Due to my complete drop in interest in college football, I took my “Ten Predictions You Can Take to the Bank” to the NFL just before the regular season kicked off. Upon revisiting that article it appears I actually wrote eleven predictions and I apparently can’t count. We’ll go through all of them anyway and see how accurate I was. Check it out after the jump.
1.) Green Bay defeats New Orleans on opening night. Hey, remember who won the Super Bowl? The Green Bay Packers! I know. So why isn’t anyone talking about them? Well because they don’t generate much drama and everyone loves the Eagles, Jets, Patriots, etc. Green Bay lost about 33% of their starting lineup through the course of 2010-11 and still won the Super Bowl. They won 3 straight road games and then wen into Arlington, TX to defeat Pittsburgh 31-25 even though Donald Driver and Charles Woodson both sustained injuries that would sideline them for the remainder of the night. I believe a healthy Packers side is a more complete team than New Orleans, who are probably going to be just as famous for losing to the Seahawks than winning the Super Bowl. Drew Brees threw 22 INTs last year and the Packers live off of turnovers. I see Green Bay edging them out in a defensive struggle.
RESULT: Green Bay defeated New Orleans on opening night, although the defenses failed to show up. CORRECT.
2.) The Indianapolis Colts will earn a top 5 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. There’s no way they don’t avoid sucking. Peyton Manning being out indefinitely almost dooms them for the entire season. When Tom Brady was out for the year with New England the system remained intact and Matt Cassel helped get them to 11-5. Indianapolis has nothing outstanding that can put Kerry Collins or Curtis Painter in a position to succeed. They routinely rank in the bottom-half of the league in rush defense and their rushing attack is average. Joseph Addai is just slightly above a prime Julius Jones. He’s never run for 1100 yards in a single season. The Colts center their entire gameplanning around Peyton Manning, which is stupid and a big reason why they’ve only won one Super Bowl. Indy is done.
RESULT: Indianapolis has the #1 pick in the draft. CORRECT.
3.) The Seattle Seahawks will be picking in the top 10 of the 2012 NFL Draft. I’ve already outlined my thoughts on Tarvaris Jackson and the rest of the team’s weaknesses. Plus, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia, NY Giants, Dallas = Too much to handle.
RESULT: At best, the Seahawks can only clinch the 11th overall pick depending on a coin flip with the Chiefs. So this prediction turned out to be INCORRECT.
4.) Jamaal Charles will lead the NFL in total rushing yards. Charles rushed for 1467 yards last year on only 230 carries! Isn’t that amazing? He average 6.4 yards per rush! For all the talk of Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles is the RB that should be on everyone’s radar. Kansas City is an excellent running team and I think that Charles will surpass and outperform Foster en route to the rushing title. The Chiefs however won’t make the playoffs.
RESULT: It’s hard to win the rushing title when your knee gets torn to shreds in the opening month of the season. INCORRECT.
5.) Matt Hasselbeck will be injured and missing games by week 5. The new Tennessee Titans QB and former Seahawk is not only 35, but he’s missed time in 4 of the last 5 seasons. He isn’t good at handling pressure in the pocket. According to the schedule the Titans have to play the Ravens and Steelers in the opening 5 weeks so get ready for some Jake Locker action! It’s sad to say because Matt was such a figure in the Seahawks’ glory days, but he’s done.
RESULT: Injured? Yes. But he started all 16 games thanks to having an elite offensive line. INCORRECT.
6a.) Jay Cutler and/or Lovie Smith will not be a Chicago Bear in 2012. If there’s ever a fraudulent 11-5 team out there, it’s the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler gets sacked just warming up. The Bears offensive line is bad and not getting any better. That combined with Cutler’s rather pissy attitude and look of despondency is probably going to be enough to drive him out of Chicago once they fail to make the postseason. And in fairness to Cutler, the offense isn’t going to work when your #1 receiver is devin Hester. Even if he stays, Lovie Smith is going home.
RESULT: Lovie apparently gets to stay despite new management coming in, and Cutler appears to be staying. INCORRECT.
6b.) The Detroit Lions will finish the season over .500. I don’t have them in the postseason, but I think Detroit will finish 9-7 and be in the playoff hunt until week 17. If Matthew Stafford is healthy I believe he has lots of potential to be a very good QB in the NFL. Let’s not forget the Lions lost several close games last season and looked like the best 2-10 team ever. Ndamukong Suh is still going to slam QBs into submission, Jahvid Best will be a dual threat out of the backfield, and Calvin Johnson will continue to be one of the top receivers in the game. Detroit is very talented and filled with ex-Seahawks. It’s hard not to like them. Their defensive front featuring Suh, Kyle Vandenbosch, and Nick Fairley is just plain nasty. Expect them to be in the top 5 in sacks.
RESULT: Detroit finished with a winning record and even made the playoffs! Unfortunately they got wiped out by New Orleans in the wild card round. CORRECT.
7.) Alex Smith will be benched for Colin Kapernick due to poor play. It’s inevitable. Alex Smith is not an NFL caliber QB. Stop the madness. San Francisco is a mess and Smith staying around for so long symbolizes all of their problems.
RESULT: Well…Alex Smith became a competent QB. Jim Harbaugh is a miracle worker. INCORRECT.
8.) The Philadelphia Eagles will not make it to the Super Bowl. STOP TALKING ABOUT THE “DREAM TEAM”, Vince Young and media. I have no doubt Philadelphia will win the NFC East and handily, but I’m not sold on them as a Super Bowl favorite. For one, none of their free agent or trade deals involved an offensive lineman. It appears that Philadelphia believes Michael Vick is indeed Superman and can break his way out of any sack! Well that’s not the case. Also, I’ll never doubt the abilities of Andy Reid to screw up a good thing. If LeSean McCoy isn’t on the stat-sheet that means the Eagles are trailing 10-3 and they’ve stopped running the ball since the 2nd quarter.
RESULT: Philadelphia lost nearly every single close game and as a result missed out on winning the NFC East. No Super Bowl for them. CORRECT.
9.) The New York Jets won’t sniff the Super Bowl, either. Mark Sanchez is a career 53% passer despite having Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and a host of other quality receivers. And don’t talk to me about Braylon’s inability to catch the ball, he had one drop last season. Sanchez isn’t accurate enough to take the Jets to the promised land (well….yet.) and they’ve lost a lot of key players, most notably their multi-position star Brad Smith, who went to Buffalo. New York is in a position where they will remain a contender due to their defense and running game but won’t break out of that 9-7 or 10-6 area until their QB is more accurate with his throws. It’s essentially what cost them the last two AFC Championship Games and what normally is the culprit for their offensive lapses in the regular season.
RESULT: Mark Sanchez is the subject of “GET RID!” talk after committing 26 turnovers. The New York Jets missed the playoffs after losing out their remaining three games. CORRECT.
10.) Atlanta will defeat Baltimore 20-7 in Indianapolis to win Super Bowl XLVI. This is the last time I will ever pick the Baltimore Ravens to even reach the Super Bowl if they can’t get this done. They added Lee Evans to their receiving corp, thus eliminating the premise that they can succeed on offense with 15 different long-ball wideouts. Joe Flacco hardly inspires confidence due to his quicksand-like pocket movement, but Ray Rice and that monstrous defense will get them going. I believe Atlanta will be the top team in the NFC South and in fact the best team in the NFC. Matt Ryan will prove himself as an elite QB and Julio Jones will be the offensive ROTY. Michael Turner and his gigantic turkey legs will churn out another Pro Bowl season and prove to be too powerful for the Ravens when they meet in the Super Bowl. Ryan will win MVP but John Abraham will register 2 sacks against Flacco.
RESULT: Matt Ryan isn’t elite, Julio Jones isn’t offensive ROTY, and the Atlanta Falcons aren’t in the Super Bowl. INCORRECT.
FINAL TOTAL: 5 correct, 6 incorrect (44% accuracy).
Ouch. That’s awful. A sharp decline from when I accurately predicted the Green Bay Packers would win last year’s Super Bowl. Oh well, you can’t win them all. My NFL divisional round predictions are coming tomorrow, so if you’re a Broncos fan and reading my site, you’ll be feeling more than confident about your chances against New England.