With the NFL season to officially open on September 10th at Gillette Stadium when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers, it's never too early to start making predictions for the new year.
Division by division I'm going to break down who will strive and who will dive. To the bottom of their division that is. Here we go.
1. New England Patriots: 14-2 *
I think this one is pretty obvious, even with Tom Brady missing up to four games, the Patriots will still find a way to win. They always have. Look who their coach is, Bill Belichick. He and his future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady have the most wins out of any coach/QB duo in NFL history. Says a lot doesn't it.
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2. Buffalo Bills: 11-5*
Under new head coach Rex Ryan, a great defensive mind with a great defense already should produce results in Buffalo. While they still need to resolve their QB predicament, their defense should hold up enough for them to maybe get a Wild Card spot. Like they always say, offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.
3. Miami Dolphins: 9-7
As much as young QB Ryan Tannehill as improved over his 3 year career, he's still not ready to lead the Dolphins to a playoff appearance. He just doesn't have the tools to do it. WR Mike Wallace is now in Minnesota, and their defense ranked 24th in rushing yards allowed in 2014, and if that carries over to this year, they could be in trouble with Arian Foster and Demarco Murray on the schedule.
4. New York Jets: 3-13
The Jets could be headed for the number one pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Sure, they added Darrelle Revis back but, their QB is still Geno Smith.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 13-3 *
The Steelers could have what you call a "big three". Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown. Their defense took a blow, losing veteran safety Troy Polamalu (retirement) but, with all their offensive weapons, there should be a lot to cheer about in the Steel City.
2. Cincinnati Bengals: 12-4*
This will be the year Andy Dalton breaks out, mark my words. With A.J Green and Jeremy Hill to help him out, the Bengals are destined for another postseason appearance.
3. Baltimore Ravens: 10-6
According to head coach, John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco is the most elite QB in the NFL today. If he is, wouldn't he have won something? MVP? Super Bowl? Even the conference Championship? But instead, he got nothing.
Their defense isn't the same and most likely never will be for a while. There is never going to be another Ray Lewis or Ed Reed and Baltimore will have a hard time filling those holes in 2015.
4. Cleveland Browns: 6-10
Cleveland's QB controversy will end up costing them, and with all of Johnny Manziel's off the field drama, they will be in for a long ride this year.
1. Indianapolis Colts: 12-4 *
Indianapolis' star QB Andrew Luck has been nothing short of amazing in his first 3 seasons and I have no doubt he will continue to lead the Colts back to the postseason for the third straight year. Not to mention, WR T.Y Hilton has been brilliant as well, and he is sure to have another great season and play a big role in the Colts offense.
2. Houston Texans: 9-7
They did a nice job adding veteran Vince Wilfork to the defensive line, they will have no problem getting to the quarterback in 2015 that's for sure. But, what they will have a problem with is putting points on the scoreboard.
They lost WR Andre Johnson to Indianapolis, and their quarterback will be either Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett, that will most likely be announced after Training Camp. Either way, neither one of those two can be called elite.
3. Tennessee Titans: 5-11
The only thing to really look forward too this year for the Titans is rookie QB Marcus Mariota who played for the Oregon Ducks before going #2 in the NFL Draft to Tennessee.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-12
Rookie RB T.J Yeldon should be exciting to watch, but other than that Jacksonville fans are in for another lost season.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: 12-4*
Safety Eric Berry has just been cleared to play football again after missing all of last season after being diagnosed with cancer. There's no doubt Kansas City fans are excited for the upcoming year in hopes they will get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The fans of the Chiefs are hungry for a playoff win because back in 2013, they faced off against the Colts in what was a great game but lost 45-44 in overtime.
This year, their defense is improved with Berry returning and his teammates will rally behind Berry and make a return to the postseason with a "Berry Strong" statement.
2. Denver Broncos: 10-6
It's time to face the facts. Peyton Manning is old. their defense is suffering after Champ Bailey departed and Von Miller hasn't panned out at all like everyone thought. Denver will still be a good team but it will need a miracle to get back to the playoffs.
3. San Diego Chargers: 8-8
Phillip Rivers needs help. With TE Antonio Brown suspended for the first four games of the year, that really isn't helping much. San Diego's defense has never been strong in all the years Rivers has been the QB and you can expect more of the same this year.
4. Oakland Raiders: 6-10
Derek Carr to Amari Cooper will absolutely be something we hear a lot this year but, Oakland just isn't ready yet for another playoff run. Soon, but not now.
1. Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4 *
Chip Kelly has something up his sleeve with the signings of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, and the trade for Sam Bradford. Adding Demarco Murray can only help the cause. Philly fans will have fun watching their team work this year.
2. Dallas Cowboys: 11-5 *
they suffered through the loss of Demarco Murray and there's no doubt it will hurt them, but, they do have Dez Bryant still and with him on your team anything is possible, look for Dallas to have a good season.
3. New York Giants: 8-8
Odell Beckham Jr. will make Eli Manning look good this year that's for sure. Throw it in the same zip code and he'll snag it. New York's wide receiving core is strong, but other areas are slacking which the cost the G-men a playoff appearance in 2015.
4. Washington Redskins: 2-14
RG3 has been nowhere close to as good as people expected and injuries have been a big part of it. Every year he's played in the NFL he's gone down for at least 3 weeks and look for that trend to continue.
1. Green Bay Packers: 14-2 *
Aaron Rodgers is the MVP for a reason and you can expect nothing but the best from him again this year as he leads the Pack back to the playoffs
2. Minnesota Vikings: 10-6
AP is back with a vengeance as he said himself it could possibly be his best season yet. QB Teddy Bridgewater is in his sophomore season and looking to improve on his already impressive stats and Mike Wallace will be there to help him do it.
3. Detroit Lions: 8-8
Matthew Stafford just isn't the answer the Lions need right now. Calvin Johnson is the guy you want to build your team around but, Stafford just doesn't fit in the puzzle.
4. Chicago Bears: 6-10
Jay Cutler will struggle again but, on the bright side, they don't have Brandon Marshall anymore to call him out on his mistakes.
1. Atlanta Falcons: 9-7 *
Matt Ryan will finally have the breakout year we've all been waiting to see, and Julio Jones will be a big part of that. their defense will struggle but, Ryan will carry the team on his back into the playoffs
2. Carolina Panthers: 7-9
The only team I've ever seen win a division with a losing record but, sorry to burst your bubble Carolina fans, that won't fly this year as Cam Newton just doesn't have the weapons to bring the Panthers back to the playoffs.
3. New Orleans Saints: 6-10
Drew Brees is definetly on the decline of his career, that's obvious, so he will need a lot of help to be successful at this point and the loss of Jimmy Graham won't help at all.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-12
Jameis Winston will be a bust in my opinion and Tampa will pay the price for taking him down the line.
1. Seattle Seahawks: 13-3*
After suffering a heart breaking loss in lat years Super Bowl, Seattle came back strong in the off-season and added pro bowl TE Jimmy Graham. But, they paid the price giving up C Max Unger. If Seattle wants to be dominant on the ground again in 2015, someone will have some big shoes to fill.
2. San Francisco 49ers: 12-4 *
Colin Kaepernick will look to prove he belongs in the NFL with a return to the playoffs and don't be surprised if they do it with authority. Maybe a dominant win or two.
3. Arizona Cardinals: 10-6
Carson palmer had an injury plagued 2014, tearing his ACL and MCL in week 2 and then returning in week 14, only to suffer another injury that ended his season indefinitely. Palmer, in my opinion will come backs strong, but he just won't have enough to get back to the playoffs.
4. St. Louis Rams: 8-8
The Nick Foles deal will have it's benefits, just not this year as St. Louis will struggle in a powerful division.
AFC Wild Card: Indianapolis Colts VS Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs VS Cincinnati Bengals
NFC Wild Card: Philadelphia Eagles VS Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons VS San Francisco 49ers
AFC Divisional: New England Patriots VS Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers VS Indianapolis Colts
NFC Divisional: Green Bay Packers VS Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks VS San Francisco 49ers
AFC Championship: New England Patriots VS Indianapolis Colts
NFC Championship: Seattle Seahawks VS Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl 50: New England Patriots VS Green Bay Packers
Winner: New England Patriots
Fans: Do you agree with these predictions? Let us know in the comments below.
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