60 random predictions for the 2012 NFL season

General NFL predictions:

(1) Michael Strahan’s sack record is going down… and very soon. It might be this year.  It might be next year.  But it’s happening.  The NFL is so pass happy, and offensive lines around the league are generally so terrible, and so many pass rushers in the league are so good that 22.5 sacks doesn’t stand a chance.  DeMarcus Ware is as good a candidate as anyone, maybe Jason Pierre-Paul, maybe Jason Babin… but there are about 10 guys out there that wouldn’t surprise me to see annihilate that record.

(2) With so many teams targeting personnel on D to defend against the pass, the Panthers’ rushing attack is going to pose major match-up problems for a lot of the teams they face.  DeAngelo Willimas, Jonathan Stewart, Cam Newton, and they added a player I love, FB Mike Tolbert, to the mix.  They squeak into the playoffs this year just ahead of the Falcons, who are perhaps the most overrated team in the league, in my opinion.

Combined age: 65

(3 and 4) The Bears suddenly have a really intriguing mix of skill position players with the additions of Brandon Marshall and a player that is a perfect mudder for their shitbag field, Michael Bush.  Combine those players with an interesting mix of guys with different skill sets in Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffrey, Earl Bennett, and the do-everything awesomeness of Matt Forte, and they may really have something there. Conversely, their 4 best defensive players are aging.

  • Julius Peppers is 32.
  • Brian Urlacher is 34, and recently had knee surgery… in Germany.
  • Lance Briggs will turn 32 in November.
  • Peanut Tillman is 31.

Last year, the Bears were 24th in yards on O, 17th in yards on D.  This year their O will be in the top 12, and their D in the bottom 12.

(5) Through 3 preseason games, the Jets have had 36 drives.  0 TDs.  I like their defense, but not so much that they can compensate for the disaster that is going to be their 2012 offensive “attack.”  They’ll be picking in the Top 10 of the 2013 NFL draft.  Bonus prediction: 2 starting QB changes this season, minimum.

(6) With the 1st pick of the 2013 draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

(7) I really, really like the Cardinals’ defense.  Calais Campbell is an incredible player, and they have some nice supporting pieces like Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Sam Acho, and Adrian Wilson.  It’s a very talented, under the radar defense.  But holy hell that offensive line is bad.  I spend inordinate amounts of time mentioning how bad the offensive lines for Giants, Cowboys and Redskins are, but they don’t hold a candle to the awfulness of that Cardinals group.  It doesn’t really matter who the QB is.  That team is doomed, despite so many other intriguing players up and down the roster.  Oh wait… I need an actual prediction.  Um… Cardinals finish last in the division?  No, they’re still better than the Rams.  How about… The Cardinals will… Gah, I got nothing.  How about just… Best of luck, Kolb and Skelton, whoever has to play behind that shitstorm.

(8) This is kind of a do-or-die season for the Ravens.  The left side of their OL:

  • Bryant McKinney: Turns 33 in September.
  • Bobbie Williams: Turns 36 in September.
  • Matt Birk: Turned 36 in July.

Yikes.  I still think they’ll be good on the strength of their defense.  However, a lot of people are saying that Joe Flacco is primed for a “breakout season.”  I’ve completely bought in that Flacco is a legitimately good NFL QB, but his “breakout season” is totally dependent on his OL not going into some sort of decline, which is inevitable at some point.  I’m banking on the Ravens’ OL playing poorly this season, despite the big names.

(9) I was tempted to put the Bills in the playoffs. Love their OL, love their RB, love their DL, love their safeties. Don’t love their QB. Sorry, Ryan.  After starting the season 5-2 last year, they finished 1-8.  They’ll be more consistent this year.  Thinking 8-8.  This team would make serious noise if they had a QB.  Prime candidate for a serious trade-up in the 2013 draft.

(10) Quick: Name me the NFL QB that will miss at least 4 games this season.  Let me guess who you picked… Michael Vick?  That’s fair.  However, I think there’s a candidate out there that is just as likely, if not more.  That would be Matthew Stafford, for the following reasons circled below:

Also, the Lions no have running game (the trend of having to pass a lot will continue) and they have the 2nd oldest offensive line in the NFL, behind only the aforementioned Ravens.  The difference is that the Lions’ OL isn’t as talented and aside from 1st round pick Riley Reiff, has nothing in the way of depth.  Stafford has one healthy season in 2011 and people completely forget that he has missed 19 games in his 3 year career. Some people think that predicting injuries is dumb.  I agree, but I’m going to do it anyway. My 5 most likely QBs to miss at least 4 games (of the QBs that matter) in the NFL:

  • 5. Matt Schaub
  • 4. Tony Romo
  • 3. Robert Griffin III
  • 2. Michael Vick
  • 1. Matthew Stafford

(11-24) Individual awards

The Saints will be just fine despite all the Bounty distractions.

  • MVP: Drew Brees
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Dumb award if the MVP is a player on O.  I’m not even picking one out of protest.
  • Defensive Player of the Year: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck, Colts
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Quinton Coples, Jets
  • NFC seeds: (1) Packers (2) Saints (3) Eagles (4) Niners (5) Giants (6) Panthers
  • Wildcard round: Eagles over Panthers, Giants over Niners
  • Divisional round: Saints over Eagles, Giants over Packers (again)
  • NFC Championship: Saints over Giants
  • AFC seeds: (1) Texans (2) Pats (3) Ravens (4) Chiefs (5) Steelers (6) Chargers
  • Wildcard round: Chargers over Ravens, Chiefs over Steelers
  • Divisional round: Texans over Chargers, Pats over Chiefs
  • AFC Championship: Texans over Pats
  • Super Bowl: Saints over Texans

NFC East

I think we’ll be seeing a lot of this in Year 1 with RG3.

(25) Robert Griffin III is going to have his great moments. However, if he starts all 16 games, he’ll be sacked 40+ times.

(26) Anthony Spencer will lead the league in edge-setting.

(27) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is going to have a monster season, statistically.  6+ picks.

(28) DeMarco Murray will get at least double the carries that Felix Jones will get, and for good reason.  Really good player.

(29) The Eagles’ DL backups (everyone not including Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Derek Landri, and Cullen Jenkins) will have more sacks than at least one entire team.

(30) The Giants are going to beat the Cowboys by at least 2 TDs in the opener.

(31) Someday David Wilson is going to be awesome, but he’s going to run for less than 650 yards in 2012.

(32) Five Redskins are going to rush for at least 200 yards.

(33) Jason Babin led the Eagles’ defensive linemen in snaps last year. He won’t be in the top 3 in 2012.

(34) I think King Dunlap has played well enough in the preseason and when he has gotten his sporadic opportunities to play in the regular season the last few years, but I think he’s in for a rough season this year as the starter.

Tyron Smith has a ton of talent… but I think he has a year or so before he really puts it all together.

(35) Tyron Smith’s switch to LT won’t be as smooth as most people seem to think it will.

(36) In the Giants’ last 8 games, they fumbled 7 times.  Didn’t lose any of them.  That kind of luck is unsustainable.

(37) Mike Jenkins is going to walk in free agency next year, and the Cowboys aren’t going to get squadoosh for him.  Even if he qualifies for a compensatory pick (and that’ll only happen if the Cowboys sign fewer players than they lose), who’s going to pay him bigtime money?  I don’t have the slightest clue how much Jenkins will even play this season.

(38) If Prince Amukamara can’t play Week 1, the great Michael Coe will start for the Giants.  Fortunately for him, he may not have to face Miles Austin, another Cowboy with some nagging injury issues.  It may be the long awaited match-up of Michael Coe vs. Kevin Ogletree.  Actually, if you look at the Giants’ schedule, they don’t have to worry about facing a team with two good WRs until they play Philly in Week 4.  They should be OK for the early part of the season if Amukamara can’t return right away.

(39) When you think of pass rushers around the NFC East, you think of the dominant DLs of the Eagles and Giants, and it’s hard not to think of DeMarcus Ware.  However, the Redskins are going to get to the QB quite a bit this year as well.  The Skins will be in the Top 10 in the NFL in sacks.

(40) Sean Lissemore and Josh Brent can be very good players… if Rob Ryan lets them play.  Lissemore will be starting by the end of the season at DE.

(41) The Redskins’ front 7 on D is going to be very good.  Their back end is going to be very bad.

(42) The Eagles are going to have at least 4 different starting LB combinations.

(43) I thought Perry Riley played well at the end of last season, but I was very unimpressed with him this preseason.  I’m not seeing a long-term answer there.

(44) Demetress Bell will not be an Eagle in 2013, and LT will be the position that every draftnik will have as their #1 need heading into 2013 free agency / draft.

(45) The Giants averaged 3.5 yards per carry in 2011, which was last in the league.  That’ll improve, but not by much.  They’ll still be sub-4.0.  That OL gets absolutely no push in the run game.

(46) This probably should have happened years ago, but I think that after this season, Cowboys fans really start to get on Jerry Jones to hire a real GM.

(47-60) Individual/team accomplishments (not that a number of these even exist)

  • NFC East MVP: Eli Manning, QB, Giants
  • NFC East MVP (defense): Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
  • NFC East OROY: Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins
  • NFC East DROY: Mychal Kendricks, LB, Eagles
  • NFC East Offensive “Where the hell did that guy come from?” award (not a starter last year, but a significant positive contributor in 2012): Niles Paul, TE/utility player, Redskins
  • NFC East Defensive “Where the hell did that guy come from?” award: Derek Landri, DT, Eagles
  • NFC East Offensive “What the hell happened to that guy?” award (for a the player experiencing a decline): I hate myself for typing this name, but… Evan Mathis, OG, Eagles
  • NFC East Defensive “What the hell happened to that guy?” award: I hate myself for typing this name, but… London Fletcher, ILB, Redskins
  • Giants Pro Bowlers: Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, JPP, Corey Webster, Kenny Phillips
  • Eagles Pro Bowlers: LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jason Kelce, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trent Cole
  • Cowboys Pro Bowlers: DeMarcus Ware, Brandon Carr, Sean Lee
  • Redskins Pro Bowlers: Trent Williams, Fred Davis, Brian Orakpo
  • NFC East standings: Eagles (11-5), Giants (10-6), Redskins (7-9), Cowboys (7-9)
  • Head coach firings: None

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38 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Thanks this post that is the best about football game.

  2. brisulph says:

    What qualifies him for this? Give some numbers.

    For me, I see him having a 800-1000 yard season, which looks like a severe drop off, but in reality I doubt he gets as near many long TDs as he did a year ago (I mean, the Eagles really helped him out in that regard), which will bring that total back down to earth.

  3. Matthew Butch says:

    My vote for NFC East Offensive “What the hell happened to that guy?” award: Victor Cruz.

    1. skinsaholic says:

      Seconded.

  4. NYG_slater says:

    fun read. thanks jimmy. Did you already write a piece reflecting on last years predictions, I’m not sure?

  5. immynimmy says:

    Haha, good. Not a big fan of a lot of these predictions.

  6. Trueblue63 says:

    Interesting that you have the Giants winning both MVP awards in the NFC East but only getting the Wild Card. Hedging your bets a little?

    1. …and I have the Giants going further in the playoffs, ha.

  7. Trueblue63 says:

    (36) Giants lost 8 of 18 fumbles last year. With rookies likely to get more offensive touches I wouldn’t be surprised to see both numbers go up, but the luck you suggest seems to be more timing than anything else.

  8. Todd B says:

    #42 include injury shuffling? I’ll take the under on this one if not including injuries.

  9. Jimmer says:

    If Kafka plays more than Foles no way the Eagles get a first round bye.

    Russell Wilson is not leading the Seahawks to a first round bye.

  10. Brian says:

    “Eagles Pro Bowlers:…Jason Kelce”

    I know everyone is loving Kelce so far this season, but he was really bad last year, like REALLY bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were looking for a Center in the draft next year…

    1. Dan says:

      Give me some of what you are smoking, that dank shit must be nice!

  11. youngwiz says:

    it makes me very happy that youre so low on the cowboys this year. ship it.

  12. ameero2 says:

    So this is why we saw two pro Cowboys posts in one week. lol

  13. Phillyboijr says:

    Miles Austin is playing Week 1.

    1. He says he is, but the Cowboys haven’t, to my knowledge.

  14. Dan in Philly says:

    Predictions:
    Kafka has more snaps than Files this year.
    McCoy misses 4 or more games with injuries.
    The Eagles D finishes in the top 3 in every significant statistical category.
    This does not diminish the calls for Juan’s head by some callers on WIP.
    Aided by poor turnover luck, the Packers miss the playoffs.
    Drew Brees misses half the season with a shoulder injury.
    Tony Romo has more passing yards than any other NFC QB by game 10, then plays very poorly on in.
    this is revealed to be due to injury after he guts out the rest of the season.
    The Eagles get a first round bye.
    So do the Seahawks.
    The Helment to Helment Show goes commercial and picks up Privitoes and PBR as sponsors, who pay in hogies and beer

  15. Bob says:

    How does Ware get DPOY and yet JPP gets NFC East defensive MVP?

    1. That, my friend, is an excellent question. I got nothing other than “I’m an idiot,” ha. I wrote this over the course of a week. Apparently one day I was loving Ware, and another I was loving JPP. Hedging my bet, maybe? I don’t know. Bad job by me.

      1. yehti says:

        gotta love honesty……good list

        1. Jimmy Kempski says:

          Ha, we’re all human. Always better to just admit when you screw up than defend something obviously wrong.

        2. Jimmy Kempski says:

          It’s like Cris Carter. He was naming his Top 5 WRs, and left out Calvin Johnson. And people went, “Uhhhh… What about Calvin Johnson, dude?”

          Cris had simply forgotten him, but instead of just going “D’oh… How ‘d I forget freaking Calvin Johnson,” and then maybe making a self-deprecating joke about taking too many shots to the head, he defended the position and made it 10x worse.

    2. Well, a person could be more valuable to their team and still be the inferior player. Ware could play better overall, but it could occur that the Cowboys pummel people and win games by 45 points a game. In this case, Ware would have played better, but JPP would be more important to the success of his team because the Giants won close games due to him forcing fumbles to end games.

  16. jacksaysfu says:

    Love the list , but I think Babin , Cole , Hunt , and Graham alll have a very good chance to be the NFC EAST Defensive POY . All 3 OL’s in the East are very suspect to say the least & JPP no longer has the element of surprise & with Tuck hurting & Osi (getting older/falling off a lil) JPP will receive many more double & triple teams . While the Eagles players are so deep many players will be able to dominate especially in 1 on 1 coverage . I also truly believe the Eagles take 12 or 13 wins & at the very least make it into the NFC Championship game , though I have them going to win the Super Bowl . Our 22starters is as good as any in the NFL & our “back-ups are the league’s best . Also with atrocious OL play within our division i say we easily go 5-1 again , possibly 6-0 Philly will be a #1 seed or #2 at the very least . This team is wayyyy more talented then the ’04 Super Bowl team & with a much improved DL , a much improved LB Corps , & an extra year year for a healthy B.G an emergingNnamdi ,DRC poised for possible breakout years , the BEST DL In Football & a much improved LB corps i believe we’ll at the very least have a top 5 D too go along with one of the leagues best Offensive teams . . This team is going VERY far , time to grab that Lombardi Philly year’s , this is our year . P.S Signed DRC & Maclin now . They’re both going to have career years so they need to be locked up now , so it don’t cause us a shit load of money next year . But very insightful list…. Any thoughts Jimmy ?
    ,best NFC East blogger/journalist ,awesome work.

    1. BBI says:

      Cole is older than Tuck, and Babin is older than Osi. Why would the Giants fall off and not the Eagles?

    2. Jalarsen says:

      Talent? Sure, but we had it last year. I agree we’re improved, but until we prove we can stop a team on 3rd down, or not allow them to sustain drives with penalties, or keep Vick in the game then we face a tough road. Our schedule is not easy, especially playing so many teams off their bye. We have the talent for 12-4, but we could just as easily go 9-7

  17. Evan Mathis will regress, but I think he’s been a solid player in the opportunities which he’s had in his career. I’m not sure I have a great replacement for the category though. Tyron Smith maybe? LeSean McCoy’s numbers go down, but I don’t think they nosedive either. Not sure.

  18. salas88 says:

    30) The Giants are going to beat the Cowboys by at least 2 TDs in the opener.

    really jimmy??? I predict 24-17 Dallas!

  19. carvermb says:

    I don’t think he’ll be near as bad as Free was last year, but it will be interesting to follow the reactions of Cowboys fans if/when Smith struggles this year. My Redskins have a mess up front, but I can’t help but feel like our line won’t be the worst in this division.

    I sure hope RG3 doesn’t miss that much time. I’d like to know what you’ve seen from Perry Riley that you’ve been unimpressed with so far.

    1. There were a few ugly plays, but the worst of the bunch was near the goal line against the Bears. It was a run play to Michael Bush, which Riley read well and went to make the tackle in the hole, but Bush made him completely whiff, and basically walked in for the score. Bush goes 6’1, 245. I can understand Bush breaking a tackle or something, but it was just a complete swing and a miss by Riley.

  20. KJ Brophy says:

    Is it going to be a surprise if Mathis falls off this year? I know for some reason some Eagles fans think he’s elite but I think playing next to Peters helped him a lot last year. I think he can still be good because of Mudd’s system but not as good as last year

    1. I didn’t mean for it to be a surprise… just noting a player I think could fall off.

  21. (26) Anthony Spencer will lead the league in edge-setting.

    Beautiful.

    (30) You better deliver on that one, I added a day to the week long stay in the US to attend the game.

    I have us at 9-7, no playoffs.

    1. Steven perdue says:

      #26 was great, I died. Love this site, man!

  22. thedtrain12 says:

    haven’t read them all, but Last year’s was fun, I forget how many did you get right?

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