In this edition, I will be making my Bold 2011 NFL Season Predictions! Whether they are right (or educated) is yet to be seen, but here are a few of my ideas of what could happen this season. Also a few side comments based on my thoughts of the preseason.
Browns and Lions will be 9-7 (I never thought I’d say that in my lifetime).
Colts will miss the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. (I never thought I’d say that this decade)
Texans will make the playoffs for the first time in their history.
McNabb will start 6 games before being benched for Ponder.
Peyton Manning will end his consecutive streak of games.
Tim Tebow will start the season as the #3 QB, and will be the starter by week 12.
Rams start off the season 2-5, then make a run to finish 10-6.
Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! And…you’re on the clock with the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft
There will be a QB controversy in Philly at somepoint in the season (once Vick gets injured). Vince Young will be able to hold the team together and get wins despite horrible stats. Andy Reid will eventually decide to put Vick back in there, and Young will be traded to a team (to be a starter in 2012) for another impact player. The Eagles will then draft 7 QB’s in the 2012 Draft, just so they can groom them and trade them for stars.
There will be a team with 6 INT in a game, by a team not named the Jets or Eagles.
We will find out that Rex Ryan has a foot fetish…oh wait.
The Patriots will absolutely dominate the regular season, only to be taken out by the Jets or Ravens in the playoffs.
We will see Bill Belichick smile (ok I’ll admit that even this one is a stretch).
Ochocinco will be dancing in the endzone by November. And be a recurring deckhand on “The Deadliest Catch” by March
We will know which team will be in LA by April 2012 (my prediction is Jacksonville, no need to worry Vikings or Chargers fans).
The 49ers will inexplicably keep looking at Alex Smith to be their QB (we’re on year 7 already, what part of “bust” don’t you understand?).
John Fox will take the Broncos back to the playoffs by 2012.
Carson Palmer will be living in the bay area very soon, as he will be leading either the 49ers or Raiders in the 2012 season.
The 4 teams with QB controversies this year. Carolina, 49ers, Denver, Washington. Each team will have their starter benched (not injured), and brought back to start later in the season.
The Chargers will start off the season slow, only to make a late push for the playoffs (oh wait, that happens every year).
Both Super Bowl teams from last year will miss the playoffs.
Kevin Kolb will be Larry Fitzgerald’s new best friend, bringing his TD total from 6 (in 2010) to 13. The Cardinals defense will ruin their season however, by appearing about as often as a Bigfoot sighting.
Despite his knee injury and age questions, Terrell Owens will be signed by a team by Week 4, and still have 7 TD’s. He will be off said team at the end of the season. At that stadium, popcorn sales will quadruple.
Channing Crowder and Randy Moss’ retirement will last until October. However Chad Pennington and Tiki Barber’s comeback hopes will fall short until they either compare the Refs to Anne Frank or blow up at the team caterer.
Terrell Prior will be switched to WR, and turn into a bust at that position like Eric Crouch. Not afraid to admit that the Rams screwed that up, I personally apologize Huskers fans.
There will be more stories on Brett Favre returning midway through the season for the next 5 years. You know what, screw the whole “I don’t like training camp” bit, why doesn’t he just say the same thing about the Regular season and postseason? If I were Brett, I’d start contacting teams once they win the conference Championship. Come in for 1 game and you can get your Super Bowl ring! Just make sure not to come in too early, or they might make you practice in the off week (you can still skip the Pro Bowl though).
Playoff Predictions by Seeds:
Super Bowl Prediction:
Jets over Eagles
Bonus Super Bowl Prediction:
Patriots over Falcons
Generic Super Bowl Prediction:
AFC East team over a team with a Bird name (that’s right Bills and Cardinals fans, you’ve got a shot in this too!)
Preseason Observation #1:
Is it just me, or has Mike Vick really been struggling this preseason, and taking some nasty hits. He had 3 INT’s in his first game of action, and was getting clobbered by Cleveland of all teams last night. Over/Under 4 games missed this season due to injury.
Preseason Observation #2:
Is it just me, or is the preseason gaining a lot more buzz than it ever has before? Highlights are everywhere on ESPN, taking precedent over the MLB playoff hunt. Columnists are all over it too! Even as a huge football fan, I typically watch 2 full quarters of preseason (spread out between 5 games, so like 15 minutes per game). For the second week in a row, I’ve found myself watching the ENTIRE game with teams I could care less about, and being COMPLETELY enthralled in them like it is the playoffs. With the threat of no football looming for over 100 days, I just feel completely happy to see these guys in pads instead of courtrooms. I feel more excited for the regular season than I have felt in a good 8 years too. Maybe this was the part of the owners plan, to squeeze even more money out of the fans. Need to see a sellout in Jacksonville before I believe it though…
Preseason Observation #3:
I thought it was hilarious how Andy Reid got penalized for throwing the challenge flag on Thursday night! The new rule is that all Touchdown plays will be challenged by the booth, so the refs don’t screw up a game changing play if the coach is out of challenges. Last night on a TD, Andy Reid threw the challenge flag at the refs, and the refs threw the yellow flag at him! Revenge is sweet for the refs for this one time, better not happen in the regular season though.
Preseason Observation #4:
Did you see the Patriots Week 1 Preseason win over the Jaguars, 47-12! This is impressive for 2 reasons. First off, with a shortened offseason, no workouts, no study time, and no player/coach interaction, I’m surprised any team scored over 14 points that first week. But the most impressive tidbit? Tom Brady and nearly his ENTIRE cast of 1st string weapons didn’t play a single down! Which means that most of the game was played by the 3rd string. Are the Patriots really that superior with their developing of players that guys who will never see the field in 2011 can still romp a team that was .500 last year? On top of that, their Defense held the Jaguars to 4 field goals.
My first impression of the Kickoff rule was that it was completely bogus. Moving the ball up to the 35yd line instead of the 30 is taking away the most exciting play in football. No more Devin Hester or Josh Cribbs, but at the same time hopefully no more Kevin Everett plays either. This is apparently the reasoning for it, player safety. In the preseason, the touchback percentage has already gone up from 17% to over 30%, and coaches want to see different return guys take the ball out anyway, so that number should be higher. Next step for the NFL will be to get rid of the Kickoff entirely and just place the ball on the 20 yd line, but boo to you if you do!
My new take on the rule is that the “reasoning” is bogus. I noticed one kickoff tactic used by the Redskins last night which I feel will dispute the whole “player safety” aspect of the rule. On one play, Kicker Graham Gano kicked the ball very high and short, landing it at about the 10 yard line. At first it looked like a horrible kick, until I saw the Redskins special teamers clobber the return man at the 15 yard line, effectively turning Gano into a punter. What I noticed about the play was that Redkins Special Teams was running at full speed 15 yards away from the catch, and the Ravens had only began to start their acceleration. Without their momentum, Ravens special teams got bowled over by the full speed Redskins, and left no hope for the ball carrier. I think more teams are going to use this tactic of punting (I mean kicking) it high and let the tacklers do the work, instead of pulling Billy Cundiff (Ravens K) and booming it through the uprights everytime. Punters are taught to go for hangtime and not distance, because “outkicking your coverage” leads to return chances. Essentially every kickoff before 2011 involved outkicking your coverage. But now players have 5 fewer yards to run, and kickers can aim for hangtime too. This means that the kicking team can be much closer to the returner by the time he gets the ball. My argument is the kicking team will have even more violent collisions with the return team waiting for their man to catch the ball. My solution? Every returner should boycott the rule and call a fair catch until the NFL reverses it. With tacklers getting downfield quicker and the ball in the air longer, wouldn’t be surprised if we actually see some fair catches on kickoffs. Oye