The NFL is unlike any other competition in the world. Anything can happen. Take Ricky Williams for example: Highly touted running back out of Texas, he was drafted by the Saints 5th overall in 1999 with a pedigree many considered to be that of a potential Hall of Famer. What occurred instead were injuries, a trade to Miami in 2002, two positive test results for Marijuana in 2004, retirement from the NFL to pursue a passion for Indian herbal medicine and massage therapy, a return to football in 2005, another positive drug test and suspension for the entire 2006 season, one season in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and then yet another return to the Miami Dolphins in which he would record a 1000 yard rushing season at the age of 32. Phew! Each season, previously thought impossibilities occur right before our eyes with no logic or reason available to explain them. It's part of the charm of the NFL. And so, it is our difficult (but fun!) job to predict the unpredictable. Disclaimer: These predictions are not shared by the entire crew at NFL Down Under, the views are that of Ned Balme and he bases them off no statistical knowledge but rather what he will be thinking a year from now when he reflects on what a crazy year we just had in the NFL.
AFC[caption id="attachment_15666" align="alignright" width="229" caption="McFadden has shown some flashes during his limited playing time."][/caption] Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden will remain healthy for the whole season. Now the idea of a player remaining healthy an entire season may not seem that far-fetched. However, when that player is the physical freak that "Run DMC" is, the results could be awe inspiring. Hear me now, believe me later. Darren McFadden will become the 7th player in NFL History to rush for over 2000 yards. Even better, without Michael Bush in Oakland to take short yardage carries, Darren McFadden will rush for over 20 touchdowns. In a constantly evolving passing league, Darren McFadden will be named Offensive Player of the Year and would have been named MVP if only the Raider were able to muster up more than a 9-7 record.
NFCOne of the most consistently brutal divisions will produce an undefeated (regular) season team. It wont be the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. It wont be Americas team. And it wont come on the bootlaces of RGIII. [caption id="attachment_15676" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="Will the Eagles finally live up to their potential? "][/caption] The 2011 "Dream Team" Philadelphia Eagles will live up the mantra this season. The Eagles offence with a content and focused DeSean Jackson, a newly paid LeSean McCoy and healthy Michael Vick will torch defenses throughout the entire season. After a year in the system and an entire off season of chemistry building, the Eagles will have the number one ranked in the league come seasons end. With last seasons number one pass rushing core even more stacked and Ndamdi Asomugha playing man-on-man like he used to in Oakland, the Philly defense will prove the kryptonite to the NFL's pass heavy orientation. However, Philadelphia will not go any deeper into the playoffs than the divisional round as they will come unglued at the hands of the NFC's most dynamic playmaker. Cam "Super-Cam" Newton will lead his Carolina Panthers into Lincoln Financial field and stun the previously undefeated Eagles 27-24, thus bringing an end to the prospects of an undefeated season.
Fan PredictionsAs promised, here's some of the most interesting predictions for the 2012 season from our Facebook faithful at NFL Down Under. Luke Ferguson "Tim Tebow WON'T beat Mark Sanchez." On a personal level, I love the simplicity of this prediction as so far this off season it seems no one is inclined to even entertain the notion of Mark Sanchez winning this quarterback battle. [caption id="attachment_15669" align="alignright" width="227" caption="The Lions appear to have ousted the Bengals as the NFL's most unruly team."][/caption] Ashley Wiltshire "Seahawks reach the NFC Championship. Matt Flynn throws for 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns." Truthfully, I have a ridiculous man-crush on Seahawks 3rd round pick Russel Wilson so I would like nothing more than this to be way off (no offence Ashley). I can actually see this happening. Many seem to think the 49ers are automatic for back to back NFC West crown but in reality you are banking on Alex Smith playing at a very high level yet again and I'm not sold on that. If Seattle take their division and get home field advantage in the playoffs anything is possible, just ask the Saints. John Loy "No Bengals players will be arrested this season." Now this one I do find hard to comprehend as it seems almost like a right of passage in Cincinnati. While they did rid themselves of Jerome Simpson, the player previously known as "Pac-man" Jones as well as troubled linebacker Rey Maualuga are still on the active roster. This may be the craziest prediction of all.
What do you think? Have a wild prediction of your own? Share it with us!