I’ve already made my first set of ill-fated 2012/13 NFL predictions on the order in which the teams will finish. I must be a glutton for punishment, because here are ten more predictions involving stories that I think will emerge this season.
1. By the end of the season, the story around Michael Vick will be whether the Eagles will pick up the next season on his contract or if the organization will wash its hands of him and move on. Even though I’ve picked the Eagles to win the NFC East, I’m hedging with this prediction. I can see Vick having another middling season where he’s either hurt and/or continues to turn the ball over at a frightening clip. I really hope I’m wrong.
2. Ben Roethlisberger’s diva act goes back into full force as he clashes with his new offensive coordinator. This one is almost too easy to see coming. Nothing comes out of it until the off season, but there’s a continual struggle with offensive philosophy in Pittsburgh this season. With the terrible offensive line, Ben gets his way during the season as he’s the only hope.
3. Another weak season in Washington has people (finally) questioning coach Mike Shanahan. Sober review of his track record reminds everyone he’s only been a winner with John Elway and Terrell Davis.
4. The replacement refs screw up something really big in week 1. The real officials are back for week 2.
5. A few big name veteran players whose performance really drops off this year: Moss (SF), Urlacher (Chi), Lewis (Bal), Harrison (Pit), CJ2K (Ten).
6. A couple of team based under performers compared to previous years: the Patriots and Packers offensive lines, the offensive play calling of the Saints, the Bears defence.
7. The concussion topic finally gets treated seriously this year with suspensions for dangerous hits (penalties the league has been reluctant to levy in past seasons). If a repeat offender emerges this year, the book gets thrown at him.
8. Peyton Manning has a solid season and makes it through the full season, but arm weakness starts to show. His football IQ makes this less of an issue than it could have been this season.
9. Baltimore’s defence becomes a team weakness and people actually wish the D could play as well as Joe Flacco and the offence.
10. The league experiences a bit of a down year for rookie QBs compared to last season. With Tannehill, Wilson, Luck, RGIII and Locker starting out of the gate for their teams, at least 3 of these guys will be lifted for performance issues during the season.
And a bonus Super Bowl prediction: My heart will be broken yet again as my Eagles fail to win the big one. I’ll pick a bit of a dark horse and go with Houston to win the big game.
Time to start watching the opening night pregame shows. This is my most favourite time of the year!