Monday, September 3, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions (NFC South)

1. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): The Atlanta Falcons will likely take advantage of the Saints crumbling franchise, and based on how much talent they have on their roster, they clearly deserve the number one spot in the division. Michael Turner is 30 years old, old for any running bad. Luckily, Turner has been playing like he's 20 for the past few seasons, and even if his statistics were to drop off slightly, the running game will be fine. Matt Ryan on the other hand is entering the prime of his career, and he has the option of throwing to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and the up and coming wide receiver in Julio Jones. Offense will be key, but the defense still has it's stars that can be the difference between a win and a loss. Corner back Asante Samuel was added in the off season, and should be able to improve a mediocre pass defense. This is Atlanta's time to win their division, and maybe Matt Ryan will be able to win his first championship.
Roddy White (Eliot Kamenitz/The Times-Picayune)

Week 1: Falcons @ Chiefs W
Week 2: Broncos @ Falcons W
Week 3: Falcons @ Chargers W
Week 4: Panthers @ Falcons W
Week 5: Falcons @ Redskins W
Week 6: Raiders @ Falcons W
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Falcons @ Eagles L
Week 9: Cowboys @ Falcons W
Week 10: Falcons @ Saints L
Week 11: Cardinals @ Falcons W
Week 12: Falcons @ Buccaneers W
Week 13: Saints @ Falcons W
Week 14: Falcons @ Panthers W
Week 15: Giants @ Falcons W
Week 16: Falcons @ Lions L
Week 17: Buccaneers @ Falcons W

2. New Orleans Saints (9-7): If you haven't heard already, the New Orleans Saints were caught by the NFL holding a bounty program, run by their defensive coordinator Greg Williams. The fines not only removed their head coach, several defenders, and the GM for half a season, but the bounty will shake-up this organization for years to come. Drew Brees and his elite wide receiver corp will keep them in the hunt for a playoff spot, but it is the defense that will hurt most. Newly added linebacker Curtis Lofton missed the final preseason game, and might even miss the season opener against Washington. Brees' leadership will be tested, but if the franchise can do without Sean Payton, then maybe New Orleans remains a threat for the Super Bowl.
Jimmy Graham (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Week 1: Redskins @ Saints W
Week 2: Saints @ Panthers L
Week 3: Chiefs @ Saints W
Week 4: Saints @ Packers L
Week 5: Chargers @ Saints W
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Saints @ Buccaneers L
Week 8: Saints @ Broncos L
Week 9: Eagles @ Saints W
Week 10: Falcons @ Saints W
Week 11: Saints @ Raiders W
Week 12: 49ers @ Saints W
Week 13: Saints @ Falcons L
Week 14: Saints @ Giants L
Week 15: Buccaneers @ Saints W
Week 16: Saints @ Cowboys L
Week 17: Panthers @ Saints W

3. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Cam Newton shocked the world last season by putting up unseen numbers. Keep in mind; he was a rookie! As a sophomore quarterback in the NFL, this will be his second biggest test to see if he can handle the pressure. Him and wide receiver Steve Smith got along quite well, but Smith began to fade once the double coverage came. Carolina now has the best running game in football with Mike Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams, and obviously Cam Newton. The NFC South is an offense-heavy division, and Carolina's defense struggled last season. That is why the panthers went out and drafted linebacker Luke Kuechly, in my book the best defender to come out of last April's draft. There is just the right amount of youth and experience on this team, which is why I believe the Carolina Panthers have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.
DeAngelo Williams (Kim Klement/Getty Images)

Week 1: Panthers @ Buccaneers L
Week 2: Saints @ Panthers W
Week 3: Giants @ Panthers W
Week 4: Panthers @ Falcons L
Week 5: Seahawks @ Panthers W
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Cowboys @ Panthers W
Week 8: Panthers @ Bears L
Week 9: Panthers @ Redskins L
Week 10: Broncos @ Panthers W
Week 11: Buccaneers @ Panthers W
Week 12: Panthers @ Eagles L
Week 13: Panthers @ Chiefs L
Week 14: Falcons @ Panthers L
Week 15: Panthers @ Chargers L
Week 16: Raiders @ Panthers W
Week 17: Panthers @ Saints L

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12): A disappointing 2011 led to Tampa signing two big offensive names; wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Jahri Evans. Josh Freeman now has an all-star receiver to throw to, but will it be enough? The running duo of LaGarrette Blount and Doug Martin will do well against the weak NFC South defenses, and Josh Freeman will have to cut down on the interceptions if they wish to win close games. Besides the drafting of safety Mark Barron, however, they did nothing to fix their absolutely atrocious defense, which ranked dead last in several major defensive categories. I'm not sure what their approach will be, but unless the defense pulls off a miraculous turn around, the Bucs will remain at the bottom of the food chain once again.
Vincent Jackson (Dave Martin/AP Photo)

Week 1: Panthers @ Buccaneers W
Week 2: Buccaneers @ Giants L
Week 3: Buccaneers @ Cowboys L
Week 4: Redskins @ Buccaneers L
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Chiefs @ Buccaneers L
Week 7: Saints @ Buccaneers W
Week 8: Buccaneers @ Vikings W
Week 9: Buccaneers @ Raiders L
Week 10: Chargers @ Buccaneers L
Week 11: Buccaneers @ Panthers L
Week 12: Falcons @ Buccaneers L
Week 13: Buccaneers @ Broncos L
Week 14: Eagles @ Buccaneers L
Week 15: Buccaneers @ Saints L
Week 16: Rams @ Buccaneers W
Week 17: Buccaneers @ Falcons L

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