This is the Republika’s 2012 NFL season preview, by division and in order as I see the horses ending the season within their divisions. A bit of team insight to strengths and weaknesses as well as outcomes and pitfalls are all included. See the praise and eat the agony on your favorite team this year! Happy watching on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and even a bit of Saturday NFL action at the end of the season!
- NE Patriots Not much to say here again this year, the best coach, the best QB… and a Defense loaded with high draft picks (6 starters in their rookie or 2nd year made of three 1st rounders and three 2nd rounders, that’s how you build your defense), the TEAM to beat in the AFC once more. If you have a passrush knock around QB Brady early and often in games and you just might have a chance.
- Buffalo Bills A lot of hype and yet to play a single game this season, returning RB and WR tandem should keep this unit within games along with a promising big motor defensive front 7 loaded with depth, awesome rookie cornerback ready to start. Don’t get me wrong I like the coach the weapons and the D, problem will be division foe war tested Patriots.
- Miami Dolphins Depth at QB is nice, if the Defense can repeat last year’s level this team could stay in games but moving to a 4-3 this year will only throw a learning curve to your team, but in this division just staying 8-8 will be a nice start to get the rookie QB ready to start for 2013. Smelling very fishy in Miami…not the good kind of smell…
- New York Jets I think this is a dysfunctional team from a chemistry point of view, and the Defense is not what it once was particularly at DL and LB. Having coach Ryan loose 100 lbs of fat does not impress me at all this offseason. And the Tebow express will start sounding soon again, yes Jets you really needed more distractions…
- San Diego Chargers Here we go again, the hype machine is on, but I will mention the word from camp is Gates is back and un-coverable which is good sign, rookie LB Ingram is a beast and it looks like the team is loaded and hungry. In this division …O Line will be tested week in and week out. I do like what I saw on Defense. ..If I don’t see a bounce back, time to get rid of AJ, Norm and looking into next years draft for a developing and future starting QB in the Drew Brees category.
- Kansas City Chiefs I like teams that play hard for their coach and the Chiefs love Crennel, loaded in DL, LB and probably the best SS and CB tandem in the league. KC will clobber teams if they can stay healthy, we know who the weakest link is on this team and it just happens to be the QB, step it up Cassel..this is your last chance before the crowd in KC throws you next to those babyback’s on the grill.
- Denver Broncos Payton Manning is all I need to say, I still have my doubts on this defense, one star at LB is not enough to have a playoff caliber D, then again let’s see the new receivers as well…maybe 7-9 after a real slow start, just look at opposing QB’s their first 9 games of the season, new QB, new receivers..c’c’c’cmon..this is the NFL..even if you still have a healthy Payton M !!!
- Oakland Raiders Health and penalties. Liked the Raiders last year coming into the season, and like them again, could just surprise people on Sundays. RB MacFadden is the key in this team, keep him starting on Sundays and you just might surprise all the “SO”-called experts on ESPN and YAHOOs sports that don’t give this team a chance, just watch and pay attention when they play within the division. Word from camp is the attitude amongst everybody there, readiness on defense, freshness and newness in camp only yield one thing come December..TEAMWORK (just like the Giants). Keep the penalties down and the light will shine with silver and black.
- Cincinnati Bengals I like the Bengals and it looks like this team is loaded on all ends, love the QB, love the D line, like the coach. Something is going on in Cincy and we are about to see the outcome this year. The only thing I don’t like here is playing BAL and PIT twice each, The Browns will also play hard division games…hope no bones break during the season for this team. Secondary has some questions in the preseason, lets see if these are answered before the regular season start.
- Baltimore Ravens Flacco, Rice and the D are still a match for anybody in this league. Loosing LB Johnson to SD, Suggs for most of the season and relying on veteran LB Lewis and SS Reed might just offer opportunities to beat this team up come late November, but…you just cannot count them out…these guys are just proven savvy veterans…I do think this defense has weakened a bit due to the loss of Suggs and free agency.
- Pittsburgh Steelers Age just might creep up on the Defensive side, still loaded with REAL veterans, will they hold in December..???? remains to be seen. Now that the world knows about QB Roethlisburger “little” torn rotator cuff on his throwing arm might just offer incentives to opposing defenses on getting to hit him from his right side….lets see how the big man holds up..
- Cleveland Browns I guess this team finally has a running back, the question here is will he last the season going against the other teams in this division, I guess I don’t need to mention who the other 3 defenses are…Rookie QB Weeden is being hyped as throwing a good deep ball in training camp, just whom are you throwing it to..??? I don’t remember a single WR or TE that makes a difference or a big standout play on this team. Oh and by the way, it has now been 13 consecutive seasons ranking NO BETTER than 23rd stopping the run, in this division…you tell me. This team will play their division plus they get the NFC East as well, nice. New ownership this year ….yeah maybe some results in 2017… a couple of parlay breaker performances this year contributes nicely to your lack of love for this team…
- Houston Texans Being as good as this team was last year is hard in the NFL unless you have a star QB, Schaub has had signs of greatness but lacks in durability, WR Johnson is hurt every season for weeks…yeah RB Foster is a stud and the O-line has lost some players to Free agency. The Defense has lost STAR LB Ryans to Philly, but still remains a load to be reckoned with. I guess this team will come out of this division first or second. Schedule is pretty hard as well…
- Indianapolis Colts New coach and new STAR rookie QB, last years Defense was terrible and it should be slightly improved this year (the floor was touched LY and can only improve), lets see, rookie coach+rookie QB= nothing yet. I think QB Luck will have an ok season for a rookie, now we will see what the man is made from coming from Standford U he looked damn good in the preseason debut…just don’t get to excited if this teams wins 2 games in a row.
- Jacksonville Jaguars Wow…what a bad rookie season for QB Gabbert. RB Jones Drew is holding out and this years 1st round draft pick WR Blackmon was DUI’d a couple of weeks ago. With so many issues on the offense you would say a dominant pass rush coming from the Defense will kind of compensate….get real…this team faces Brady, Rodgers, Dalton, Stafford, Palmer and Cutler, they get Schaub twice and have to deal with Tennessee and the Jets on the road…hhhhmmmmm
- Tennessee Titans QB training camp battle between Locker and Hasselback is a lock, sit back and see who starts week 1 ( I say veteran Hassleback). Last years 31st ranked rushing offense really has no room to get worse, this guy who held out for more money a couple of seasons ago RB Chris Johnson seems to be no more than a fluke player…if this was my team he would be so out of town by now. But for some reason the Titans think they can do it and that he will bounce back..I have my doubts. Star WR Brit is in trouble again. And the Defense appears to have been retooled. Another average season in the works for the Titans.
- Philadelphia Eagles Last year’s Dream team that tanked, reports from camp this year say Vick is not as sharp on throws, not running crisp pocket releases and probably showing some age, after the beating he took last year I am not surprised, If the Eagles can’t protect Vick for his own good I do not see this team making a push. The Defense is sound, added Demyco Ryans at LB fortifies the front 7 unit paired with a couple of star DB’s. Stud RB and WR Jackson will keep opponents fair, tough division not to get banged up in. Waiting to see Vick vs RGIII twice as nice. As always the Eagles should contend.
- Washington Redskins The skins have had a good defense for as long as I can remember, yeah it’s a tough division without a QB but guess what, rookie QB RGIII looks the part and will give Washington options on Offense, I am a bit concerned on RB depth but a stacked Defense will surely keep games tight.
- New York Giants What to expect from the superbowl champs, we know the coach, we know the QB, we know their style and we know they win on the road, can they repeat..??? maybe. Are they set for deep playoff push the answer is yes. If Eli goes down so will the potent passing game. CB seams to place the most concern on this team but a high draft pick 2nd year pro will step in and hope for the best. Watch out if these guys are smelling blood come December, nobody pulls together for a playoff push better than this team. Lost key contributors Jacobs and Manningham to free agency.
- Dallas Cowboys I am done with Dallas, DE Demarcus Ware has carried the D for several years now on his own, Romo had a good 2011 and looks to repeat performance on 2012 I doubt the INT’s will be as low as 2011, I don’t trust this team to pull together and make a push deep into the playoffs. Sorry, this year might just be a wake up call to owner Jerra Jones to start rebuilding the team.
- San Francisco 49ers As loaded as you can get…what great emotional players captains on both sides of the ball..TE Vernon Davis and LB Patrick Willis, surrounded with talent and depth across the board, HC Harbough is also a stud and gets his team ready. Lets see what WR Randy Moss brings to this team as the season progresses. What are the pitfalls..?? a brutal travel schedule..and injuries. Watch out the Niners might just bust up your team in the playoffs just as they did the Saints last year..!
- St. Louis Rams I like this team, and I will go out on a limb this year, QB is a stud machine. RB Jackson is still going to pound, hurt and wear down opposing defenses, I like the recently drafted RB to pair a one two punch, WR is still an unanswered issue. The Defensive line is loaded and will give the secondary a much needed boost via passrush. The division’s second place race is pretty much what you have to look forward in the dread bored NFC west.
- Seattle Seahawks What to do and what to say, Aaahhh yes, I like the defense on this team, love the secondary…RB Lynch is still going strong and playing at home is always a challenge to all other teams coming from the east coast, recently added WR’s Edwards and TO should blend in nicely to this offense and the word from camp is that TO is looking like the beast of 10 years ago and still gets no love. Now lets get the TE and slot receivers in check and the Seahawks might get away with a couple of come from behind backdoor parlay breakers during the season.
- Arizona Cardinals Problems brewing in Phoenix, QB Kolb is the issue at hand, can he get this team on his side..?? reports from camp have him not achieving team leader roll, but GM has added offensive toys around Kolb. Tough division for your Arizona Birds. CB Peterson should have a great season. I do like the coach and team toughness inspired by WR Fitzgerald, and the word out of camp is that we have a TRUE QB battle for the starting roster spot…doesn’t that tell you something.
- Chicago Bears A power house has been built in Chicago, added WR Brandon Marshall, added a new OC in Mike Tice (which is pretty good), signed the best RB in the game long term, O-line is probably the weakest link on this roster. The depth in QB Campbell and RB are great. The Defense..its a monster as usual: DE Peppers, LB Briggs, LB Urlacher, and a veteran secondary. Oh and by the way special teams WR Hester still returning punts and kicks c’mon…Injuries have hurt this secondary before due to their physical play, if these units stay healthy I am looking for a great matchup in January in the windy city, Frisco, Saints, Giants you are all welcomed. !
- Detroit Lions An exciting 2011 to say for sure, now we will have teams preparing for this stud QB, WR “Megatron” is unstoppable and will do damage as long as he is on the field, WR Burleson is steady but somebody else needs to step up, The D line is legit with a good support at LB, secondary will be the issue again. This division just got a bit 3 way tight.
- Green Bay Packers The pack ! I saw this team get complacent half way through the season last year, and YES the packers are beatable, if they are on their A game watch out, veteran and playmakers on all areas will always keep opponents on their heels, standout WR Jordie Nelson had an amazing 2011 season and should repeat performance in 2012.
- Minnesota Vikings This team should be looking into drafting within the top 3 spots in 2013, the QB issue was apparently resolved during last year’s draft although we have not seen any shine at all. RB Peterson hurt his knee and is a big question mark, the Oline seems to be stable and WR has holes to fill, lets look at the bright side..the front 7 has been good for years DE Jarred Allen is an allpro and I really like his D line teammates, LB are good but the secondary has been HORRID giving up all sorts of short, long, wide, dumped, screen pass plays, you name it the Vikings cannot defend it and it looks like a repeat of last year. Coach don’t get to comfortable, your seat is warming up fast.
- Carolina Panthers Yes, I have the Panthers winning the division and why not? Cam Newton has progressed, the RB position is as solid as a bulldozer, WR Smith and co are equipped, don’t be surprised if this offense shines from the get go barring injuries(which will occur), where I see the star shinning is on the defensive side of the ball, lead by HC Rivera, a massive 300+ avg line, star studded LB’s Beason (out last season, but a probowler), Davis and Anderson and rookie LB Kuechly was awesome in the preseason debut and will be dominant starter. The secondary last year was punished but really due to a lack of passrush, this units needs to step up and I think they will, enough to beat out the Saints for the division lead, this could get good at the end.
- New Orleans Saints How ever you look at this division the best QB in here in Orleans. ! The running back position has depth and is way solid, Wideouts are still elite and the TE position is ok. A couple of losses in offensive line free agents (saints probably had the best Guard tandem in the league last year). Overall the defense still plays hard at home and descent on the road. Loosing HC Peyton will surely affect moral but I still think the Saints can come out on top of this much improved division, just watch the Saints pick defenses apart all season long.
- Tampa Bay It looks like a new head coach has preached enough to hear good stories from Bucs camp, reports are the offense is in sync. Vincent Jackson is as advertized and the Defensive line has been the strength and core on this D, lets see how these guys hold up, a couple of veterans in the secondary should keep your average opposing offense a bit fair. A slight improvement from last year but still a 3rd place team in my book.
- Atlanta Falcons New offensive coordinator and new defensive coordinator, things will run a bit different in Atlanta in the upcoming season. I am no fan of the QB (still has more to prove on the road), RB Turner is no longer burning, I do have to mention WR Julio Jones has had a amazing camp and is ready to shine in his second year, without a solid running game pressure is on the QB! And with a porous offensive line the Birds will have some trouble. The Defense has lacked pass rushers to complement Abraham. Secondary and linebackers are solid !!!! Time to FLY it out Matt Ryan..!!! Now we will get to know what your capability to lead and rally a team really is.