Home > Uncategorized > 2011 NFL Predictions!! What Could Go Wrong?

2011 NFL Predictions!! What Could Go Wrong?

A lot, I’m sure. But as always, I’m willing to give it a shot.

But even more importantly, we are just 27 hours away from the first NFL game this season that actually counts. That means there’s still time for me to make educated guesses that will look awful in just a few weeks. I should have just hired an octopus to do this.

Each team will be ranked in its division by order of predicted finish, and because I want to make this look pretty, wild cards will be in red. Why red? I have no idea and you don’t care, so let’s begin.

AFC EAST

1. New England Patriots, 13-3: The defense is a bit of a question mark for me, but when you consider at the cheap additions of Ochocinco and Haynesworth, and the lingering anger that I suspect still exists after last season’s playoff disappointment, I think this team is on a mission.

2. New York Jets, 10-6: This is still a solid group that can make a run, but I think the window has pretty much closed for a Super Bowl. Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason won’t improve New York’s offense much.

3. Miami Dolphins, 5-11: Here a team actually depending upon Reggie Bush to carry the ball 17-20 times per week. Yeah, good luck with that. I see no dramatic uptick in production coming for Chad Henne.

4. Buffalo Bills, 4-12: Besides playing the Patriots and the Jets twice, they play the NFC East and the Chargers. That’s eight losses right there.

AFC NORTH

1. Pittsburgh Steelers, 12-4: The schedule looks great, and with young wide receivers such as Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, this offense is going to be plenty good enough in case that “old” defense starts to crack.

2. Baltimore Ravens, 9-7: Outside of Ray Rice, I think this offense is going to take a major step back.

3. Cleveland Browns, 7-9: They are making strides, I will give them that. But no matter what Colt McCoy showed during the preseason, this team doesn’t have enough yet on either side of the ball to seriously compete.

4. Cincinnati Bengals, 3-13: Three wins is generous. Fact.

AFC SOUTH

1. Houston Texans, 10-6: OK, I’ll bite on the hype. But this really has more to do with the uncertainty of Peyton Manning’s health than any confidence I have in the Texans.

2. Indianapolis Colts, 9-7: Have you heard this thing about Peyton Manning and his neck or something? I have no clue ….

If he misses just a couple of weeks, tack on an extra win or two. But I don’t think he’ll play until October at the absolute earliest.

3. Tennessee Titans, 7-9: Chris Johnson changes the complexion of this team, obviously. But basically every other facet of this offense is average at best, and opponents can still throw on them with much success.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 4-12: After hearing the news about David Garrard’s release Tuesday, I think Jack Del Rio is actively trying to get fired now.

AFC WEST

1. San Diego Chargers, 11-5: If they just play smart football — not spectacular, nothing over their heads — they should win this division. The talent gap from here to the other three teams is enormous.

2. Oakland Raiders, 8-8: They should have never fired Tom Cable, but that’s on Al Davis. I like the potential here. I actually want to give them nine wins, but it just doesn’t look right.

3. Denver Broncos, 5-11: I think they’ll be really boring to watch, but boring wins in this league sometimes.

4. Kansas City Chiefs, 4-12: From first to worst. I don’t like to take much away from the preseason, but there’s a reason why this offense sucked. It sucks. And how about this for a five-game stretch in the second half of the season: @ Patriots, vs. Steelers, @ Bears, @Jets, vs. Packers.

NFC EAST

1. Philadelphia Eagles, 13-3: I think they are as good as advertised. They may lose one game through the first 11 weeks. But injuries are a part of the game (Michael Vick).

2. Dallas Cowboys, 10-6: Offense is absolutely loaded. But can that defense be any better? I say “Sort of.”

2. New York Giants, 6-10: They already have what 12 players on injured reserve? The Giants will quit on Tom Coughlin late in the season (again), and it will mean his job this time.

4. Washington Redskins, 4-12: Not as bad as Cincinnati, but they will not have a shortage of awful.

NFC NORTH

1. Green Bay Packers, 12-4: Everyone got on them for not practicing enough during the lockout. Uh, they’ll be fine.

2. Detroit Lions, 9-7: Why the hell not!? But I think the most critical player for this offense is a healthy Jahvid Best, not Matthew Stafford.

3. Chicago Bears, 8-8: I hope they suffer at the hands of karma for demoting their best wideout, Johnny Knox, to the second string so that Roy Williams can be their No. 1.

4. Minnesota Vikings, 5-11: Bad offensive line? Devoid of good wide receivers? An aging QB in very tough division full of pass-rushers? Do you like questions that shouldn’t be phrased as questions? No?

NFC SOUTH

1. Atlanta Falcons, 11-5: A lot is said about the offense, but putting Ray Edwards and John Abraham on the same D-line is going to be a make a big difference.

2. New Orleans Saints, 10-6: I really want to put the Tampa Bay Bucs here, but I can’t go against established history here. Drew Brees or Josh Freeman? Freeman’s really good, but …

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9-7: However, it totally wouldn’t surprise me if they finished ahead of the Saints.

4. Carolina Panthers, 4-12: This is a conservative estimate to me. If Cam Newton can make strides as a passer during the season, I think this team could win as many as six games. They’ve really put some nice players around him.

NFC WEST

1. St. Louis Rams, 9-7: Yes, an NFC West winner OVER .500! This isn’t a talent-laden team, but I love the possibilities of what Sam Bradford could do with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

2. Arizona Cardinals, 7-9: They won five games last year with the mighty triumvirate of Derek Anderson/John Skelton/Max Hall at QB. Yes, the defense took a step back, but the addition of Kolb has to be worth a couple of victories.

3. San Francisco 49ers, 5-11: Just one more year of Alex Smith, San Fran fans. That’s it. Just one more. I swear.

4. Seattle Seahawks, 5-11: This team went out and upgraded its receiving corps with Sidney Rice. Too bad they don’t have a quarterback capable of reaching him down the field.

AWARDS

MVP, Philip Rivers: It may seem like logic that is too simple to hold water, but Rivers threw for 4,700 yards last season with hardly any Vincent Jackson and half a year from Antonio Gates. Give him a full season with those guys and Malcom Floyd and a healthy Ryan Mathews, AND on a divison-winning team, he gets the hardware.

Offensive rookie of the year, Mark Ingram: He’ll begin the season by splitting carries three ways, but I think he’ll run away with the job (pun intended) by midseason.

Defensive rookie of the year, Akeem Ayers: Everyone seems to be picking Denver’s Von Miller, so I’ll go a bit off the beaten path with another starting linebacker. This one plays in Tennessee in case you didn’t know, and I’m assuming that some of you didn’t.

Coach of the year, Jim Schwartz: I have the Lions winning nine games. If he can actually make that happen, playoffs or not, he deserves this as much as anyone unless some team wants to get greedy and go 16-0 or 15-1.

PLAYOFFS

AFC Wild Card: Jets beat Texans in a bad matchup for Houston; Chargers beat Ravens handily.

NFC Wild Card: Saints avoid another upset at the hands of an NFC West team and beat the Rams; Falcons crush Cowboys.

AFC Divisional: Jets versus Patriots? God. Pats get revenge for 2010; Steelers edge past Chargers.

NFC Divisional: Falcons take down the Packers; Eagles wallop Saints.

AFC Championship: Patriots beat Steelers.

NFC Championship: Eagles beat Falcons.

SUPER BOWL

So I have chalk getting in to Super Bowl XLVI. That way, I know this is going to be wrong. In this particular case, I think the Patriots make up for last year and get the ultimate prize, beating the Eagles in a “rematch” of Super Bowl XXXIX.

—————

One final note: As has become old hat for me, my fantasy football league draft is tonight; it’s taken place the day before the first game of the season four years running now. I plan to do a live blog here while I’m going through the draft (starts at 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time; 12-team, 18-round, auction-style draft). It’s destined to be longer in total time than last night’s Orioles-Yankees game, rain delays included.

I tried that … didn’t work.

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  1. Jgro
    September 8, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Whoa. No way the Bills are worse than the Dolphins this year. At least the Bills have a defense, I think? A pro bowl nose tackle + Marcell Dareus. LB core of Merriman, Morrison, Andra Davis, and Nick Barnett.

    McGee, McKelvin, and Byrd in the secondary.

    Ah, who am I kidding, they blow.

  2. September 8, 2011 at 12:59 am

    If you makes you feel any better, they are only a game behind Miami in my standings. So third place is still within reach! Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up!

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