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Ultimate 2011 Predictions

It’s Labor Day and as many of you kick back on your day off, I’ve been busy compiling my predictions for the upcoming season. I’ll post what I think the Falcons final record will be, as well as the records of all 32 teams, and my Super Bowl winner. You’ll also see some projections on what types of numbers I think Falcon players will have this year.

First let’s start things off with the Falcons, and breaking down their schedule in wins and losses…

FALCONS SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN

1 – at Bears – W
2 – vs. Eagles – L
3 – at Bucs – W
4 – at Seahawks – W
5 – vs. Packers – L
6 – vs. Panthers – W
7 – at Lions – W
8 – bye
9 – at Colts – L
10 – vs. Saints – W
11 – vs. Titans – W
12 – vs. Vikings – W
13 – at Texans – W
14 – at Panthers – W
15 – vs. Jaguars – W
16 – at Saints – L
17 – vs. Bucs – W

Final Record: 12-4

If you want to know what I think the Falcons will do in the playoffs, then you’ll just have to keep on reading.

AFC EAST
1. New England (13-3) – Improvements on the defense should have the Patriots humming on all cylinders again.
2. N.Y. Jets (12-4) – Sanchez should be better this year, but they’ll still predominantly rely on their stout defense to win games.
3. Miami (6-10) – Henne’s inconsistency will prevent the Dolphins offense from taking a step forward.
4. Buffalo (5-11) – Ryan Fitzpatrick may be a stud in fantasy football, but they’ll have to face the reality sometime.

AFC NORTH
1. Pittsburgh (13-3) – The explosive potential of the offense may overshadow the defense.
2. Baltimore (12-4) – The Ravens will once more be a team that leans heavily on a stout defense to win most games.
3. Cleveland (6-10) – McCoy will have this team win a few more games than their talent level should allow.
4. Cincinnati (5-11) – They are just too young a team to really think they can bounce back.

AFC SOUTH
1. Indianapolis (11-5) – The concerns over Manning’s health will get the Colts off to a slower start than normal.
2. Houston (9-7) – The Texans will be better (it cannot get worse), thus leading to more wins.
3. Tennessee (6-10) – Hasselbeck is not going to make much of a difference with this team.
4. Jacksonville (3-13) – The lack of receivers and a porous secondary will doom the Jaguars season.

AFC WEST
1. San Diego (13-3) – The Chargers shouldn’t have to worry about special teams costing them 3 or 4 games this year.
2. Kansas City (10-6) – The Chiefs are good enough to beat most bad teams, but will continue to struggle beating elite ones.
3. Denver (5-11) – John Fox’s conservative style won’t mesh well with a team that will need to throw to win.
4. Oakland (4-12) – I don’t see Hue Jackson doing a better job than Tom Cable at keeping this untalented team treading water.

NFC EAST
1. Philadelphia (10-6) – The Dream Team will run into some problems with injuries and a lack of cohesion on defense.
2. Dallas (10-6) – The improvement of the defense and healthy season from Romo will get the Cowboys back in the playoffs.
3. N.Y. Giants (9-7) – The Giants will be competitive, but as usual manage to shoot themselves in the foot too many times.
4. Washington (3-13) – It’s hard seeing a team being helmed by Rex Grossman and Tim Hightower as anything beyond a cellar dweller.

NFC NORTH
1. Green Bay (12-4) – Law of averages says the Packers will be healthier this year, propelling them to another strong year.
2. Detroit (9-7) – The Lions will get off to a fast start but will begin to fade as injuries resurface.
3. Chicago (7-9) – The Bears will be a tough out for most teams, but their bad offensive line will limit their success.
4. Minnesota (6-10) – McNabb will make this team better, but not by much.

NFC SOUTH
1. New Orleans (13-3) – The Saints have a slightly easier schedule than the Falcons, earning them the extra W to win the division.
2. Atlanta (12-4)
3. Tampa Bay (6-10) – The minimal improvement the Bucs had this past off-season will cause them to drop off with a tougher sched.
4. Carolina (3-13) – Newton’s inaccuracy won’t help the Panthers win many games.

NFC WEST
1. Arizona (8-8) – Kolb’s addition should help solidify a bad team into an average one.
2. St. Louis (7-9) – Expect a sophomore slump from Bradford once teams figure out this team lacks playmakers.
3. Seattle (5-11) – Two words: Tarvaris Jackson.
4. San Francisco (4-12) Two more words: Alex Smith.

PLAYOFFS

Wildcard Round
AFC: Ravens defeat Chargers
AFC: Jets defeat Colts
NFC: Cowboys defeat Eagles
NFC: Falcons defeat Cardinals
Divisional Playoffs
AFC: Patriots defeat Ravens
AFC: Steelers defeat Jets
NFC: Saints defeat Cowboys
NFC: Packers defeat Falcons
Conference Championships
AFC: Patriots defeat Steelers
NFC: Saints defeat Packers

Super Bowl XLVI
Patriots defeat Saints

AWARD WINNERS

OFFENSIVE MVP: QB Drew Brees, Saints
DEFENSIVE MVP: LB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: WR A.J. Green, Bengals
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: LB Von Miller, Broncos
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB Matt Stafford, Lions
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike Tomlin, Steelers

FALCONS STATISTICAL PROJECTIONS

PASSING
Matt Ryan – 575 att., 360 comp., 62.6%, 4030 yds, 30 TDs, 11 INT,  92.9 rating
Ryan will have a strong season, and at the end of the year will be in the running for the Offensive Player of the Year, putting up career highs in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and passer rating.

RUSHING
Michael Turner – 315 att., 1250 yds, 4.0 avg, 13 TD; 10 rec., 75 yds, 7.5 avg, 0 TD
Jason Snelling – 85 att., 340 yds, 4.0 avg, 3 TDs; 35 rec., 250 yds, 7.1 avg, 1 TD
Jacquizz Rodgers – 45 att., 185 yds, 4.1 avg, 0 TDs; 15 rec., 145 yds, 9.7 avg, 1 TD
The Falcons will continue to lean heavily on Turner, particularly late in games since there will be more instances where the Falcons get an early lead with their passing attack. Snelling and Rodgers will predominantly serve as third down backs, but will contribute at times.

RECEIVING
Roddy White – 100 rec., 1290 yds, 12.9 avg, 10 TDs
Julio Jones – 60 rec., 870 yds, 14.5 avg, 8 TDs; 5 rush att., 55 yds, 11.0 avg, 0 TDs
Tony Gonzalez – 55 rec., 525 yds, 9.6 avg, 6 TDs
Harry Douglas – 35 rec., 465 yds, 13.3 avg, 3 TDs
Michael Palmer – 15 rec., 115 yds, 7.7 avg, 1 TD
Kerry Meier – 10 rec., 100 yds, 10.0 avg, 0 TDs
White’s workload won’t drop off all that much, and he should have another triple-digit catch season. Jones probably won’t make a lot of catches, but his 14.5 yards per catch and 8 touchdowns will be indicators of his big play potential in the Falcons offense. Gonzalez will see his production drop off, but Douglas will see his numbers improve.

KICKING
Matt Bryant – 51 for 51 PAT, 26 for 29 FG, 126 pts
Bryant will continue his consistency and accuracy with another excellent season.

PUNTING
Matt Bosher – 69 punts, 42.0 avg, 36.0 net avg
Bosher will produce at a level comparable to Koenen’s rookie season.

RETURNS
Eric Weems – 30 KOR, 24.2 avg, 0 TDs; 22 PR, 11.4 avg, 1 TD
The new kickoff rules will keep Weems out of the endzone, but he’ll make up for it by taking one to the house on punt returns. But he’ll still produce well in both categories.

DEFENSE
Curtis Lofton – 115 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INTs, 1 FF
Sean Weatherspoon – 100 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INTs, 1 FF
Thomas DeCoud – 75 tackles, 1 sack, 3 INTs, 1 FF
William Moore – 75 tackles, 3 INTs, 3 FF
Brent Grimes – 70 tackles, 4 INTs
Stephen Nicholas – 65 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF
Dunta Robinson – 60 tackles, 1 INT
Kelvin Hayden – 40 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs
Kroy Biermann – 35 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF
Mike Peterson – 35 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 FF
Jonathan Babineaux – 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 FF
John Abraham – 30 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 4 FF
Ray Edwards – 30 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 FF
James Sanders – 25 tackles, 1 INT
Corey Peters – 20 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
Peria Jerry – 20 tackles, 1.5 sacks
Chris Owens – 15 tackles, 1 INT
Dominique Franks – 10 tackles, 1 INT
Vance Walker – 10 tackles, 0.5 sacks
Lawrence Sidbury – 10 tackles
Cliff Matthews – 5 tackles

While Abraham will see a drop-off in his sack totals, the team will be able to create more pressure due to the presence of Ray Edwards opposite him, and the improvements in the secondary allowing them to be more aggressive with their blitzing. Grimes won’t see as many interceptions this year since many QBs will be less willing to throw at him, but some of that slack will be made up for by Kelvin Hayden at the nickel spot. Overall, the Falcons will be good, but not great.

 

 

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Author: Aaron Freeman

Aaron is the founder of FalcFans.com.

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