Season predictions for the NFL

Season predictions for the NFL
September 14
00:00 2017

Finally, the NFL regular season is upon us.  Football is the one sport where parity is the norm rather than the exception.  This year I expect there to be no difference.  Every year since the NFL has gone to their current playoff format in 1990, at least four teams that made the playoffs the year before have failed to do so the following year.

I will lay out my projected winners of each division along with the wild card winners.  In addition I will name my predictions for the NFL awards.

Divisional Winners

NFC East: New York Giants

The New York Giants are a formidable team with a top-notch defense.  To be honest the Giants are the lesser of four evils in the division.  They have a few question marks on the offensive line and the running back position but with the weapons they have a wide receiver that could offset any shortcomings at other positions.  Their shortcomings however trump those of the other teams in the division.  The Redskins are attempting to replace two 1,000 yard receivers and see if their new additions on defense can turn around one of the NFL’s worst last season.  The Cowboys have issues on the defensive end as well.  Couple that with the Ezekiel Elliot suspension and Dallas could take a step back from last season.  The Eagles are improved on offense with the addition of LeGarrett Blount and Alshon Jeffery but is quarterback Carson Wentz ready to take the next step?  With all these question marks concerning the other teams in the division, the Giants should come out on top barring injury.

NFC North: Green Bay Packers

The Packers have been perennial playoff contenders each year quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been under center. Green Bay may have the right ingredients to get back to the playoffs and beyond.  The Lions, Vikings and Bears have not done enough in the off-season to displace Green Bay as the team to beat in the division.  While Minnesota has the best chance to compete with the Packers, the loss of future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson could be too much to overcome even though highly touted rookie Dalvin Cook has a lot of promise.  The Lions have a non-existent running game while the Bears have holes everywhere.  So in essence the Packers will stroll to a division championship with relative ease.

NFC South: Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are coming off of a disappointing season in 2016 but should rebound well this year with the addition of rookie running back Christian McCaffrey.  The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a Super Bowl birth last year but its hard to think they will duplicate their success they enjoyed last year.  The Bucs have added speedster Desean Jackson to their receiving corps to pair with Mike Evans which should create a formidable passing attack for quarterback Jameis Winston.  The Saints have been the staple for mediocrity for the past few seasons.  The Panthers should bounce back well to win a tough division.

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are really the only two teams worth mentioning in this division.  The Rams and 49er’s will most likely spend the season fighting for a top spot in next years draft.  The Cardinals are tough on offense with stud running back David Johnson but they do not have enough fire power to top the Seahawks in the division. 

NFC Wild Card winners: Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons

AFC East: New England Patriots

To say that I expect the Patriots to win the division is not much of a stretch as they have won the division 13 times since realignment in 2002.  As the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Patriots of course are hoping to repeat.  There is little to no resistance from any divisional foe because the Dolphins, Bills and Jets will be lucky to remain relevant this season.  The Dolphins did make the playoffs last season but did lose their starting quarterback during training camp and must lean on Jay Cutler to lead the team throughout the season. Good luck.

AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers

This division has historically been a tough one.  The Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals all have had recent success as the top dog in the division.  The Cleveland Browns are another story entirely.  The Steelers have added one of the best cornerbacks in the game with the signing of Joe Haden along with having one of the most potent offenses in the league.  I don’t foresee anyone topping them this year.

AFC South: Tennessee Titans

The Titans have not won the AFC South since 2008 but this may be their year to reclaim the division.  The Texans have won the South the past two seasons but have a big question mark at the quarterback position.  Andrew Luck is still not able to play for the Colts which eliminates them from the discussion.    The Jaguars are still the Jaguars and will remain relatively irrelevant this year as well as they are a year or two away from contention.

AFC West: Oakland Raiders

If not for an injury to starting quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders may have made some noise in last year’s playoffs.  This season they look to build upon what was started in 2016 and win the division for the first time since 2002.  The Denver Broncos have issues at quarterback. The Chargers are mediocre.  The Chiefs will have something to say about the Raiders winning the division this year as they look to repeat as champions.

AFC Wild Card winners: Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Haason Reddick, Arizona Cardinals

NFL MVP: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Coach of the Year: Jack Del Rio

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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