Training camps around the NFL are in full swing with preseason ready to get going as well. This offseason, some teams went through complete transformations whereas some stood pat with what they had. This season will be full of surprises and we will go through all of them here. These are subject to change due to injuries.
This division has been dominated by the Patriots for the last decade and a half. It won’t change this year, but the Dolphins are rapidly improving. They made a lot of changes this offseason, but forgot to address the most important part of the team, the offensive line. They have a questionable rookie at LT and outside of Pouncey at center, the rest of the offensive line could be a liability for the young Ryan Tannehill. People say the Pats offense will slow down this year citing that their young receivers won’t get the job done and that Danny Amendola can’t replace Wes Welker. Outside of Randy Moss, name the last time Tom Brady had namely wide receivers? He won a Super Bowl with Troy Brown as his #1 WR. Their offense will be just fine and Amendola, if he can stay healthy, will have close to the same production as Welker. Also, their defense that is constantly insulted will surprise people this year. I am a firm believer that defensive rankings should be based off of points allowed not yardage and last year their defense was tied with the Texans defense and ranked 9th in the NFL. The Bills and Jets are slowly rebuilding. I think the Bills are on their way by promoting C.J Spiller to starter, but the Jets are far from contending.
I give the Bengals the division over the Ravens because I don’t trust the Ravens offense. Not only did they trade away Anquan Boldin, but Dennis Pitta is now out for the season with an injury that honestly is sometimes career threatening. I wish him a quick recovery because the Ravens have no suitable #2 receiver. Torrey Smith is their 1 and will be a great receiver in this league, but Jacoby Jones is not a #2 receiver in the NFL. He is strictly a deep threat and with those other two gone, they have no one to throw to underneath and that will cause a lot of problems for Joe Flacco. The Bengals are a young team with a lot of talent. My worry is that they will become the Cowboys. So much talent in so many places, but can’t execute enough to go places. Geno Atkins is the perfect and necessary leader for that defense and should help lead it to the tops in the league. The Steelers are aging fast and I don’t think Le’veon Bell can take enough pressure off Big Ben. The Browns are actually moving in the right direction and in 1-2 years will be a bubble playoff team. I also think their coaching staff with Norv as OC and now, they have one of the best DC in the league in Ray Horton. They will drastically help the turn around of this team.
The Texans are like the Indiana Pacers.They are a good team every year, but can’t get over that hump. That hump for them was first the Colts, but now its the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. This team is good, but not better than those two. The Colts were a huge surprise last year and its because Andrew Luck lived up to his expectations as the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning. Expect good things from them again this year. The Titans, to me, are just a boring team. There aren’t many jump out at you players and in this NFL, thats a bad situation to be in. The Jaguars are in the running for Bridgewater and Clowney and should be one of the worst teams in the league this year.
The Broncos can make an argument to be the #1 team in the league with Peyton Manning returning to form last year. Hopefully, he can keep that up and if he can the Broncos are Super Bowl favorites. That defense isn’t too shabby either, but losing Dumervil could prove to be very costly. The Chiefs are quickly becoming a good football team and hiring Andy Reid and trading for Alex Smith are two huge steps in the right direction. This teams needs one or two more playmakers on both sides of the ball to become a playoff team, but they will be a tough play for any team. The Chargers are a mess. Its really tough to pinpoint where they are as a franchise, but it’s clearly a flux and hiring a new head coach should help them get out of the hole Norv Turner put them in. The Raiders join the Jaguars for the Bridgewater-Clowney sweepstakes.
The Redskins will win this division, but like last year it will be very close. They have a good offense with the legendary RGIII, but although Brian Orakpo’s return will help their defense I am skeptical about their very young secondary. The Cowboys will be improved with Bill Callahan calling offensive plays, but I don’t think they have the all around talent and depth of a playoff team. The Giants are an enigma to me. I just don’t think they have the talent to be a very competitive team this season. With the Eagles, its going to take a year or two to get into Chip Kelly’s system. Also, the loss of Jeremy Maclin will prove very costly.
If Aaron Rodgers wasn’t an unbelievable spectacle at the QB position, the Vikings would win this division. I am very high on the Vikings this year. With AD back at full form and Greg Jennings now on the roster, this offense is set. Their draft closed up so many holes they had and should lead them back to the playoffs. They are my dark horse Super Bowl prospective team. The Bears are in a bit of a flux as well and it will take a year or two for Mark Trestman’s impact to be felt. The Lions outside of Megatron and Matthew Stafford jsut don’t have the all around talent to be a playoff team this year.
The Saints will return to playoff success with the return of head coach Sean Payton, but their defense is still a liability and will hold this team back. The Falcons offense is top 3 in the league no question, but going into this offseason they had two jobs. Improve the secondary and get more pass rush. They improved the secondary by drafting Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant, but they didn’t improve the pass rush at all. That will be a huge problem for them this year and will be their downfall. The Bucs are on the cusp of the playoffs, but not this year. The Panthers need one or two more playmakers, but have leaders in the right positions. Luke Kuechly will be a superstar in this league.
This is the best division in football. The 9ers and the Seahawks have the top 2 defenses in the league, but on offense have very similar challenges, including losing their #1 receivers to injuries. Those are two big loses, but their running games are elite enough to make up the difference. The rams are one of the fastest growing teams in the league and this year will make a huge jump. Will it be a playoff jump? Not this season, but Tavon Austin will make this offense fast an efficient. The Cardinals are at the bottom, but that defense is quite good and they have finally given Larry Fitzgerald a quarterback.
Those are my predictions leave a comment with how you feel.