The Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics are undoubtedly this years biggest surprises baseball. The A’s stormed into the playoffs to overtake the Texas Ranger in the AL West on the last game of the season. The O’s played consistently all season long as most awaited for them to tail off. That didn’t happen, and now they have the opportunity to advance further into the playoffs due to the new wild card format. The A’s and the O’s are two teams that make baseball great and will make this October just that more exciting, but which will make a shocking deep postseason run?
Let’s get to the predictions…
AL Wild Card Round – Orioles over Rangers
The Rangers have to be gassed at this point after back to back World Series losses and getting swept by Oakland to lose the division lead on the last day of the season. The Orioles have some magic in this team full of unlikely heroes like Chris Davis. The O’s steal this one down in Arlington.
NL Wild Card Round – Braves over Cardinals
The Braves are 12-0 when Kris Medlen starts this season. That undefeated record is not going to change in this game against the Cardinals.
ALDS – Athletics over Tigers
The A’s are on an absolute tear and have all the momentum in the world entering this postseason. If the A’s can combine a sturdy rotation and a strong bullpen with timely hitting, they can go deep into October.
ALDS – Yankees over Orioles
Unfortunately, this is where the O’s magic finally runs out. The Yankees surged into this postseason, and the division win allows them to setup their rotation. Yankees over Orioles easily in four games or less.
NLDS – Giants over Reds
This has to be the most intriguing matchup of the first round, and it comes down to pitching. Matt Cain facing off against Johnny Cueto in game one is the key to this series. Which ever team can win this game will take the series. Cain has the experience and players behind him that have been in this situation before. The Giants take this series after Cain wins game one.
NLDS – Nationals over Braves
Even without Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals are the most complete team in the National League. Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman are as good as any 1-2 punch in baseball in the rotation, and they are backed up by one the the best bullpens in the league. The Nationals end the Braves season and the illustrious career of Chipper Jones.
ALCS – Athletics over Yankees
The magical season does not end with another loss to the Yankees October. The A’s rotation and pitching staff is too deep even for the Yankees to overcome. If CC Sabathia can’t win two games for the Yankees in this series, the A’s will come out on top and return to the World Series for the first time since 1990.
NLCS – Giants over Nationals
If the Nationals had Strasburg, they’d take this series. They don’t. This is finally where their decision to sit him comes back to haunt them. With Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong anchoring the rotation, the Giants once again have the starting pitching to take them to the promise land.
World Series – Athletics over Giants
Yes, in a Battle for the Bay Area, Billy Beane’s dream of finally winning a World Series as the Oakland Athletics’ GM comes true, setting up for the sequel, Moneyball 2.
The simple thought of Eli Manning again hoisting the Super Bowl MVP Trophy while Tom Brady sat silently by his locker is enough to make me gag. I would go so far as to say the mere sight hurt as much as Aaron Boone’s 2003 ALCS home run off Tim Wakefield. The result of Super Bowl XLVI again sent complete shock and bewilderment through Patriot nation. I didn’t think I’d ever recover… until now.
The start of a new NFL season brings new hope for Patriots fans. A new season brings hope that Tom Brady’s legacy can be complete with a fourth Super Bowl. It brings hope that a fourth Super Bowl title in six tries will make everyone forget about Eli Manning’s New York Giants. And finally, it brings New England fans hope that Tom Brady will still win his fourth title and be cemented as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
With the Giants already losing to the Cowboys in game one, here are my predictions for the 2012/2012 NFL season.
Starting with the Division standings:
- New England Patriots
- Buffalo Bills
- New York Jets
- Miami Dolphins
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Tennessee Titans
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Denver Broncos
- San Diego Chargers
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
AFC Wild Card winners: Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers
- Dallas Cowboys
- Philadelphia Eagles
- New York Giants
- Washington Redskins
- Green Bay Packers
- Chicago Bears
- Detroit Lions
- Minnesota Vikings
- Atlanta Falcons
- New Orleans Saints
- Carolina Panthers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- San Francisco 49ers
- Seattle Seahawks
- St. Louis Rams
- Arizona Cardinals
NFC Wild Card winners: Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears
AFC Championship Game: New England Patriots over Denver Broncos (20-17)
NFC Championship Game: Green Bay Packers over Philadelphia Eagles (34-24)
Super Bowl XLVII: New England Patriots over Green Bay Packers (31-28)
The New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers are the two best teams going into the 2012/2013 season. Brady and Aaron Rodgers are masters at the most important position in the NFL. They know how to win, and more importantly, they make everyone around them that much better.
Expectations for the Patriots are as high as ever. It’s Super Bowl or bust again for Brady and coach Belichick. Will this be the season they complete their legacy as the greatest head coach/quarterback duo in NFL history? Pats fans hope so, even if the rest of the NFL doesn’t.
On that note, I leave you with Grantland’s Honest NFL Logos. Enjoy opening weekend everyone.