Category Archives: 2012 NFL Team Preview

2012 NFL Team Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 2011 season was a forgettable one in Tampa. By the halfway point, the team looked like they lost respect for head coach Raheem Morris. They were outscored 298-140 in their last eight games.

Morris is out and new head coach Greg Schiano is left with a talented, yet lost team in 2012. He rebuilt the Rutgers football program when he was there and hopes to do the same with the Bucs. They got off to a nice start by adding some young players in key areas.

Josh Freeman looked like a future Pro Bowl quarterback in his rookie season. Can he regain that form and lead this team to a surprise playoff berth?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Continue reading

2012 NFL Team Preview: St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams are still waiting for their former #1 overall pick Sam Bradford to lead them into the playoffs. The young quarterback has been hampered by injuries, but he goes into the 2012 season healthy.

The 2011 season was disappointing for the Rams. They went into the season hoping to win the NFC West, but only ended up winning two games. A few young players shined on offense and defense, but you can’t win many games when you can point out one or two players playing at a high level.

Can Steven Jackson break 1,000 yards rushing for an eighth season in a row? Will this be the year Bradford cements his status as a future Pro Bowl quarterback?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the St. Louis Rams. Continue reading

2012 NFL Team Preview: Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have looked great so far this preseason. Head coach Pete Carroll has brought his “the best player starts no matter your age or wage” philosophy he instituted as the head coach of USC. Players are doing their best to earn a spot. Does that translate to regular season success? TBD.

Russell Wilson looks to have the edge over Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback job, but it’s still close. Carroll has been known to roll the dice, so the job has yet to be won.

Can Seattle leapfrog San Francisco and win the NFC West…or will you see them picking high in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the Seattle Seahawks.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 7-9

Key Additions: QB Matt Flynn, WR Braylon Edwards, WR Terrell Owens, TE Kellen Winslow, DT Jason Jones, QB Russell Wilson, CB Roy Lewis, OG Deuce Lutui, OT Frank Omiyale, LB Barrett Rudd, LB Bruce Irvin, LB Bobby Wagner, DT Jaye Howard, LB Korey Toomer, CB Jeremy Lane and S Winston Guy

Key Losses: RB Justin Forsett, S Atari Bigby, OG Robert Gallery, TE John Carlson, OG Mike Gibson, DE Anthony Hargrove, DE Raheem Brock, LB David Hawthorne, QB Charlie Whitehurst and LB David Vobora

Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North

Fantasy SleepersRB Robert Turbin – For the people who draft Marshawn Lynch, Turbin will be his handcuff. He had a solid career at Utah State and should have an impact with the Seahawks. He’s a workout warrior and a very intriguing running back to keep an eye on this season

Team Analysis: Before the 2011 season, one would look at Seattle’s roster and wonder if the team could win a three or four games. They overachieved and ended the season with a 7-9 record. Their defense carried the team, but their offense had a few stars. Marshawn Lynch scored the most points and had a comeback season. Russell Wilson looks great this preseason, but Matt Flynn is making a good amount of money. If Wilson struggles, Pete Carroll could be pressured to put in Flynn. I don’t see Marshawn Lynch duplicating his 2011 season. I could see rookie Robert Turbin getting some carries by the end of the season. The wide receiver situation is a mess. The young guys need to separate themselves from Edwards and Owens. The defense forced a lot of turnovers, but gave a lot of them back on the offensive side. Seattle is lucky they are in the NFC West. There are too many wholes in their offense and defense to win many games. The Seahawks look great this preseason, but bad teams often look better because they play their first teamers longer. Seattle will be picking high in the 2013 NFL Draft.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 7 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 4-12

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2012 NFL Team Preview: San Francisco 49ers

Head coach Jim Harbaugh lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 13-3 record in 2011. They were one muffed punt return away from making a Super Bowl appearance.

The 49ers’ defense were the backbone of the team, with their offense scoring just enough to win. Alex Smith had his best season in the NFL, but there is definite room for improvement. He often shied away from throwing to his wide receivers and opted for tight end and running back targets. His group of wide receivers didn’t do him any favors and the 49ers addressed the position this offseason. Randy Moss and Mario Manningham are now there to help boost San Francisco’s passing attack.

The NFC West looks like it will be weak once again. Can the 49ers take advantage of another down year for the division?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the San Francisco 49ers.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 13-3

Key Additions: WR Randy Moss, RB Brandon Jacobs, WR Mario Manningham, QB Josh Johnson, RB Rock Cartwright, OG Leonard Davis, WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, OG Joe Looney, LB Darius Fleming, WR Chris Owusu, S Trent Robinson, C Jason Slowey and DE Cam Johnson.

Key Losses: WR Josh Morgan, WR Braylon Edwards, LB Blake Costanzo, TE Justin Peele, OG Chilo Rachal, S Reggie Smith, C Adam Snyder, CB Shawntae Spencer and Madieu Williams.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North

Fantasy Sleepers: WR Chris Owusu and RB LaMichael James – Alex Smith had a hard time connecting with his receivers in 2011. He used Vernon Davis and Frank Gore as his crutches and Michael Crabtree would often disappear in games. San Francisco signed Mario Manningham and Randy Moss in the off-season, but Signing rookie free agent Owusu was a smart move. He played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and should pick up the offensive system fast. He has looked good in the preseason and if he makes the team, he’ll be a nice pickup in the deepest of leagues. LaMichael James would be a nice player to stash away since Jacobs and Gore have had injury problems in the past. Kendall Hunter will be the primary backup, but James is an explosive, speedy talent to keep and eye on.

Team Analysis: The 49ers were THE surprise team in 2011. They were the “this is the year they finally put it all together” team the last four seasons and it finally happened. Although they did benefit a lot from being in a bad division (AFC West), they had a strong non-divisional record of 8-2. Alex Smith will need to put up some numbers and not be a plain quarterback whose only goal is to not turn the ball over. San Francisco has an embarrassment of riches at running back. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter return with Brandon Jacobs, Rock Cartwright and rookie LaMichael James joining the team this season. Their passing game has some new weapons, but will only be as good as the quarterback whose throwing them the ball. Randy Moss is back in the NFL after a season away from football. He has the same skill-set as newly-signed Mario Manningham, so it will be interesting to see if they use them together. Defense will once again be the backbone of the team. NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith both had breakout seasons with Patrick Willis being his usual self. The secondary benefited from their rush defense and many players had their best season as a pro. I look for the defense to once again be dominant in 2012. I don’t see the 49ers matching their 13-3 record from a season ago. Their non-divisional record is brutal (AFC East & NFC North). They are a playoff team and could lock up a spot early, since the NFC West is looking bad once again.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 1/2 (Prediction: OVER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 10-6

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2012 NFL Team Preview: San Diego Chargers

2011 was a rocky year for the San Diego Chargers. The season started out great, but a six-game losing streak in the middle of the season ruined everything. They finished the year 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

Head coach Norv Turner still has his job, but will need to make the playoffs in 2012 if he hopes to keep it. He is in the hot seat and will need excellent play from quarterback Phillip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates.

The AFC West will be competitive this season. Every team has improved their roster this offseason and it is any team’s division to win. Can the Chargers bounce back and save Turner’s job?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the San Diego Chargers.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 8-8

Key Additions: RB Ronnie Brown, WR Eddie Royal, WR Robert Meachem, RB Jackie Battle, S Atari Bigby, DT Aubrayo Franklin, LB Jarret Johnson, S Corey Lynch, RB Le’Ron McClain, WR Roscoe Parrish, TE Dante Rosario, QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Michael Spurlock, DE Melvin Ingram, DT Kendall Reyes, S Brandon Taylor, TE LaDarius Green, OG Johnnie Troutman, RB Edwin Baker and C David Molk.

Key Losses: RB Mike Tolbert, WR Patrick Crayton, S Bob Sanders, WR Vincent Jackson, DT Tommie Harris, LB Na’il Diggs, S Steve Gregory and LB Stephen Cooper.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC North and NFC South

Fantasy SleeperWR Eddie Royal – The Chargers lost Vincent Jackson this off-season but added Robert Meachem, Roscoe Parrish, and Eddie Royal. Philip Rivers still has Malcolm Floyd as his #1 receiver with Meachem the likely #2. Royal is the ideal slot receiver and has the speed to add yards after the catch. Rivers will throw for 4,500 yards again, but it is unknown how those yards will be divided. The first few games will foreshadow the rest of the season.

Team Analysis: If you have high hopes for San Diego this season, let me point out something very important. Norv Turner is still the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. I repeat, Norv Turner is still the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Phillip Rivers had a disastrous 2011 season, but I feel like that he was unlucky with a lot of his interceptions. He has some new weapons this season and will need to air it out. Ryan Mathews is already on the shelf, so they will need to rely on Ronnie Brown and the other reserve backs to fill-in. Antonio Gates is said to be feeling 100% for the first time in a few seasons…about time for fantasy owners to feel good about drafting him high. The AFC West is improved the San Diego’s defense will need to play better in 2012. It has been a few seasons since San Diego had to face-off against another elite quarterback within their own division. Denver and San Diego will be neck and neck throughout the season. The head-to-head matchups will be important, since they could be used as a tiebreaker for the playoffs.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 (Prediction: PUSH)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 9-7

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2012 NFL Team Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers started to show their age in 2011. They were inconsistent early in the season, but bounced back to make the playoffs. They didn’t get very deep. They lost to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in the first-round.

Pittsburgh addressed their offensive line issues in the draft by picking guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams. They will have to mature in a hurry, since Ben Roethlisberger needs to stay off his back.

Mike Wallace has a contract issue that has been a distraction all offseason. Rashard Mendenhall will start the season on the sideline, which will be the biggest hurdle early in the year. The season has already been a chore and they haven’t played a regular season game yet.

Can Pittsburgh make another playoff run or will their age finally creep up on them? Here is our 2012 NFL team preview of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 12-4

Key Additions: TE Leonard Pope, OG David DeCastro, OT Mike Adams, RB Chris Rainey, LB Sean Spence, TE Justine Peelle, DT Alameda Ta’amu, WR Toney Clemons, TE David Paulson and LS Matt Katula

Key Losses: CB William Gay, RB Mewelde Moore, WR Hines Ward, QB Dennis Dixon, LB James Farrior, OT Jamon Meredith, P Daniel Sepulveda and DE Aaron Smith

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy Sleepers: RB Chris Rainey and WR Jerricho Cotchery – Mike Wallace is marred in a contract dispute which may not be resolved before training camp. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will step up and fill the need, but Cotchery lends veteran leadership to the position. He could take over Hines Ward’s role. He will not be a superstar, but a possession receiver that could steal a few touchdowns inside the red zone. Another sleeper possibility sleeper is rookie running back Chris Rainey. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will be the primary backs while Rashard Mendenhall starts out the season on the sideline, but keep an eye on Rainey.

Team Analysis: New offensive coordinator Todd Haley loves to air it out, so the pressure will be on the offensive line. Roethlisberger could have his best statistical season if they they do their job. Speaking of the passing game, Antonio Brown stepped up in the second-half of last year and it due for a breakout season. Mike Wallace has held out for most of the preseason, which is never a good thing when going into a new offense. Rashard Mendenhall is hurt and will most likely be out until the the fifth week. Pittsburgh will have to rely on a group of inexperienced backs early. The defense looked old at times last season and they didn’t do a lot in the offseason to address getting younger. They will need to stay healthy (i.e. Troy Polamalu) and use their experience if they hope to keep up with youth. In 2011, they lead the NFL in pass defense, but the loss of William Gay could hurt them. I don’t see Pittsburgh starting off well in 2012. They face tough defenses in their first four games when they will be without Mendenhall. I see Pittsburgh losing a few games they usually win, especially if they become one-dimensional. Baltimore looks like the team to beat in the AFC North, so the Steelers will be fighting for a Wild-Card spot.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 10.5 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 9-7

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2012 NFL Team Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles were supposed to be the “Dream Team”, but the season turned into a nightmare very early. The team rallied strong, but missed the playoffs. Fans were upset, but should they have been?

The Eagles had a ton of new starters on defense and a defensive coordinator had never coached defense. The team didn’t have much of a training camp because of the lockout, so things looked bad early. Saying all that, with a training camp under their belt, will Philadelphia be dangerous this season?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview of the Philadelphia Eagles.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 8-8

Key Additions: LB DeMeco Ryans, DT Fletcher Cox, QB Nick Foles, RB Bryce Brown, WR Marvin McNutt, LB Mychal Kendricks, DE Vinny Curry, S Oshiomoagho Atogwe, OT Demetress Bell, OG Mike Gibson, CB Kevin Thomas, CB Brandon Boykin, OT Dennis Kelly, P Mat McBriar and C Steve Vallos.

Key Losses: RB Ronnie Brown, WR Steve Smith, QB Vince Young, FB Owen Schmitt, DE Juqua Parker, DT Trevor Laws, OG Kyle DeVan, OT Tra Thomas, LB Moise Fokou and LB Greg Lloyd.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC North and NFC South

Fantasy Sleeper: RB Dion Lewis – LeSean McCoy just signed a lucrative deal to stay in Philadelphia long-term. A lot of backs regress the season after they earn a big deal. I’m not saying that McCoy will sleep on his pile of money and be lazy, but it is just a weird coincidence in the NFL. Ronnie Brown is no longer his backup and Lewis is the next in line. I don’t see Bryce Brown as a threat to overtake Lewis, but he was an elite talent out of high school…money could be his motivation.

Team Analysis: Michael Vick has already been knocked out of two preseasons games. Philadelphia will only go as far as Vick’s health can take them. Backup QBs Trent Edwards, Nick Foles and Mike Kafka won’t be able to fill-in and lead the Eagles to win the NFC East, the division is too good. Head coach Andy Reid felt comfortable with Kafka last season, but he has been injured. Foles has been a surprise and could leapfrog Kafka if he keeps playing well. LeSean McCoy got a lot of money this offseason and the Eagles have Dion Lewis and Bryce Brown on standby. I’m not a fan of Desean Jackson this season, but I feel like Jeremy Maclin will take another leap. The defense should be amazing this season. They will be tested with their non-divisional schedule. I see the Eagles contending for the NFC East crown and one of my favorites to make the Super Bowl.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 10.5 (Prediction: OVER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 11-5

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2012 NFL Team Preview: Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders had an up and down year in 2011. They lost their team owner, but had glimpses of hope on the field. They overpaid, I mean traded for QB Carson Palmer mid-season, but he filled a need at quarterback. They hope he can lead the passing attack and the team to its first Super Bowl in a decade.

The AFC West has been won by a different team each of the last three seasons. Is it Oakland’s turn to wear the crown? Can Darren McFadden stay healthy for an entire season?

Here is the 2012 NFL team preview of the Oakland Raiders.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 8-8

Key Additions: QB Matt Leinart, CB Shawntae Spencer, LB Phillip Wheeler, DE Dave Tollefson, FB Owen Schmitt, CB Pat Lee, OG Mike Brisiel, TE Tory Humphrey, CB Ron Bartell, OG Tony Bergstrom, LB Miles Burris, DE Jack Crawford, WR Juron Criner and DT Chris Bilukidi.

Key Losses: LB Kamerion Wimbley, WR Louis Murphy, QB Jason Campbell, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, C Samson Satele, CB Lito Sheppard, WR Chaz Schilens, RB Michael Bush, QB Kyle Boller, TE Kevin Boss, RB Rock Cartwright, LB Quentin Groves, OT Stephon Hoyer, CB Stanford Routt and DE Trevor Scott.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC North and NFC South

Fantasy SleeperRB Taiwan Jones – Darren McFadden is coming back from a serious injury. He already has a history of various injuries that forced him to miss games. Oakland signed Mike Goodson from Carolina, but Taiwan Jones is an intriguing player. He was limited in 2011 because Michael Bush was in the way. Bush is now in Chicago and the backup job is open in Oakland.

Team Analysis: Oakland had a surprising offensive attack in 2011. McFadden stayed healthy (for most of the season until injuring his knee), Carson Palmer had flashes of his old self and Darrius Heyward-Bey removed the “bust” tag from himself. Palmer will need to stay healthy and produce like its 2003 if he hopes to get Oakland into the playoffs. Oakland lost both of its backup quarterbacks, so Matt Leinart and Terelle Pryor are on-deck if Palmer can’t do the job…so he needs to stay healthy. He will also need to rely on Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore and Heyward-Bey, a very inexperienced group of receivers. On the defensive end, it was a down year for the group last season. Their secondary is still weak and they will need to rely on a pass rush to disrupt the passing game. They will need big years from Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. I don’t see Oakland having a great season. Denver is improved and I like San Diego much more in 2012. Their non-division schedule is more difficult this season and Oakland is still a few pieces away from contending for the AFC West division.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 7.5 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 6-10

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A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.