2012 NFL Playoff Predictions

by Admin

Note: To see some updated (as of December 2011) predictions, click here.

One last hurrah for Ray Lewis?

IF there is indeed an NFL season next year, and draft and free agency are not affected, below are my quick predictions on the 2012 NFL playoffs. When I did them last year, before the 2010 playoffs even started, I had the Ravens beating the Falcons in the Super Bowl, and I projected 7/12 playoff teams (I missed on the Chargers, Texans, Cowboys, Cardinals, and Redskins). Without further ado, let’s get started.

Below are my projections, click “more” for further analysis.

AFC
1. San Diego (13-3)
2. Baltimore (12-4)
3. Houston (11-5)
4. New England (11-5)
5. Indianapolis (11-5)
6. Pittsburgh (10-6)

NFC
1. Philadelphia (14-2)
2. Green Bay (13-3)
3. Tampa Bay (11-5)
4. St. Louis (9-7)
5. Atlanta (10-6)
6. Detroit (9-7)

Wildcard Round:
Pittsburgh @ Houston, Indianapolis @ New England
Detroit @ Tampa Bay, Atlanta @ St. Louis

Divisional Round:
Indianapolis @ San Diego
Houston @ Baltimore
Atlanta @ Philadelphia
Tampa Bay @ Green Bay

Conference Championships:
Baltimore @ San Diego
Tampa Bay @ Philadelphia

Super Bowl:
Baltimore over Philadelphia.

Now click more for a bit of analysis.

With each coming NFL season, there is always a large turnover of playoff teams. In fact, at least five NFL teams from each of the past few seasons made it to the playoffs without having made it the year before. Among this year’s crop: Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle. In order to make the playoffs the season after missing, you have to have the team to do it, as well as a bit of luck. Based on their scheduled matches for next year, here are 2011 playoff teams that might have some trouble coming back.

1. Chicago. Not to discount what they did this year at all (have one of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL, as well as a potential rising star in Jay Cutler), but next year’s Bears schedule looks pretty demanding. If JohnnyRoadTrip is right, the Bears will have to travel to Green Bay, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia. Those are some pretty demanding trips. The Bears may still get 10 wins or so if they can dominate in the other games, but these four could be very tough. Plus, some teams gotta be left out for next year.

2. Seattle. Come on, this wasn’t obvious? The Seahawks barely squeaked in this year, though they did prove themselves a bit by beating the Saints. The Seahawks could be facing SIX potentially difficult teams on the road; they travel to Dallas, New York (Giants), Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay. Not only that, but they have to host Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Yikes.

3. New Orleans. Originally this list only had the other four teams, but as I’m projecting both Atlanta and Tampa Bay in over New Orleans based on schedule (and other things), I started to take New Orleans out. This is nothing against them, but merely them being the odd man out in their own division, and having to contend with a strong NFC. Sorry Saints fans.

4. Kansas City. The Chiefs surprised everyone in taking advantage of an off year (at least by record) by division foe San Diego and surging to the playoffs. Next year, more than half of the Chiefs non-divisional opponents are 2011 playoff teams. Pittsburgh, New England, New York (Jets), Indianapolis, Green Bay, Chicago. They also face an improving Detroit team and the Chargers and Raiders could be provide some intra-divisional difficulty. The Chiefs might actually have one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL next year.

5. New York J. It was tough trying to figure out which other AFC teams to remove, but this might be the last one. Baltimore and Pittsburgh benefit from playing a weak NFC West, while Indy should take the division again. The Patriots are the Patriots so that leaves us with New York. Mark Sanchez still hasn’t prove anything other than the stupid “just wins games” thing. That title went to Vince Young too, and how did that turn out? I’m not saying it’ll be karma keeping New York out, but in an already stacked AFC that could see a few teams on the rise, New York might not be able to win enough games to come back.

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