With the NFL preseason set to kick off in a little over a week and training camps already underway, the time is right to take a look at the upcoming season and dust off the crystal ball. Normally, I get at least one or two of my yearly predictions wrong, and frankly, I'm beginning to find that unacceptable. So this year I am throwing out five predictions that will be right, because they are so damn obvious that being wrong is not in the cards.
Read away, my viewing audience, and bask in the certainty that this season I will stand unanimously victorious in my prognostication abilities!
1. The New England Patriots WILL make the playoffs.
The NFL must have been feeling sorry for the Patriots when handing out schedules because they handed the AFC representative in the last Super Bowl the easiest schedule in the NFL. That schedule, combined with the addition of Brandon Lloyd as a legit stretch-the-field type of wideout will give head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady all the wiggle room they need to potentially make another run at the big game.
2. The Cleveland Browns WON'T make the playoffs.
The Cleveland Browns, in theory, got a heck of a lot better from good usage of draft picks. They picked up a dynamic rusher, a smooth looking potential starting QB, and a talented wide receiver who could be just the outside weapon they were looking for. Unfortunately, they still reside in the AFC Central with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, all of whom field pretty good teams themselves. Give Cleveland another year or two before they can crack through and make the playoffs.
3. Tim Tebow of the New York Jets WILL make headlines for his play.
This may come as a shock to everybody, but there will be headlines about Tim Tebow this season. There may even be a call for him to take over the starting job if the Jets falter out of the gate this season. Current Jets starter Mark Sanchez stands in the most unenviable of positions; standing between Tebow and the playing field. Unless he wants to be the next Brady Quinn, he best be prepared to have the best season of his career.
4. Johnathan Vilma WON'T be playing any football this season.
Johnathan Vilma is mad as hell that he is basically being singled out in the 'Bounty-Gate' scandal and is looking at missing an entire season. He is so mad that he is fighting it in the court of law. Only one small hitch for Mr. Vilma; the NFL is a private business who is allowed to implement their own punishment system for any actions they deem is against their rules. Vilma can fight and pout about this suspension all he wants but when the dust settles, he will be on his couch come Sundays this season.
5. Peyton Manning WILL say 'aw shucks fellas' at least 75 times this season.
Man, the NFL just isn't the NFL without having 'good old boy' Peyton Manning back on the field. Say what you will about the guy, and how can any of it be negative, but the man is the soul of southern courtesy and proper upbringing and you know he is gonna 'aw shucks' the death out of his offense in that huddle. Hopefully everything is healed up alright for him and he can survive being knocked around a bit. The early season may be rough on the hits department due to scheduling and getting used to a new team, so his durability will be put to the test.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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