NFL 2011 Predictions from Beginning to End, Plus Awards

JW NixSenior Writer IISeptember 9, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before taking on the New Orleans Saints in the season opening game at Lambeau Field on September 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the beginning of every NFL season, diehard fans will make prognostications about how the season will turn out. Yours truly is no different from that lot.

Sometimes looking like Nostradamus, and sometimes comical, it is fun to imagine how a season will progress even if we all know an injury can change things in an instant for the teams we cheer for.

Most of us kind of knew who would win NFL Rookie of the Year in 2010 before the season even started, but making the correct prediction somehow still brings a sense of gratification.

I already wrote a comprehensive analysis on why I made the predictions for each team this season. If you want to see the AFC East, click here, here for the AFC North, here for the AFC South, here for the AFC West, here for the NFC West, here for the NFC South, here for the NFC North, and here for the NFC East.

Here is the short version:


NFC East 

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. New York Giants

3. Washington Redskins

4. Dallas Cowboys


NFC North 

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Detroit Lions *

3. Chicago Bears

4. Minnesota Vikings


NFC South 

1. Atlanta Falcons

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. New Orleans Saints

4. Carolina Panthers


ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons smiles during warm ups against the Green Bay Packers during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty I
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images



NFC West

1. Saint Louis Rams

2. Arizona Cardinals *

3. Seattle Seahawks

4. San Francisco 49ers


AFC East

1. New York Jets

2. New England Patriots *

3. Miami Dolphins

4. Buffalo Bills


AFC North

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 01:  Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets smiles during a pre-season game against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on September 1, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Baltimore Ravens *

3. Cleveland Browns

 4. Cincinnati Bengals


AFC South

1. Houston Texans

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

3. Tennessee Titans

4. Indianapolis Colts


AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. Oakland Raiders

4. Denver Broncos

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 01:  Defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans during the practice on the first day of training camp at Reliant Park on August 1, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images




Detroit Lions @ Saint Louis Rams 

Doormats to the NFL no longer, the Lions pull it out late, thanks to the stellar play of their defensive line.


Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles

Kevin Kolb does a fine job against his old team, but the Eagles just have too much talent for the Big Red on this day.


Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets

This is a grueling battle that is decided by a Ray Rice touchdown run.


New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers 

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05:  Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 28-13.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/G
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The best game of the playoffs, both teams go back and forth as bodies leave the field bruised and bloodied. Troy Polamalu deflects a ball that Ryan Clark catches to thwart the Patriots late in the fourth, preserving a Steelers victory.




Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons

Detroit is happy to be here, but the Falcons are already comfortable at this stage. Their balanced attack and experience prevail.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers

The three Pro Bowl cornerbacks Philadelphia kept on the roster come up big, allowing the pass rush to reach Aaron Rodgers more often than not. Green Bay's defense keeps them in the game, but Michael Vick finds Steve Smith in the end zone with less than a minute to go for the win.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens stands on the field during warm ups prior to playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nick Laham/Getty Images


Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans

Houston hosts their first playoff game ever, but the Texans are no match for the veteran Ravens.


Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers

Norv Turner coaches his last game with the Chargers as the Steelers take advantage of a series of bad play-calling in the fourth quarter.



Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons

Vick returns to more jeers than cheers in Atlanta, but he has the last laugh as the Eagles pass defense shuts down the Falcons passing game.


Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers had already won their three previous playoff meetings with Baltimore, but they come in limping today. With few points on the scoreboard, Billy Cundiff hits a field goal as time expires to send the Ravens to the big game.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 25:  Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his interception in the first half against the Cleveland Browns during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


Super Bowl XLVI

Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles

Vick gets off to a hot start to keep Philly in the game, but Ray Rice is running wild. Down by a score late in the fourth, Vick gambles and Ed Reed picks off the pass. Flacco takes a knee three times as Ray Lewis retires at the top of the mountain holding the trophy.




NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Offensive Player of the Year: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Defensive Player of the Year: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins

Defensive Rookie of the Year: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Comeback Player of the Year: Ben Tate, Houston Texans

Coach of the Year: Steve Spagnuolo, Saint Louis Rams


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