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

Surprise surprise, the Ravens are the number one seed in my list. Why?  They have a little easier schedule than the Patriots do, and their week one thrashing of the Steelers shows me their offense is special this year. Though they did lose this past week, look for them to start to pick it up and put together a long string of victories. In a weak AFC South division, I foresee the Texans coming out with their explosive offense.  And with Rex Ryan coaching, the Jets should be in the playoffs every year.nd Patriots, 3. Houston Texans 4. San Diego Chargers, 5. New York Jets, 6. Pittsburgh Steelers

Wild Card Round

NFC:
Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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.

Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals
Winner: Lions in a shootout between Stafford and Cardinals Quarterback Kevin Kolb—the Lions pulling it out with their defensive line.

AFC:

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.

Divisional Round

NFC:

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.

AFC:

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.

Conference Championships

NFC:

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.

AFC:  

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.

Super Bowl

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.