The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.


NFL 2012

by Jerry Keys

As usual, there are a multitude of questions coming out of training camp. Several first year QBs will be starting in Week 1. The question everyone wants to ask is concerning Peyton. He last saw action over 18 months ago. He has proven to be successful even without a viable running game. But how will he perform in late season games in regards to Denver's ferocious winters? The Colts predicated themselves on building a high end offensive line to give the mobile-inept Manning time to pick apart a defense. PM will post quality passing numbers but with B-list receivers.

The best case scenario would be Willis McGahee provides a staunch running game to keep the defenses honest and the O-line provides adequate pocket protection. PM is in the twilight of his career, but still has the ability to dissect a defense. The worst case would be a collapse of protection and an ineffective ground attack. Thus, flushing PM and forcing passes which may turn into interceptions. A suspect Bronco defense will force a best case to consider a playoff run.

Jerry Keys

The NY Jets were poised to unseat the Patriots as kings of the AFC East and suffered a meltdown (as predicted, see Sept. 2011 issue). Buffalo showed flashes of contending early last year before imploding. This year will be different. The Bills D was upgraded and will wreck havoc on opposing QBs. The Jets are still in a free-fall and will be susceptible to other teams in the AFC East. Miami will start a new era with another young QB with moderate success. The East will be a stronger division top to bottom with two teams advancing to the playoffs.

The AFC North will encounter a down year as Pittsburgh and Baltimore slip after several years of dominance. Cincinnati will contend for the playoffs again but will not see a division title. The Ravens string of post-season appearances will come to an end in '12, even though two teams from the North will see the playoffs. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will vie for the division, with the Steelers winning out by a nose. Cleveland is yet again going with a new QB, even though Colt McCoy showed signs of turning the corner when given ample protection.

Pittsburgh has implemented a new offense, but with a questionable O-line (where have we heard this before?) and an inexperienced running attack, it is possible they could sink to .500. The AFC South is in a state of flux. Indianapolis is starting from scratch, as is Jacksonville (minus Maurice-JD) and Tennessee remains unsure on who their QB will be. Houston should repeat as champions in the South, and if they can avoid the injury bug, advance deep in the playoffs.

San Diego continues to be an enigma. On paper they should win 10-12 games and run away with the AFC West. On the field, things have not turned out as planned. The West will be competitive, but results will be similar to '11. An 8-8 record should win the division, and with too many questions with Denver and Kansas City, the Chargers will claim the division by de-fault.

The 49'ers obliterated opponents in the NFC West last year and things should not change much. San Francisco will post double-digit wins, but not as dominant as the previous year. Many (me included) saw St. Louis challenging for the West and they remain poised to do so again. A brutal schedule will ensure, at best a .500 year. Philadelphia's over-confidence last year put them in an early hole they almost dug out of. A more focused team, along with a willingness to come together as a group after Andy Reid's personal loss, will cement a playoff run in '12. The world champion NY Giants will repeat as NFC North champions and contend for a third Super Bowl in six years.

The bounty scandal in New Orleans left a dark cloud over '12. With an interim coach, the Saints are a perfect pick to regress. I don't see it happening. Much like in Philadelphia, the Saints will perform more cohesively and remain NFC South champs. Atlanta should remain contenders and see playoff action. Tampa Bay epitomized the definition of full-scale collapse last year. It is anyone's guess which team will show up in '12. Carolina produced an exciting '11 campaign as Cam Newton scrambled and passed reminiscent of a young Michael Vick. The Panthers should improve to .500 but Newton needs to curtail his recklessness or he could be watching games on the sidelines on IR.