As everyone knows, the New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions. The season after they defended their last championship in the 2008 season, the Giants won the NFC East with a record of 12–4 and also were the number one seed in the NFC. They would go on to lose to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-11 in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Giants that season were the NFC favorites to play in the Super Bowl, but they couldn’t repeat as champs. We will see if they can be repeat Super Bowl Champions for the first team in their team’s history.
1. New England Patriots 14-2
The schedule is very favorable for the New England Patriots in 2012. Their two toughest opponents are the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. They also play the AFC South and NFC West this year. There’s no reason why this team can’t win 14 or 15 games.
2. New York Jets 9-7
A lot of questions surrounding this team. Most of the talk is with Tebow, but their defense will be the key for them being successful in 2012. Expect Mark Sanchez to have his best season as a pro.
3. Buffalo Bills
Got off to a great start early last year, but faded late. The play of Ryan Fitzpatrick will be a key, but so will that defense. Mario Williams will provide an upgrade, but I don’t think it’s enough to get to the playoffs in 2012.
4. Miami Dolphins
I really like Dolphins new head coach Joe Philblin. Dolphins drafted new QB in Ryan Tannehill, but I don’t expect him to see the field in 2012. Can Chad Johnson return to playing like the old Chad Johnson? A lot of questions with this team, but they are going in the right direction. Too soon to contend in the AFC East
1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
Ravens were a Lee Evans touchdown away from going to the Super Bowl last season. While their window is closing, they still are the team to beat in AFC North. Defense, led by Ray Lewis is a year older.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
Steelers say they want to be a smash mouth football, but that will be hard to do without Rashard Mendenhall. He may miss the entire season with an ACL injury he suffored last season. Team has questions about Mike Wallace, James Harrison’s knee injury. A lot will be on the plate of Big Ben in 2012. I never count out the Steelers under Mike Tomlin and/Ben Roesthlisburger.
3. Cincinnati Bengals 8-8
The Bengals surprised everyone last season considering they had a young team. They didn’t a team with a winning record last season, but yet they got into the playoffs. If they want to return trip, they will have to. The schedule is a lot difficult being that they were a playoff team a year ago. Defense, which was ranked 7th in the NFL last season will have to be even better if they expect to contend in the AFC North.
4. Cleveland Browns 4-12
While the Browns drafted both a running back and a quarterback, they still have questions on offense. Defense did finish 10th in the league last year, so there’s your positive. Division is tough, so you can’t expect too much from this team in 2012
1. Houston Texans 11-5
Team is loaded on offense as everyone knows. Defense shouldn’t skip a beat without Mario Williams. I expect the Texans to runaway with the South.
2. Tennesse Titans 8-8
Their quarterback position will be the key if they are a success for or not in 2012. If Hasselback starts, they have a outside chance of making the playoffs. If Locker starts, it is unlikely.
3. Indianapolis Colts 4-12
Out goes Peyton Manning, Bill Polian, in comes Andrew Luck and Ryan Grigson as General Manager. Times have changed in Indianapolis. This club now starts the process of rebuilding.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-13
Very young team and not sure Blaine Gabbert is the answer at quarterback. They did draft Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State. This team could be the worst in the NFL in 2012.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
This team finished 7-9 and one game out of first place despite all of their injuries last season. Jamaal Charles is back from injury as well as Matt Cassel. Romeo Crennel takes over an ideal situation in Kansas City. This defense will carry them to a division title in 2012.
2. San Diego Chargers 10-6
Philip Rivers had a down seasons last year. I expect him to more like the Philip Rivers from 2009-2010 and not the one that threw 27 TDs and 20 INTs. Their defense, which looked suspect at times will have to improve. They were middle of the road last year. (16th in the NFL). I believe the Chargers will win the wildcard.
3, Denver Broncos 8-8
Most people believe the Broncos will win the AFC West, but I’m not one of those people. Peyton Manning will make a difference on the field, but he doesn’t have much help on that offense. The old Peyton Manning could carry a team, but can he still be expected to carry a team after the neck surgery. Brian Dawkins, the leader of the defense is retired, so it will be up to future hall of famer Champ Bailey and Von Miller to carry it.
4. Oakland Raiders 6-10
A lot of talent on offense. Carson Palmer will be better in year two with a full training camp under his belt. Having Darren McFadden back always helps a quarterback. McFadden is one of the keys for the Raiders ending their 9 year playoff drought. The other key and their biggest is the defense. The Raider defense is the main reason why they were sitting at home in January and not playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. Raiders haven’t done anything to improve the defense and until they do, they will be at the bottom of the division.
1. New York Giants 10-6: Giants don’t have a lot of holes. Their running game and offensive line are questions. Giants did address the line in NFL draft. The Giants had the worse running attack in the NFL in the regular season. If they want to repeat, this cannot happen again. On defense, cornerback is their weak spot. Prince Amukamara is the guy the teams wants to fill the second corner spot opposite Corey Webster. The schedule is difficult especially late. I am still a believe of this team and I believe they will win the NFC East again
2. Dallas Cowboys 10-6: Wouldn’t shock or surprise me if the Cowboys won the NFC East. Their schedule is much more favorable than the New York Giants. Morris Claiborne, rookie from LSU, should help in their secondary immediately. Claiborne is my early season pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The two keys for the Cowboys is health, especially at the running back position and the play of Tony Romo. Romo had an outstanding season if you look at his numbers, he just throws interceptions at the wrong time. While everyone is picking the Eagles to bounce back this year, don’t sleep on the Cowboys. I have them making the playoffs.
3. Phildelphia Eagles 9-7: Some people have picked the Eagles as a dark-horse in the NFC, but I’m not one of those people. This team still has some question marks on that offensive line. While I do believe they can make the playoffs, I just can’t pick them to win the NFC East. Michael Vick has to stay 100% healthy if they have any shot.
4. Washington Redskins 6-10: I liked what the Redskins did this off-season (aside from the Kirk Cousins draft pick) Robert Griffin III his all the talent in the world to become a successful NFL quarterback. The Redskins also addressed their offensive line in the draft, which will help RGIII. This team has a good defense and that will also help you win games. Skins are going in the right directions.
1. Green Bay Packers 13-3: While I don’t believe the Packers will only lose one regular season game like last year, I do believe this is the team to beat in the NFC. Packers addressed their defense in the draft by taking defensive players in their first six picks. Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy are players that could help the Packers immediately. The question mark for me is the running game Ryan Grant, who split carries with James Starks last season is gone. Can Starks carry most of the load in 2012? Packers are a passing team, so I expect Aaron Rodgers to have another MVP type season.
2. Chicago Bears 11-5: This is your dark-horse in the NFC. The Bears went out and finally add a big play wide receiver to their roster. Brandon Marshall will give Jay Cutler that go to guy that he can rely on. Bears also drafted Alshon Jeffery from South Carolina, who provide Cutler another big time target. The addition of Michael Bush will help take pressure off Matt Forte. This team if healthy could make a Super Bowl run. Remember, they went to the NFC Championship in 2010.
3. Detroit Lions 8-8: Lions fans finally had something to cheer about for the first time since 1999, a playoff berth. The bad news, they get a much tougher schedule. This team has had a number of off the field arrest in the off-season. I believe the Bears if they remain healthy, will be a better team than the Lions this season.
4. Minnesota Vikings 5-11: How will Adrian Peterson play after his ACL injury? Can Christian Ponder progress? Can their defense improved form being ranked 26th against the pass last season? A lot of questions with this team and not too many answers.
1. Carolina Panthers 11-5: Cam Newton surprised people last year with his play and knowledge of the offense right away. In year two, I’m expecting much bigger things from Newton and this offense. Their headed rushing attack is always their staple of this team. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart I expect will have another big season. The Panther defense is the key. They lost a lot of games for them last season. They will have to improve from 24th against the run and 25th against the pass. I believe they will and that’s why I have the Panthers winning the NFC South.
2. Atlanta Falcons 9-7: This is a make or break season for quarterback Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith. They both have shown the ablity to help get the Falcons to the playoffs, but have unable to win a game. Falcons did get some offensive line help in the draft, so that may help Ryan. Their secondary has been a problem for years but the Falcons went out and traded for Asante Samuel. Some people believe he is past his prime. Others like myself at age 31, he still has some game left. He need to help that secondary if they want to make the playoffs this season.
2. New Orleans Saints 9-7 : The commissioner came down hard on the Saints in the off-season. No Sean Peyton for the entire season, No Jonathan Vilma for the entire season and their interim head coach Joe Vitt will sit out the first six games of the season. Can quarterback Drew Brees handle all the responsibilities with this team. I think they will have some struggles.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-12: Let me just say, I loved the hire of Greg Schiano. I believe he will be a great NFL head coach and he won’t allow this team to quit like it did last season. Bucs are a young team and it will take them some time to improve.
1. San Francisco 49ers 11-5: The 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh shocked everyone last season by getting to the NFC Championship. Best thing going for the 49ers is they play in the worst division in football. They do play the Patriots, Packers, Lions and Giants, all playoff teams from a year ago. We will see if Alex Smith can do a repeat of what he did last season.
2. Seattle Seahawks 8-8: The Seahawks will be a much better team than people thing. It is always tough to go to the 12th man and win on the road. The big question is their quarterback situation. Will it be Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson or Russell Wilson?
3. Arizona Cardinals 5-11: This is Kevin Kolb’s job to lose. If he doesn’t produce this season, Cardinals will be looking for other options in 2013.
4. St. Louis Rams 4-12: Sam Bradford really has a lot to prove with not a lot of weapons around him. They still do have Steven Jackson, but they have a terrible run defense.
NFL MVP: Tom Brady
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Morris Claiborne
Defensive Player of the Year: Julius Peppers
Super Bowl: Patriots vs Packers
Super Bowl Champions: New England Patriots