Saturday Sports: NFL Playoff Predictions
2012 Playoffs Playoff seeding:
National Football Conference: 1. Green Bay Packers, 2. New Orleans Saints, 3. Philadelphia Eagles, 4. Arizona Cardinals, 5. Detroit Lions, 6. Atlanta Falcons
The defending champion Packers will be the one seed--they return their starters and injured players from last year. The Saints with the addition of Running Back Mark Ingram will have a balanced offense this year that will out score opponents to be the number two seed. The Eagles have too much talent not to win the NFC East, but the team’s inconsistent play will hurt their record, making them the third seed. Arizona will sneak out of the NFC west with a decent record, maybe 10-6 or 9-7 considering their relatively light schedule compared to their NFC west foes. Detroit’s offensive tandem of Quarterback Matthew Stafford, Running Back Jahvid Best, and Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson should carry the team to a wild card seeding simply by outscoring opponents.
American Football Conference: 1. Baltimore Ravens, 2. New England Patriots, 3. Houston Texans, 4. San Diego Chargers, 5. New York Jets, 6. Pittsburgh Steelers
Wild Card Round
Winner: Eagles. By playoff time, the Eagles will have their defensive chemistry down. Quarterback Michael Vick and company will also put up a ton of points against the weak secondary of the Falcons.
New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers
Winner: The Jets pull it out. Better coaching, better defense, and a better running game.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans
Winner: The Steelers. Experience and a run-stopping defense will stop the Texans’ high powered offense.
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Winner: Packers. Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is unfazed by the Lions' pass rush. He airs it out.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints
Winner: Eagles. Vick and company put up more than the Saints can.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Winner: Ravens. Both teams are stacked with playoff veterans, but the Ravens edge this one out with their offense.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Winner: Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady won’t lose again to the Jets.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers
Winner: Packers. In the most dramatic and the closest game of the playoffs, the Packers win on a last minute field goal.
New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens
Winner: Ravens. The Ravens' defense keeps the Patriots away from the end-zone as Running Back Ray Rice has a monster game.
Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Winner: Ravens. Quarterback Joe Flacco wins the Super Bowl MVP award in a close win by the Ravens in the 4th quarter. The Ravens’ defense manages to slow down Rodgers enough for the offense to put some points up.
NFL MVP: Tom Brady. Hate him or love him, for the second straight year, Tom Brady will win the MVP award at the end of the season. The Patriots will finish as a top seed in the AFC and Brady will lead the league in passing yards and quarterback rating. He is on track to have ridiculous numbers by the end of the season: 7520 passing yards, 56 touchdowns. Prediction: 4,500 yards, 35 touchdowns. Runner up: Aaron Rodgers.
Offensive Player of the Year: Ray Rice. The Baltimore offense this year exploded for 35 points against the Steelers' offense in week 1. Though the Ravens did have a poor showing in week 2, Ray Rice is a freak of nature who will show up every week. Prediction: 10+ rushing touchdowns, 8+ receiving touchdowns, 1500 rushing yards. Runner up: Tom Brady
Defensive Player of the Year: Outside Linebacker DeMarcus Ware. This will be the year Ware is properly awarded for his dominating pass-rush ability. The NFL sack leader of last season is off to a fast start, averaging 2 sacks a game. Prediction: 17 sacks, 70 tackles. Runner up: Ed Reed.
Rookie of the Year: Mark Ingram. Look for the Saints to turn up Ingram’s production in their offense as we get to the middle of the season. They drafted him for a reason—to establish a strong running game for the playoffs and we know what the Heisman Trophy winner is capable of from his days at Alabama. Prediction: 10+ Touchdowns, 1200 yards. Runner up: Cam Newton.
Have different predictions? Leave your own predictions below. Looking for other predictions, Sam Katz gives his predictions for the NFL season here (they don't quite see eye to eye) and Dante Quazzo gives his predictions for Major League Baseball here.