It’s 10:57 P.M. on a Tuesday night and to say that I’m tired would be an understatement. But there might be one thing I love more than sleep and that my friends is the NFL. It’s back ladies and gentlemen. The number one sport is back! So are my horrible predictions!
So sit back, relax, and get ready to waste some valuable minutes of your life. There’s no turning back people. Let’s rock and roll.
1. Julio Jones will become the next star at wide receiver. When you think wide receiver, the first three names that probably come to mind are Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Calvin Johnson. Those are some of the best the NFL has to offer. By the end of the season, Julio Jones will add himself into that list and into the debate of which player is the best wide receiver. Julio has the big play ability to score through the deep pass or through a simple bubble screen. Either way he’s making a few appearances on ESPN’s Top 10.
The biggest reason why I think Julio is going to make noise this season is because the Falcons, with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, are changing philosophies. Going from a run heavy team into an aerial attack team (while I’m typing this statement, I’m starting to feel regret for not picking up any players from the Falcons for my fantasy team). One of their biggest goals this off-season was to give Julio a bigger role in the offense. With Matt Ryan passing him the ball and Roddy White starting on the opposite side, good luck trying to stop that offense.
2. The 2012 New England Patriots offense will be better than their 2007 record-breaking offense. It sounds crazy, but it’s definitely possible. Out of all the statements and predictions I’m going to make here, I pray with all my heart that I end up dead wrong about this one. Let’s take a deeper look.
When you think about the 2007 Patriots offense, mainly you think of Brady, Moss, and Welker. Both Moss and Welker recorded 1,000 receiving yards, with Moss breaking the single-season touchdown reception mark. It’s safe to say that the trio was basically unstoppable. With the departure of Randy Moss, the team adds Brandon Lloyd to the core. Lloyd will play the same role Moss played as the deep threat receiver. He won’t be setting any records Moss did, but I guarantee he’ll be scoring a lot of touchdowns.
Now enter the X factors that change the whole game, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. I’ll give you $20 if you could name the two starting tight ends on the 2007 roster. Better yet, name ONE. Don’t worry, I’ll wait….
Give up? Their names were Benjamin Watson and Kyle Brady. Both combined for almost 500 yards and eight touchdowns. Gronkowski alone crushed them with 1,327 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns last season. I’m going to end the debate here over TE cause it’s a waste of time.
If all of that didn’t convince/scare you yet, Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator from 2006-2008 is back. Add him to the mix with all those weapons at his disposal and Bill Belichick as the mastermind; the rest of the NFL is in trouble.
Anyone else counting the days when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick finally retire?
3. Eric Berry will win Comeback Player of the Year
How boring would I be if I said Peyton Manning? Although I do believe Peyton will win either this award or the MVP based solely on him being a feel good story.
I think this race is going to be between Berry and Carolina Panthers LB Jon Beason. Not only was Beason the leader of the Panthers’ defense, but he was also one of the best in the league at his position. The reason I’m giving Berry the nod here is because he’s a big playmaker and I think the Kansas City Chiefs are going to be one of the biggest surprises of the season. Eric Berry is going to become a perennial All-Pro safety.
Berry is the NFL’s next Ed Reed. Even better.
YEAH I SAID IT!
4. Aldon Smith will win Defensive Player of the Year
I’ve been big on Aldon Smith and I’m riding this until the wheels fall off. Coming off an awesome rookie campaign totaling 14 sacks, I think Smith is poised to break that number because he’ll get double the snaps he got compared to last year. Last season Smith was primarily used as a rush passer. This season, 49ers are expecting more from him especially in the run and pass coverage. I expect an all around performance this year.
Even though I think Aldon Smith will win it this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the three other 49ers wins it. Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, and NaVorro Bowman will all make their cases for winning this award. Good luck to the NFC West.
5. Russell Wilson will win Offensive Rookie of the Year
The reason I’m going for Russell Wilson is because I watched him spank my Michigan Wolverines last season when he played for Wisconsin. If you watched the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl last season, you knew Russell Wilson was going to be special. The Seattle Seahawks were the only ones brave enough to draft the 5’11 quarterback. Through the preseason, Wilson was among the best in the league in every QB statistic. He’s going to lead the Seahawks into a dogfight for the NFC West title against the 49ers, thus giving him an edge over the popular picks, such as Luck and RG3.
6. Quinton Coples will win Defensive Rookie of the Year
To all you Jets fans, be excited. I got to watch every Jets preseason game, and whenever Coples was on the field, he was making a play. Whether it was tackling, sacking the quarterback, or forcing a fumble, he was making his presence felt. The Jets might have found their version of cross-town rival Jason Pierre-Paul. It might be too soon to tell, but it’s something to be excited about. Almost as exciting as their offense… too far?
7. Mike McCarthy will win Coach of the Year
It still bothers me that Mike McCarthy doesn’t get the credit he deserves. This year is going to be the year he finally gets some recognition for all of his hard work. I think McCarthy will help steer the Green Bay ship to a 13-3 season giving the team the number 1 seed in the NFC. I have a lot to say about McCarthy, but I realized I wrote a lot about it in my “Lost In The Shuffle” post. Go there if you want to read more.
8. Ray Rice will win MVP
I did say predictions sure to go wrong didn’t I? Ray Rice is a monster and he’s going to put up major numbers this year. This season, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron wants to change things up and go with more of a “no huddle” offense. Cameron wants to dictate the “pass” of the game and certainly will with that type of balanced attack. Things will definitely open up with their new offensive scheme, but it will probably start and end with their best player Ray Rice. I expect big things from this team. I’m predicting a 12-4 season and a possible Super Bowl run by the Baltimore Ravens offense, not the defense.
Plus I’m tired of the quarterbacks getting all the love for this award so I’m hoping another position wins it.
9. 49ers vs. Texans in the Super Bowl
The Texans possess the best run game in the NFL led by Arian Foster. The Texans have a zone-blocking scheme that tires other teams defenses and enhances QB Matt Schaub’s play-action ability with one of the leagues best receivers, Andre Johnson.
Defensively, the Texans rank among the best in the league. Led by veteran shutdown corner Johnathan Joseph and bruising linebacker Brian Cushing, the Texans with J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith, Connor Barwin, and Brooks Reed are placing themselves to become the next well-known defense in the NFL. You might only know Brian Cushing right now, but the Texans will have five national televised games this season. You will definitely meet the rest of the guys this year.
Not to be undone, the San Francisco 49ers are making just as much noise on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the 49ers have weapons everywhere you look. In the backfield, the team has RB Frank Gore with backups Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, and Brandon Jacobs ready to change the pace in any direction you want. The receiving core consists of Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Delanie Walker. With a top 5 offensive line, Alex Smith should be causing some trouble for opposing defenses.
Speaking of defense. The 49ers have one of the, if not, the best defense in the NFL. From top to bottom, this team is solid. Good luck running on them. Good luck passing on them. Good luck trying to do anything against them. With the names of Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, and Carlos Rogers, you would think this was an All-Star team.
These are the two most well balanced teams in the NFL and that’s why I believe they’re going to meet in the Super Bowl.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers
10. I’m too damn tired. It’s 4:01 A.M. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Take care folks.
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