5 Shocking Predictions for 2012!!
1. The New York Giants & New England Patriots are in trouble
There is a strange feeling in my gut when it comes to both these teams. The Patriots have the easiest schedule coming into next season while the Giants have the hardest on paper. But that doesn’t mean anything in my eyes. Both these teams are going to have big targets on their backs coming into next season, everyone wants to go out there and prove that they can take out the former superbowl champs and the Patriots are considered the AFC East champions already just because they’ve been there for so long. I have a feeling even though the Giants are going to be getting their main starters healthy they are going to have some difficulties not being able to go under the radar each week. I also see the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins improving. The Patriots on the other hand had many defensive issues which probably led them to lose the superbowl last year and so far they haven’t done much to improve on that side of the ball. Their pass rush is really bad and although the consensus is that the Jets have gotten worse, I believe that they’re going to give the Patriots a run for their money. The Jets ‘D’ is going to play more aggressive than ever this year and although the Jets haven’t scored a touchdown as of yet in the preseason, I’ve liked what I’ve seen in Sanchez throwing ability and decision making wise. The Patriots will win 9-10 games, but they won’t make the playoffs.
A team to watch out for : Pittsburgh – They’re another perennial playoff team that may not be able to make it this year. They’re going to have to keep healthy and maybe then they’ll be able to pull it off. They have 6 players over 30 years old on the defensive side of the ball and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger really need to put differences aside to make this relationship work.
2. Denver Broncos will NOT win the AFC West
Yes I know, they won the AFC West last year with a 8-8 record and they were able to do that with Tim Tebow and now they have a first ballot Hall of Famer at the helm in Peyton Manning. Many may think that the Chargers, Raiders, and Chiefs have no shot at winning the west but they’re wrong. I believe every single team in this division is going to be on fire next season, especially the Chiefs. The Chiefs are going to have Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles back who are their key players on the defensive and offensive side of the ball respectively. Aslong as Matt Cassel can play the way he did back in 2010 I believe the Chiefs have a legitimate shot. The Chargers had a off year with Philip Rivers not being himself and Vincent Jackson barely playing at all, and although they lost Jackson they added some young players in Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd. The Raiders are in a new era with Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen and although they’ve lost some guys in Stanford Routt, Kam Wimbley, and Michael Bush they’ve still got a outside chance to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. They will need it for a chance to compete for the crown with Carson Palmer, a hopefully healthy Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Darius Heyward-Bey, and even Marcel Reese. Darren McFadden will be the key to the Raiders next season, if he can play all 16 games or even 15, they will win the west.
3. Detroit Lions win the North
Last year was no fluke, these guys are the real deal. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson are insane and I don’t really think anyone is going to be able to stop them this season. Suh is going to improve even more than he did last year and I believe that the boneheaded plays and late hits will stop with him. He’s going to be a man on a mission and they’re going to make a big splash even with the Packers and Bears getting better too. There might be a 3 playoff team division in the north again this year, but I have the Lions coming out on top.
4. 2nd Rounder will come out on top for Offensive Rookie Of The Year
Alshon Jeffery (Bears, 2nd round, 45th Overall) is my very early pick for offensive rookie of the year, look out for him to get big numbers with a returning Jay Cutler and new teammate in Brandon Marshall taking away defenders from Jeffery. And if that wasn’t already enough, teams are also going to need to put at least 7 in the box to stop a healthy and rejuvenated Matt Forte. Jeffery was a solid WR in college so look for him to make a big splash often and early in the year.
5. Seahawks will make a splash, but won’t be able to win
Seattle is going to surprise many next year with Russell Wilson under center. I believe even if Russell Wilson wasn’t as special as he is right now they would still be making a splash next year with Matt Flynn. They have a really physical offensive line and running back in Marshawn Lynch. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are really going to need to step up their games and stay healthy for it all to come together. Braylon Edwards may be one of the best free agent pick ups in hindsight after this year, he’s still got the explosiveness that he had when he was on the Jets and it seems like he’s not dropping balls that he would have in previous years. He needs to consistently play to his potential but I believe the 49ers still have too good of a defense for them not to win the division this year. Seattle has the needle pointed sky high though and I’m sure the 12th man out there will be very pleased with the product Pete Carroll is putting on the field after this year. I have them winning atleast 9 games.
This article was written by contributing author Will Pyle