First off, I had a pretty good set of predictions a year ago, nailing 5 of my 6 predictions for 2011:
My 2011 Picks:
Call them predictions, call them hunches. Call them educated, or call them random. I think alot of us have some ideas about how this year in the NFL is going to pan out. Here are a few of mine. What are yours??
1. Michael Vick will have a subpar year. This has nothing to do with today's contract announcement. Team's started to figure out the second half of last season. I think he is overrated big time. Look for either injury or a high turnover rate to make Vick one of the most disappointing players in the league this year for the Philly "Dream Team."
2. Tampa Bay will not have a winning season. I think they overachieved last year. Won a lot of close games, snuck up on a lot of people. I'm not saying they're bad. But I'm calling for 7-8 wins for the Bucs in 2011.
3. The Bears will not make the playoffs. Jay Cutler is a ticking time bomb, in my opinion. Take away one of his few legit receivers in Greg Olsen, and this just might be the year we see him go mental. I don't like the Bears' receiving corps at all.
5. I like the Cowboys in the NFC East. (Gagging to say that, I hate the Boys). The Giants look to me as a team getting stale under Tom Coughlin. The have a distraction in Osi, a major weapon lost in Steve Smith. Philly I think will come up short because of poor QB play. Washington is in the Luck sweepstakes.
6. The Panthers?? I have no idea, I really don't. They have the earmarks of a team that will struggle in the beginning of the year, and start to get some wins in the second half. Resulting in the ol' "just wait till next year" hopes flowing for 2012. Perhaps, for once, with good reason.
It's going to be tough to match that 83% success rate, but I'll give it a shot...
Here are my predictions for the 2012 NFL season.
1. The San Francisco 49ers will digress. Their turnover ratio last year was sick, and will not be duplicated. Alex Smith is nowhere near good enough and will be exposed. They got lucky last year. Harbaugh can coach, but I'm saying: Ten wins tops for the Niners this year.
2. Chris Johnson is done. When speed guys like CJ2K lose a half step, they go downhill fast. Think former Steelers RB Willie Parker. No more than 1200 yards and 4.4 YPC for CJ. The glory years are over.
3. Speaking of running backs, Michael Turner will begin to hit the wall this year. Turner turns 31 in February, and that big body will start to break down after toting the rock over 300 times 3 of the last 4 years. Look for either an injury, or a YPC under 4.0 for Turner this year.
4. Look for the Broncos or the Ravens to come out of the AFC and play in the 2013 Super Bowl. I believe in John Fox, especially when his DC is Jack Del Rio (those were the days my friends), and his QB's name is Peyton Manning. Flacco's young receivers are one year older and wiser and ready to help that window-closing defense and strong running game get to the Big Game. The NFC? I really don't know. I'm not predicting it, but I would have to go with the Packers over the Payton-less Saints.
5. The Detroit Football Lions will underachieve. I don't like their head coach. I think he's a hothead and can't control his players. I also think Stafford is brittle and will miss multiple games. No running game. Look for the Lions to miss the playoffs even though they have the talent to make them.
6. Our beloved Carolina Panthers? I feel quite a bit more informed than I was last year. An easier schedule would brighten my hopes, but man is it tough. Even some of the easier looking games could go south, like the Raiders, Chiefs, Redskins, and Seahawks. We are going to have to play extremely well to have a winning season this year. Having said that, I also believe our defense will improve quite a bit, and our offense will consistently score 25-30 points per game. So...I would be extremely surprised if we win less than 8, or more than 10 games. With my heart I am hoping for 10 wins; with my head I am predicting a 9-7 record, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.
Just a couple others that don't count: I see the Bears in the playoffs this year as they will benefit from the departure of Mike Martz and the arrival of Brandon Marshall. I also believe Michael Vick will never lead his team to the Super Bowl. Ever. The interesting part will be to see how long it takes the Iggles to realize it. And, I don't like the Steelers to make it to the AFC championship game; new OC, injuries, Wallace holdout, bad vibes for Steeler Nation this year.
There's my predictions for 2012 Panther Fans! How about you? What are some of your predictions for the 2012 NFL campaign? Let's hear it!!