The All-Encompassing 2011 NFL Season Predictothermometer

| September 2nd, 2011

Here are a random number of predictions for this year’s NFL campaign.  My theory is I’m correct on 50.1% of them, I’m doing okay.  Remember something about predictions: they are dumb.  If the Giants don’t blow a 700 point lead to the Eagles last year and the Bucs don’t blow a home game to the Lions in December, the Green Bay Packers don’t make the playoffs.  Anybody predict that?

  1. Let’s start at home.  The Bears will go 10-6 or better.  They’ll make the postseason win (at least) one playoff game.
  2. Lance Briggs will play for them all year.
  3. Jay Cutler will be mentioned in the MVP race come November.
  4. Rod Marinelli and Lovie Smith will realize they’re starting two strong safeties in Week 2 when Drew Brees beats them deep a few times.  They’ll rectify the situation in short order.
  5. The Miami Dolphins have a coach the owner doesn’t want and a QB the coach doesn’t want.  They’ll finish 4-12.
  6. The Bears will injure Matthew Stafford’s shoulder.  (You can’t even get odds on this in Vegas, it’s such a no brainer.)
  7. When Jim Harbaugh is losing a lot of games with the Niners around mid-season, the discussion will be whether he’s tanking 2011 intentionally to bring Andrew Luck there in 2012.
  8. This will be the year the Colts miss the playoffs.  (Special advance prediction: they make the playoffs as the #2 seed in 2012.)
  9. The Jets will lose opening night to the Cowboys, causing both camps to overreact to the result.
  10. The Jets will realize the New Meadowlands sucks as they lose prior to reaching the AFC Championship Game.
  11. The Giants won’t be able to blame the stadium for finishing 7-9 or worse.  They can blame failing to re-sign the security outlets for a shaky, turnover-prone QB.  I really see this team and making the largest plummet in the league.
  12. Six playoff teams in NFC: Eagles, Saints, Bears, Falcons, Cardinals, Packers.
  13. Six playoff teams in AFC: Jets, Pats, Chargers, Steelers, Ravens, Titans.
  14. My darkhorses.  NFC: Redskins.  AFC: Bills.
  15. No, I didn’t pick the Texans.  Because adding Wade Phillips to your staff, signing Danieal Manning and changing the position of your best defensive player don’t add up to division titles in my book.
  16. MVP: Phil Rivers.
  17. Tarvaris Jackson will not make it through half the season as the starting QB in Seattle.
  18. Same for Donovan McNabb in Minnesota.
  19. Same for John Beck.  Sexy.  Rexy.
  20. After winning their division narrowly, the Texans will be embarrassed by the Pats in the first round of the playoffs (at home) and Gary Kubiak will find himself unemployed with 24 hours.
  21. Devin Hester will lead the league in kickoffs returned from inside the end zone.  And it won’t be close.
  22. Kyle Orton will have a productive half-year at QB and still get benched.  (Another bet Vegas won’t even take.)
  23. The Buffalo Bills will allow more sacks than any team in football but also be fun as hell to watch.
  24. Three surprising teams from 2010 will take a step back: Tampa, St. Louis, Kansas City.  All because of slightly regressing QB play.
  25. Steve Smith will realize Cam Newton is not capable of being an NFL starter yet and try to get out of Carolina before the trade deadline.
  26. The Browns will move from 5-11 to 8-8 and become the trendy pick in 2012.
  27. The Raiders will move from 8-8 to 5-11 and no one will be surprised.
  28. More Bears stuff!  The Bears will have a top 6 defense in both yards and points allowed.
  29. Jay Cutler’s season numbers: 61%, 3,485 yards, 29 TD, 11 INT
  30. Matt Forte will lead the Bears in reception yards.
  31. I will spend most of the season trying to come up with a good Rookie of the Year joke for Dane Sanzenbacher.  (Rosinbagger!)
  32. The Bears will use three plays to cover early offensive line deficiencies: the quick toss, the screen and the draw.  They’ll be effective.
  33. Julio Jones will have been worth it for the Atlanta Falcons.  He’s the year’s top rookie.
  34. Offensive Player of the Year: Chris Johnson
  35. Defensive Player of the Year: Julius Peppers
  36. The teams I’ll be rooting against hardest: (1) Packers (2) Eagles (3) Jets.
  37. The teams I’ll be rooting for outside Chicago: none.
  38. I’m already regretting not picking the Colts to make the playoffs.
  39. 38 is enough.  Isn’t it?
  40. Oh yeah!  Super Bowl prediction: Chicago Bears 31, New England Patriots 30