50 Predictions for the 2012 NFL Season (19 Bears Specific!)

| August 31st, 2012

I’m taking the holiday weekend off to recharge my batteries for the big, big, big season to come. This post should keep y’all busy til Tuesday.

Each year I like to make a boat load of NFL predictions for the season to come and then evaluate them at year’s end. I figure this: if I make fifty predictions and twenty-five receive a + (as opposed to a – ) when evaluated, I’m doing fine. I think I’ve averaged about 55 – 60% accuracy over the last three years.

There will be 19 Bears-related predictions & one prediction for each of the other 31 teams.

  1. I will undoubtedly write a column pushing Brandon Marshall as MVP by November. The rest of the NFL will be realizing Jay Cutler is good (we realized last year) but it will be Marshall responsible for the Bears receiving corps being the most improved single unit in the sport.
  2. Jay Cutler will eclipse Erik Kramer’s single-season yardage mark of 3,838.
  3. The Bears signature flaw of the 2012 season will not be their offensive line. It will be their defensive line’s inability to generate consistent pressure with the front four.
  4. Justin Blackmon will look like a man among boys for the Jacksonville Jaguars and beat both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin (does everyone have to call him RGIII?) for rookie of the year.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers have a down year and go 8-8. (Their quarterback? Still a rapist.)
  6. In a conference with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco will start the Pro Bowl for the AFC. (Are they playing that again this year?) Flacco will still whine about how he’s treated by the fierce Baltimore media. (Do they still have a newspaper?)
  7. Eagles, everybody’s preseason darling, fail to make the postseason. Someone explain to me how a columnist can write pick the Eagles with the “if Vick stays healthy” caveat. Has he ever stayed healthy? No.
  8. Giants, everybody’s forgotten world champion, win the NFC East. They have a motivated, contract-year Osi Umenyiora. Look for a dozen sacks.
  9. The Vikings will open 1-0 and win 2 more games the rest of the season, securing them the first overall pick in the draft and USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
  10. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS will not be as bad on offense as they were in preseason. Not great, by any means, but they’ll win games and be battling for the postseason in December.
  11. Mark Anderson will have a productive season in Buffalo opposite Mario Williams. I think the Buffalo defensive line will keep them in games all season.
  12. Luke Keuchly won’t have big statistics but the Panthers linebacker will be the defensive rookie of the year. I loved two players in this draft. Keuchly and Blackmon.
  13. Tim Jennings will have four interceptions.
  14. Brian Urlacher will miss four games this season but none in January and February.
  15. I’m going to refer to Robbie Gould as Bob Gould this year.
  16. Andy Dalton will come back to the earth for the Cincinnati Bengals but they have a wonderful coaching staff and will make the postseason.
  17. For some reason I absolutely love the Kansas City Chiefs to beat out the Denver Broncos for the AFC West title. Nobody really talks about how much talent the Chiefs lost to IR in the first five weeks of the 2011 season. They will be back and motivated. Chiefs!
  18. Antonio Gates will challenge Gronk as the best statistical tight end in the AFC. I think he’s been struggling with his health for three years and finally has his body in the correct shape.
  19. Tom Brady’s protection issues will be a major reason the Patriots are playing on the first weekend of the playoffs and opposed to their patented bye week.
  20. The Houston Texans will win the AFC South between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  21. “Say something about the Miami Dolphins, Jeff”. Okay. Done.
  22. The Bears will win 11-12 games.
  23. Brandon Weeden is going to look like a very silly draft pick to the Cleveland Browns by mid-season when they turn back to Colt McCoy. Or Seneca Wallace. Or Bernie Kosar. Or whoever.
  24. How many NFL coaches are (1) in their second year with a team (2) have a track record of failing as a head coach (3) left a major college with a puddle of corruption/sanctions and (4) just turned to a fourth-round rookie as his starting QB? Matt Flynn will see the field this year.
  25. The Bears will win the NFC North.
  26. San Francisco will wait til Houston wins the AFC South and win the NFC West the following week.
  27. I wish I could tell you something interesting about the St. Louis Rams. But all I have to say is I think Sam Bradford is going to have a HUGE comeback season.
  28. The Bears will win my heart.
  29. Andrew Luck will have a better year than Robert Griffin, Jake Locker and Ryan Timothy Tannehill combined. (Side note, re: Hard Knocks: People should stop telling me how attractive Tannehill’s wife is. Looks like a bird. That southern debutante thing don’t float my boat.)
  30. Mike Zimmer’s work with the Bengals defense this year will earn him a head coaching job in 2013.
  31. Pierre Garcon will be injured seriously this year. Two reasons I think this: Griffin will leave him hanging over the middle often and he’ll take some big hits on predictable bubble screens.
  32. I’d take the over on Devin Hester returning 2.5 kicks for touchdowns this year if Vegas has set that line.
  33. Kendall Wright will be Jake Locker’s most reliable target. Not Kenny Britt.
  34. I take the under on Dez Bryant breaking 1.5 of his Cowboys-initiated Dez Bryant Rules. (I think he will go to a strip club at some point. It seems these fellas can’t stay away.)
  35. Packers will be really good. Fuck em.
  36. Lions will not. Yeehaw. And the best thing about the Lions defense? They’ll talk and act very, very tough while stopping no one from moving the ball and scoring.
  37. I’ll say one additional thing about each of those teams: I don’t think either will win a Super Bowl without finding a run game to complement the big-strike passing. And I don’t see either finding that on their current roster.
  38. I buy the hype: Eric Decker is going to have a monster year catching Peyton Manning passes.
  39. I heard Matthew Berry waxing poetic about Carson Palmer the other day on ESPN. And while I couldn’t hear everything he said because I was dry heaving due to the sound of his voice, I know he’s high on Palmer. If Palmer has a great year I will take a -2. He’s been shot for years.
  40. I wasn’t going to write anything about the Cardinals and see who noticed. But I’ll write something about the Cardinals. They are going to be a miserable, miserable team and the Vikings’ true competitor for Matt Barkley. (Side note: Has anyone come up with a Suck for Luck thing for Barkley yet? How about Blow for the Tro? Can we make Blow for the Tro happen? Get it done, kids!)
  41. Falcons good. Uninspiring, tedious but good.
  42. Saints better. Even without half their coaching staff and a few post-prime defenders I just don’t see how the Saints offense misses a beat because Sean Payton is not there. That system is in good hands with Drew Brees.
  43. Greg Schiano will feel right at home in Tampa. The former Rutgers head coach knows what its like to not have a very good quarterback. (Side note: Hey Greg! Mike Teel! He’s out there! I just Googled Teel and he’s the quarterbacks coach at Wagner College. He can’t be happy there.) One of my only hopes for the 2012 NFL season is that Schiano brings the ridiculous “choppin wood” sentiment to the pros.
  44. Bears will score 27.6 points per game.
  45. Bears will allow 16.2 points per game.
  46. Brandon Marshall will have 12 touchdown catches.
  47. J’Marcus Webb will not be benched at left tackle this season. Take that!
  48. AFC Playoff Six: Texans, Ravens, Patriots, Chiefs, Broncos, Bengals
  49. NFC Playoff Six: Bears, Niners, Giants, Saints, Packers, Falcons
  50. I think the Bears will play in the last NFL game of the season.

Make five preseason predictions of your own below. I’ll put the ones I like the best in a column and post it on Tuesday.