? Or will Tony Romo finally start living up to any of the hype that’s seemingly plagued his entire career?

Until the game’s played, no one truly knows for sure.

Last year, few thought Cam Newton would be for real. No one saw the 49ers being as dominant as they were. The Philly Dream Team didn’t pan out, but Tebow made believers out of everyone not named John Elway.

So what’s in store for 2012? While we don’t know for certain, here are some ideas.

Cam Newton Will Only Get Better

Proving doubters wrong since 2011.

There were a lot of Cam Newton haters when he was drafted first overall by Carolina last year. People questioned his character and ability. They said his “type of football” wasn’t going to succeed in the pros. That he wasn’t “traditional enough” to be a true NFL quarterback.

Even after week one, when Newtown threw for 422 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, the haters didn’t pipe down. Newton’s statistics were bloated because he only played the Arizona Cardinals, people said. Let’s see what happens when he goes against a real defense.

While he didn’t win too many games in 2011, Newton did go on to break Peyton Manning’s rookie record for most yards thrown in a single season (3,739 yards). He set the NFL single-season record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (14). He made Steve Smith relevant again.

How do you like him now?

Apparently, still not much. Some are suggesting Newton’s numbers will fall back to Earth in 2012, and he will experience a sophomore slump. That defenses will finally figure him out, and his statistics will become more accurate to the type of quarterback he truly is.

I say, Newton already proved everyone wrong once. Fool me once, and all that.

The Best Wide-Receiver In 2012 Plays For The Bengals

It ain’t a front flip, but it’s still pretty darn impressive.

The 2011 NFL Draft may go down as one of the best ever. Guys like Newton, Denver’s Von Miller, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Atlanta’s Julio Jones (just to name a few), all heard their names called that year.

While Jones was impressive for the Falcon’s in 2011, the award for Best Receiver From The 2011 Class undoubtedly has to go to Cincinnati’s AJ Green. In fact, the award for Best Receiver In the NFL might have to go to him as well.

Last year, Green caught for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, and did so by catching balls thrown by a rookie quarterback. To compare against the other best receivers in the league, Andre Johnson’s quarterback can’t stay healthy and Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t have a quarterback. If Andy Dalton can keep healthy, there is no reason why Green can’t become the most dangerous threat in the entire league.

Randy Who?

Last year, the preseason predictions had the 49ers being the worst team in the worst division in football.

Instead, they were a fumble away from going to their sixth Super Bowl. In order to try and recapture the magic of 2011, the 49ers went on a bit of a shopping spree in the 2012 offseason. After failing to land Peyton Manning, the team acquired Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham, formerly of the defending champs. They added depth to their offense by drafting A.J. Jenkins out of Illinois, and LaMichael James out of Oregon. Oh, and they also signed another guy, what was his name again?

“Man, I miss Tom Brady.”

And that’s my point exactly. The team added Randy Moss on top of Manningham (to be fair, Moss was signed first), Jenkins, and all the other receivers already on the roster, regardless of the fact Alex Smith is only going to throw to Vernon Davis anyway.

While the receiving corps of the 49ers looks nice on paper, the inclusion of Moss is either A) going to be more detrimental than his potential contributions, or B) be completely irrelevant.

Regarding the first point: Randy Moss used to be a premier receiver. Now, he’s an over-the-hill and former premier receiver. Typically, this type of receiver tends to think his glory days aren’t all behind him, and he still is, or should be, the team’s number one option. Unfortunately, when the ball isn’t consistently thrown to him, over-the-hill and former premier receivers tend to get cranky in the locker room. Crankiness in the locker room leads toward bad chemistry for the team, and bad chemistry for the team usually leads toward losing.

In case of option two: Moss will just fall to the wayside, and he and Manningham and Crabtree and whomever else will watch Davis catch all the touchdowns. Except for when we play Madden, we’re all going to forget that Moss is even still playing.

Ochocinco Will Have A New Home By Week 6

What you do in retirement.

Speaking of over-the-hill wide receivers and Madden, Chad Ochocinco will find himself in the same position as Moss sometime during the season. And by same position, I mean third or fourth fiddle on a team that would probably be better without him.

Ochocinco actually already had a season like this. It was called his 2011 stint with the New England Patriots. That’s the thing about over-the-hill and former premier receivers. They’re like bad pennies that just won’t go away.

Author’s Note: I am fully aware Ochocinco changed his name back to Chad Johnson, but once a person names themselves Ochocinco, it doesn’t really matter what they want to be called later on; they have forever cast themselves as Ochocinco.  

T.O. Will Still Be At Home Week 6

Speaking of another over-the-hill and former premier receiver, Terrell Owens fumbled away his final chance in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks late last month. T.O. is as good as done as a professional football player, and given his behavior when he played for and partly owned the Allen Wranglers, he is done as semi-professional football player as well.

“I’ll do twenty more for a dollar. Anyone got a dollar? Anyone? Anyone?”

Expect to see T.O. doing anything for a quick dollar, including but not limited to; coaching high school football, becoming a Wonderful Pistachio’s spokesman, selling autographs Pete Rose and Barry Bonds style ($100 a pop), and staring in another reality TV show. Quick, anyone got a dollar?

Norv Turner Will Finally Be Fired

If you’re a Charger fan, every season is finally supposed to be your season. The team’s running game is better, or the defense has improved, or Phillip Rivers blah blah blah, or yadda yadda yadda. It’s the same line every year, and  every year it still wasn’t the Chargers year.

This year though, head coach Norv Turner will finally get fired for it. He’s as good as gone from San Diego.

“Can I get fired too?”

Don’t worry though, there’s always next year, right? Well, maybe not.

Ryan Lindley Will Become The Cardinals Full-Time Starter (Until 2013)

As I’ve written before, and as everyone well knows, the quarterback situation in Arizona is a complete disaster.

Quiz: Which one of these guys is a NFL quarterback? Answer: That was a trick question.

As of last week, John Skelton was (finally) named the starting QB for the team, beating out former Donovan McNabb heir, Kevin Kolb for the job. While everyone was impressed with how Skelton was a poor man’s Tim Tebow last year (as he was inept for three-and-a-half quarters, only sneak a victory at the last second), does anyone really think that luck will last?

Bring in Ryan Lindley, the Cardinals 2012 sixth round draft pick out of San Diego State. Lindley wasn’t great this preseason, but he was decent, and decent is good enough to be a starter in Arizona. At least until the 2013 draft, when the Cardinals will be bad, but not bad enough, for Matt Barkley.

Who is the third or fourth ranked college quarterback this year? Expect to see them starting in red in 2013.

Matt Hasselbeck Is Traded During The Year

Matt Hasselbeck left a team that didn’t want him for a team that ended up not wanting him either.

“Still better than hanging out with my sister-in-law!

Although, I guess this prediction is more about Jake Locker, than it is about Hasselbeck.

See, Hasselbeck lost his starting gig to Locker, and from all early indications, he’s not going to get it back. While Locker will experience some growing pains during this season, it seems he will become legitimate NFL quarterback afterall, while Hasselbeck will become trade-bait for a desperate team without one.

Hey, if Ryan Lindley ends up becoming the starting QB for the Cardinals, I have an idea who might get desperate enough to call.

Peyton Manning Will Be Good Enough For A First Round Exit

Remember when Peyton Manning used to drag his team kicking and screaming to victory? We all saw just how horrible the Colts were without him, so we know what he can do with less than stellar talent on the roster.

“I know, it used to be easier when I could turn my head!”

The thing is, the Bronco’s talent (as demonstrated by last year) is better than the Colts, but Manning is no longer the player he was when he played in Indianapolis. With Manning’s decrease in strength, despite the Bronco’s’ talent, the team is not geared to make the type of consistent playoff runs the Colts used to make.

Here’s an equation for this line of thinking.

(Broncos Talent-Manning>Colts Talent-Manning)<Broncos+Manning<Colts+Manning

And if none of that makes any sense, that’s because I’m not a mathematician. The point is, the Broncos current roster isn’t going to be good enough to compensate for Manning’s decrease in ability. It will get the job done in what is the worst division in football (worse even than the NFC West), but it won’t be good enough to win any playoffs games.

Still, enjoy every game you get to see Manning play in. In a year or two, you won’t get to see him play ever again, in a Bronco’s jersey or not.

And The Super Bowl Winner Is…

Baltimore over San Francisco.

Part of me really believes the 49ers will have a down year after their big turnaround last season, and it will be the Seahawks will, in fact, who will win the NFC West. History supports this theory. Teams who win as many games as the 49ers did, usually don’t even come close the following year.

Yet, knowing this, the other part of me wonders if this team has enough talent on it to buck history, and repeat their success from 2011.

Either way, in the Harbaugh-Bowl, the older, more experienced brother coaching the older, more experienced team will get the final say. While it might hurt for San Franciscans to see their team lose their first Super Bowl, they should take solace knowing the Ravens will peak for this win, but their success will wane afterward, while the Niners will only get better the year after.

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