We’re now less than 24 hours away from the ‘real’ start of the NFL season — the first Sunday. Our staff put heads together this week to come up with 89 bold predictions for the 2010 NFL season. Bam came up 21 of these for last season and they were mostly disastrous. Once again, these are totally unscientific and just for fun. We touch on things like fantasy football, overhyped teams, and of course lots everything Steelers. And we even made it through 20 predictions before a Tebow mention!!!
Jump it to dive right into the prediction goodness as we preview the 2010 NFL season.
1. Rashard Mendenhall will rush for at least 1400 yards and 10 TDs.
2. The number of false start/holding penalties called against Flozell Adams in the first four games: 9
3. Mike Wallace gets over 900 yards receiving and 7 TDs. The number of “60 Minutes” jokes from hack CBS announcers gets nauseating.
4. Dennis Dixon rushes for 3 TDs in his four games at starting QB (3-1), becoming the latest QB to cause national media to compare to Michael Vick before awkwardly adding “ON the field”.
5. Ben Roethlisberger gets sacked more times than last year, on a per-game basis
6. In at least two games this year, Antwaan Randle El will remind fans of 2005 by completing a long pass out of a pseudo-wildcat formation.
7. Lawrence Timmons will lead the Steelers’ defense in tackles, with 100.
8. Hines Ward will finish…second in the NFL in TD receptions, with 10.
9. Roethlisberger passes for 325 yards and 4 TDs his first game back. Why? He’s facing the Browns, which is the football equivalent of having a pitcher face the Pirates in his first start.
10. At some point this year (probably week 9, 10, or 11), Football Outsiders will have the Steelers ranked as the best team in the NFL. The Steelers will then lose the next game.
11. Chris Berman is high-fived by a pack of Steeler fans , then killed by another after he unveils his latest nickname: Rashard “It’s Raining” Mendenhall.
12. The Steelers go 10-6 and win the AFC North division by one game over the Ravens. They will be the No. 3 seed, to 1: Colts and 2: Patriots.
13. The Steelers win the Wild Card playoff matchup, but lose to the hated Patriots in the Divisional round.
14. A freak fire in the hotel room of Troy Polamalu burns away his trademark hair, marking the first time one of those weird Lloyd’s of London insurance policies actually had to be paid out.
15. Jake Delhomme throws 15 INTs in the first six games (1-5), Seneca Wallace comes in and does equally badly for six games (also 1-5), then Colt McCoy throws for 13 TDs in the last four games (4-0), including 4 against a Steelers secondary resting their starters for the playoffs. This gives Cleveland fans some hope as their basketball team falls to 13-21.
16. Josh Cribbs announces his next NFL team on a 5-minute NFL Network show called “The Return?”
17. The Cincinnati Bengals start the season 5-1 and Terrell Owens decides to change his name to Terrell Ochouno in solidarity with his star teammate. “It’s great!” says Ochouno. “I can even keep my other nickname, TO!”
18. The Bengals then quickly slide to 8-8 and TO changes his name back.
19. Derek Anderson will have more passing yards than Carson Palmer.
20. The Ravens finish the season 9-7, but become this season’s improbable Wild Card team to make it to the Super Bowl, where they play the Minnesota Vikings. The media day is a circus. A Japanese reporter asks players which guy on the opposing team they fear the most. Quoth one Raven, “Never # 4!”
21. The Rapture occurs (but only in Denver, for reasons known only to God and Roger Goodell), and everyone on the Broncos is taken except Tim Tebow. Forced to have Tebow quarterback a team of purely religious players (Glen Coffee comes out of retirement), the Broncos finish the season 3-13.
22. A desperate Frank Caliendo, sensing his 15 minutes have already passed him, unveils his impression of Terry Bradshaw on the Fox pregame show. Everyone ignores him, even the hosts.
23. In November, Falcons backup quarterback Chris Redman is accused of sexual assault in Las Vegas during the team’s bye week. Redman issues a public statement, and his name appears to be cleared. In March, Redman encounters a similar incident at a college bar in his hometown of Louisville. After police announce that they will not charge Redman with any wrongdoing, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces that he will not suspend Redman. When asked of his reasoning, Goodell responds, “Redman’s a backup quarterback. It’s not like he’s a star or anything, so I don’t feel the need to suspend him just for poor character.”
24. Mark Sanchez has more underwear ads (16) than TD passes (15).
25. I guess since I jokingly predicted Raven vs. Vikings in the Super Bowl up there, I have to stick with it, huh? Vikings win 35-24, and Brett Favre collapses on the field from a heart attack during the celebration. Tens of thousands of football fans say to themselves, “Now I have to feel bad for him…but at least now ESPN won’t barrage us with stories of ‘Will he or won’t he come back?’”
26. The Ravens will win the AFC North, Pittsburgh loses a tiebreaker to miss the playoffs.
27. The Dolphins win the East and the Jets sneak in as a wildcard team again.
28. The Jets lose on wildcard weekend because buying all the biggest stars does not make the best team.
29. The NFC East only sends one team to the playoffs.
30. The Texans claim the AFC’s other wildcard spot.
31. Arizona loses at least 10 games.
32. Lions are on the playoff bubble but again they can’t get in.
33. Drew Brees gets hurt. Thanks, Madden Curse.
34. The Steelers have a losing record through the first four games.
35. Falcons get a bye week in the playoffs.
36. The NFC West’s best team makes the playoffs by default at 8-8.
37. The b and Saints claim the two NFC wildcards.
38. You see the Dolphins at 9-3 at some point in the season and try to remember who plays for them.
39. The Colts don’t challenge for an undefeated season as they lose a game before their bye week.
40. AFC North finishes Baltimore-Pittsburgh-Cincy-
41. Kurt Warner talks about Jesus no less than 3 times on the FOX halftime show throughout the season.
42. You’ll know who Julian Edelman is before the playoffs roll around.
43. San Diego just stops running the ball altogether.
44. Seattle challenges for the #1 draft pick.
45. The Bills actually get the #1 draft pick.
46. Terrell Owens and the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson actually turn out to be really funny off the field.
47. You still wish death and injuries on them both, though. You are a bad person.
48. Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh nearly double Owens & Eightfive’s production, but no one talks about them.
49. By the time the Broncos play the Rams, Tim Tebow will be the starter and FOX won’t shut up about him for a solid three hours.
50. Heath Miller, despite being a total beast, doesn’t go to the Pro Bowl because fans think “Tight End” is just “Wide Receiver” with less letters.
51. The Steelers will start the season off with a 2-2 record. Dennis Dixon will play decent, but the running game won’t be consistent enough to win more than a couple games.
52. Ben Roethlisberger will be audibly booed at every away venue this season. It won’t hurt his play, though, and he’ll still through for 19 TDs and 3,063 yards in 12 games.
53. Two players who will have breakout seasons: Lawrence Timmons and Ziggy Hood. Timmons will end up with 10 sacks this season and Hood will be pushing Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel for starting time by week eight.
54. The Cleveland Browns will finish 5-11. Don’t worry, though, Joshua Cribbs is still good enough to almost beat the Steelers himself.
55. Two players who will get injured and miss more than two games: Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward. I’ve got no way to back this up other than a hunch.
56. Regardless of who kicks off this season, the Steelers will once again finish dead last in special teams DVOA. I saw little in the preseason to suggest anything would change for the better.
57. The Cincinnati Bengals will finish 9-7. Ochocinco and Owens will be a treat to watch.
58. Yinzers will call for Bruce Arians’ head after the first offensive drive of the season. Bank on it.
59. Ike Taylor will match is career high in interceptions with three. But Steeler fans will still under-appreciate his skill at cornerback because he’ll drop a couple easy ones.
60. Bryant McFadden won’t be the same Bryant McFadden the Steelers had in 2008. He won’t be starting at the end of the season.
61. Mendenhall’s final line for the season: 1, 128 yards and 6 touchdowns.
62. Isaac Redman‘s final line for the season: 362 yards and 4 touchdowns.
63. Ray Lewis will still play like he’s 25 and I’ll be in awe. Ditto with Derrick Mason. (I posted this same one last year and will continue to do so until they actually ‘drop off’)
64. The Baltimore Ravens will finish 12-4 and win the AFC North.
65. Antwaan Randle-El will throw a TD pass to Mike Wallace this season.
66. Ryan Mathews will be the offensive rookie of the year and Rolando McClain the defensive rookie of the year.
67. The Detroit Lions will be respectable this season and finish 7-9. The Thanksgiving games will be watchable this season.
68. Peyton Manning will win another MVP. It will be a close race between him, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, but Manning will get the nod yet again.
69. The Pittsburgh Steelers will finish 11-5. They’ll lose to Tennessee, Baltimore, New Orleans, New England, and Cincinnati.
70. The most dissapointing team in 2010 will be the New York Jets. Their defense will be elite, but the offense will struggle all year long.
71. AFC division winners: New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis, San Diego.
72. AFC wild card teams: Pittsburgh, New York Jets.
73. NFC division winners: Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco.
74. NFC wild card teams: Dallas, Minnesota.
75. Super Bowl prediction: Green Bay over Indianapolis.
76. Dennis Dixon will go 3-1 as starter.
77. Roethlisberger will be effective in his return, and finish the year with a 7-5 record.
78. Hines Ward will pull in 85+ receptions.
79. Heath Miller will be selected to the Pro Bowl along with 4 other Steelers.
80. Steelers will lose to the Raiders…again.
81. Mike Wallace becomes a household name across the nation.
82. Steelers will lead the league in sacks.
83. Steelers’ kicking/punt returners, go the distance 5 times.
84. Steelers will go 10-6 and win the AFC North
85. Ravens: 9-7 wild card (Defense will be the weak-link….shocking)
86. Browns: 5-11 (Cleveland is ok with 5-11)
87. Bengals: 8-8 (Marvin Lewis is fired)
88. Troy Polamalu will not miss a game due to injury.
89. Steelers will make the playoffs and play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.