Wednesday, September 5, 2012

32 in 32: Putting It All Together

Preview Extravaganza
Read the introduction here
Read the Giants preview here

After 32 days of late night and early morning blogging, tons of research, racking my brains to remember what I thought about certain things, and a lot of deliberation, I have finished. Now what? I put all the records together, give you the standings, the playoffs, and even the awards. Y'all ready for this? Here you go, starting with the divisional standings:

AFC East

  1. 14-2 New England Patriots 
  2. 10-6 Buffalo Bills
  3. 6-10 New York Jets
  4. 5-11 Miami Dolphins

AFC North

  1. 11-5 Baltimore Ravens
  2. 9-7   Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. 7-9   Cincinnati Bengals
  4. 6-10 Cleveland Browns

AFC South

  1. 12-4 Houston Texans
  2. 8-8   Tennessee Titans
  3. 5-11 Indianapolis Colts
  4. 4-12 Jacksonville Jaguars 

AFC West

  1. 10-6  Kansas City Chiefs (Win Common Games tiebreaker with Broncos)
  2. 10-6  Denver Broncos
  3. 8-8   San Diego Chargers
  4. 4-12 Oakland Raiders

NFC East

  1. 11-5 New York Giants
  2. 10-6 Philadelphia Eagles
  3. 8-8   Dallas Cowboys
  4. 7-9   Washington Redskins

NFC North

  1. 12-4 Green Bay Packers
  2. 11-5 Chicago Bears
  3. 10-6 Detroit Lions
  4. 1-15 Minnesota Vikings

NFC South

  1. 10-6 Atlanta Falcons
  2. 7-9 Carolina Panthers (Win Common Games tiebreaker with Buccaneers)
  3. 7-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
  4. 7-9 New Orleans Saints (Lose Divisional Record tiebreaker to Buccaneers and Panthers)

NFC West

  1. 11-5 San Francisco 49ers
  2. 8-8   Seattle Seahawks
  3. 5-11 Arizona Cardinals
  4. 4-12 St. Louis Rams
Alright, those are the division standings, but what about after the regular season? Don't worry, I've got you covered, this is how the playoffs will shake out.

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Houston Texans
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Denver Broncos (Win Conference Record tiebreaker with Bills)
  6. Buffalo Bills
Wild Card Playoffs
  • Ravens over Bills. The better quarterback wins here. The back end of the defense will shut down Steve Johnson and force Fitzpatrick to look for other options, something that he doesn't really have.
  • Broncos over Chiefs. These two teams also play in Week 17, and unless the Chiefs make dramatic changes, Peyton Manning will know what to expect, and it will be fresh on his mind. You don't want Peyton Manning to have your defensive scheme fresh on his mind.
Divisional Playoffs
  • Patriots over Broncos. Wow. This was completely accidental, but I somehow found a way to sneak in yet another Manning/Brady game. This should be a classic. The Patriots are a better team than the Broncos, especially on offense, but Manning will cause problems for the porous Pats defense. In the end, the Pats will come out on top.
  • Ravens over Texans. This exact matchup took place last year in the divisional playoffs, and it was a close game with one team using a third string rookie quarterback. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Texans pull it out, but in order for the Ravens to even get to this point, it means that Joe Flacco is having a breakout season and showing his very talented arm. He'll be the better QB in this game, and he'll lead his team to victory.
Championship Game
  • Ravens over Patriots. Yet another 2011 rematch for Baltimore, and this time around, the goats of the game last year; Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff have both been cut. Flacco outplayed Brady in last year's game, and as I just said, the fact that I have the Ravens in the playoffs means that I'm all in on Flacco. He'll take full advantage of the bad defense, and step it up. Unless the Pats fix their offensive line problems by then, Brady will be dancing around in the pocket, something that he's never been comfortable doing, just ask the Giants. 
  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. New York Giants (Win Head-to-Head matchup tiebreaker with 49ers)
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. Atlanta Falcons
  5. Chicago Bears
  6. Philadephia Eagles (Win Head-to-Head matchup tiebreaker with Lions)
Wild Card Playoffs
  • San Francisco 49ers over Eagles. Great game here, and even though the Eagles offense is really good,  the Niners defense is even better. They were great at stopping the run last year, which will render LeSean McCoy almost useless, and the pass rush will frustrate Mike Vick.
  • Falcons over Bears. This pick just caused me a lot of pain, because I love the Bears this year. I just happen to like the Falcons just a bit more, even though their records don't reflect that. Matt Ryan is going to have a breakout year, and he almost never loses at home. He's 26-5 (including his playoff loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the 2010 season) in the Dome, and he's not going to lose here. Now, here comes the "Oh, but Matt Ryan can't win the big one!" people. Clutch is a myth, and those same words were spoken about Peyton Manning and Michael Jordan. Yeah, I know. The only problem with this prediction is that it only further proves that Jay Cutler is in fact the one who can't win the big one. Obviously. 
Divisional Playoffs
  • Packers over Falcons. I'm just going to defer to the "better quarterback wins" rule. I finally talked myself out of the Falcons, which has been my goal for about a week.
  • Giants over 49ers. West Coast team coming into a freezing MetLife Stadium in January. Last year, the game was at Candlestick, so the Niners didn't have to deal with jetlag and the climate. Weather is a much bigger factor in football than you would expect. The Giants also have a better offense, and the secondary won't be exposed because Alex Smith is Alex Smith.
Championship Game
  • Packers over Giants. The Packers will be really motivated, thinking about the beating handed to them by the Giants last year. Also, it's impossible to pick against the Packers here.
Super Bowl XLVII
Here it is, the Holy Grail of football. I have the Ravens and the Packers in here. I'm going to assume that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are nearing the end of their careers, and this could be each of their final games. Lewis already has a ring, but Reed missed the boat by a couple of years, so he'll be hungry. Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback than Joe Flacco, and his offensive line has some weaknesses. The problem with that, is that the Packers have QB terrorist, Clay Matthews. The Ravens have really good shutdown corners, but Rodgers always has a way to fit the ball in the perfect spots. 

Packers 27, Ravens 24
Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Okay, so now we know what I'll be wrong about in the playoffs, so let's see what awards I will be wrong about.

MVP: Tom Brady has amazing weapons this year, and this is closest he will ever come to being 2007 Tom Brady. 
Offensive Player of the Year: Well, you know, Tom Brady.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Pierre-Paul. If his other friends on the defensive line, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, are healthy, JPP will be freed up for a lot of sacks. Therefore, he'll get this award. Haloti Ngata will give him a run for his money for this award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: I'd be stupid for not choosing Andrew Luck.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly. The tackling machine!
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh. If the Ravens are making it to the Super Bowl, Harbaugh deserves this honor. Greg Schiano will get some consideration for turning the Bucs around.
Comeback Player of the Year: I'll go with Chris Johnson here. He was so atrocious that he wins it by default.

Alright, there you have it, the 2012 NFL Season in the mind of a 14-year-old. The game starts in 12 minutes. Watch some football. 

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