2012 NFL PreviewSeptember 4th, 2012 | Posted by in Sports
1. Peyton Manning’s return - Can a healthy Peyton be the quarterback he was in Indy? If he can, Denver has a chance to win the Super Bowl. A tough schedule and 15 outdoor games will not make it easy.
2. Saints Scandal - How will the Saints respond to a season without Sean Payton at the helm? Will they rally the troops and thrive? Or will the loss of the most inventive offensive mind in the league be too much to overcome? What is the value of a great head coach in the NFL? We will see.
3. Tebow on Broadway – What will Tim Tebow bring to the Jets? Can he change the fortunes of a sliding franchise? Can Mark Sanchez hold him off and keep the starting job? If preseason is any indication, Tebow may be the Jets’ best and only offensive weapon. But that does not say a lot.
4. Rise of the Rookie QB - When was the last time that 5 rookie quarterbacks were starting in Week 1? An unprecedented event in a league becoming more pass crazy by the year will be both fun and horrifying to watch. Who will be the best of the group? Indy looks very lucky to have Andrew but Russell Wilson could surprise.
5. Replacement Officials - The one storyline I hope disappears soon. How long will the stalemate between the NFL and the officials go on? What will it take to make the NFL realize that having replacement officials could not only put players’ health in jeopardy but will decide the outcome of games? We all hope they figure this out soon.
6. The National Passing League - With a multitude of passing records shattered last season, will the NFL continue its transformation into a league that is denominated by the passing game? I think the lockout had something to do with this as well as…
7. Defense returning to the NFL - Last year was one of the worst on record for defenses. Is it because the lockout forced defenses to play vanilla schemes due to lack of practice time or that the new rules regarding illegal hits have made defenses soft? The implications of less time in pads is still to be seen, but I think defenses take a step back up this season.
8. Injuries won’t keep them down – The return of notable players from injury such as Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Jammal Charles will be the keys to the success for several teams.
9. Catch a shooting star - The emergence of Matt Stafford and Cam Newton last year made the league that much more exciting. Can they progress to the next level and who will be this year’s rising star?
10. In a New York State of Mind - One of the quietest Super Bowl winners in recent history, the Giants seem to be off everyone’s radar. That is how they like it. But can the Giants finally find consistency? If they can get into the playoffs, they will be the team no one wants to play.
NFC Division Winners
Philadelphia, Green Bay, Atlanta, San Francisco
NFC Wild Card Playoffs
Philadelphia over Seattle
Chicago over Atlanta
NFC Divisional Playoffs
Green Bay over Chicago
Philadelphia over San Francisco
Green Bay over Philadelphia
AFC Division Winners
New England, Baltimore, Houston, Denver
Pittsburgh, Kansas City
AFC Wild Card Playoffs
Pittsburgh over Denver
Baltimore over Kansas City
AFC Divisional Playoffs
New England over Pittsburgh
Houston over Baltimore
AFC Championship Game
Houston over New England
Green Bay over Houston