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    Don's Crystal Ball 2012 Season Predictions



    2012 SEASON PREDICTIONS

    By TheDon
    Analyst/Godfather
    Staff Writer for http://www.cowboysaddicts.com

    CONGRATS TO THE 2011 DON’S PREDICTION LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

    *** Sparty from detroitlionsforum.com ***
    *** BrrsColts from coltfreaks.com ***

    Preseason is finally over. We had to endure four weeks of the idiocy of replacement referees and for the looks of it, because of the foolishness of both the NFL and the NFLRA, it now looks we'll have to bite our tongues for at least one more week, unbelievable! Last year I predicted seven out of the 12 teams that made the playoffs. I correctly predicted five exact team records and came close by one game to another eight teams. My biggest mistakes came in not believing in Tebow! To be fair nobody did. Thinking Cincinnati couldn't rely in their young offense, inside the though NFC North and not trusting Jim Harbaugh could turn the 49ers franchise in year one.

    Now to the good part, not only I was right in predicting that Peyton Manning will not play and lose his consecutive starting streak but also predicted the Indianapolis Colts would miss the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and with that, allowing the Houston Texans their first Division championship in the history of the franchise.

    Some Quick Hits to get us started.
    • For the Past 16 years at least four new teams have got into the playoffs each year. For the past seven, at least five new teams have got into the playoffs. Last year we had six new teams
    • For the past 12 years at least two teams with losing records the prior year has made the playoffs. Last year five teams did it (Cincinnati, Houston, Denver, Detroit and San Francisco)
    • Since 1986 only seven teams have been able to go back and play in a Super Bowl. Since 2000 only one team has done it. This Trend Continues
    • Since 2001 only one NFC champion has been to a Super Bowl twice -The New York Giants. In the same time only four AFC teams have reached the Super Bowl. This Trend Continues
    • Next to the 2011 Record you’ll see "correct " for all the records I got right from last year’s projection.


    AFC EAST
    BUFFALO BILLS
    2011 Record: 6-10
    2012 Projection: 11-5 (wildcard)
    Key 2012 matchups: @NYJ,@SF,TEN,@HOU,@NE, NYJ

    Last year the Buffalo Bills started strong, surprising many with a 5-2 start and early looked like a team that could push for a playoffs spot. Just to fade away, on the second part of the season and finish 1-8 the rest of the way. Chan Gailey has made the right moves this offseason, starting with switching the team to a 4-3 base scheme. One that's more suited to their personnel and also going after the number one free agent on defense in Mario Williams. The Bills focused in fixing their two biggest issues this offseason defense getting guys like Williams and Mark Anderson to help improve the pass rush and drafting Stephon Gilmore to upgrade the secondary. They also focused in their other big need and that was improving the offensive line by drafting Georgia's Cordy Glenn. This is a young team heading into the right direction, that could surprise many this season, maybe even this time, they do get to sneak into the postseason.


    MIAMI DOLPHINS
    2011 Record: 6-10
    2012 Projection: 4-12
    Key 2012 matchups: @HOU, @NYJ, TEN, @BUF, NE, @SF

    We all know that at the end of this season, the best thing we will remember about the 2012 Miami Dolphins will be Hard Knocks. John Philbin was brought to rebuild this team and put some order into it. I personally don't feel he will succeed at it, he strikes me as the typical coach that has been a coordinator way too long, time will tell. I felt that the Ryan Tannehill was forced, but I've been surprised of what I've seen this preseason. This kid needs time to develop but could turn up nice if he doesn't get rattle by the early start. This team is changing their personality, starting with moving back to a 4-3 defense and with that saying goodbye to Bill Parcell's way. Is no secret that they have problems in the offense especially at wide receiver and offensive line but that defense will win them some games? Still don't expect too much from them this year.

    NEW ENGLAND
    2011 Record: 13-3
    2012 Projection: 14-2 (1st Place Home Field Advantage)
    Key 2012 matchups: @BAL, @BUF, DEN, @NYJ, HOU, SF

    I don't get how Bill Belichick does it every year, I'm pretty sure he either has a deal with the Devil. You got a team that not only every year has multiple picks in the top rounds of the draft but for some reason top draft prospects fall to them. Take this draft for example Chandler Jones (1st), Dont'a Hightower (1st) Tavon Wilson (2nd) and Alfonzo Dennard (7th). If that wasn't enough, even if everybody knows almost who's going to play who each year. The Patriots find a way not only making it to the playoffs each year but have a low strength of schedule. This year they got the easiest schedule based on last year results, .453 winning percentage and will only face four teams that made the playoffs last year.

    If you look at their draft, you can easily see Bill Bellichick knows his defense let him down and was the reason he doesn't have a fourth Lombardi Trophy. The Patriots went all on defense in their draft, trying to fix the pas rushing and coverage that hurt them. Looking at their draft, free agency moves like Brandon Lloyd and schedule it's pretty easy to say that we will see this team again playing in January.

    NEW YORK JETS
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: @PIT, SF, HOU, @NE, @TEN, @BUF

    The Rex Ryan honeymoon period is apparently over with the Jets. It became pretty clear once the team had a complete locker room breakdown late last season. For Ryan who considers himself a player’s coach, to completely lose control of his team was a sign that the "Rah-Rah" and "It's my entire fault" speeches didn't work anymore and the team needed a change. Ryan has shut up this season and stopped with the silly predictions and focused on the team. I don't like the Tim Tebow trade because it comes with the whole entourage of media coverage that this team didn't need. The addition of Aaron Maybin last year was a good one and he looks better this year and the drafting of Quinton Coples should improve this team biggest issue on defense which was the pass rush. The biggest problem of this team and what ultimately will be the downfall of this team is the offense. When you need to bring a player, to help with trick plays just to score or move the ball, you know you're going to have a rough year.


    AFC NORTH
    BALTIMORE RAVENS
    2011 Record: 12-4 Correct
    2012 Projection: 13-3 (3rd Place)
    Key 2012 matchups: @PHI, NE, @KC, DAL, @HOU, @PIT, NYG

    The Baltimore Ravens were one dropped touchdown pass or, a miss chip shot field goal away of making it into their second Super Bowl. This is a very complete team with not many big holes. Their biggest concerns are the age of some of their key defensive players and the loss of Terrell Suggs for at least half the season. I believe Joe Flacco will succeed in the new hurry-up offense or "sugar" huddle like they call it, will help him take better decision and see what the defense is giving to them. They have a tough schedule, playing nine games against teams that made the playoffs last year and also facing improved opponents like the Eagles, Cowboys and Chiefs. It's going to be a grueling season but, expect this team to play in January.

    CINCINNATI BENGALS
    2011 Record: 9-7
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: @BAL, NYG, @SD, DAL, PHI, @PIT

    For the second year in a row I believe the Bengals had one of the best drafts in the NFL. This team is rebuilding the right way finding good young talent to lay the foundation for the next decade. BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn't look good as the limited time he saw this preseason. The Bengals need him to take a larger role to take pressure off Andy Dalton. Their defense is much underrated for a unit that finished in the top ten inside the run. I'm worried about how the offense closed the season, going 3-5 in their final eight games and their only wins came against bad teams. I don't know if this team will get back into the playoffs this season, their final five games could determine their whole season but, they sure look like they will be competitive.

    CLEVELAND BROWNS
    2011 Record: 4-12
    2012 Projection: 3-13
    Key 2012 matchups: @CIN, @BAL, @NYG, @DAL, PIT, KC

    Only in the National Football League, can an owner destroy their franchise for 12 years, not even do a real job of making it a successful team and still make a profit on the sale. This is a team that has been rebuilding since they were welcomed back to the NFL. I like their move in going after Trent Richardson but felt they made a huge reach on a 28 year old rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden. This is going to be another rough year for Browns fans but with new Ownership, new hope should come on the future of this team.

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS
    2011 Record: 12-4
    2012 Projection: 10-6 (wildcard)
    Key 2012 matchups: @DEN, PHI, @TEN, @NYG, @BAL, @DAL

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a pretty rough offseason. Rashard Mendenhall will miss the start of the season; they went after two top offensive linemen in the first two rounds of the draft, to fix their offensive line but, Mike Adams hasn't looked good and David DeCastro suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) and could be sidelined at least halfway through the season. Their defense is getting old and Mike Wallace hold out didn't help. For a team characterized by tradition and stability, this hasn't been a good offseason.

    AFC SOUTH
    HOUSTON TEXANS
    2011 Record: 10-6
    2012 Projection: 13-3 (2nd Place, bye week)
    Key 2012 matchups: @DEN, GB, BAL, @CHI, @DET, @NE

    One of my surprise teams picks of 2011. This team finally reached their potential, after being in the shadows of the Indianapolis Colts for many years. Injuries cost this team a shot at the big game but I expect them to be one of the contenders for the Super Bowl this year. This team has one of the premier defenses in the league, like I predicted last year free agent pickup Jonathan Joseph and draft picks J.J Watt and Brooks Reed would make a big impact on this defense. If we add this year first round pick Whitney Marcilus this unit has gotten scarier. Their offense is a beast starting with the number one running back in the league; if this team can stay healthy few teams will match them.

    INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
    2011 Record: 2-14
    2012 Projection: 2-14
    Key 2012 matchups: MIN, CLE, @JAX

    I don't know how a franchise get so lucky, to have one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game for 13 seasons, them have a bad season exactly the same year the next best expected quarterback is going to get drafted, unbelievable. Andrew Luck looks like a sure thing out there. Look if someone expects this team to pull a surprise from worst to best season this year, they're begin delusional. This team is going through a complete overhaul. Defense is old and changing schemes, most of the offensive weapons have left. This team is rebuilding, but it's also doing it at the right time. Think how different the Colts looked from Peyton Manning year one to year two. The Key games for this season are against the teams they will most likely be competing, for one of the top spots at the 2013 draft.

    JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
    2011 Record: 5-11
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: CHI, @GB, DET, @HOU, NYJ, NE

    The first year of Mike Mularkey tenure started with some bumps, not only top free agent acquisition Laurent Robinson has had a rough, almost nonexistent preseason but, Maurice Jones-Drew holdout that lasted until this past Sunday, will most likely have this team struggle early in the season. On the bright side Blaine Gabbert showed a better pocket presence and first round top pick, Justin Blackmon looks like the number one receiver on the team. The addition of Aaron Ross will help the secondary and second round draft pick Andre Branch will add up to the pass rush. This team doesn't look like one that could contend for the playoffs, but they're improving.

    TENNESSEE TITANS
    2011 Record: 9-7
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: NE, DET, @HOU, PIT, CHI, @GB

    The Jake Locker era starts this week. It's a move the Titans needed to make or else why they even bother drafting the kid last year. Chris Johnson the biggest weapon this team has still hasn't look like the young version of himself, which will hurt this team chances if it doesn't get fixed. Their defense is still their bread and butter; even with the departure of Cortland Finnegan and Jason Jones expect this unit to pull their weight. I haven't seen enough of Locker to feel confident he could lead this team in his first year as a starter, so expect this team to struggle.

    AFC WEST
    DENVER BRONCOS
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: PIT,@ATL, HOU, @NE, NO, @BAL

    I stated this before, I don't believe or expect Peyton Manning to ever be the same quarterback he was coming back from his injury. At the same time I don't believe he needs to be, for this team to have a successful year. This team made it to the playoffs last year based on a killer defense and some what just happened moment from Tim Tebow. Manning has shown trouble throwing at the right sight and don't know how much he can put on the deep ball anymore still, 50% of Manning is ten times better than 100% of Tebow. I don't know if this team could make the playoffs in another division but I like their chances in the west. My biggest concern is can Manning last the full season. If he can survive the first three games of the season fans could feel optimistic.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
    2011 Record: 7-9 Correct
    2012 Projection: 9-7 (4th Place)
    Key 2012 matchups: ATL, @BUF, @NO, BAL, @PIT, @DEN

    The 2011 season for the Chiefs was hampered by injuries and disagreements with former head coach Todd Haley and general manager Scott Pioli. With the replacement of Haley for former defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs expect this team can reach its full potential this season. They spent their offseason fortifying a weak offensive line, they signed Eric Winston and drafting Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson in the second and third round respectively. First round pick Dontari Poe will solidify the nose tackle position and getting a healthy Eric Berry, Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, could launch this team back into the playoffs. Denver and Kansas City could eventually be playing for that playoff spot in week 17.

    OAKLAND RAIDERS
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection: 2-14
    Key 2012 matchups: PIT, @DEN, @ATL, KC, @BAL, NO

    I said it last year that the Raiders overpaid for Carson Palmer, if the preseason is a sign of things to come, I say they got robbed. I liked the move Mark Davis (Al's son) did on hiring long-time Packers personnel man Reggie McKenzie as the new general manager. It was weird to see an Oakland draft where players were picked based on talent and not speed. Even more impressive was his strong decision of releasing both of last year disappointing defensive backs DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa drafted solely for their 40's speed. Shows you that he not only has control of this team but isn't afraid of making the tough calls. This team is not rebuilding but completely changing the whole mentality of the organization. Don't expect a lot of this team this season but, be confident they're headed into the right direction.

    SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: ATL, @KC, @NO, @DEN, BAL, @PIT

    This team is a shell, of the highly talented team that everyone expected should win a Super Bowl a few years ago. The Loss of both Marcus McNeil and Kris Dielman to career ending injuries has hurt what once was a really strong offensive line. The injuries of Ryan Mathews and Vincent Brown during the preseason will further affect this team in first half of the season. They did a good job during the draft on trying to improve the defense that was the worst in the NFL on third downs. Taking Melvin Ingram (love this pick), Kendall Reyes and Brandon Taylor with their first three picks, should improve the unit. I don't expect team president Dean Spanos show a second vote of confidence after the Chargers miss the offseason again this year.
    Last edited by DonCanabis; 09-06-2012 at 11:33 AM.

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    NFC EAST
    DALLAS COWBOYS
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection: 10-6 (wildcard)
    Key 2012 matchups: @NYG,@BAL,@ATL, @PHI, PIT, NO

    I really like what I've seen of the Cowboys this offseason; they went after and made the moves needed to content in their own division. The coaching staff has it right; the first step towards the playoffs is winning your own division. The biggest problem last year for the Cowboys wasn't Tony Romo, it was their defense. That unit couldn't stop anybody and ended up giving away leads late in the game. A full offseason with Rob Ryan and the new addition on defense should help change that. I especially like the change of mentality of the players in this team, where you used to see superstars you now see players fed up and wanting to prove something to them.

    A crazy run of preseason injuries, the type that can linger all season and one of the toughest schedules in the league, could end up costing this team a chance to get into the post season. That shouldn't be looked as failure; this team is headed into the right direction.

    NEW YORK GIANTS
    2011 Record: 9-7
    2012 Projection: 11-5 (4th place)
    Key 2012 matchups: DAL, @PHI, @SF, PIT, GB, NO, @BAL

    The New York Giants started 11-1 the year after they won the Super Bowl, until Plaxico Burres decided to shoot himself in the leg and their season changed after that. That should tell everyone that they don't suffer from the Championship slump. Overall the Giants used the offseason to replace the players they lost during free agency and trying to maintain the team intact. I wish they would have put more effort in upgrading their offensive line. Injuries has hampered this team again during preseason losing several starters on defense at least for a few weeks but, what this team showed everybody last year is that they can overcome them and come on top. The core group of this team still is intact and that's the quarterback, wide receivers and pass rushers if those units stay good this team will find ways to win. What could put this team out of the playoffs is the final six games of the season after their bye when the face Green Bay, Washington, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia. I don't know if there's a team with a tougher finish to their schedule.

    PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection 9-7
    Key 2012 matchups: @ATL, CHI, @NYG, NE, NYJ,@DAL

    Last year I, like many people made fun of Juan Castillo's Wide-9 defense. Not many people are making fun this year. With an offseason and some key additions to that defensive line, Castillo's defense looked very tough to handle by the offensive lines that faced them. This team is filled with talent in both sides of the field, but I believe it will come up short once again. There are two reasons for this; the first one is I don't believe Michael Vick can survive one season healthy and with that the offense will suffer. The second is that I feel that the Andy Reid - Jeffrey Lurie relationship is heading into an ugly divorce. Its clear Reid has lost the faith of the owner and the players will follow. Also I don't believe he has the energy or desire to continue to do this after the death of his son.

    Washington Redskins
    2011 Record: 5 -11 Correct
    2011 Record: 6-10
    Key 2012 matchups: @NO, ATL,@NYG,@PIT, @DAL, BAL

    Even though, I'm not one of the people that believe that Robert Griffin III is the next best quarterback to enter the NFL, I do believe the Washington did the right move, in going after him. This team has been hampered for way too many years, by not having a true franchise quarterback. The Redskins needed to take the risk, will it work out? It’s too soon to tell. What they couldn't continue to do is try to win it all with second tier players, leading this team. The age of bus driver’s type QB's has died, when you have players, breaking scoring and passing records each year. The NFL has evolved, it was time the Redskins did to.

    NFC NORTH
    CHICAGO BEARS
    2011 Record: 8-8 Correct
    2012 Projection: 10-6 (wildcard)
    Key 2012 matchups: @GB, @DAL, DET, HOU, @SF, @DET

    At midpoint of the season last year, the Chicago Bears looked like the team that would head into the playoffs as the Detroit Lions momentum started to fade. Losing the starting quarterback and running back killed those post season dreams. After this offseason and both injured players returning I believe this team will be heading back to the postseason this year. The trade of Brandon Marshall was a great move by the new general manager. I wish they would have used one draft pick, to upgrade that offensive line but, they seemed to believe in the one they already have. The two games against the Lions could very well determine which team will end up in the post season.

    DETROIT LIONS
    2011 Record: 10-6
    2012 Projection: 9-7
    Key 2012 matchups: @SF, @PHI, @CHI, HOU, @GB, CHI

    The Lions were my second surprise team of last year, they didn't disappoint. Where they have, is in what they have done since they started to be successful. For a team that had been a major disappointment for many years, to come out with so much arrogance and sense of entitlement, has me believing they're headed into a second year slump. The locker room is a mess, the coach has no control over the team, many people will be surprise when this team flops this year, but not me. Frankly this is what the team needs; get their feet back into the ground so they can put their talent into proper use.

    GREEN BAY PACKERS
    2011 Record: 15-1
    2012 Projection: 14-2 (1st Place Home Field Advantage)
    Key 2012 matchups: SF, NO, @HOU, @DET, @NYG, @CHI

    Green Bay started to believe nobody could beat them way too soon last year and that made them complacent. This team had to struggle to win their Super Bowl two years ago. Last year, wins were coming just way too easy. This offseason, they went out and focused on fixing their biggest problem, their defense. Using their first six picks of the draft on that unit and getting the pass rushing help they needed, so Clay Matthews doesn't have to do it all. This team looked stacked and like the team to beat once again. Let's see if it doesn't end in another maybe.

    MINNESOTA VIKINGS
    2011 Record: 3-13
    2012 Projection: 2-14
    Key 2012 matchups: SF,@DET, @SEA, @CHI,@GB, @HOU

    It's going to be another long season for the Purple Menace. I liked their offseason moves and draft picks starting with their first two. Still, anybody that doesn’t think this team is rebuilding, is just kidding themselves. This team just got old at both sides of the line. They placed their faith in what I believe was a huge reach last years, Christian Ponder. Adrian Peterson still, isn't ready and again if anybody expects a monster season from him after the injury he had late last year, then they are just delusional.

    NFC SOUTH

    ATLANTA FALCONS
    2011 Record: 10-6
    2012 Projection: 12-4 (3rd place)
    Key 2012 matchups: @PHI, DAL, @NO, @CAR, NYG, @DET

    Atlanta has a very favored start of the season, not only their first six games are winnable but, they don't have two away games stacked together the whole year. They took care of the offensive line in the draft. The reasons they couldn't score in their playoff game against the Giants last year. Julio Jones is entering his second season and it's looking like he's going to be worth the ransom the Falcons played to get him last year. Matt Ryan has always been good at home and with this schedule I expect this team to earn a home field game in the playoffs and with that get Ryan his first playoffs win.

    CAROLINA PANTHERS
    2011 Record: 6-10
    2012 Projection: 8-8
    Key 2012 matchups: NO, NYG, @ATL, @PHI, @KC, @NO

    Year two of Cam Newton and everyone is wondering, will he do it again. The Carolina Panthers became last year the most exciting 6-10 team in the history of the NFL. Never before, has a losing team gather so much national attention from the media and fans. For the looks at how the offense was putting points last year, you would believe they were heading for the Super Bowl. Sadly for the first time in the history of this franchise, it was the defense that let them down. That's why they went out and drafted Luke Kuechly and with the return of Jon Beason this unit can return to their glory days. Don't look now but this team can end up surprising some teams and maybe even make the playoffs.

    NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
    2011 Record: 13-3 Correct
    2012 Projection: 9-7
    Key 2012 matchups: @GB, @DEN,PHI, SF, @ATL, @NYG

    Some people are trying to downplay the whole bountygate and say it won't affect the season, I disagree. There's no way that all this media attention, constant questioning and uncertainty hasn't caused a distraction inside the locker room. The players and coach of the week can try to downplay it to the media but the reality is that while other teams have been focusing in getting prepared for the season, the Saints have been answering questions. They still have a great team and will win several games, but to expect a playoffs run or even worse, to be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium it's just unrealistic.


    TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
    2011 Record: 4-12
    2012 Projection: 8-8
    Key 2012 matchups: @NYG, @DAL, CAR, ATL, PHI, @NO

    I liked the signing of Greg Schiano as the head coach of this team, to help put back order and structure to this unit. Not every college coach ends of making it in the NFL but I believe Schaino will eventually be the exception to the rule. The Buccaneers didn't stop there; they brought highly sought free agents like Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks. They moved in the draft to get safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin in the first round. This team is headed in the right direction but, it may be too much to expect something big this year inside this division.

    NFC WEST
    ARIZONA CARDINALS
    2011 Record: 8-8
    2012 Projection: 1-15
    Key 2012 matchups: Get the 1st overall pick in 2013

    I shouldn't be required to write about this team. I'm being truthful here, if they don't even bother putting out a decent team, why should we. The National Football League Player Association should stop their pursuits on the bounty case or the collusion case and should focus their efforts into the free Larry Fitzgerald campaign. They got no offensive line and no quarterback, to think this team played in a Super Bowl not so long ago, unbelievable.


    SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
    2011 Record: 13-3
    2012 Projection: 12-4 (2nd Place, bye week)
    Key 2012 matchups: @GB, @NYJ, NYG, @NO, @NE, @SEA

    This team surprised me last year. I didn't expect them to be so good, so soon. Their defense was completely dominant and aggressive, if they could only have above average quarterback they could have won it all last year. I'm not train to pile on Alex Smith but, when your head coach is looking for a better option at your position, during the offseason after you help take that team to the NFC Championship. You know he doesn't think you're part of the reason they got there but, part of the reason they didn't win it, even if he later deny it. I hate it their first round pick, it made everyone remember Al Davis for a second in the NFL Draft. This team is lucky they played in the NFC West. Don't look now but, their week 15 and 16 away matchups could end up costing this team the first round bye.

    SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
    2011 Record: 7-9
    2012 Projection: 7-9
    Key 2012 matchups: DAL, GB, @CAR, NE, @SF, @DET

    After a good preseason and a strong showing of rookie sensation Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks have suddenly become the flavor of the summer, the “don't count them out” team. I'm not that sold. They do have a strong defense and their offense looked good with the rookie but, it was preseason, let’s not forget that. The reasons why Seattle can stay competitive every year are two things; the first one, they play on the NFC West for crying out loud. The second one, they have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL, all teams have to travel across the country every time they have to play them. It’s that simple.

    ST. LOUIS RAMS
    2011 Record: 2-14
    2012 Projection: 5-11
    Key 2012 matchups: @DET,@CHI GB, NE, @SF, NYJ

    Jeff Fisher took over this offseason and so far I like what he has been doing. He noticed this team didn't need a quick fix but a complete overhaul. He went out there and milked that second overall pick on the draft and turned it into multiple picks for years to come. St. Louis knew one great player wasn't going to fix this team. They need as many great ones they can get. I don't expect much from this team, this season but, this will be a team to watch in the near future.

    AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
    Houston Texans vs New England Patriots

    NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
    Atlanta Falcons vs Green Bay Packers

    SUPER BOWL
    Houston Texans vs Green Bay Packers

    SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS
    Green Bay Packers
    Last edited by DonCanabis; 09-06-2012 at 11:34 AM.

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    Very interesting write up. I look forward to reading it in more detail (just had time to skim through.) You have Baltimore's 2012 record at 13-13 for 3rd place (in the conference?) Clearly a typo (I'm guessing 13-3). Honestly, I don't see the Ravens at 13 wins with the drop their D should take this year and the fact that Bert is their QB.

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    thxs yeah there were a few typos with the records, happens when you rush thing. I hope I took care them

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    Don's Crystal Ball Week 1 League Picks



    WEEK 1 LEAGUE PICKS

    By TheDon
    Analyst/Godfather
    Staff Writer for http://www.cowboysaddicts.com

    CONGRATS TO THE 2011 DON’S PREDICTION LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

    *** Sparty from detroitlionsforum.com ***
    *** BrrsColts from coltfreaks.com ***



    Quick Hits

    • Each year I look at teams that come out of nowhere and make either a deep run or make the playoffs. Last year I took Detroit, Houston and Arizona stating that at least 2 would make the playoffs. This year the teams I like are Buffalo, Kansas City and Dallas again I expect at least two of these teams to make it into the playoffs.
    • There are 3 other teams that I like but, don’t believe they would make the playoffs. It may be because of a tough division, schedule or just luck won’t fall their way when they need it. You might not think of them now but they might surprise you next year. Those teams are Carolina, Seattle and Denver.
    • For the past five seasons home teams average 10.2 wins on week 1. Last year, the line split, only eight teams beat the spread in week one.
    • Remember every year at least four new teams get into the post season. Which are the teams that are going to make it this year and which teams will fall short?
    • Since is week 1, expect several upsets. Jim Mora said it best "you think you know, but you don't know"
      [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]


    On to the games

    Dallas at New York Giants -4 Ovr/Und 46.5
    UPSET OF THE WEEK

    I know I'm not going with everyone's pick on this one. Hey since the NFL started doing the Kickoffs party with last year’s Super Bowl Champion hosting, the home team has gone 8-0. I know this stat; it's a very overpowering stat to go against it. The thing is, this isn't a regular kickoff game. There's way too much bad blood between these two team to let a stat affect it. There are question marks on both sides of the field. Preseason wasn't kind to these two teams, the Giants are starting the year without their starting cornerback for the second year in a row and they're also missing some key players in the defensive line. The Cowboys will be without two of their best players Jason Witten and Jay Ratliff and some of their starters are coming back from injuries that made the miss part, if not all preseason.

    This is going to be a hell of a match, both teams want it bad and they know how important this game will be for their season. From one side you have Hakeem Nicks wanting to play coming from a broken foot injury. From the other side you have Jason Witten telling the coaches and doctors today, that he will be willing to sign a waiver, so they can let him play. That's when the game goes from the paycheck to the backyard when pride and love of the game mattered.

    I might be crazy, but I'll go with the team that's been waiting for a rematch since December that saw the team that beat them get into the playoffs and win it all.

    Straight: DAL
    Spread: DAL
    Ovr/Und: UND


    Indianapolis at Chicago -9.5 Ovr/Und 42.5

    The Andrew Luck era begins this week. There's nothing better for a rookie that face a top five defense on your first official NFL game. That way all the confidence he built during the preseason can crash down quickly and they can start over afterwards. I really like the Bears this year if they can keep Jay Cutler and Matt Forte healthy. Take the Bears.


    Straight: CHI
    Spread: CHI
    Ovr/Und: Und

    Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs 2 Ovr/Und 42
    UPSET OF THE WEEK

    Atlanta is 0-2 the past two season when they started the season playing away from Georgia against though home teams. Matt Ryan may have one of the best home records in the NFL but, his away record is a little sketchy. Kansas City is healthy and I like their chances against the Falcons at home. Take the Chief at home with the upset.

    Straight: KC
    Spread: KC
    Ovr/Und: Und

    Philadelphia at Cleveland 8 Ovr/Und 41.5

    The Browns will be facing the eagles without their starting linebackers and their top pick coming back from injury, if he gets to play. It's week one of the season and Michael Vick is still healthy. I also like Juan Castillo's defense chances of making several turnovers against Cleveland's old rookie Brandon Weeden. Take the Eagles and the Over.

    Straight: PHI
    Spread: PHI
    Ovr/Und: Ovr

    Washington at New Orleans 9 Ovr/Und 50

    The Redskins sold the farm to get Robert Griffin III, this draft a move that I've said in the past they needed to make. I haven't been so impressed of RG3 so far as a quarterback, it's a reality that he can create plays with his feet but need he see him do more with his arm. I expect the Saints to put a spy on him and treat him like if they were facing Michael Vick. Expect a few big plays by the rookie being that's week one and there isn't much game tape on him yet. Still I would take the Saints.


    Straight: NO
    Spread: NO
    Ovr/Und: UND

    St. Louis at Detroit -8.5 Ovr/Und 47

    Some matches are just not fair! Let me explain this game for a second. In one side you have the most explosive wide receiver to come in the NFL in the past decade; in the other you have one of the worst secondaries. In one side you have one of the most feared defensive lines in the league led by Ndamukong Suh, in the other you have one of the worst lies in the league. I'll say it again; some matches are just not fair.

    Straight: DET
    Spread: DET
    Ovr/Und: OVR

    New England at Tennessee 6 Ovr/Und 48

    It's time to see how good the new Patriots defense looks this year after all the changes this offseason. Can this unit help Tom Brady its fourth ring? The Titans will start the year with some question marks in their offense. Is Jake Locker ready? Can Chris Jones go back to be the payer he was before he signed his contract extension. I say no to both.

    Straight:TEN
    Spread:TEN
    Ovr/Und:OVR

    Jacksonville at Minnesota - 4 Ovr/Und 38

    Man, this is going to be an ugly game. Both teams will start the season with their top player either on the bench or playing in a limited basis. That leaves two second year quarterbacks that didn't had a very successful debut last year in charge of moving the ball and putting some points on the board. You want to know who will be the MVP of this game. Third round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Punter, Bryan Anger. This kid will win the Jaguars the field advantage in a low scoring match.

    Straight: JAX
    Spread: JAX
    Ovr/Und: Und

    Buffalo at New York Jets -3 Ovr/Und 40.5
    I stated this on my Season Predictions article; "When you need to bring a player, to help with trick plays just to score, you know you're going to have a rough year" I said at the top of the article that I expect the Bills to be a surprise team this year and it starts with week 1. Quick question, if the New York Jets miss the playoffs for a second year in a row, will the fans ask for Mark Sanchez or Rex Ryan's head?

    Straight:BUF
    Spread:BUF
    Ovr/Und: UND

    Miami at Houston -11 Ovr/Und 43

    Funny, I thought "Hard Knocks" ended this week. Ryan Tannehill faces the number two defense in the NFL in his first start, good luck kid. Houston looked good in the preseason and ready to carry over what they did last year into this one. I don't expect any surprises on this one. The Texans play at home and are ready to go.

    Straight: HOU
    Spread: HOU
    Ovr/Und: OVR

    Seattle at Arizona -2.5 Ovr/Und 40.5

    It's time to see if Russell Wilson can continue the magic during the season. I said it last year, that the Kyle Kolb trade was one of the worst mistakes the Cardinals could had made. I still don't get how some people can be hired as general managers in the NFL when they sell the farm for backup quarterbacks and give them top starters contracts whit only just a few if any game experience, I don't get it. The Cardinals have no quarterback and no offensive line. Take the Seahawks.

    Straight: SEA
    Spread: SEA
    Ovr/Und: UND

    San Francisco at Green bay -5.5 Ovr/Und 45

    This could very well be the Championship game in January. What a game to start the season. Top five offense meet top five defense, now that's a match I like to see. San Francisco went after more weapons in the receiving game; problem is they kept Alex Smith. Green Bay went on and tried to fix the defense this offseason. If the San Francisco defense can keep the score low and get out of hand, they have a shot on this one, if they have to chase its game over. Take the Packers on this one.

    Straight: GB
    Spread: GB
    Ovr/Und: UND

    Carolina at Tampa Bay : 2.5 Ovr/Und 46.5

    I like what both teams did this offseason. In the case of Tampa Bay, Josh Freeman went out and got into shape, and the ownership brought top free agent to fix the team. They also made some key moves early in the draft to bring players that could help them right now. The Panthers went out too fixed their defensive problems, issues that cost them some games last year. This year I like the Panthers chances more than I like the Buccaneers still, keep an eye to the guys in Florida.

    Straight: CAR
    Spread: CAR
    Ovr/Und: OVR

    Pittsburgh at Denver: -1 Ovr/Und 44.5

    I'm not confident Manning can survive the season let alone, play at the high level needed to succeed. Still, is week one and those issues will probably be answered later on when the hits start to accumulate? Pittsburgh comes to the game with a patched up offensive line against a very good defense. I'll take the home team on this one.

    Straight: DEN
    Spread: DEN
    Ovr/Und: Und

    Cincinnati at Baltimore: -6 Ovr/Und 41.5

    I like both teams defense, they are aggressive, and hard hitting, the type of defense that wants to impose their will on the field. The difference I like Baltimore's offense more. Joe Flacco has looked good moving the ball, in this "sugar" no-huddle system. Their offense is more complete, while the Bengals offense relays on one play maker. Take Baltimore to win the game, but I do expect a close match.

    Straight: NE
    Spread: NE
    Ovr/Und: Ovr

    San Diego at Oakland: -1.5 Ovr/Und 48

    San Diego is coming into the game with many injuries that will limit their chance of scoring offensively. Good thing they're facing Carson Palmer, he will help out and put them in good positions to score. Oakland is going through big changes so expect some ugly loses this year if you're a Raiders fans. Take San Diego despite the injuries and the under.

    Straight: SD
    Spread: SD
    Ovr/Und: UND


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