2012 NFL Season Predictions

The long awaited 2012 NFL season predictions, with one game already in, Colin is pushing the deadline, but no worries fearless fans you can still get down on some of the juicer season wins and future bets.

I follow the “NFL Season Prediction Rules to live by” found here.

Step 1:

Determine the teams with the potential to fall into a +/- 4 victories category. (Greyed cells indicate a team cannot fall into that bucket)

Team

Div

2011 WINS

Plus 4

Minus 4

Team

Div

2011 WINS

Plus 4

Minus 4

Bills AFCE

6

    Bears NFCN

8

   
Dolphins AFCE

6

    Cowboys NFCE

8

   
Jets AFCE

8

    Eagles NFCE

8

   
Patriots AFCE

13

    Giants NFCE

9

   
Bengals AFCN

9

    Lions NFCN

10

   
Browns AFCN

4

    Packers NFCN

15

   
Ravens AFCN

12

    Redskins NFCE

5

   
Steelers AFCN

12

    Vikings NFCN

3

   
Colts AFCS

2

    Buccaneers NFCS

4

   
Jaguars AFCS

5

    Falcons NFCS

10

   
Texans AFCS

10

    Panthers NFCS

6

   
Titans AFCS

9

    Saints NFCS

13

   
Broncos AFCW

8

    49ers NFCW

13

   
Chargers AFCW

8

    Cardinals NFCW

8

   
Chiefs AFCW

7

    Rams NFCW

2

   
Raiders AFCW

8

    Seahawks NFCW

7

   

The above thins the available teams from 64 options to a more reasonable 42. Using the above, we can see that they are eight teams that finished 8-8 last year, so based on that I am going to estimate the number of overall +/- 4 teams will be slightly lower than normal years. The reason, it’s pretty hard to go 4-12 and 12-4, those records seem like the lower and upper boundaries that are difficult to achieve. Now in a year where 6 of those 8 teams were either 7-9 or 9-7, it’s a bit more reasonable to expect 11-5 or 5-11. So, I am settling on 11 teams in this group. And here they are, in order of confidence:

  1. Buffalo – 10-6, up 4 wins; the hype machine is on over-load and I don’t trust their QB, especially late in the year. But the division is easier (NYJ likely down, Dolphins likely horrible), the schedule is easier (NFC West and AFC South) and the defense added a pro bowler in Mario Williams, so you have to figure that the Bills are candidates to post 10 wins and earn a playoff berth.
  2. Indianapolis – 6-10 up 4 wins; Things could not have gone worse last year for the Colts. And just when you thought they were going to screw the entire season by winning their last three, thus avoiding the number 1 overall, they rallied to a resounding defeat in week 17, giving them the rights to Andrew Luck. Imagine the renewed energy Reggie Wayne will have this season; he has to be so thankful to have a moderately competent quarterback that he might put up numbers like it was 2007 again. That should be enough to get the Colts four additional wins.
  3. San Francisco – 8-8, down 5 wins; this is purely based on facts. Fact 1 – the 49ers Pythagorean formula of expected wins last season was a little of 12, so they outperformed their expect by a game. But upon closer examination of their schedule we see they caught the Buccaneers at the beginning of the “mailing it in” tour in a 48-3 win and they also got the Steelers, 20-3, with a very gimpy Big Ben. Normalized those two games and it brings us down to 11 wins. Fact 2 – the 49ers had three ridiculously lucky wins last season, the Eagles, Lions and 2nd Seahawks games. Fact 3 – perhaps the biggest reason I see this taking a step back is the turnover margin from a year ago. Not only the 49ers protect the ball giving up just 10 turnovers, they forced 38 turnovers, for a mind-blowing +28. How much is a turnover worth in points? Well, it obviously varies based upon where the turnover occurs, but in general, turnovers are worth around 4 points. Meaning that if the 49ers post a very nice +12 turnover margin this season, they will lose roughly 64 net points, which translates, in Pythagorean terms, to about 3 wins. Good enough for me!
  4. Kansas City – 11-5, up 4 wins; The Chiefs lost their 2nd best receiver, best defensive player and best offensive player in a three week span, starting with the pre-season finale and ending with the second regular season game. And despite the fact they hated Todd Haley about as much as Red Sox players hate Bobby Valentine and you have to wonder how the Chiefs managed to win 7 games last season. Well, they’re extremely young and talented, that’s how. And as much grief as I have given Romeo Crennel over the years, “clueless, stares at the play-sheet like it’s a menu, deer in the headlights, his dog ate the card listing the times a coach should go for two, etc.”, the last time a former Browns head coach was given a second chance it worked out fairly well. The point? We simply don’t know about Romeo, because all we have to go on is his failure in Cleveland. The moral of the story? Nobody can be held responsible for failing in Cleveland!
  5. Tampa Bay – 8-8, up 4 wins; Honestly, I had to hold back in picking them to win the division with 11 wins. New coach, new Josh Freeman, new receivers, renewed receivers and a focus that generally translates into a positive upswing. The downside? The schedule is rough (NFC East and AFC West), the division is rough, even if the Saints fall back and there are still a ton of questions on defense. But this team won 10 games two years ago. They are closer to that team, than the poster boys for “mailing it in” like last year.
  6. Minnesota – 7-9, up 4 wins; since 1989 they have been 24 teams that won 3 games in a season, the next year 10 of those teams won seven or more games. Yeah, 42% success rate is a recipe to end up on welfare, but consider this subset of three win teams since 2000 – seven of nine have won seven or more games the next year. And one of teams that failed was the Rams, so really it’s like 7/8. Plus, the Vikings started 0-4 last year by a combined 19 points, with each game being decided by a touchdown or less. They also had an excruciating loss to the Broncos, where one of their DBs got red-carded early in the game, forcing the Vikings to play a man down. That had to be the reason they forgot to cover D. Thomas for almost the entire second half, right? So, flip a play or two in those first four, give then the Broncos game and turn one more close loss into a win and viola – a seven win team.
  7. Green Bay – 11-5, down 4 wins; Easy call here. Even coach Mike McCarthy admitted halfway through the 2011 season that the Packers were four plays away from being 4-4 last year, as opposed to 8-0. Let’s add that the Packers have now experienced both ends of capricious nature of the NFL playoffs – in 2010 barely made it in, ran the table; in 2011 dominated the regular season, laid an egg in the playoff opener. Based on their experience last season, my guess is the Pack realize home field advantage is slightly over-rated in the playoffs, and therefore, they will have a few of those games where they’re lackadaisical and flat out bored.
  8. New Orleans – 8-8, down 5 wins; I know my personal bias is getting in the way of making a logical decision on the Saints, but screw it, I hate this Saints team with the white hot intensity of a googol suns. Why? Well, for starters, I am not fond of their, now estranged, head coach Sean Payton. He strikes me as a sissy version of Jim Harbaugh, translation, he invokes the same “I want to plant one right on your kisser” feelings except without the fear that he might fight back. I hate the way the Saints ran up the scores at the end of last season and kept their starters in far too long, just to make sure Brees broke Marino’s passing records. In a similar situation back in 09 with little or nothing to play for, the Saints rested their starters in the final regular season game, last year the Saints kept Brees in virtually the entire game despite the facts that – 1. The 49ers were cruising against the Rams, thus rendering the Saints game meaningless; and 2. The Saints has a comfortable lead late in the game. But they left Brees in to throw, throw, and throw some more. Add in the bounty-gate crap, the reality that the Saints are coached by Gomer Pyle, with Sean Payton out for the year and it feels a lot like it is about to come around on this team. I won’t be a bit surprised if in successive weeks a blitzing safety drives Brees throwing shoulder into the Superdome turf so hard that when Brees gets up it appears as though his arm is attached to his shoulder by a single, thin line of dental floss, then the following Jimmy Graham goes down with an ACL tear and finally Darren Sproles blows out his achilles in week three. “The New Orleans Saints are on the clock. . .”
  9. Chicago – 12-4, up 4 wins; This is where it gets tough. Man, I really wish the Bears didn’t rise up last January 1st, by knocking off the Vikings, thus securing a .500 record. This would have been much more palatable to select the Bears at 11-5, but the “Rules” are the rules and I have to play by them. Look the Bears were 7-3 last season, headed for the playoffs when injuries Forte and Cutler derailed their season. Their defense will be good enough, it always is. But they have significantly upgraded their offense by adding two new toys for Cutler in WR Brandon Marshall and WR Alshon Jeffrey. Plus, I think they sweep the Packers this season. They get them in week two, on a short week and after the Packers play a physical game against the 49ers, the Bears meanwhile have a glorified scrimmage against the Colts in week one. That week two game is the difference in the division!
  10. Detroit – 6-10, down 4 wins; Zero, and I mean zero, running game means that Matthew Stafford and company will have to throw, throw and throw. So what, right? We all know that the NFL has become a passing league, but such a reliance on the passing means the quarterback is vulnerable to injury, as are the receivers. The defense is nothing to get excited about. And the division figures to be better with Chicago and Minnesota improved. And with all that, I still can only slot then in my 10th confidence spot because overall they have more talent than a 6 win team and they also get the worst divisions in each conference as their opponents (NFC West and AFC South). But call it a “Tampa Bay 2011” hunch, I this team catches the wrong end of some breaks early, which leads to the proverbial “circling of the drain” late.
  11. Washington – 9-7 up 4 wins; I love me some of RG III. Isn’t RG III a freakishly great nickname? I mean that just rolls off the tongue, it so natural, hell I wanted to draft him way too high in fantasy just to announce his name. And, yeah, RG III is a rookie, but come on he is certainly better than the bag of diarrhea the ‘Skins were throwing out there last year. I figure they get off to a hot start (4-2) and then play .500 the rest of the way, sneak into the playoffs as the #6 seed and then we all retire after betting against them in the Wildcard round.

Determine 2011 playoff teams that will not return, in order of confidence:

  1. Denver – It doesn’t get much easier than going opposite of the “hype” pick in any given season. Let’s also add the Broncos should’ve been, at best, 6-10 last season and you have the makings for gross under-achievement. Did I mention that the Broncos schedule is brutal the first two months? Odds are 50/50 that Peyton Manning makes it out of that stretch with his neck still fused.
  2. Cincinnati – One very good reason – the Bengals have made the playoffs five times in the last 24 years, the year after they failed to make the playoffs. Head Marvin Lewis has been around for three of those five seasons, meaning Marvin isn’t the perpetual disappointment just when expectations reach anything above the “just don’t embarrass yourself” level.
  3. San Francisco – See above. And throw in this – isn’t Jim Harbaugh due for some bad karma? Think about the piles of crap this guy has left for someone else to clean – whether it’s blatantly running up the score or going all “crazy handshake” on another coach or simply his arrogant approach to his profession. At some point this has to come around, my guess is the stars are aligning for it to come around in a big way this year.
  4. Detroit – See above. And I am much more confident the Lions miss the playoffs than I am that they win 6 or less. So you got that going for you.
  5. New Orleans – See above, but one more thing about the Saints. Their backup quarterback is a known booger eater, yep that’s right Chase Daniel eats boogers. I ask you, football fans, would you trust a team that is one injury away from having a booger eating, butt-plug taking first team snaps at QB? Me neither!
  6. New York Giants – It’s amazing that this team has triumphantly hoisted the Lombardi twice in the past 4 seasons when you consider that they were two plays away from not making the playoffs in either year. The schedule is brutal, the division is brutal and, most importantly, this team won’t be hungry this year. In addition, I get the sense they think they can turn it on whenever they want. This year, as opposed to last year, Romo completes that easy pitch and catch to Miles Austin and viola, the Giants are missing from the 2012 playoffs.

That means the six new teams to the post-season party in 2012 will be: Buffalo, Kansas City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington.

In summary, I followed the “rules” to the letter on selecting six new playoff teams. I limited the +/- 4 games teams to eleven based on the number of returning 8-8 teams. I selected the Kansas City Chiefs as my “worst to first” team for 2012. And finally, I used 145 as my total of home team wins.

Without further ado, here are Colin’s official 2012 NFL Standings complete with record, division/conference/Super Bowl odds, season win total:

2012 AFC Predictions

AFC East
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 NewEngland 14 2 (500) 250 700 12.0 100 (120)
2 Buffalo 10 6 600 2,000 5,000 7.5 (200) 170
3 NY Jets 8 8 550 2,000 2,000 8.5 150 (180)
4 Miami 4 12 3,000 5,000 5,000 6.5 120 (140)
AFC North
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Pittsburgh 11 5 100 600 1,200 10.0 (145) 125
2 Baltimore 9 7 125 700 1,200 10.0 145 (170)
3 Cincinnati 7 9 450 2,300 4,000 8.0 150 (180)
4 Cleveland 4 12 2,500 5,000 10,000 5.0 100 (120)
AFC South
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Houston 10 6 (600) 500 1,200 10.0 (170) 145
2 Tennessee 7 9 500 2,500 5,000 7.5 115 (135)
3 Indianapolis 6 10 1,200 4,500 4,000 5.5 (110) (110)
4 Jacksonville 3 13 1,200 5,000 10,000 6.5 100 (120)
AFC West
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Kansas City 11 5 350 2,000 5,000 8.0 140 (160)
2 Oakland 8 8 450 2,000 5,000 7.5 130 (150)
3 San Diego 7 9 200 1,200 1,500 9.0 140 (160)
4 Denver 6 10 125 450 1,000 8.5 (170) 145

A couple interesting notes on the AFC futures

  • The Colts are 45-1 to win the AFC but 40-1 to win the Super Bowl. I think that is a strong indicator that the book has received too many SB bets on the Colts.
  • There is zero value on the AFC West champion – 4.5-1 on the Raiders. The book is clueless when it comes to this division, so they simply bury the odds so they can’t get burnt. That’s easy to do on future bets where you don’t have to offer the opposite side. Think about it if I had to lay -145 that the Broncos won’t win the West, I would drain a retirement account to make that bet.
  • I love the Bills over 7.5 but not at that -200 number way too heavy.

AFC Future Bets:

  • Kansas City Over 8.0 wins – 2.0 units at +140
  • Jacksonville Under 6.5 wins – 3.0 units at -120
  • Miami Under 6.5 wins – 2.0 units at -140
  • New England to win AFC East – 5.0 units at -500

AFC Playoff predictions:

Wildcard RoundBaltimore over Kansas City and Houston over Buffalo

Divisional RoundNew England over Baltimore and Houston over Pittsburgh

AFC ChampionshipNew England over Houston

2012 NFC Predictions

NFC East
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Philadelphia 10 6 120 600 1,200 10.0 115 (135)
2 Washington 9 7 1,000 4,000 10,000 6.0 (150) 130
3 NY Giants 8 8 180 700 2,000 9.0 (125) 105
4 Dallas 7 9 200 1,200 2,000 8.5 (185) 155
NFC North
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Chicago 12 4 250 700 3,000 9.5 100 (120)
2 Green Bay 11 5 (230) 300 500 11.5 (110) (110)
3 Minnesota 7 9 2,500 5,000 10,000 6.0 100 (120)
4 Detroit 6 10 450 1,200 2,000 9.0 100 (120)
NFC South
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Atlanta 10 6 140 1,200 2,000 9.0 (140) 120
2 New Orleans 8 8 120 1,000 600 9.5 (120) 100
3 Tampa Bay 8 8 1000 5,000 10,000 6.0 (130) 110
4 Carolina 7 9 350 2,000 5,000 7.5 (140) 120
NFC West
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Seattle 10 6 200 1,800 6,000 7.5 (160) 140
2 San Francisco 8 8 (240) 400 2,000 9.5 (160) 140
3 Arizona 6 10 1,200 5,000 3,000 6.5 100 (120)
4 St. Louis 4 12 1,000 5,000 10,000 6.0 (110) (110)

Interesting notes on the NFC futures

  • The Saints are 6-1 to win the Super Bowl, which is a total joke; again books wouldn’t post crap numbers like this if they had to take it on the other side. Give me -1000 on the Saints not to win the Super Bowl and I will put those pricks out of business.
  • I am shocked that the Cardinals are actually the least likely team to win the NFC West; also shocked that I can’t get better than 2-1 on the Seahawks to win the division. At 5-1, I would hammer them, but 2-1 feels a little bit like I would be better waiting for a couple key games and playing a normal money line bet.
  • The 49ers are sitting at 9.5 wins after opening at 10.5, proving that sometimes, especially when you know what to expect from a team, you have to play it early.
  • The best value on the board in terms of division winner is Tampa Bay, who could very well sneak in and surprise in the South.

NFC Future Bets:

  • Seattle Over 7.5 wins – 3.0 units at -160
  • Detroit Under 9.0 wins – 2.0 units at -120
  • Washington Over 6.0 wins – 3.0 units at -150
  • Chicago Over 9.5 wins – 3.0 units at even
  • Chicago to WIN Super Bowl – .5 unit at +3000

NFC Playoff predictions:

Wildcard Round Philadelphia over Washington and Green Bay over Atlanta

Divisional Round Philadelphia over Seattle and Green Bay over Chicago

NFC ChampionshipGreen Bay over Philadelphia

And Colin Wynner calls the Super Bowl XLVII winner: Green Bay over New England

Enjoy the season!

4 thoughts on “2012 NFL Season Predictions

  1. I like sfo still they loaded up on offense and Smith just needs to manage game with that d.

    Super bowl pats over gb brady gets last one to get him 4.

    i hate peyton manning with a passion. i am from tn. he suked with the vols and never beat florida in 4 yrs he is the most overhyped overrated player in the history of nfl does anyone realize his playoff record is 9-10. if he was a true oc he would have been fired long ago. he was lucky to win 1 sb. he is the brett farve of nfl mr choke in the big game and mr two int per game/key late int aka brett favre 2.

    i need to go take my bp pill soon as its rising. that might have been a privacy violation. i still have to do my compliance. colin i would be interested in your thoughts on peyton manning. does every f,n play need an audible? i try to audible against my wife, i cant check off every play can i. well that might be better left for my therapist. you can reply all. maybe we can get some blog dialogue going

    • TG, thanks for the comment. I think the hype on Manning is over the top in Denver, which is why I see them winning 6 games this year. Manning wouldn’t have a ring if not for Rex Grossman, that game was very winnable for Bears until Rexy throws that pick-6. Also, that same year the Pats choked away a 21-3 lead and collapsed down the stretch of that game by dropping several balls. The Colts SB was one of the luckier Super Bowl wins in history. But he still got the ring!

    • Thanks for the comment!

      It’s only week one, therefore, I will resist the temptation to over-react to the opening weekend. But I will probably put together a “mulligans” column this week with some changes I would make if granted the opportunity. I might have under-estimated the 49ers, but that would not be a mulligan. The Packers look very beatable to me, the Giants showed the NFL how to do it, the 49ers copied it, the results were the same.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s