3 Predictions for the 2012 NFL Season
by, 07-11-2012 at 09:39 PM (1606 Views)
With the 2012 season coming up and training camp a few weeks away, it’s time to get the talk machine rolling again. Over the past few days/weeks/months, I have been thinking of writing “12 Predictions for the ’12 Season” for this site as a blog entry. I ran through it recently, though, and realized I can’t come up with 12 compelling blurbs. So then I thought about just doing 8 – one for each division. That didn’t work so well, either. Finally, I looked at what I had and saw that there are just three I feel solid on, so I’ll share those with you. If more come up later, then I’ll have incentive to write another entry. So, without any more prologue, here are 3 bold predictions for the 2012 season:
1. Tim Tebow will start AT LEAST 2 games for the New York Jets this season.
Go ahead, laugh. I know you want to. Tebow couldn’t possibly handle the pressure in New York like he could in Denver. But believe me, all it takes is one bad game from Mark Sanchez and the fans will be calling for Tebow. Actually, one bad game might even be too much. A couple consecutive three-and-outs might be enough to set off the crowd. Then, once they see Tebow play, they’ll look to their buddy sitting next to them and say, “Ya know, Sanchez ain’t so bad after all. Maybe we’ve been too rough on the guy.” Okay, maybe they won’t say that, but still, Tebow will start for at least 2 games. If you want to take the “under” on that, go ahead, but do so at your own risk.
2. The Cincinnati Bengals will return to the playoffs for a second straight year, but this time they will earn their way in, instead of backing in like 2011.
Here is a strange but true fact about the 2011 Bengals: When playing against teams that failed to reach the playoffs, the Bengals posted a dominant 9-0 record. Mighty impressive, and some would say that’s expected of a truly good team. Unfortunately, when playing against teams that DID make the playoffs, the Bengals posted a depressing 0-7 record (Ravens twice, Steelers twice, 49ers, Broncos, Texans). It should have come as a shock to no one that the Bengals were bounced out of the playoffs in Round 1 to the Texans. What was more shocking was that the Texans bounced them out with a third-string QB.
Now let’s look at some of these losses more closely. The Niners game was just plain ugly, evidenced by the final score of 13-8. Both teams sucked in that one. You’d think the Broncos loss was because of Tebowmania, except for one problem – Tebow hadn’t become the starter yet. That’s right, Bengals fans, you guys got beat by Kyle Orton. Hang your heads in shame. The Texans game was an outright choke job. The Bengals led in the final minute, but a pass interference penalty as the clock hit 0:00 gave the Texans an untimed down that was converted for the winning TD.
Disregarding the Niners game, we could argue that the Bengals were a 9-7 team that should have been 11-5. Looking ahead, the Bengals have 6 games against teams that made the 2011-12 playoffs, including the defending champion Giants, so if they can win one or two of those and clean up on the weaker teams, there shouldn’t be any doubt these guys will be playing in January.
3. The Cowboys will fail to make the playoffs for a third straight year, forcing Jerry Jones to eat a huge plate of crow and either fire Jason Garrett, trade Tony Romo, or both.
The most likely scenario is the firing of Jason Garrett. It’s a bit sad, really. He seems like a nice guy, and for the most part he’s a competent coach (as long as he’s not trying to freeze his own kicker). But the coach is almost always the first to go, especially in Jerry World. Still, a lot of pressure will be put on Romo, whether it’s fair or not.
It’s been said a thousand times, but it bears repeating: In 6 seasons as a starter (technically 5 since he missed most of 2010 with a broken clavicle), Romo has a grand total of ONE playoff win. Let’s put that in perspective. Tim Tebow has one playoff win. T.J. Yates has one playoff win. That’s not exactly great company for a guy who is supposed to be a Top 10 QB, but let’s go a step further. Joe Flacco – who many would say is inferior to Romo – has FOUR playoff wins. Mark Sanchez – who even I think is inferior to Romo – has four playoff wins. Either Romo’s stuck in the Twilight Zone, or something else is going on.
“Wait a sec, Nick,” you might say. “The reason the Cowboys can’t win isn’t because of their offense. Their offense is great! It’s the bleepin’ defense that sucks week after week!” Well, you may be onto something there, but I have a counter to that. The New England Patriots have a great offense, but their defense was consistently at or near the bottom of the rankings (they finished 17th in rush defense and 31st in pass defense). And yet, they somehow found a way to get to the Super Bowl. So say what you will about the Cowboys’ D, but I’m pretty sure they were better than New England against both rushing AND passing (they finished 7th and 23rd, respectively).
Look, I’m not saying Romo will have a bad year. I’m saying the Cowboys will have a bad year, and Romo will get the blame. Why? Because he always does, that’s why. Couple that with Jerry’s comments a few months back that this team’s championship window is closing, and this may be the final straw. Let’s also include, for the sake of completeness, that Romo isn’t getting any younger. He’s 32 years old now. He’s got 5 solid years left, and maybe 1 or 2 not-so-solid years. If he plans on getting a ring, he needs to do it soon. Watch this season closely, Cowboys fans; it may be the last time you see Romo with a star on his helmet.