Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: November

It's Halloween today and that means costumes, candy, and all that comes with it. It also means that November is tomorrow and thus is time for my to reveal my newly updated predictions. It's been an interesting season so far. There are a handful of teams that have elevated themselves above the rest and then there is an abnormal amount of teams that are in the mid-range level with three to four wins. That's 17 teams that have either three or four wins. That means very few teams are out of it and we will have a fun time seeing how it all plays out. Much of what I have re-predicted this time is the same as last month, but there are a few new surprises. My Super Bowl predictions do go against my usual logic, which actually bothers me, but nothing else feels right at the moment, so I went with it. Also, I will not be doing a post where I give my thoughts on each division and the teams in it like I did last month. I have replaced that with my Power Rankings, so check that out as well.

Regular Season Predictions


AFC East
z-New England Patriots - 11-5
y-Miami Dolphins - 9-7
Buffalo Bills - 7-9
New York Jets - 6-10

AFC North
z-Baltimore Ravens - 10-6
y-Pittsburgh Steelers - 9-7
Cleveland Browns - 6-10
Cincinnati Bengals - 5-11

AFC South
*-Houston Texans - 13-3
Indianapolis Colts - 7-9
Tennessee Titans - 6-10
Jacksonville Jaguars - 4-12

AFC West
z-Denver Broncos - 13-3
Oakland Raiders - 7-9
San Diego Chargers - 6-10
Kansas City Chiefs - 3-13


NFC East
z-New York Giants - 10-6
Dallas Cowboys - 9-7
Philadelphia Eagles - 7-9
Washington Redskins - 6-10

NFC North
z-Chicago Bears - 13-3
y-Green Bay Packers - 10-6
Detroit Lions - 8-8
Minnesota Vikings - 8-8

NFC South
*-Atlanta Falcons - 14-2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 7-9
New Orleans Saints - 6-10
Carolina Panthers - 4-12

NFC West
z-San Fransisco 49ers - 11-5
y-Seattle Seahawks - 9-7
St. Louis Rams - 7-9
Arizona Cardinals - 5-11

Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round 

3- New England Patriots - W
6- Pittsburgh Steelers - L

4- Baltimore Ravens - W
5- Miami Dolphins - L

3- San Fransisco 49ers - W
6- Seattle Seahawks - L

4- New York Giants - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

Divisional Round

1- Houston Texans - W
4- Baltimore Ravens -L

2- Denver Broncos - W
3- New England Patriots - L

1- Atlanta Falcons - W
5- Green Bay Packers - L

2- Chicago Bears - L
3- San Fransisco 49ers - W

Championship Round

1- Houston Texans - W
2- Denver Broncos - L

1- Atlanta Falcons - W
3- San Fransisco 49ers - L

Super Bowl XLVII
1- Atlanta Falcons - L
1- Houston Texans - W

Houston Texans

Predicted Draft Order

1- Kansas City Chiefs
2- Jacksonville Jaguars
3- Carolina Panthers
4- Cincinnati Bengals
5- Arizona Cardinals
6- San Diego Chargers
7- Cleveland Browns
8- Washington Redskins
9- New York Jets
10- New Orleans Saints
11- Tennessee Titans
12- Oakland Raiders
13- Buffalo Bills
14- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15- Philadelphia Eagles
16- Indianapolis Colts
17- St. Louis Rams
18- Minnesota Vikings
19- Detroit Lions
20- Dallas Cowboys
21- Pittsburgh Steelers
22- Miami Dolphins
23- Seattle Seahawks
24- New York Giants
25- Baltimore Ravens
26- Green Bay Packers
27- New England Patriots
28- Chicago Bears
29- San Fransisco 49ers
30- Denver Broncos
31- Atlanta Falcons
32- Houston Texans

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

We have now completed eight weeks in the regular season, meaning that we are at the midpoint of the season and I've just now decided to post my own power rankings. Don't ask me why I waited this long to do this. The idea is to update this weekly, but we'll see what happens.

1- Atlanta Falcons - 7-0 - The Falcons seem like they are a beatable team. They have won a lot of close games recently and don't blow out weaker opponents like other elite teams do, but right now they are good at finding ways to win, no matter who is put on their schedule and in the NFL, all that matters is winning games, so they deserve this top spot

2- Houston Texans - 6-1 - A week of rest after thumping the Ravens was certainly nice. The Texans are certainly in the driver's seat in a surprisingly weak AFC. With the way the Texans are playing, there are only a few teams out there that have the capability of stopping them

3- Chicago Bears - 6-1 - The Bears' offense was a little off this past week as they almost got shocked by the lowly Panthers. But their defense is still one of the best in the league and when they are connecting on offense, this is a tough team to beat. It will be an interesting race for the NFC North crown

4- New York Giants - 6-2 - The Giants have been in this situation before. They are pretty good at starting off strong, but they always seem to fizzle a bit and barely make the playoffs. This season with the struggles that the Eagles, Cowboys, and Redskins are having, they shouldn't have a huge problem winning that division, but they can't afford games like Sunday. Survived is all they did against the Cowboys, literally by a finger tip.

5- San Frasisco 49ers - 6-2 - I'm not sure of Monday night's big win was due to a Niners dominance or a pathetic Cardinals performance. Probably both. Now if they could hold every team to only 7 rushing yards, they would have no troubles winning out. But regardless, they have the NFC West locked down. The NFC is quite dominant right now, so it'll be interesting to see how this turns out.

6- New England Patriots - 5-3 - There has been a lot of questions about this Patriots team this year and now the question is if they will continue to play like they did against the Rams in London or will they struggle like they have when they've the bird teams? I seem to think that it will be the former rather than the latter going forward. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are good at figuring out ways to win.

7- Denver Broncos - 4-3 - They've already completed the hardest part of their schedule and so they should be pretty happy at 4-3 right now. With the way Payton Manning and the rest of the gang is playing, you go look at their schedule and tell me who they are going to lose to. Yeah, they could honestly win out or at least make it to 11 or 12 wins for the season.

8- Baltimore Ravens - 5-2 - They had a week off to digest what happened in Houston a couple of weeks back. The number of key defensive injuries could be the death of this team. Back to back games against the Browns and Raiders could be what they need to get their confidence back.

9- Green Bay Packers - 5-3 - I keep waiting for the Packers to step up and play like they did last season and I thought I saw it when Rodgers had his 6 touchdown performance against the Texans. They have won four of their last five, but they should've beaten the lowly Jaguars by a lot more than they did this past week. 

10- Pittsburgh Steelers - 4-3 - The Steelers have battled through injuries and several tough losses this season and at times it looked like it was going to be a long season for them. But now it looks like they've started to hit their stride these past couple of weeks. Not many teams can brag that they shut down RG3 this season. The Ravens should be scared.

11- Minnesota Vikings - 5-3 - Who are these Vikings? Christian Ponder has looked good and the defense has played great, but that beatdown in the hands of the Bucs is not what they needed. In a division where the Bears and Packers are on a roll and the Lions offense could break out at any time like they did against the Seahawks, this team could be in trouble. They still have five divisional games left.

12- Miami Dolphins - 4-3 - This Dolphins team is one of the surprises this year. They are on fire right now with a three game winning streak and are just coming off a beatdown in New York which certainly opened some eyes. With the Colts, Titans, and Bills up next, the Fins could be looking at a 7-3 record and in a good race with the Pats to win the division. Who would've thunk it?

13- Seattle Seahakws - 4-4 - After starting out 4-2, they have now dropped two in a row and are now watching the Niners run away with the division. The most disappointing thing about the loss against the Lions is that the Lions totally ripped apart their defense, which has to make Seahawk fans a bit nervous. Suddenly this upcoming game against the Vikings becomes super important as both teams look to be fighting for a wild card spot come playoff time  

14- Indianapolis Colts - 4-3 - Don't look now, but the Colts are above .500. RG3 may be getting all the highlight reel attention, but so far it appears that Andrew Luck is having the better season as the Colts are getting wins while the Redskins aren't. Looking at their upcoming schedule, it is true that the divisional race is over, but the Colts have a legitimate chance at a wild card spot. This next weeks game against the Dolphins may end up having huge playoff implications.

15 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3-4 - That win against the Vikings this past week was huge. After starting off playing poorly, Josh Freeman has that offense going great now as they have looked really impressive these past few weeks. They have a tough road ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs especially because they have it extremely tough final stretch. The next three games against the Raiders, Chargers, and Panthers are must wins.

16- Dallas Cowboys - 3-4 - That ending against the Giants was a heartbreaker. The Cowboys have a good team in place. They just have a quarterback who has an identity crisis because he often forgets which team he's on and starts throwing to the other. It makes me wonder how long the Cowboys are going to trust Romo before they decide to start looking for a replacement.

17- Detroit Lions - 3-4- Could last weeks game against Seahawks be the start of a turnaround for this Lions team? Matt Stafford finally played like we all thought he would play like and if this Lions team could play like this every week, they could still make a wild card. They are going to need to be really consistent and come up with some sort of defense, though, because their schedule for the last half of the season is rather difficult.

18- Oakland Raiders - 3-4 - The Raiders are on a nice little two game winning streak. The problem is that those two wins come against the two worst teams in the league. Three games ago in Atlanta is what should give Raider fans some hope as they almost knocked off the unbeaten Falcons on the road. Being that they only have two games left against playoff teams, they could make a surprise run. But they'll need to establish consistency first.

19- Buffalo Bills - 3-4- The Bills have some decent offensive pieces in place right now. Their problem is the lack of a defense. Opposing teams can do whatever they want on them. Three out of their next four are on the road, the next two games being against the Texans and Patriots. Things aren't looking up for them. 

20- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-4 - It's tough to figure out exactly what is wrong with the Eagles. They have a good team on paper who just aren't playing very well. They started out 3-1, but were turnover plagued in the process and now its caught up to them as they are riding a three game losing streak. Changing defensive coordinators didn't do much. Now they are thinking of benching Vick, but I don't think that will change much either. Is it time for Andy Reed to go?

21- Arizona Cardinals - 4-4 - Remember when the Cards were 4-0 and people were thinking that they would win the division and make a good playoff run? Yeah, that team is long gone. Almost literally. They have suffered a boat load of injuries and the players that are playing aren't playing very good at all. I know the Niners have a good defense, but seven rushing yards in the whole game? Pathetic. They could be looking at a six game losing streak at the least as the next two games are on the road against the Packers and Falcons.

22- Washington Redskins - 3-5 - The future of this team is looking really great. RG3 has been spectacular in his rookie season and he is going to be a fun player to watch for years to come. The problem right now is that there really isn't much of a team around him, especially on the defensive side. The Redskins better fix that quick or else they may go the path that the Panthers have gone in Newton's second year.

23- Tennessee Titans - 3-5 - The Titans have played surprisingly well this year and have surprised many people with wins over the Steelers and Bills. The problem is they have had a really tough schedule and if they want to compete, they can't afford to lose home games to teams like the Colts like they did this past week. They also could use some consistency, especially from CJ2K, who has been pretty awful since he got his big contract. 

24- Cincinnati Bengals - 3-4 - The Bengals have a promising future with young stars like Dalton and Green on the roster. They pulled off a playoff appearance last year on an easy schedule, but went 0-7 against playoff teams. Now its catching up to them this year as they are only 3-4 and they haven't even hit the hard part of their schedule. 

25- San Diego Chargers - 3-4 - They Chargers really screwed up last year when they scared off their best receiver. What made it worse is that they failed to replace him and now their receiving corps is a mess. Add to that a headache at the running back position and a quarterback in Philip Rivers who is playing awful and you have a team that has lost four out of their last five. Some of those were to great teams, but getting shut down by the Browns like that is embarrassing for any team. Norv Turner isn't going to last much longer at this pace.

26- St. Louis Rams - 3-5 - The Rams have actually made a big step forward this year. New head coach Jeff Fisher has gotten this team to compete and he might be the guy that turns this team around. Their defense has been formidable for the most part and they have competed in most of their games. Until this past week when they really didn't show up at all in London. Their offense has lacked and for some reason Stephen Jackson hasn't showed up at all this season.

27- New Orleans Saints - 2-5 - It looked like the Saints were going to start to turn things around as they had impressive offensive performances against the Chargers and Bucs. Then they seemed to go back to phase one as they didn't show up at all against Denver. Then there's thing about defense. The Saints' defense hasn't shown up all season.

28- New York Jets - 3-5 - Things are looking pretty dismal in New York and I'm not talking about the weather. The Jets were talk of the offseason and now they are becoming the laughing stock of the league as everything is just falling apart for them. Getting blown out at home by the Dolphins didn't help anything.

29- Cleveland Browns - 2-6 - The Browns have been surprisingly competitive, but nonetheless the Browns are still the Browns. It seems like they'll never be a great team. Right now their defense has played well and that win against the Chargers was a good one, but they still need to find play makers on offense. Trent Richardson can't do everything. Brandon Weedon has been alright, but he's not the long term answer as he's already older than many starting QB's in the league. I still don't know why they spent a first round pick on him.

30- Carolina Panthers - 1-6 - The Cam Newton show has definitely not gone as planned this season. Yes, he had a good rookie season number-wise, but he proved that he couldn't lead his team to victory and things have just gotten worse this year. The Panthers need to actually put a team around him so that he has something to work with.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-6 - The Jags were expected to get blown out against the Packers but they surprised people and made a game out of it. Blaine Gabbert even looked like a decent quarterback for that game. The problem is that they still lost and moments like this where the Jags have competed have been few and far between.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 1-6 - Right now nothing is going right for the Chiefs. It's hard to compete and win games when you really have no quarterback to play with. Matt Cassell was awful when he was healthy and Brady Quinn has been awful in his place. Matt Cassell looks like he'll be back this week, which doesn't really change anything. With the way things went last year, it looked like this team would be competitive, but now when teams see them on their schedule they just get relieved. Good news for Chief fans is that at this pace they may win the Matt Barkley sweepstakes and actually have a quarterback to work with.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Movie Preview: October 2012

We are already a weekend into October, but there is still enough time to look forward to what's coming out this month. And of course we won't forget that first weekend in October, since I'm sure that there isn't a ton of you that have already seen all three movies. August and September are never great months for the box office, but this year it was especially bad as just about everything underperformed. The last week of September turned things around as Hotel Transylvania set a new September opening weekend record and Looper opened up to a decent total as well. October is never a fantastic month, but its always better than September and August and this October has already had one huge hit and is bound to have at least one or two more as the box office starts to regain momentum in what should be a huge ending to this year. So let's begin looking at this month, starting at the top.

October 5th - 7th - As mentioned, the last weekend of September had the animated Halloween movie Hotel Transylvania dominate followed closely by the high powered action movie Looper. This weekend seemed like a similar thing as Frankenweenie and Taken 2 were set to premier. However, the roles were this week as Taken 2 dominated the weekend. The original Taken was a surprise hit a couple of years ago as it debuted to 24M, but held great and winded up at $145M. Feeding of the fame of the first one, Taken 2 nearly doubled the opening weekend of the first and ended just shy of 50M, one of the best opening weekends in October history. It looks like much of the same as the first as far as storyline goes. Liam Neesen's family get's taken and we get to watch Liam Neesen kick trash for an hour or two. Critic reviews are horrible, but audience reviews are pretty good, so if you need your action kick, I'd give it a shot. It was initially thought that Frankenweenie would be the animated movie that parent's take their kids to see during Halloween season. Turns out that Hotel Transylvania ended up being that movie. Frankenweenie tanked in it's opening. Frankenweenie is the latest Tim Burton stop-motion Halloween movie to come out. The other two are both classics, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Despite a poor box office outing, Frankenweenie could still be seen as a classic because the reviews on it are still good. The third movie of the week to come out actually performed between the previous two and that was Pitch Perfect. Pitch Perfect is a musical comedy that features a girls a cappella group facing off against a boys a cappella group in their school's competition.

October 12th - 14th - The second weekend of October is right upon us, as many of you may read this post on this weekend and it is quite the crowded weekend. If you want to go see a movie, there is a movie for you. Now Taken 2 probably won't hold as well as the first one, but all it needs is a decent hold and it will probably take first again. The movie that gets the widest release and has the biggest shop of stealing the weekend is the long awaiting Ben Affleck movie Argo. Ben Affleck used to be a big name in Hollywood but seemed to do a hudini act and disappeared. Well, that drought ended as he stepped back to center stage with behind the camera work. Argo will be the third movie that Affleck has directed and the second that he has both directed and acted in. His most previous movie The Town was received very well and even was nominated for an Oscar and by the looks of it, Argo might get a few Oscar nominations itself. The Town also opened up in the low 20M's, which seems like a reasonable goal for Argo. Next up is Sinister. What would Halloween be without a few new horror movies? Most of them are pretty much the same and with the fourth installment in the popular Paranormal Activities series coming out a week following this as well as the slew of movies coming this week, it's possible that this movie could get lost, but it seems just unique enough to attract some audiences this weekend who are in the mood to get scared. Sinister is also a catchy title for a horror movie, so that helps. Next up as counter-programming to Argo and Sinister is the family movie Here Comes the Boom. It's my personal opinion that this movie is destined to flop. First of all, the title of the movie is quite lame. Second, the premise of the movie seems like one that has been done before. Third, MMA movies don't usually attract a ton of viewers. Fourth, parents are still taking their kids to go see Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie. Seeing Here Comes the Boom over these movies doesn't seem very attractive. Now it does have Kevin James and he is a funny guy. But honestly he is hit and miss at times and I think this one is a miss. Movie number four of the week is one that you can tell from the title is an odd movie. That would be Seven Psychopaths. It's only playing in half as many theaters as the other three mentioned so far, so don't expect much of this. The movie is about some psychopaths that kidnap a Shih Tzu and others that get caught in all the drama. It is a comedy and there haven't been too many of those recently, so it could also catch on if it is liked well enough. Finally we have Atlas Shrugged: Part II. Never seen the first one? Well, join the club. Not many people have. In fact it never got a wide release and only ended it's run with around 5M. But they are doing a second one, which seems odd at first, but it is based on the novel by Ayn Rand, so it does make some sense. And as an additional option, The Perks of Being a Wallflower gets an official wide release this weekend, so if you didn't have enough options this weekend, there is another one for you.

October 19th - 21st - After quite the busy week in week two, week three slows down quite a bit, at least in terms of number of releases. There are only releases, but one of those releases will compete with Taken 2 for highest grossing movie of October and that of course is Paranormal Activity 4. This has been quite the profitable horror franchise. The first three have earned a grand total of nearly 600M worldwide, which is awesome regardless of how much money it took to make, but completely fantastic when you realize the first one only cost 15,000 to make with the second and third a combined 8M to make. So of course they are going to keep going with a fourth in four years. Horror films are the one genre of film that can sometimes get away with that and with the unique but realistic found-footage horror style, it does a great job of intriguing audiences and creeping them out. It's yet to be seen if this fourth one tops the third's opening or the first's total, but that's somewhat irrelevant given the money that they have already. Challenging Paranormal 4 is the crime thriller movie Alex Cross. In that we get Tyler Perry as Alex Cross hunting down the crazy murderer who killed his family. The crazy murderer is played by Lost's Matthew Fox and it looks like a fun movie, especially for those who are in need of some fun action right before Halloween.

October 26th - 28th - The final weekend of October, the weekend right before Halloween, has four new releases but none of the look too dominant, so it's possible that Paranormal 4 enjoys a second straight week. Which of the new four movies does best is somewhat of a grab bag, but since it is Halloween season this weekend, I will begin with the third horror movie in three weeks trying to draw in crowds for Halloween and that will be Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. This is a story about a girl who has crazy nightmares and also experiences her father going missing. The messages lead her to a place called Silent Hill where the main girl has to get rid of the demons. Yup. Very much Halloweeny. Next up in a very non-Halloweeny and non-fall movie period is Chasing Mavericks. This movie is a sports movie, specifically a surfing movie and like most sports movies, it is based on a true story about a guy who is shooting for his dream by surfing one of the biggest waves there is. Surfer movies don't have a very high ceiling. The last two, Surf's Up (2007) and Soul Surfer (2011), earned 17M and 10M respectively in their opening weekends, finishing with around $50M each and that seems like a good range for Chasing Mavericks. The third movie of this weekend is one that could very well end up at the top of the box office this weekend and that is Cloud Atlas. It is a crazy sci-fi film based on the novel Cloud Atlas that was written by David Mitchell back in 2004. It is from the creators of the Matrix trilogy, which is an interesting grab. There are a lot of different main characters that go through quite the experience. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, and Hugo Weaving amongst others, so it has quite the cast. Finally we have the movie Fun Size. Fun Size is actually a Halloween comedy that is about two girls wanting to go to a party of one of the guys she likes. However, she is put in charge of tending her crazy little brother who immediately runs off, causing the girls to go find her littler brother. It could be the wild card of the weekend if there are enough people interested in a Halloween comedy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: October

We're a month into the NFL, which means its time for me to post my updated predictions for October. We've had quite a bit of drama already, especially since much of the month of September was played with replacement referees. But the real refs are back, so the damage that they did won't make a huge dent to the overall picture. Now we are only four weeks in so many things can change between now and the end of the season, but we are starting to see which teams are separating themselves from the rest and which teams look to be in contention for good draft picks. We've also seen several surprises, both in over-performing and under-performing. There are also several teams that remain a complete mystery. This post here is all numbers, so if you want to read my thoughts on things, click here. You'll also note that in this post I added a third section after the regular season predictions and playoff predictions and that would be my predicted draft order for the upcoming draft. This is based purely on my predicted standings and playoff predictions, it's not something I just pulled off the top of my head. Now if you don't know already, the draft order is dependent on three things. First is how far you made it in the playoffs. Second is how good your record was. Third is your strength of schedule (the overall winning percentage of all the teams you played). It's in reverse order of course, meaning that the worst team gets the best pick. Let's begin!

Regular Season Predictions


AFC East
*-New England Patriots - 13-3
Buffalo Bills - 9-7
Miami Dolphins - 6-10
New York Jets - 6-10

AFC North
z-Baltimore Ravens - 11-5
y-Pittsburgh Steelers - 9-7
Cincinnati Bengals - 6-10
Cleveland Browns - 5-11

AFC South
z-Houston Texans - 13-3
Tennessee Titans - 6-10
Indianapolis Colts - 4-12
Jacksonville Jaguars - 4-12

AFC West
z-Denver Broncos - 9-7
y-San Diego Chargers - 9-7
Oakland Raiders - 8-8
Kansas City Chiefs - 6-10


NFC East
z-New York Giants - 9-7
Philadelphia Eagles - 8-8
Dallas Cowboys - 7-9
Washington Redskins - 6-10

NFC North
z-Green Bay Packers - 12-4
y-Chicago Bears - 11-5
Detroit Lions - 8-8
Minnesota Vikings - 7-9

NFC South
*-Atlanta Falcons - 14-2
Carolina Panthers - 7-9
New Orleans Saints - 7-9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 4-12

NFC West
z-San Francisco 49ers - 11-5
y-Arizona Cardinals - 9-7
St. Louis Rams - 7-9
Seattle Seahawks - 5-11

Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round

3- Baltimore Ravens - W
6- Pittsburgh Steelers - L

4- Denver Broncos - W
5- San Diego Chargers - L

3- San Francisco 49ers - W
6- Arizona Cardinals - L

4- New York Giants - L
5- Chicago Bears - W

Divisional Round

1- New England Patriots - L
4- Denver Broncos - W

2- Houston Texans - W
3- Baltimore Ravens - L

1- Atlanta Falcons - W
5- Chicago Bears - L

2- Green Bay Packers - L
3- San Francisco 49ers - W

Championship Round

2- Houston Texans - W
4- Denver Broncos - L

1- Atlanta Falcons - L
3- San Francisco 49ers - W

Super Bowl XLVII

2- Houston Texans - L
3- San Francisco 49ers - W



Predicted Draft Order

1- Indianapolis Colts
2- Jacksonville Jaguars
3- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4- Cleveland Browns
5- Seattle Seahawks
6- Cincinnati Bengals
7- Washington Redskins
8- Kansas City Chiefs
9- Miami Dolphins
10- Tennessee Titans
11- New York Jets
12- Dallas Cowboys
13- Minnesota Vikings
14- St. Louis Rams
15- New Orleans Saints
16- Carolina Panthers
17- Oakland Raiders
18- Philadelphia Eagles
19-  Detroit Lions
20- Buffalo Bills
21- Pittsburgh Steelers
22- San Diego Chargers
23- New York Giants
24- Arizona Cardinals
25- Chicago Bears
26- Baltimore Ravens
27- Green Bay Packers
28- New England Patriots
29- Denver Broncos
30- Atlanta Falcons
31- Houston Texans
32- San Francisco 49ers

(for my detailed thoughts on all of this, click here)

NFL Thoughts: October 2012

(continued from my October Predictions here)

It's interesting to see that this division has the Pats, Jets, and Dolphins all tied at 2-2. At a glance you would believe that it will be a close race to the division title, but don't be fooled. The Patriots still own this division. They've just had troubles with the bird teams they've played, but in all fairness to them, the Ravens and the Cardinals are two of the toughest teams in the league right now. It goes to show that the Patriots aren't immortal right now, but they will pull it together and dominate, especially since they only have three legitimate contenders left on their schedule. The rest of their schedule is cake. The Jets are struggling just like I thought they would. In the last three weeks, their offense has scored a grand total of two touchdowns. If they want to make people believe they're competing they have to at least put up a fight against teams like the Niners and Steelers. It might be a long season for Jets fans. The Dolphins are a bit of a mystery right now. Yes they are 1-3, but two of those losses came in overtime and the third came against the Texans, a team that has blown through everyone so far. They could turn out to be the pesky team that everyone overlooks due to a poor record but that many teams have a problem getting through. I could also see them pulling off some major upsets and cause some headaches to teams trying to fight for a playoff spot or playoff positioning. Lastly, don't sleep on the Bills yet. They have a good cast of players right now. They have proven this past month that they aren't yet at a playoff caliber level, but when they are given mediocre opposition, they shouldn't have a very hard time. Lucky for them, most of their schedule includes mediocre teams, so they might sneak up on everyone by competing for a wild card spot.

Every year this race seems to come down to the Ravens versus Steelers and this year won't be any different. The Ravens pulling off a win against the Patriots gives them the head start in the race and with the Steelers falling to the Raiders before their bye week, the Ravens have the early edge and I anticipate it will be difficult for the Steelers to overtake them. Now every so often the Bengals insert themselves as a contender for this division crown and at 3-1 it appears that this year is another one of those years. However, their three wins come against the Browns, Jaguars, and Redskins. Next up they have the Dolphins and the Browns again. So they could be 5-1, but at that point they actually be challenged and the way I am seeing it, a Bengals collapse is almost certain. They could start out 5-1 and end up with only 6 or 7 wins on the season with the way their schedule is. But who knows, maybe this young team will take the next step and start competing. The Browns are the last team in this division and at 0-4, their season is already over. The one bright thing they have is Trenton Richardson. He will be a beast. But hopefully they can put a team around him.

No surprise here. The Texans are 4-0 and quite honestly I think the race for the division title is already over. The Texans have so many weapons right now that it will cause headaches for opposing coaches trying to gameplan for them. Focus on pass defense and they will kill you with running. Focus on run defense and they will kill you with passing. Lock down Andre Johnson and they will just throw to someone else (which makes it annoying to own him in my fantasy football league). Try to win in a shootout and their amazing defense will shut you down. The only race in this division will be the Colts, Jaguars, and Titans fighting for draft positioning at the end of the season. Andrew Luck was a good pickup for the Colts, but it'll take a while to build that team up again.

Ladies and gentleman, Peyton Manning is back! Last year the Broncos were riding on the pure luck joy ride of Tim Tebow, this year they have much more security with Peyton and should be able to pull off a divisional title and possibly even have a good playoff run. It won't be a walk in the park though because the Chargers are off to an electrifying start. This haven't always gone well with Phillip Rivers the last few years, but when he and the rest of the Chargers bring their A game, they are tough to beat. The Chiefs and the Raiders look to be the odd teams out this year in the AFC West after a tough chase by everyone last season. Things in Kansas City look especially bleak because rumors are already spreading that a quarterback change could be coming soon and that is never a good sign. The Raiders have been quite the interesting story the last several years. I think if they would just stick with a coach for longer than a year they could do good, but no. The interesting thing about this year for them, though is that even though they have been playing bad, I wouldn't completely count them out just yet. They have a really easy stretch in the middle of their schedule that could cause them to sneak up on the others in the division.

Just like I thought, this division is turning out to be a dog fight. I have confidence that the Giants can still pull out on top, though. They have a habit of waiting till the end of the season to turn on their motors. Right now it looks as if the Eagles will be the biggest competition. It's been very impressive the way they have pulled out a 3-1 start while playing so poorly. After being so turnover prone in their first three games and having that catch up to them in a blowout by the Cardinals, it looked like they were done for, but then they pulled it together and knocked of the Giants who were on fire the two games previous. If they can keep it together a divisional title is a big possibility, but that is a big if. RG3 looks like he will work out quite well for the Redskins as he is off to a great start to his career. I just don't know if this year is his year, but he looks like he will be a fun player to watch for many years to come. Then there is the Cowboys. The game against the Bears will surely spark the Tony Romo debate again. Is he a good quarterback? Sure. He is very talented at playing just good enough to keep his job, but if he can't stop throwing interceptions I really don't know how long he is going to last. Each year Cowboy fans are given the hope that this is the year Romo and the Cowboys make a playoff run, but each year they disappoint. This year is no different. I mean I know that the Bears are a good team with a great defense, but 5 interceptions is not acceptable.

This division comes with our first big surprise of the season. You have the Bears, the Lions, and the Packers all thought to be big powerhouses and who is on top? Well, the Bears are. But right up there in a tie with the Bears are the the Minnesota Vikings. Whowouldathunkit? And with that it's not just a scheduling fluke that they are on top. They have wins against the Niners and Lions. Adrian Peterson is looking like his normal self right now when no one expected him to after destroying his knee last season. And how about Christian Ponder? It was a big risk to select him with such a high draft pick a couple years back, but it looks like it may turn out good for the Vikings. Now do I think that the Vikings will keep this up and win the division? Actually I don't. I think the Packers will kick it into gear and the Bears will keep on rolling and those two will fight it out for the title. But I think the Vikings can challenge for a wild card spot. Speaking of the Bears, how about that Brandon Marshall? He gives the Bears a receiving game and the Bears with a receiving game is a really scary team. Finally, the Lions might be the biggest disappointment so far. It looks as if the Madden Curse has stuck again. No, Calvin Johnson isn't really being effected, but the rest of his team is. The defense was supposed to be better, but is worse. The running game hasn't got going and so everything relies on the passing game, making them one dimensional. But Matt Stafford, while he is getting passing yards, hasn't been good at getting passing touchdowns. If the Lions don't pick it up here quick, they may quickly find themselves out of the race

The story of this division is that of the Saints. All this drama over the offseason looks like it has completely destroyed them. I thought that they would struggle, but I didn't think that they would struggle this much. 0-4? And with their upcoming schedule, they could realistically be 0-7. What is the biggest lesson this teaches? Having a good head coach is essential to winning. Lose your head coach for the year and you will have a tough road ahead of you. The Saints desperately need Sean Payton back. But he ain't coming back, so they are in for a long year. I honestly think that they do have some fight in them though. As far as the playoffs go I think their season is over, but they will fight and they will win games. You won't see them with the number one pick in next year's draft. They showed some signs of life against the Packers last week, so that is a plus. As far as the rest of this division goes, nothing is a surprise. The Falcons have a great team and already have the division crown won. It'll be interesting to see if they can actually do something in the playoffs, though, because they have never been great in the playoffs. The Panthers and the Bucs struggling also isn't surprising. Those who thought Cam Newton would lead them to a Super Bowl win were foolish. Despite being good last year, he couldn't win them games and it looks like the same story this year. He has a lot of work to do.

This is where I admit that I was wrong. I originally predicted the Cardinals to be the worst team in the NFL. Oops. One month in and they have already equaled the win total that I predicted they would get. Despite that, though, I still think this is the Niners' division to lose. However, Niners and Cardinals games will become very fun to watch. The rest of the division ain't too shabby either. Jeff Fisher has his Rams playing decent. I think they will be right in the 7-8 win column like I predicted them to be. The Seahawks have also impressed, although I think they are the team that will get left in the dust. Their defense has been good, but their offense has lacked. Russell Wilson has impressed, but has also had his rookie moments and will continue to have them. They are 2-2 right now, but let's be honest. With that Packers game, they should really be 1-3. Close losses to divisional rivals Cardinals and Rams really hurts. And things don't get any easier for them. Will Pete Carroll be on the hotseat after the season? Or will he once again to just enough to keep his job? Only time will tell.