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2011 Season NFL Predictions

With the preseason getting under way  to see how NFL teams are shaping up, it’s now time for the 2011 Season predictions!

2011 Season NFL Top Spot Predictions by division:

AFC West: San Diego Chargers, though they have a difficult schedule, they should be able to pull ahead.

AFC South: Indianapolis Colts.  Peyton Manning’s health an issue (neck injury) and could possibly be the Colts undoing this season.  Perhaps too much stock is put solely into Manning.

AFC North:  Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens.  Ravens have a great schedule; most of the tough games are home games.  For the Steelers, they have a few tough games lined up against Baltimore and a home game against the Patriots.  This division will be a tough win.  Other possible competitors include the Cleveland Browns with Colt McCoy as their quarterback.  The Cincinnati Bengals will probably compete with the Detroit Lions for the worst record in the league and they get rid of talent to meet their salary cap.

AFC East: Obviously the New England Patriots have the best record.  Tom Brady will resume play at QB this season after being out on the disabled list for the majority of the season last year.  The New York Jets are best positioned and hungry to take that title from the Patriots however.  Their two key players, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie, will come back from another season.  While this probably won’t be the Buffalo Bills year again, they will be in a great position to get one of the top quarterbacks next season.

Wild card: the Jets and the Steelers would make an awesome duo to knock-off the Colts and the Chargers.

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the Seahawks have won five of the last seven divisional titles.  Their roster is still being overhauled, but they should still take the top spot again.

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons have banked on Julio Jones being their go-to guy at the expense of many draft picks.  Ray Edwards on defense should also be formidable.  Just behind the Falcons are the New Orleans Saints.  They will be an improved team this year, but probably not enough to overtake the Falcons.

NFC North: Tough to predict, but probably the Green Bay Packers.  The Packers resigned most of their key free agents therefore having much of the same guys as on their 2010 Super Bowl Championship team.  The Chicago Bears are right behind them, although they might have too much stock in their Dallas Cowboys pickups, Roy Williams, Marion Barber and Sam Hurd.

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles.  While this division is one of the most competitive, the Eagles should easily take the top spot with their great talent and large salary cap to add more key players.

Wild card: Saints vs. Seahawks and Packers vs. Falcons.

Superbowl: Ravens over Eagles

MVP: Michael Vick

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Peterson, CB Arizona Cardinals

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mark Ingram, RB New Orleans Saints.

Predictions by Bleacher Reports

Packers going to Super Bowl!

Bear Down, Chicago Bears?  Sure was.  In what surely was an abysmal and disappointing showing by the Bears at their home field of Soldier Field this Sunday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers took home the big W with a 21-14 victory.

So what happened?

Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler left Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against in the third quarter with a knee injury. The team has listed his return as questionable.  Journeyman QB Todd Collins replaced him, but Collins also left the game after going 0 for 4 for 0 yards with a few of his incompletions nearly being intercepted by the Packers.  Third time’s the charm?  Quarterback Caleb Hanie took over where Collins sort of left off.  That still doesn’t explain what happened during the rest of the game.  Cutler was struggling through a poor performance going 6 of 13 for 80 yards with no touchdowns at the time of the injury.

Hanie ever so briefly rallied his team for a touchdown drive to gain on the Packer’s lead 14-7 after Chester Taylor’s 1-yard touchdown run early in the 4th quarter. The Bears had the opportunity in their hot little hands to tie the game after the Bears’ defense finally got a few stops, but Hanie practically handed the ball to the Packers defensive lineman, B.J. Raji who took the gift and ran 18 yards into their end zone for another Packer’s touchdown.

The Packers, much unlike the Bears, actually showed up for the game.  They had a taste of the Super Bowl and they went after it.  Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers was on fire!  He ran for a touchdown.  He made a touchdown-savings tackle.  Rodgers was able to keep the Bear’s defense off kilter and kept the usually stellar Devin Hester under lock and key.  The Packers defense held their ground and took care of the rest by kicking the Bears to the curb..

The Stakes were huge today.  This was the 182nd meeting in the league’s most history rivalry.  The Packers will head to Dallas to take on either the Steelers or the Jets in the Super Bowl.

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Da Bears! NFC North Champs!

For the first time in exactly 29 years, the Vikings played in Minnesota outdoors.  After a snowy disaster left their home turf, the Metrodome, unusable 8 days prior, it’s been a mad dash to figure out what to do.  There had been numerous suggestions for a location for this Monday Night game, but in the end, it was decided to play at the University of Minnesota which hadn’t been used since late November.  Hundreds of workers logged hundreds of hours trying to prep the field for play, which was no small feat.  Bleachers and seating had to be cleared of all the snow, not to mention the field.  The field also is not heated, which caused much concern for the players and ice and rock hard ground.

The players took the field, with a wind chill of only the single digits, ready to go.  Brett Farve made a miraculous recover from his shoulder injury just in time for the game.  He had not even practiced in two weeks.  The Vikings took and early lead in the game’s opening drive with a lead of  7-0.  Though Farve put everything he had into this game, which ultimately will more than likely be his last professionally, nothing could stop the mighty Chicago Bears.

Something magical was in the air on that chilly December, 20th evening for the Bears.  There were many notable players that evening.  First and foremost, Devin Hester who ran his way into the return touchdown record books with  64-yard punt return in the third quarter.  His 14th, thus far.   Hester also had a total of 146 return yards and a touchdown catch.  Wow.

Coach Lovie Smith said, “Just think about that. The all-time career return leader in the history of the National Football League. You’re talking about an honor, and when you’re a special player like him, he should be the guy to be up on top with that.”

Matt Forte was also a player of note, gaining 92 yards on 14 carries. His runs weren’t particularly out of the ordinary, however he was the Bears workhorse, reliably gaining first down after first down for his team despite playing in inclement weather

Israel Idonije had five tackles, and his sack and forced fumble in the third quarter helped set up Hester’s history-making punt return.   Julius Peppers  finished the game with five tackles, two deflected passes and an interception.

The Chicago Bears defense was absolutely top notch.  There was little to find fault with that night.  The Vikings were completely dominated with no chance for recovery.   The Bears crushed the Vikings 40-14 to win the NFC North title.  In securing the title, the Bears are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006 when they advanced to Super Bowl XLI.

See the Bears take on the Packers on January 2nd for the last game of the season!

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