Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Road to the Superbowl (NFC)

Second part of my NFL  preview just before tonights big game: Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants. Please comment on what you think of my predictions to the forthcoming season.

NFC North:

Green Bay Packers:
Green Bay, alongwith New England, will the Superbowl favourites this year. This year will be no different than last year, the signing of Cedric Benson will help alleviate any pressure on Aaraon Rodgers to help the offense cause more mayhem for their opponents this season. The defense will be a lot better than what it was last year but I don't see the packers going 15-1 or better again.
My prediction ~ 13-3 (1st in NFC North)

Detroit Lions:
An improved defense means that the Lions will look to have a run at play offs this year and it is possible. Their passing-attack set up looks very effective, however, they can't just rely on that I think their passing game may be a struggle I do fancy their chances to get back to the post-season play offs, however, they will need to show significant improvements after being out-classed by the Saints last season.
My prediction ~ 8-8 (Tied 2nd in NFC North)

Chicago Bears:
I saw the Bears play Tampa Bay last year at Wembley for the International Series, and they outclassed that young side. With the return of Jay Cutler, it should provide an immediate impact to their season and if he stays healthy, they will have a chance at the play-offs.
My prediction ~ 8-8 (Tied 2nd in NFC North)

Minnesota Vikings:
Minnesota are the clear underdogs in such a strong division,  I don't see them getting further than the regular season knowing how well Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago play. Also, witht he much stiffer schedule compared to their 3 counterparts, I don't see them troubling. They tend to lack talent across the field which will be their downfall, especially on their defensive side.
My prediction ~ 3-13 (4th in NFC North)

NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons:
The Falcons have been on the cusp of success for a number of seasons but two recent humiliating defeats in the play-offs by the eventual Super Bowl winners certainly left a bitter taste in the mouth. The defense will be the main question mark, to see if it can handle th best offesive lines in the NFL this season in their schedule. I believe they can get to the play offs, however like the Lions that I mentioned before, will need to perform alot better.
My prediction ~ 9-7 (2nd in NFC South)

Carolina Panthers:
The Panthers pinned their hopes last year on top draft pick Cam Newton to be their quarterback of the future and he proceeded to smash all sorts of rookie records at the position. He showed tremendous ability to make plays with his feet (14 RTDs) but gradually learnt to remain more patient in the pocket and he can only improve further with a full pre-season under his belt. If the defense can recover from a speight of in juries to key personnel last season then there is every chance they can edge towards a better record still - but the playoffs could be just out of reach for another season.
My prediction ~ 6-10 (4th in NFC South)

New Orleans Saints:
The Saints still have Drew Brees at the helm after his contract situation was sorted out to the tune of $100m and his experience and leadership is going to be even more invaluable if they are going to enjoy another trip to the post-season. Brees set the new single-season record for passing yards and that is going to be a tough act to follow but his passing game remains his team's best way to win games. Brees has an array of talent at his disposal offensive-wise. The saints will be a play-off favourite for this season, depending on how healthy and powerful they can still be post-season.
My prediction ~ 12-4 (1st in NFC South)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
It is all change this season in Tampa after last season's shambles which saw them lose their final 10 games with head coach Raheem Morris axed. QB Josh Freeman still looks a strong prospect for the future with such a youthful team now, after a bad season last year with 16 TD's compared to 22 Interceptions, he will look to improve this season.
My prediction ~ 7-9 (3rd in NFC South)

NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys:
There is pressure on the management of the Cowboys this year to reach the play-offs this season. The early part of the schedule is unforgiving and the preseason injuries won't allow continuity to set in until it's too late. It is also a pivotal year for quarterback Tony Romo, who will have the dangerous receiving duo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to throw to. DeMarco Murray will look to carry over the momentum from his spectacular rookie year, while star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware will once again lead the defence.
My prediction ~ 8-8 (3rd in NFC East)

New York Giants:
No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the 2004 season, but the Giants will feel they are well equipped to end that run. The Giants are a team with pedigree and stability and must be considered one of the favourites to win it all again. They do have a relatively difficult second-half of the season, if they can get through that without too much complacency and injuries, then the Giants will look to be division champs this year.
My prediction ~ 10-6 (2nd in NFC East)

Philadelphia Eagles:
As an Eagles fan, I was disappointed with our flop of a 'Dream Team' last season missing out on the play-offs, but I'm very excited at the prospects to the forthcoming season with a successful unbeaten streak in pre-season. Michael Vick will look to improve on last years performance, with LeSean McCoy providing another sublime running performance, they have speed in all areas of the offense and certain players in the defense int he event of an interception.
My prediction ~ 11-5 (1st in NFC East)

Washington Redskins:
With new signing Robert  Griffin III, I don't see the Redskins heading to the post-season with a rookie, but he shows to be a future prospect with the Redskins threatening the playoff spots within the next 2/3 years. Griffin's ability to make plays with his legs as well as his arm is sure to provide plenty of excitement for their fans, who have not seen their team qualify for the play-offs since 2007. They have a difficult schedule comparing to Philly, NY  & Dallas. But this season will show what the prospect is for this team for the near future.
My prediction ~ 6-10 (4th in NFC East)

NFC West:

Arizona Cardinals:
The quarterback dilemma will play a major role in determining the success of the Cardinals. With a strong defense, they have a great chance at making a play at the pla-offs, they do have the potential to sneak past the 49ers and the Sseahawks for the division title, however, this will only happen if they play PERFECT in the important games. If Kevin Kolb is fit enough to be a starter after a footinjury and concussion suffered from last year, thereis potential for the Cradinals if they utilise it.
My prediction ~ 8-8 (2nd in NFC West)

San Francisco 49ers:
Jim Harbaugh quickly transformed the 49ers into a heavyweight behind a defense that bludgeons opponents with tenacity and physicality. If Alex Smith can get the offense to score a few more points in big games, it is hard to pick against the 49ers as the team to beat in the NFC. With talented receivers, and a superbowl-calibre defense - the 49ers will be a deadly team to come up against in the post-season.
My prediction ~ 13-3 (1st in NFC West)

Seattle Seahawks:
Pete Carroll’s decision at quarterback could make or break the Seahawks’ chances at the postseason. The Seahawks need to significantly improve their passing game from last year if they want to be in with a chance of getting into the playoffs, by defeating their main rivals in their division and hang on to their main opposition in the regular season then it's very likely to get a berth in the post-season. The offense will be another weakness, I don't see many weapons that can breakthrough for the Seahawks and that could make an impact later on.
My prediction ~ 7-9 (3rd in NFC West)

St. Louis Rams:
The new coach of the Rams does face an uphill task in rebuilding the Rams to a Superbowl-calibre team and winning on a more consistent basis, but like any rebuild project in the NFL it takes longer than 1 season to make it a success, so it's still learning curves for the Rams this season to maximise their future potential. If Sam Bradford is fully fit and the defense does better than average in the key games, then they could be an unsuspecting package and cause trouble for other teams.
My prediction ~ 5-11 (4th in NFC West)