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2012-13 NFL Season Predictions

Jeremy Bergman, Evan Budrovich, Aaron Fischman, Jacob Freedman, Max Meyer, Law Murray, Matthew Tufts |
September 3, 2012 | 3:21 p.m. PDT

Staff Writers

Newly acquired Brandon Lloyd will lead the Pats to another division title, according to our panel. (Creative Commons)
Newly acquired Brandon Lloyd will lead the Pats to another division title, according to our panel. (Creative Commons)

It's been a long summer. Too long, if you ask us. Bounty scandals. Long holdouts from Pro Bowlers. Excessive amounts of Jets - ahem, Tebow coverage. Excessive amounts of Skip Bayless. And, for heaven's sake, the worst of all - replacement referees!

And while only some of these irritating stories and headlines will fade in the coming weeks, America can rest assured that come Sunday - or this week, Wednesday - these matters will be nothing more than extraneous details complementing the thrills, the anxiety, the action, and the beauty of a new pro football season.

Football is back, baby, and our Neon Tommy staff writers have a few varied opinions on how this 2012 campaign will play out.

Season In Seven Words

Jeremy Bergman: Favorites fall. Manning struggles. No Tebow starts.

Evan Budrovich: Replacement officials make Lombardi roll in grave.

Aaron Fischman: Rookie quarterbacks with prime opportunity to shine.

Jacob Freedman: Peyton’s back. Let the passing era reign.

Max Meyer: Russell Mania is better than Tebow Time.

Matthew Tufts: Pats' dynasty continues. Matt Ryan becomes elite.

Division Winners

AFC East

Bergman: New England Patriots

Evan Budrovich: New England Patriots

Fischman: New England Patriots

Freedman: New England Patriots

Meyer: New England Patriots

Tufts: New England Patriots

AFC North

Bergman: Baltimore Ravens 

Budrovich: Cincinnati Bengals

Fischman: Baltimore Ravens

Freedman: Pittsburgh Steelers

Meyer: Baltimore Ravens

Tufts: Baltimore Ravens

AFC South

Bergman: Houston Texans

Budrovich: Houston Texans

Fischman: Houston Texans

Freedman: Houston Texans

Meyer: Houston Texans

Tufts: Houston Texans

Four of six voters are not sold that a Peyton Manning-led Denver team will take the West. (Creative Commons)
Four of six voters are not sold that a Peyton Manning-led Denver team will take the West. (Creative Commons)

AFC West

Bergman: San Diego Chargers

Budrovich: Kansas City Chiefs

Fischman: Denver Broncos

Meyer: San Diego Chargers

Freedman: Kansas City Chiefs

Tufts: Denver Broncos

AFC Wild Cards

Bergman: New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers

Budrovich: Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers

Fischman: Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers

Freedman: Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos

Meyer: Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers

Tufts: Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans

NFC East

Can the Super Bowl champs catch the magic that propelled them last season? (Creative Commons)
Can the Super Bowl champs catch the magic that propelled them last season? (Creative Commons)
Bergman: New York Giants

Budrovich: Dallas Cowboys

Fischman: Dallas Cowboys

Freedman: New York Giants

Meyer: Dallas Cowboys

Tufts: Philadelphia Eagles

NFC North

Bergman: Green Bay Packers

Budrovich: Green Bay Packers

Fischman: Green Bay Packers

Freedman: Green Bay Packers

Meyer: Chicago Bears

Tufts: Green Bay Packers

NFC South

With the Saints handicapped, Matt Ryan may lead Atlanta to an NFC South title. (Creative Commons/Football Schedule)
With the Saints handicapped, Matt Ryan may lead Atlanta to an NFC South title. (Creative Commons/Football Schedule)
Bergman: Atlanta Falcons

Budrovich: New Orleans Saints

Fischman: Atlanta Falcons

Freedman: New Orleans Saints

Meyer: Atlanta Falcons

Tufts: Atlanta Falcons

NFC West

Bergman: San Francisco 49ers

Budrovich: San Francisco 49ers

Fischman: San Francisco 49ers

Freedman: San Francisco 49ers

Meyer: Seattle Seahawks

Tufts: San Francisco 49ers

NFC Wild Cards

New Bears receiver Brandon Marshall will put up big numbers this year in Chicago. (crhee8/Creative Commons)
New Bears receiver Brandon Marshall will put up big numbers this year in Chicago. (crhee8/Creative Commons)
Bergman: Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles

Budrovich: Chicago Bears, New York Giants

Fischman: Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints

Freedman: Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles

Meyer: Green Bay Packers, New York Giants

Tufts: New Orleans Saints, New York Giants

Conference Champions

AFC Championship

Bergman: Baltimore over New England

Budrovich: New England

Fischman: New England over Houston

Freedman: New England over Houston

Meyer: New England over Houston

Tufts: New England

NFC Championship

It's crowded at the top of the NFC. (Creative Commons)
It's crowded at the top of the NFC. (Creative Commons)
Bergman: Atlanta over Chicago

Budrovich: San Francisco

Fischman: Green Bay over Atlanta 

Freedman: Green Bay over NY Giants

Meyer: Chicago over Green Bay

Tufts: San Francisco

Super Bowl XLVII Champion

Bergman: Baltimore over Atlanta

Budrovich: New England over San Francisco

Fischman: New England over Green Bay

Freedman: Green Bay over New England

Meyer: New England over Chicago

Tufts: New England over San Francisco

**********************

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

Bergman: Giants 17, Cowboys 14

It’s the second-straight season that America’s Team opens up in primetime at MetLife Stadium, and it will also be the second-straight opener in which Tony Romo blows a fourth-quarter lead. Expect both running games to struggle early and often, but a late fourth quarter Manning-led drive and David Wilson scamper will salvage a Giants win.

Budrovich: Giants 24, Cowboys 13

The Giants will thrive in front of the MetLife crowd, oozing at the opportunity to try on their championship rings while defeating their archrival. Plus the defending Super Bowl champion has never lost on opening night since its inception in 2004.

Fischman: Cowboys 31, Giants 27

When these teams square off, a high-scoring game in which the Giants prevail is usually the result. That being said, the Giants have yet to experience the pain inflicted by a fully healthy DeMarco Murray, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Jason Witten will be cleared to play. Conversely, if Witten is rested, expect the Giants to secure the home victory.

Freedman: Giants 31, Cowboys 20

While Brandon Carr is a meteor-sized upgrade over Terence Newman in the Cowboys secondary, the Giants offense is riding high after their Super Bowl victory in February. Plus, the defense is (relatively) healthy. That won’t last long if track records are any indication, but give me the reigning champs for the moment.

Meyer: Giants

Even though I like the Cowboys to win the NFC East this season, the Giants will beat them in the NFL season opener. The Cowboys have a lot of injury questions, including Tony Romo and Jason Witten. Cannot wait to see the battle between the two best pass-rushers in football, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Pierre-Paul.

Law Murray: Giants

A 9-7 team won the Super Bowl in a lockout season, so this game had to be moved to Wednesday night. Okay, that's not the reason. Just know this: The Giants can thank the Cowboys for making the playoffs last winter, and no defending Super Bowl champ has lost the opening game since the NFL started the tradition in 2004.

Tufts: Cowboys 31, Giants 21

The Giants always have trouble early in the season, and the Cowboys have something to prove. At MetLife Stadium on opening night, the Cowboys will shock the reigning Super Bowl Champs in an offensive showdown. 



 

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