After thinking about it, here are my predictions for the 2011 NFL season:
NFL Predictions 8-14-11
New England – Bill Belichick doesn’t rebuild, he reloads.
New York Jets – Losses in the WR corps and no upgrade to the pass rush.
Buffalo – Fitzpatrick seems to be a better QB than most scouts give him credit for.
Miami – Chad Henne is the starting QB. Enough said.
Pittsburgh – Joe Flacco just hasn’t made enough strides for the Ravens to catch up.
Baltimore – Even with Lee Evans and Ricky Williams, I don’t think they did enough to catch the Steelers.
Cleveland – They aren’t the Bengals.
Cincinnati – Unfortunately for the people of the Cincinnati, they are the Bengals.
Houston – Shift to 3-4 and emergence of Arian Foster should push them past the Colts.
Indianapolis – Not convinced that Manning is going to be anywhere near 100%.
Tennessee – CJ2K will not be enough to push this team above .500.
Jacksonville – They just don’t have a good enough passing game or defense.
AFC West –
San Diego – The 2010 season was an aberration. Having Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates back will have the offense solidified from day one.
Kansas City – Todd Haley is calling the plays this year. No way they repeat the success they had with Charlie Weis calling plays last year.
Oakland – Lack of stability at the QB position continues to hurt this team.
Denver – John Fox just doesn’t have anywhere near enough pieces to compete.
1. New England
3. San Diego
6. NY Jets
1. Philadelphia – Hard not to like the talent the Eagles have amassed. Especially the depth at CB.
2. Dallas – Tony Romo returns. In the midst of rebuilding offensive line. Does Miles Austin return to form?
3. NY Giants – Can Eli Manning rebound from a poor 2010. Especially after losing WR Steve Smith and TE Kevin Boss.
4. Washington – Problems abound. Probably a new coach and a top 5 spot in the 2012 NFL draft.
1. Green Bay – Not much changes for the Super Bowl XLV champs. Need to avoid injuries and championship hangover.
2. Detroit – Defense continues to get better. If Stafford stays healthy, the Lions are a wild-card threat.
3. Chicago – Even though they made the NFC championship, there is just something that I don’t like about the 2011 edition of the Bears and it has nothing to do with Jay Cutler.
4. Minnesota – Aging defense and a QB who struggled in 2010 and will be going through his third offensive coordinator in three years. Poor Adrian Peterson can’t do it all.
1. Tampa Bay – Young and hungry team that only continues to get better. Josh Freeman has made a believer out of me.
2. New Orleans – Does Brees return to form or does he continue to slip?
3. Atlanta – Got torched by the Packers in the playoffs. But didn’t seem too concerned about improving the defense.
4. Carolina – Even if Cam Newton is the real deal, they have too many other deficiencies to get out of the basement.
1. St. Louis – Might as well just picked a name out of a hat here. If Bradford continues to develop the Rams improve marginally. Which might just be enough to win the West.
2. Arizona – Brought in Kevin Kolb to solidify the QB position, but are still lacking a running game and have a below average defense.
3. Seattle – Tarvaris Jackson looked dreadful in his first pre-season start after spending five years with the same Offensive Coordinator. Will LT Okung miss any substantial time with another ankle injury.
4. San Francisco – Jim Harbaugh inherited a mess at the QB position. They’re so desperate that Daunte Culpepper is coming in for a try-out.
1. Tampa Bay
2. Green Bay
4. St. Louis