Denver, CO – Every now and then, I come across some crazy sports statistic I had never heard before. If anyone knows me well, that is saying something too. Whether it’s a good thing or not, I am a sports numbers and stats guy. I remember how many times a #12 seed has knocked off a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I remember how many years it has been since the Cubs won a World Series. I remember TD vs INT ratios for star QB’s in the NFL. Why is this, you ask? No clue. Actually I kinda do know. It could have to do with the fact that for years, I have passed out countless times with Sportscenter on in my bedroom. Or it could be that I have watched an absurd amount of sports ever since I found this cool device called a remote control when I was five. Anyway, the stat I heard yesterday made me take notice and really surprised me…..it was this…..for 16 consecutive years now, at least 5 NFL teams who made the playoffs the previous year didn’t make it the following year. Wow. That is saying something considering that only 12 teams make the post-season each year. This is absolutely one major reason why the NFL is king and so popular. It’s a crapshoot. Literally, every team every year theoretically has a shot to go from bad to good. It has happened so many times, and did last year too. Who saw the 49ers going to the NFC Championship game? Who saw the Bengals making the playoffs with a rookie QB? Who saw the Broncos going 8-8 and winning the AFC West? So, of course, once I heard this crazy stat yesterday, I came up with my 5 teams who will not make the playoffs this year after doing so last year. If you all forgot, here are the available candidates – Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Texans, Broncos, Giants, Packers, Lions, Saints, Falcons, 49ers.
1 – New York Giants - Crazy pick huh? The Super Bowl champs, not making the playoffs? Yep. Just a hunch here really. I think they will be fat cats in 2012, and not have the hunger. Before they realize it, they will be out of the race and too far back. That, and I have Philly winning the East in 2012. Call me crazy, but the NFL is a crazy world.
2 – Cincinnati Bengals - What they did last year was impressive, and Andy Dalton looked like a veteran QB in his first season. They have the building blocks to be very good, very soon. I loved what they did in this years draft, and love what they could become in the near future. But in 2012, I think they take a small step back. Why? Expectations really, and that they are so young. They snuck up on everyone last year, and somehow earned the final playoff spot in the AFC. This year, the schedule is tougher, and I think they need to go through some growing pains. Look out though, this team could be scary good in a few years.
3 – Detroit Lions - Another very young team, with a load of talent. How can you not love Stafford, Suh, and Calvin Johnson? These guys are studs and looked the part in 2011. Logic says they will only get better and build on what they did last season, right? Not so fast. This team seems to be somewhat immature at times, and now the fans expect them to win games. Not a good combo. I believe they will struggle this season, and slip back out of the playoffs. A learning year, if you will, which will pay dividends down the road.
4 – New Orleans Saints - This is a popular pick by many to miss the playoffs. The reasons are countless, which we all know by now. The thing I can’t figure out, is while this franchise is going through all of this turmoil, why are they screwing around with Drew Brees’ contract situation? He is more important than ever, and they are haggling with him over a long term deal? Really? Baffling. Although the Saints have plenty of talent to win the division, I think 2012 will be a headache for them all year. Something like 8-8 sounds about right to me.
5 – Pittsburgh Steelers - This is just more of a hunch than anything, and a few reasons add up to why I think the Steelers will struggle a bit this year. They have a new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, who runs a different offense than what Big Ben is used to. RB Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL at the end of last year, and may not be back til October or so. They are also planning on starting two rookie offensive linemen. Although great draft picks, that could spell doom this season at times. The Steelers always seem to make the playoffs, so aren’t they due to have an off year?
These are my 5, who are yours? Hit me up with what ya think!
Denver Sports by J Simp