The air is crisp, the temperature has dropped a few degrees and sports bars everywhere are stocking up on chicken wings. What else could that mean but that the 2012 NFL Season has arrived. As we prepare to kick off the fist Sunday of football, here are the Sports with Balls Show AFC Predictions:
Each member of the SwBS staff submitted a ballot, which was tabulated to form consensus picks. Individual Division, Wild Card, Conference Champion and Super Bowl Champion picks for each staff member can be viewed at the bottom of the page.
An asterisk (*) denotes a consensus wild card winner.
1. New England Patriots – “There is little reason to believe that the Pats won’t dominate once again in the regular season. The offense should once again be scary good with the likes of Brady, Welker, Gronkowski & Hernandez returning along with the addition of Brandon Lloyd. Playoff success could very well depend on defense and its ability to improve with the additions of rookie DE Chandler Jones and LB Dont’a Hightower.” – Mike O
As we approach the opening of the 2012 NFL season, teams will have new faces under headsets Week 1. The Colts, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Raiders, Rams and Buccaneers all have new coaches this upcoming season. Let take a look. Continue reading
The NFL’s free agent market is open for business. Rumors, news and speculation has been rolling in for weeks and we now are finally ready for some solid movement.
As signings/trades are reported check back for the “Sports with Balls” crews thoughts on the moves.
5/12 WR Randy Moss – (Titans) 49ers – 1-year/$2.5 million, with another $1.5 million possible through incentives.
- After a year of retirement, Moss makes his return to the NFL. His workouts reportedly went out well. The Niners take a shot that he has the desire/physical ability to still play.
5/13 WR Marques Colston – (Saints) Saints - 5-years/$40 million
- Coltson has surpassed the 1000 yard mark in receiving yard 5/6 seasons. The Saints resign one of Drew Brees weapons for the next 5-years. Time to turn the attention to the QB.
5/13 WR Brandon Marshall – (Dolphins) Bears – Traded for two 3rd round picks.
- Marshall caught 81 passes for 1214 yards from Chad Henne & Matt Moore. The Bears look to add production to an offense in serious need of pass catchers.
The Indianapolis Colts have officially said good-bye to the Peyton Manning era. The 14-year relationship ended after the Colts decided to release Manning rather than pay his $28-million salary for 2012. Manning is now free to sign with any team in the NFL effective immediately. Peyton Manning was the only quarterback to start for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2010 (208 games) until a neck injury sidelined him for the entire 2011 season. What makes the Manning-Colts consecutive start streak even more impressive is to think that during that same period (1998-2010) the Chicago Bears used 17 different starting quarterbacks. The former #1 overall draft selection and future Hall of Fame inductee Manning leaves Indianapolis as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, it will be bizarre to see him lineup under center for a different organization.
Peyton Manning Colts Passing Records:
Cmp %: 64.9
Peyton Manning Accomplishments:
Super Bowl XLI MVP
2003 NFL AP MVP
2004 NFL AP MVP
2008 NFL AP MVP
2009 NFL AP MVP
11 Pro Bowl’s
19 playoff game appearances
2 Super Bowl appearances
Health pending, Peyton Manning enters free agency as one of the most sought after free agents in sports history. Football fans looking for some excitement in the off-season won’t be disappointed as the Manning sweepstakes get underway.
10. Eli Manning (2008 Super Bowl, Giants 17, Patriots 14, 19-34, 255, 2 touchdowns)
9. Deion Branch (2005 Super Bowl, Patriots 24, Eagles 21, 11 catches, 133 yards)
8. Drew Brees (2010 Super Bowl, Saints 31, Colts 17, 32-39, 288, 2 touchdowns)
7. Aaron Rodgers (2011 Super Bowl, Packers 31, Steelers 25, 24-39, 304 yards and 3 touchdowns)
6. Troy Aikman (1993 Super Bowl, Cowboys 52, Bills 17, 22-30, 273 yards, 4 touchdowns)
5. Jerry Rice (1995 Super Bowl, 49ers 49, Chargers 26, 10 catches 149 yards, 3 touchdowns)
4. Emmitt Smith (1994 Super Bowl, Cowboys 30, Bills 13, 30 carries, 132 yards and 2 touchdowns)
3. Terrell Davis (1998 Super Bowl, Broncos 31, Packers 24, 30 carries, 157 yards and 3 touchdowns)
2. Kurt Warner (2000 Super Bowl, Rams 23, Titans 16, 24-46, 414 yards and 4 touchdowns)
1. Tom Brady (2004 Super Bowl, Patriots 32, Panthers 29, 32-47, 354 yards and 3 touchdowns)
1. (1) Green Bay Packers 13-0- The quest for the undefeated season continues as Cheese Nation heads into Kansas City.
2. (2) Baltimore Ravens 10-3- The Ravens continue to battle for the top seed in the AFC as they head out west.
3. (4) New Orleans Saints 10-3- Drew Brees & the Saints have been playing under the radar at 10-3.
4. (5) Pittsburgh Steelers 10-3- The continue to playing interesting games against bad teams but they win them all.
5. (3) San Francisco 49ers 10-3- Rough loss in Arizona drops the Niners a notch as they look to beat out the Saints for the #2 seed.
6. (7) Houston Texans 10-3- Franchise has reached the postseason for the first time in franchise history and are in position for a possible bye.
7. (6) New England Patriots 10-3- Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski & Wes Welker all day. Offense needs to overcome the sporadic play of the defense.
8. (9)Denver Broncos 8-5- Tim Tebow & the Broncos are on a magical run towards the playoffs. Will they be able to outscore the Patriots on Sunday?
9. (13) New York Jets 8-5- They blasted the Chiefs as everything else fell into place Sunday afternoon. If the season ended today they would be the 2nd wild card team.
10. (17)- New York Giants 7-6- Eli Manning has been magnificent this season. Clutch play could prove dangerous to the rest of the NFC.
11. (8) Dallas Cowboys 7-6- DeMarco Murray injury could prove to be as big of a loss as the one suffered Sunday night.
12. (11) Tennessee Titans 7-6-The Titans continue to remain in the playoff race despite inconsistent play from the quarterback & running back.
13. (15) Atlanta Falcons 8-5-Struggles in the rest of the NFC has opened up an opportunity for the Falcons to reach the postseason.
14. (10) Cincinnati Bengals 7-6- Despite a successful campaign the Bengals a dropped big games lately. They need to win to get in.
15. (12) Detroit Lions 8-5- Despite the win, the Vikings game has to have Lions fans a bit nervous.
16. (14) Oakland Raiders 7-6- Raiders remain in the race but Carson Palmer hasn’t helped matters in recent weeks.
17. (16) Chicago Bears 7-6-Marion Barber may have cost his team a playoff spot with 2 poor plays late in the Broncos debacle.
18. (18) San Diego Chargers 6-7- December is the Chargers month. Strong finish could make things interesting out west.
19. (22) Arizona Cardinals 6-7- Larry Fitzgerald is pretty darn good. The Cardinals could reach .500 by season end.
20. (23) Seattle Seahawks 6-7- Marshawn Lynch has been dominating in recent weeks as the Seahawks look to finish up strong.
21. (20) Miami Dolphins 4-9 – Tony Sparano gets canned after his first poor outing five weeks. Ownership wanted him out.
22. (25) Philadelphia Eagles 5-8- Eagles finally get a win. The slim hope of a playoff appearance remains.
23. (19) Buffalo Bills 5-8 Yikes. Things really have gone down hill in upstate New York.
24 (21) Carolina Panthers 4-9- Cam Newton has brought excitement back to Panthers football.
25. (26) Cleveland Browns 4-9-Played the Steelers tough but ultimately need some serious help on offense.
26. (27) Washington Redskins 4-9- Redskins moved the ball on the Patriots. Not sure if that is much of an accomplishment.
27. (24) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-9- Good start, rough finish in Tampa Bay.
28. (28) Kansas City Chiefs 5-8- Todd Haley takes the fall despite an injury riddled season along with a lack of talent.
29. (29) Jacksonville Jaguars 4-9- Maurice Jones-Drew is having a sensational season despite no offensive support.
30. (30) Minnesota Vikings 2-11- Time to begin preparation towards 2012.
31. (31) St. Louis Rams 2-11- The Rams are a very poor football team. This is something I’m sure you are aware of.
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts 0-13- 13 down and 3 to go on the quest for imperfection.
1. (1) Green Bay Packers 12-0- Aaron Rodgers has 37 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Let that sink in.
2. (2) Baltimore Ravens 9-3- Ray Rice made a lot of fantasy owners happy for the playoff stretch.
3. (3) San Francisco 49ers 10-2- With the win against the Rams, they clinched the NFC West.
4. (4) New Orleans Saints 9-3- Drew Brees was the first QB this season over 4,000 yards.
5. (6) Pittsburgh Steelers 9-3- Dominating win against the division rival Bengals.
6. (5) New England Patriots 9-3- Let the Colts hang around as that defense continues to struggle.
7. (7) Houston Texans 9-3- All T.J Yates has to do is hand the ball off to Arian Foster.
8. (8) Dallas Cowboys 7-5- Jason Garrett ices his own kicker and they lose in Arizona. Still have the upper hand in the very average NFC East.
9. (15)Denver Broncos 7-5- Tebow does it again as the defense struggles for the first time in over a month. Did I mention Tim Tebow is in first place?
10. (13) Cincinnati Bengals 7-5- Got wacked against Pittsburgh and still have three straight divisional games left.
11. (17) Tennessee Titans 7-5-Hanging around has left the Titans only a half of game back in the wildcard race.
12. (10) Detroit Lions 7-5- They need to get back under control or else they will be watching the playoffs at home.
13. (16) New York Jets 7-5- Jets have a tough road to the playoffs after the Chiefs. Eagles, Giants, and Dolphins.
14. (11) Oakland Raiders 7-5- Awful performance against the Dolphins, lost 1st place in the AFC West in the process.
15. (12) Atlanta Falcons 7-5-Matt Ryan couldn’t outscore TJ Yates? Really?
16. (9) Chicago Bears 7-5-Week Two with Caleb Hanie didn’t exactly work out. Tough to get behind them now with Forte out for a while.
17. (14)- New York Giants 6-6- Still are in it with two games against Dallas.
18. (21) San Diego Chargers 5-7- For one night, it all went right for Rivers and company.
19. (19) Buffalo Bills 5-7 Have fallen off a cliff. Not shocking after Fred Jackson got hurt. What’s CJ Spiller made of?
20. (22) Miami Dolphins 4-8 – Absolutely dominated a playoff-worthy team in Oakland.
21 (25) Carolina Panthers 4-8- Cam Newton leads the entire league in rushing touchdowns.
22. (27) Arizona Cardinals 5-7- Likely won’t make the playoffs, so it’s a matter of how much Kevin Kolb improves to end the year.
23. (24) Seattle Seahawks 5-7- You wouldn’t have guessed Seattle was out of it judging by how they destroyed Philadelphia.
24. (19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-8- Raheem Morris is likely on the hot seat as his team has taken a step back.
25. (20) Philadelphia Eagles 4-8- Absolute disaster.
26. (23) Cleveland Browns 4-8-At least they got Peyton Hillis back…
27. (26) Washington Redskins 4-8- Capitals are struggling so I guess…Go Wizards?
28. (28) Kansas City Chiefs 4-8- Remember when they won four in a row?
29. (29) Jacksonville Jaguars 3-9- MJD deserves better.
30. (30) Minnesota Vikings 2-10- Tough loss against Tebow, where have we heard that before?
31. (31) St. Louis Rams 2-10- Is Spags going to lose his job?
32. (32) Indianapolis Colts 0-12- They made it interesting with New England.
Jets 27, Bills 11
-All of the sudden if the Jets defeat the Patriots this week, they are in first place.
-Jets were impressive in minimizing the damage of Fred Jackson.
Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13
-DeMarco Murray continues to impress. I dropped him on the fantasy team.
-Seahawks need a quarterback desperately.
Falcons 31, Colts 7
-Falcons did their job against the worst team in the league.
-Julio Jones- Wow.
Dolphins 31, Chiefs 3
-Matt Moore was actually……good. 17-23, 244 yards and three touchdowns.
-The AFC West stinks.
Saints 27, Bucs 16
-195 yards rushing for the Saints with no Mark Ingram, not good for the Bucs.
-I have no idea who’s going to win this division. My guess is the Saints, but the Falcons are starting to play better football.
49ers 19, Redskins 11
-With an awful NFC West, it’s a very realistic possibility that the 49ers will get the 2nd seed in the NFC and if the Packers slip up, the Niners are right there.
-Roy Helu with an impressive game in the loss, 14 catches is no joke.
Texans 30, Browns 12
-Ben Tate could start on a lot of teams.
-Colt McCoy hasn’t gotten a lot of support from his teammates. Injuries all over the place.
Bengals 24, Titans 17
-If the playoffs started today, the Bengals would be the #1 seed.
-Even with that, I can’t get excited about the Bengals yet considering they haven’t played the Steelers or Ravens.
Broncos 38, Raiders 24
-Willis McGahee is on pace for 1,260 yards rushing. Who would have thought that?
-I have never been a fan of the overrated Carson Palmer.
Giants 24, Patriots 20
- This is the best I’ve seen Eli ever play.
- Tom Brady’s numbers indicate he played well, but he looked befuddled against that front four.
Cardinals 19, Rams 13 OT
-I can see why the Cardinals were willing to move DRC. Peterson is a stud.
- No Kevin Kolb for the Cardinals against the Eagles. Would have been interesting to say the least.
Packers 45, Chargers 38
-I’d be a little worried about that defense if I were a Packers fan. Extremely feast or famine.
-Still don’t know what to make of Rivers’ turnover issues.
Ravens 23, Steelers 20
-Hell of a throw by Flacco on the game winning touchdown
-Torrey Smith has been quite the help for the Ravens.
Bears 30, Eagles 24
-Put in a tape of the Eagles’ first four losses and you have the Bears loss. Sloppy, lack of execution, turnovers, ugh.
Bears 34, Panthers 29
-Cam Newton continues to impress, finishing with 374 yards passing.
-Jay Cutler can thank Matt Forte for bailing him out. Cutler finished with 102 yards passing.
Bengals 23, Bills 20
-Not a shocking result, Bills coming off an emotional win against New England. They were due for a let down.
-I, as an Eagles fan can not wait to face the high-powered Bills offense…..
Titans 31, Browns 13
-Fun stat- 30 percent of Matt Hasselbeck’s passes went for touchdowns.
-Colt McCoy had double the completions than Hasselbeck had attempts and lost by18.
Lions 34, Cowboys 30
-Absolutely hilarious to watch Dallas blow a 27-3 lead. Almost makes the Eagles loss a little easier.
-After this game, I can see why Rob Ryan would say Megatron would be the third best receiver on the Cowboys….haha just kidding, he’s an idiot.
Chiefs 22, Vikings 17
-Donovan McNabb’s run as a NFL starter will end very soon.
-Both these teams stink.
Redskins 17, Rams 10
-It was ugly for the Redskins, but they got a huge W to stay on top of the NFC East with the Giants.
-I still don’t consider the Rams out of it. They haven’t even played a division opponent yet.
49ers 24, Eagles 23
-Eagles getting outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter.
-Just put a corner on the tight end already.
Saints 23, Jaguars 10
-The Saints outgained the Jags by 229 yards.
-The Jimmy Graham pick by the Saints was and still is one of the best ones of the draft.
Texans 17, Steelers 10
-Honestly can’t remember the last time the Steelers got torched by a running back like that. I guess Foster is healthy.
-No fracture for Big Ben’s foot. He’s going to have nightmares about Mario Williams for a while.
Giants 31, Cardinals 27
-Imagine how good the Giants will be when they are healthy.
-There have been 20 teams that have blown leads in the 4th quarter, McNabb, Kolb and Vick have been at the helm for 8 of them. Kind of funny.
Falcons 30, Seahawks 28
-Not sure what the deal with the Falcons is, but they don’t look impressive at all.
-Maybe Tarvis Jackson makes a little noise in the NFC West after all. He was very impressive against Atlanta.
Packers 49, Broncos 23
-Yup, the Packers are the best team in football and it’s not that close.
-Tebow time soon whether the coaching staff wants it or not. You need to find out if he can play.
Patriots 31, Raiders 19
-Belichek can not be happy with giving up 504 yards of offense to a Jason Campbell led team.
-Stevan Ridley is making Danny Woodhead irrelevant.
Chargers 26, Dolphins 16
-Tony Sparano is done.
-Vincent Jackson will get paid by someone in the off-season, he’s a monster.
Ravens 34, Jets 17
-Mark Sanchez stinks. Product of a very good defense and run game.
-Joe Flacco wasn’t much better. Very impressive win vs. the Steelers, but besides a blowout of the Rams, not a great season.
Bucs 24, Colts 17
-LeGarrette Blount is a lot of fun to tackle
-First sell out for Tampa in over year. Young and upcoming team should change that.