Welcome to another NFL season. We’ll be trying to get this blog back up and running, and to start we’ll do a prediction page here. Belated I know, but we’re all busy with life, etc. Just be happy we got this together for you!

 

Standings:
AFC East:

1. New England Patriots
2. Buffalo Bills
3. New York Jets
4. Miami Dolphins

This is a run away for the Pats this year. The Bills are improved, but I don’t trust Fitzpatrick still and offensively there isn’t enough firepower to surpass the Patriots, who look to be running the most sophisticated offense in the NFL again this year. The Jets will quickly devolve into a media circus as calls for Tebow distract the team, and Miami is not remotely close to winning this year. The only question will be the Patriots defense, which should be improved from last year.

AFC North:

1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Cleveland Browns

This is a down year for what has been the toughest division in the NFL the last couple of years. The Ravens defense looks very, very old and the loss of defensive coordinator (now Indianapolis Head Coach) Chuck Pagano appears to be significant. While the defense is regressing, the offense looks poised to finally surpass the defense as the primary unit on this team and Flacco to Smith might be a fantasy sleeper combination. The Steelers, to their credit, tried to address the offensive line issues, but with DeCastro going down, it appears the same unit will run out there. Big Ben and the defense will keep them in games and they should have a winning record, but I see them struggling to make a wild card. Meanwhile the Bengals continue to improve their roster and the combination of AJ Green, Andy Dalton, and Jay Gruden appears set to challenge in this division. Meanwhile the Browns will continue to flounder behind a mediocre defense and lacking offensive weapon offense.

AFC West:

1. Denver Broncos
2. San Diego Chargers
3. Oakland Raiders
4. Kansas City Chiefs

Peyton Manning should come in and sweep this division by storm. The Bronco defense is excellent and with improved offensive play they should have no problem coming up with a winning record (and isn’t that all you need in the AFC West?). The Chargers will compete for a wildcard, but Norv Turner continues to struggle to achieve expectations. The Raiders will depend on how Carson Palmer looks, while Pryor continues to impress behind him, and the Chiefs are dependent on Matt Cassel, who I don’t trust in the least.

AFC South

1. Houston Texans
2. Tennessee Titans
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
4. Indianapolis Colts

The Texans are my Superbowl favorite currently. Their roster is stacked (although I would have kept Mario Williams), and their defense is elite. If Schuab can stay healthy, their offense has the weapons to be impressive. The Titans are a talented roster with a young quarterback. If Locker can be solid, and CJ2k returns to form, this is a team that can run with the best. If Locker looks like a rookie than their season is merely preparation for 2013. Jacksonville has looked better offensively in the preseason, but their defense has several holes in it. I see them making strides, and improving as the season goes, but not enough to challenge in this division. The Colts will work Andrew Luck in while setting their sights on next year. Their defense is going to undergo a major overhaul, and their offense is lacking in weapons.

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New York Giants
3. Washington Redskins
4. Philadelphia Eagles

I think this is the best division in football this season (for once). The Superbowl champion Giants will be good again this year, but duplicating their passing success will be tough. Their defense still relies on constant 4 man pressure, which ebbs and flows throughout the season. The Cowboys, on the other hand, sound poised for a run this year. They won’t win the division by much, but their offense has had a year to click, and Rob Ryan finally has the corners to be more aggressive with his scheming. Washington should be wildly improved from last year, and with a defense as elite as their should be, I would expect them to challenge for this division. They’ll depend on their running game and Griffin’s maturity at the helm. The Eagles will rely on Vick to stay healthy and a defense to actually stand up to opposing offenses. All in all, these four teams should be within 3 games of each other top to bottom.

NFC North

1. Chicago Bears
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Detroit Lions
4. Minnesota Vikings

I’ll be blunt. The Bears scare the crap out of me. Their pass rush / Tampa 2 style defense is taking a more aggressive approach, and with very legitimate receivers their offense is perhaps the most dynamic in the NFL. The Packers return most of their starting offense but they’ll need to improve on defense to maintain their division crown. The Lions are very solid, but their lack of DB depth and offensive line / running game concerns should keep them out of the division talk. Their wild card hopes are alive and well however. The Vikings will continue to develop Ponder, but should keep Adrian’s workload to a minimum and prepare for next year as a big jump year. Their offensive line, and defense in particular need work.

NFC West

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. St. Louis Rams

I’ll go with the 49ers again this year due to their defense and the fact that they’ll be getting a lot of bad quarterbacks. Alex Smith should play better, but it will depend on how his receivers step up. The Seahawks spent a ton of money on Matt Flynn, with T-Jack already on the roster, and still go with the rookie Russell Wilson. All I’ve heard about Wilson sounds good, but I think a year on the bench wouldn’t have hurt him. The Seahawks have an underrated roster, but enough holes on offense to keep them out of the playoffs. The Cardinals will continue to flip-flop quarterbacks while their defense shakes their heads. The Rams are a wildcard, because if Bradford returns to form this can be a scary offense. Their defense has not improved enough to concern me and will hold them back.

NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Carolina Panthers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wow. Julio Jones is making the Falcons look smart in preseason. If he can continue that success, this team is scary good on offense. Their defense is getting old fast, however, and will be the concern going forwards. Cam Newton has the Panthers poised for a very successful year if he can continue to make progress as a passing quarterback. Their defense has some injury concerns, but should be better than last year and with that offense it might be enough to challenge for a wildcard. The Saints will either be very good, or struggle due to outside pressure. Sean Payton’s influence on the offense cannot be underestimated, but Drew Brees should keep them in the top part of the league. The defense will be solid, but it just doesn’t feel like the Saints year. The Bucs, meanwhile, will continue to retool this defense and develop Josh Freeman. They’ve improved enough to be a threat to all three other teams, but not enough for me to take them as a wildcard team.

 

MVP: Peyton Manning

He’ll return and take that team deep into the playoffs. His numbers probably won’t be as elite as they used to be, but as the season goes he should get better.

Offensive Player: Ray Rice

With Flacco stepping up, Rice should see more holes and fewer defenders. He’s already getting about 2000 yards a season, it’ll be scary to see what he does with a legitimate quarterback behind him.

Defensive Player: DeMarcus Ware

Ware is poised to explode in a new, aggressive system from Rob Ryan. Expect close to 20 sacks at minimum. JPP is a close second and Von Miller is third.

Offensive Rookie: Robert Griffin

I think Luck doesn’t have the weapons or defense to win this, while RG3 will have a lot to work with this year.

Defensive Rookie: Chandler Jones

The Patriots defense should be better and Jones is the pass rushing specialist on it.

 

 

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