The 2012 NFL season is finally here. The New York Giants, who are the reigning Super Bowl champions, play host to their hated rival, the Dallas Cowboys, on Wednesday, September 5. The game was moved from Thursday night to Wednesday night so that it did not conflict with President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
With the NFL season now upon us, it is time to predict which teams will win each division, who will win the Super Bowl and which players will win the major awards at the end of the season. Here goes.
AFC East: New England Patriots
Even though the Buffalo Bills have gotten stronger on paper, the AFC East has gotten weaker as a whole. This is New England’s division to lose.
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
As always, the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers will battle it out for the AFC North. The Ravens will take the division for the second year in a row.
AFC South: Houston Texans
Although the Tennessee Titans could be a threat, the Texans should be able to beat up on their own division and will be playing for a high seed in December.
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs
All of the offseason hoopla has been about Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Although Matt Cassel is probably the worst quarterback in the division, the Chiefs have the best overall team now that everyone is back healthy.
AFC Wildcards: Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers
The Steelers will fall a game or two short of the Ravens but still make the playoffs as a wildcard. The Chargers are one of two or three teams that will be fighting for that sixth seed.
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick is far too injury prone but the Eagles are the most talented team in the NFC East. The division could come down to a tiebreaker.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
The Packers are still the class of the NFC. The Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions are certainly formidable opponents in the division but the Bears may be without Brian Urlacher for extended periods of time this season and the Lions, like the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, look like they could take a step back.
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have the best overall team in the division and Matt Ryan does not lose at home…unless it is January.
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will be better and the 49ers will not dominate as much as they did last season. With that said, they will still be looking at the #2 or 3 seed when it is all said and done.
NFC Wildcards: New York Giants, New Orleans Saints
The Giants will probably make it tough on themselves at times which will lead to them finishing 10-6 or so and grabbing a wildcard spot instead of the division. The Saints have a lot of question marks but Drew Brees and company should be able to make the playoffs.
AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens def. Houston Texans
This season’s AFC Championship will be a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional game. The Ravens will take care of the Texans again.
NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers def. San Francisco 49ers
This will be about offense vs. defense with the Packers doing just enough to overcome the 49ers.
Super Bowl: Green Bay Packers def. Baltimore Ravens
I see this being similar to Super Bowl XLV where the Packers grab an early lead and the Ravens fight back like the Steelers did. Ultimately, Aaron Rodgers puts them over the top.
MVP: Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Offensive Player of the Year: Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Barron, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coach of the Year: Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the season!