Disclaimer: This is based off of early preseason hype as well as they say "whats on paper" in terms of how well each team should do through the season. Obviously anything can happen on any given Sunday but I tried to take a very realistic approach to the season ahead and how it could play out.
Detroit Lions 2012 schedule:
Green Bay Packers 2012 schedule: 2nd easiest schedule in the NFL
Chicago Bears 2012 schedule:
Possible Records- through 4 game stretches 1-4, 5-8,9-12,13-16
Detroit 9-7 (10-6)
Weeks 1-4: 3-1 should be the "no less than" expectation for Detroit (4-0 is very possible 2-2 no less than). Key game for first 4 games is the 49ers on the road. I would have said the Rams as well but the whole team is being revamped in terms of scheme for offense and defense and lost the DC coordinator (Greg Williams) however they have the pieces on defense and a running game led by a top rusher that could prove tough.
Weeks 5-8: (2-2, 3-1 possible)This is where it gets interesting for Detroit and a chance to prove they can beat good teams and possibly consecutively. Eagles and Bears are two key match ups and both are suppose to be in play for their division titles they are also both on the road which doesn’t favor the Lions. No less than 2-2 during this set of 4 games would be acceptable but 3-1 is what will be needed.
Weeks 9-12: (2-2 though 3-1 is very possible) another possible 2-2 record is very likely w/ GB and Texans on the schedule during this time. Detroit would need to win against one of those 2 teams by this time to stay relevant not only in the division but even as a WC hopeful and going 3-1 during this set of 4 games. Both these teams have good Defenses and Offenses that can put points up. The thing the Lions have going for them barring injuries is the fact that both these games are at home what works most against them is the fact that its these two back to back in less than 5 days.
Weeks 13-17: (2-2) If the Lions want to make the playoffs the Month of December will be one of the most challenging months not only because it’s the final leg before playoffs but December teams amp it up trying to secure positions in the playoffs. 3 of 4 games are against teams that are in play to win their division this year w/ two of those being tough division opponents; however I don’t know if they can sustain that long unless they have proven the previous 12 weeks + that they are ready to take that next step.
Weeks 1-4: 3-1 (2-2 to 1-3 is very possible) 49ers, Chicago, Saints all at home how lucky is that however all could prove to be problematic for GB and sneak a win against them. They by far have the toughest first 4 games of the 3 teams expected to be in play for the NFC North. I wouldn’t doubt Chicago or the 49ers sneak a win on them if not both.
Weeks 5-8: (4-0)This part of the schedule gets real easy for the Packers and they could easily see a 4-0 run during this time and start to separate from the rest of the division by doing so. Biggest match up concern is the Texans but I think they can beat them in a hard fought game.
Weeks 9-12: (3-1) with a bye week right before facing Detroit and both games after the bye week are on the road w/ one against the Giants. I can actually see them dropping one of those games if not both possibly. The other two games should be a win on their schedule.
Weeks 13-17: (3-1) 3 division games to finish their season and two of those are suppose to be able to match up w/ them in Chi and Detroit and w/ the Vikings and Titans to round off the last 4 games the Pack should be able to go 3-1 but 2-2 is likely but which of those two teams will beat them is up in the air.
Chi- 10-6 (11-5)
Weeks 1-4: 2-2 (3-1 to 4-0 very possible) Chicago’s key games are the Packers and Cowboys both on the road and both are going to be tough to pull off. I could see them beating the Pack more so than the boys on the road if they are to go no less than 3-1. 2-2
Weeks 5-8: (3-1) amazingly the Bears like the Pack are getting bye weeks before facing the Lions and only the two teams w/ Felines as logo’s have a real shot at beating them however they will probably go no less than 1-1 against them but could also go 0-2 or 2-0 im betting on 1-1 for sake of this post. This part of the schedule could be what helps separate the Packers, Bears and Lions by this point early in the season. Interesting enough they would be in a tie w/ the Lions based upon the previous predictions above which means whoever wins would be in second place in the division at 5-3 at the half way pt.
Week 9-12: (2-2) tough schedule 49ers, Texans, and possibly the Seahawks could all be tough games and of those I could see them losing to both the 49ers and the Texans but beating Seattle and Vikings. Again the interesting part of this prediction is the fact that per above the Lions schedule and possible predictions this would still keep the Bears and Lions at a tie should they go 2-2 which is what my prediction for the Bears is during this stretch.
Weeks 13-17: (3-1) 3 of the last 4 games are on the road w/ the one home game against the Packers I believe they sneak that win in and drop to the Lions in week 17. By this time they would be 10-5 according to this prediction so the last game of the season wouldn’t matter as much unless they needed 11-5 to get into the playoffs which I then see the Lions playing spoiler and only allowing the Packers to get into the playoffs from the NFC north by handing them the 10-6 record.
So what do you think about how the season will play out?