Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Take These To The Bank With Your Foreclosure Notice: The FTT 2011-12 NFL Season Predictions

Do you read this blog and column for NFL acumen, or just to feel superior to the local hole-stuffer for his weak sauce Nostadamus act? Either way, it's your favorite read of the year. Let's get right into it, shall we?

NFC East

Philadelphia 11-5
Dallas 9-7
NY Giants 7-9
Washington 5-11

What no one wants to admit... this division isn't very good. My Eagles could be very solid or paper tigers, but the sad part is that either version winds up losing to the Packers, and they won't gel together fast enough to get a bye. I'm not counting on much from the Cowboys, who don't have a line. If the Giants had been healthy, they'd be the wild-card here, but the secondary is just too suspect. This might be the year that gets Tom Coughlin run, especially if the Jets continue to get all of the media run in the city. As for the Redskins, one of these years the entire team and region is just going to quit on the owner. Might this be the year?

NFC North

Green Bay 12-4
Detroit 9-7
Chicago 7-9
Minnesota 7-9

The truly terrifying thing about this Packers team is that they won it all with bench guys last year. Give them just ordinary health in the backfield and especially for tight end Jermichael Finley, and it's going to be a good day to keep them under 40 points a game in good weather. This is the NFL's best chance at a dynasty right now. I'm also liking the Lions to surprise with that defensive line and offensive weapons, and think the Bears and Vikings just have too many issues to contend.

NFC South

New Orleans 12-4
Atlanta 10-6
Tampa Bay 7-9
Carolina 4-12

And the #2 seed will be New Orleans, who have also reloaded on offense with health and a better year from Drew Brees. This also makes the Week 1 Thursday Night game a crazy important opener, since it could set home field between these teams, and home field for a Packer-Saints championship will decide things. Atlanta is going to be more dynamic, and the Bucs will slide back despite being more or less the same team. Carolina will have a pulse, but little else.

NFC West

St Louis 9-7
Arizona 8-8
San Francisco 6-10
Seattle 4-12

The top two teams in this division will actually be OK, but struggle with protection issues and not travel well. The bottom two are going to be hard to watch, especially Seattle. And as usual out here, none of this is going to matter in the slightest.

AFC East

New England 13-3
NY Jets 12-4
Miami 6-10
Buffalo 4-12

It hurts to give these two shrinking violets a 25-7 record, but the talent levels are just that high, and the lockout madness year is going to skew heavily towards teams that know their identity already. The Jets are going to continue to be the second choice here from just not having the QB necessary for top-shelf excellence, but this is the kind of race where drafting on the leader might be the better play. Count on a more run-heavy approach for the Pats than past years, and the bottom of the division to be as irrelevant as always.

AFC North

Pittsburgh 11-5
Baltimore 10-6
Cleveland 8-8
Cincinnati 3-13

The repeat rivalry happens in the North, where the teams mirror each other with the same weakness at QB keeping the second team back. Watch out for Cleveland to sneak in and make some trouble here, as QB Colt McCoy understands his limitations and works well in a system, and the defense is starting to show some teeth. Cincy might be the worst team in the entire league, let alone the division.

AFC South

Houston 11-5
Indianapolis 8-8
Jacksonville 7-9
Tennessee 6-10

Congrats, Houston: the division is finally yours with Peyton Manning turning 35 and brittle, and the rest of the Colts turning paper-thin. Too bad you will be the 2011 equivalent of the Falcons: an untested playoff entity that wilts in the spotlight. Jacksonville is always closer to .500 than you'd expect, and the Titans might surprise in the first year post-Jeff Fisher, but the QB/WR issues are still going to hold them back.

AFC West

San Diego 11-5
Denver 7-9
Kansas City 6-10
Oakland 5-11

Speaking of paper champs, look no further than the Chargers, who benefit from being the only competent folks in a clown college, and will host and lose a playoff game due to their pressure-free defense, weak running game and meh special teams. People will blame Norv Turner, but it's really management that's to blame. Denver will challenge under John Fox but not have the defense, and the bottom of this division is competitive but not intelligent.

NFC Wild Cards: Atlanta and Detroit
AFC Wild Cards: NY Jets and Baltimore

Wild Card Weekend (yes, this is three out of four road teams winning)
Philadelphia beats Detroit, Atlanta beats St. Louis, Jets beat San Diego, Baltimore beats Houston

Divisional Playoffs:
Eagles beat Saints, Packers beat Atlanta, Patriots beat Baltimore, Jets beat Steelers

Conference Championships:
Packers beat Eagles, Jets beat Patriots

Super Bowl
Packers beat Jets

NFC MVP - Drew Brees
AFC MVP - Tom Brady
NFC Rookie of the Year - Julio Jones
AFC Rookie of the Year - Greg Little
NFC Defensive Player of the Year - Clay Matthews
AFC Defensive Player of the Year - Darrelle Revis
NFC Coach of the Year - Jim Schwartz
AFC Coach of the Year - Gary Kubiak

Fire away with your own in the comments, but remember... the Internet is forever!

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