When I started this second season, my goal was to beat last years mark. I actually wanted to hit above 75% correct, which I didn't do, but I did beat last years mark. In week 17 I went 12-4 and finished the season with a 175-81 mark, beating last year by 7 games. So, my goal is set for next year as well.
For this final post for this 2012 season, I'm going to pick the Wildcard games taking place this weekend and then pick the rest of the playoffs. I'll also give my takes on the awards.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
The Texans were monsters most of the season but had a terrible end to the year. A month ago nobody would've dare predicted that they'd drop so far as to fall out of the top two seeds. They did that and they lost their bye in the process. Instead, they must host the Bengals in a rematch of last years Wildcard game. Last year Houston advanced past the bengals and lost in Baltimore the following weekend. This year though, they'll be facing a red hot Bengals team. They've gone 7-1 in the past 8 games and in the game they lost, to Dallas, they were actually up by 9 late in the game, only to watch the lead and the game disappear. Houston is rightfully favored, being home and to honor the season that they've put up. However, I do believe that the Texans defense is hurting and they haven't been getting the running attack that is typical from an Arian Foster based ground game lately. Cincinnati's defense is running on all cylinders and the Dalton-Green connection is still strong. I think this will be a close game, but a game that I think Cincinnati will wind up winning when all is said and done. Cincinnati 27-21
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore finished well. But they are not unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination. Indy is the feel good story of the year. A team written off for dead before the season even began. They have the most rookies starting or playing serious minutes out of any team this year. They saw their new coach Chuck Pagano diagnosed, treated and then return for their final week of the season. It was an emotional game that saw the Colts beat their division rival Texans. This year was all about seizing the opportunity at the right time and getting quality play, especially on game tying/winning drives by rookie QB Andrew Luck. Overall though, on paper, they really aren't all that impressive. But they pulled off 11 wins and they are the Cinderella story of this years playoffs. I'll be pulling for them, but with all the rookies and inexperience here, they'll be facing a team that's been there and done that in the Ravens, who will be home. While anything is possible, and I do hope I'm wrong, but I think Baltimore will take this one. 24-20
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Minnesota's been another superb story this year. They were another team that nobody predicted anything out of before the season and quite frankly, they are one dimensional on offense. But boy oh boy, that dimension is crazy good. They beat the Packers last week to get in this game, but I don't see them doing it two weeks in a row. It's tough to pick this, seeing how they played last week, and it's not like GB packed things in early, as they didn't. But, the Packers are a tough team, especially at Lambeau. Sure there powerhouse team got beat up by the Giants last year, and they did lose to this very Vikings squad last weekend, but I just think the odds are in GB's favor. GB 35-32
Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Redskins
Another game of two teams nobody thought would be playoff bound this year. Both teams have stellar rookie QB's and are playing an entertaining brand of football with their pistol/read-option sets. I really think Seattle deserves to be the road favorite here, but, I have a feeling RGIII will get things done. Garcon on Marshall will be a great matchup to watch, one that I do believe will determine how the game goes. If he can take Garcon out of the picture, then look for a healthy dose of Moss and RGIII scrambling from the pocket. Washington in a great game 38-37
Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos
I like Denver to make it to New Orleans. Manning is unbelievable this year and the Denver defense can attack. Denver 35-21
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots
New England will be healthier and they'll beat Baltimore in consecutive years. New England 42-28
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
Brady Vs. Manning. One of the best QB duels of the decade gets to do it again. I think this game would've gone to whoever has the home field advantage and seeing Denver does, I'll pick them to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Denver-31-28
In the NFC
Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta won the home-field advantage but I'm just not that impressed with them on defense. I like RGIII against them and will take Washington here. Actually, If Washington loses to Seattle, I'll take Seattle over Atlanta as well. Washington 24-17/ Seattle 21-20
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49'ers
Niners have found new life with Colin Kaepernick at QB. They still have an outstanding defense as well. I like Green Bay though. Green Bay has so many weapons and are getting healthier as each week passes. I can't wait to see what Rodgers does in the playoffs. GB 30-13
Washington Redskins/Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
Either way. The feel good stories end. Green Bay is more experienced. They are more talented. I like what RGIII can do, but in Lambeau at this time of the year, I have to say determines the game. If it's a blizzard, I think either Washington or Seattle wins, pretty much for the same reason, that neither know they aren't supposed to win and I love both teams running backs. Green Bay is sorely lacking a back to rely upon, so if the weather is frightful, I think Aaron Rodgers and company may get grounded. But, seeing I can't predict the weather, I'll take GB over either by the same score. GB 34-24
Green Bay Packers Vs. Denver Broncos
Manning vs. Rodgers. Draw. Thomas and Decker vs. Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Jones and Finley Packers. McGahee and Moreno vs. Grant Denver. Denver D Vs. GB D Denver. Coaching. Fox Vs McCarthy Draw. I'll take Denver 34-31. Manning MVP
As for Awards, briefly:
AFC Offensive Outstanding Player- Peyton Manning
NFC Offensive Outstanding Player- Adrian Peterson- Also wins NFL Offensive MVP
AFC Defensive Outstanding Player-JJ Watt-Houston-Also wins NFL Defensive MVP
NFC Defensive Outstanding Player-Richard Sherman
AFC Rookie of The Year- Andrew Luck
NFC Rookie Of the Year- RGIII also wins NFL ROY
AFC Coach of the Year- Chuck Pagano/Bruce Arians-Also wins NFL Coach of the year
NFC Coach of the Year- Leslie Frazier
NFL Executive of the Year- John Elway/Brian Xanders
Okay. Hope everyone enjoys the playoffs. And for those of you whose teams are not in the postseason, perhaps you'll be in on this coaching frenzy going on right now. I'm certainly enjoying it right now and very eager to see how things shake out. My pipe dream is for my Bills to land either Chip Kelly or Jon Gruden. But more than realistically, I'll take Lovie Smith, Mike McCoy, Mike Zimmer, Gus Bradley or Ray Horton.
See you all around Draft time. I'll put up a few mocks before then, starting about a month before April's Draft.
Thanks again, and see you later on in the year.