It’s that time of year again folks. After a wait which seemed like forever, the NFL is finally back. And with a new season comes new predictions. So without further ado lets get started with my 2012-13 NFL predictions.
As usual, the NFC West is arguably the worst division in football. The only playoff caliber team in the division this year, the 49ers, will be knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. After a surprisingly good 2011 season, the 49ers will come back down to earth in 2012. The cause of this regression will be signal-caller Alex Smith. While Smith proved he could be a decent starting quarterback in 2011, he still hasn’t proved that he is a Superbowl worthy quarterback.
Although the 49ers defense is good, they are nowhere near good enough to carry the whole team into the Superbowl.
Alex Smith will have to step up and deliver. What makes it even harder for a mediocre quarterback like Smith, is the fact that there isn’t a legitimate Number 1 Wide Receiver in San Francisco. Although the 49ers added some weapons in the off-season, they still don’t have a true go-to-guy. Michael Crabtree gets no separation from db’s, Randy Moss is 35, and Mario Manningham has never had a 1,000 yard season in his career.
With no trace of a passing game what so ever, the only reason the 49ers will be in the playoffs is because the rest of their division is terrible.
The rest of the division consists of the Arizona Cardinals, St.Louis Rams, and Seattle Seahawks.
The team that will finish second in the division will be the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks, coached by Pete Carroll, could possibly have a nice 2012 season. Everything, however, rests on Russell Wilson and/or Matt Flynn’s shoulders. Although the Seahwaks signed QB Matt Flynn to a 25 million dollar contract, rookie QB Russell Wilson has won the starting job. Wilson, the dual threat QB from Wisconsin, will have his hands full this year. The good news though, is that Wilson has shown star potential during his stellar preseason.
As a team though, the Seahawks still need to make major improvements. The Seahawks have an atrocious receiving core and also could use another pass rusher. The Seahawks tried to address their pass rushing problem through the draft by selecting West Virginia product Bruce Irvin. I, however, highly doubt that this pick will pan out. Bruce Irvin has no moves, only speed, and speed won’t do you any good in the NFL if you are a one trick pony.
The last two teams in the division, the Cardinals, and the Rams, could easily end up with top 5 draft picks next year.
After a horrific preseason Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb lost the starting job to John Skelton. Skelton however, isn’t very good either. The Cardinals also suffered another major loss with the injury to starting LT Levi Brown.
The Rams are coming off a disappointing 2011 season. They recently signed former Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher, and are coming into the 2012 season hoping they will have a season similar to that of 2010.
In the off-season the Rams made some upgrades throughout the roster. First they signed Pro-Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan, and then they added some quality players through the draft such as CB Janoris Jenkins.
The Rams still lack too much talent in other areas such as Offensive line, to make a significant impact this year.
PROJECTED FINAL STANDINGS
1. 49ers 9-7 (5-1 Division)
2. Seahawks 7-9 (5-1 Division)
3.Rams 3-13 (1-5 Division)
4. Cardinals 1-15 (1-5 Division)