Despite what some people want to believe, no, the New England Patriots are not going 16-0. No one is going 0-16, and as we know, a lot of things can go wrong for a team that leads to disappointment. For example: I predicted last season that the Cardinals and Panthers would be meet in the NFC Championship game for the second straight year. Neither made the playoffs last season. Going into last season, the Browns had better Super Bowl odds than the Falcons. As we know, the NFL season is a roller coaster ride that, really, no one can predict. But, we’re going to do it anyway, for the pure fact that it’s too much fun.
- New England Patriots (14-2)
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Robert Kraft did something he doesn’t normally do. Spend. Giving Tim Hightower, and Stephon Gilmore big money. And also giving up their 1st round pick for Brandin Cooks. The only curious thing is that the Patriots were operating like this would be the last shot to win another Super Bowl, with the current brass.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
After an off-season where there was a lot of chatter about Ben Roethlisberger possibly retiring, Big Ben is still under center for the Steelers. Not much was done during the off-season, which staying quiet could hurt them. The offensive line and secondary needed improvements , although Tj Watt looks like he has a chance to be a formidable linebacker in this league. Getting Martavis Bryant back makes an already lethal offense even better. The Steelers will once again be competing with the Patriots for the top spot in the conference.
- Oakland Raiders (12-4)
It became very difficult to not love this team down the stretch, last season. Unfortunately Derek Carr breaking his fibula last season, in week 16, essentially closed the door on any hope of making noise during the post-season. After career highs in completion percentage(63.8), passer rating(96.7), and QBR(60.6), Carr will be looking to show the rest of the league what could of been last season. Oh, and how could we forget, Beast Mode is coming home.
4. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Another situation where a team could of extended their season if it wasn’t for an injury at quarterback position. The Titans haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 and saw their chances slip away after Mariota fractured his fibula week 16 vs the Jaguars. The most impressive stat for third-year stater is his red zone numbers. 33 touchdowns to 0 interceptions. With Mariota, Murray and the offensive line, this Titans team is ready to take crown of the AFC South.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
Consistency, consistency, consistency. The motto for the Kansas City Chiefs since Andy Reid took over in 2013. The Chiefs haven’t had a losing record under Andy Reid and that streak will continue in the 2017-2018 season. Alex Smith can only take this team so far, and outside of Travis Kelce, their weapons are limited, but the defense and home-field advantage will help the continued success for the Chiefs.
6. Denver Broncos (10-6)
The Quarterback situation isn’t one that I have a lot of confidence in. It says a lot about Paxton Lynch that he lost the job to Trevor Siemian for a second year in a row. With that said, they still have the weapons around Siemian to help him succeed, and the Broncos defense is still elite, and may be the best in football.
Just Missed Out:
Los Angeles Chargers (10-6), Baltimore Ravens (9-7), Houston Texans (8-8)
Wild Card Weekend:
(3) Raiders def. (6) Broncos
(5) Chiefs def. (4) Titans
(1) Patriots def. (5) Chiefs
(3) Raiders def. (2) Steelers
(3) Raiders def. (1) Patriots
The one thing I could never bring myself to do: Picking the reigning Super Bowl Champion to get back to the big game. The Raiders get their chance that was wiped away once Derek Carr got injured, last season. In what is a passing of the torch game, as the best quarterback in the AFC, Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders, represent the AFC in Super Bowl 52.
1.Green Bay Packers (13-3)
The only thing that can justify the success for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers. Their secondary is still a liability, and they lost J.C Tretter, and T.J. Lang to free agency. The schedule isn’t exactly murders row with 6 games against their sub-par division rivals, and the AFC North, which is average outside of the Steelers. As long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, the Packers won’t have any problems being the cream of the crop, in the NFC.
2. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
The biggest concern for this team is undoubtedly the offensive line, especially after losing George Fant for the season. The defense may be another year older, but their still one of the best, if not the best in the NFC. Eddie Lacy will give them a Marshawn Lynch dynamic that they didn’t have last season. Pertaining to their schedule, they have two cupcake games against the 49ers, the AFC South, and the NFC East. The schedule isn’t daunting, and Russell Wilson is still a top 3 quarterback in the NFC.
3. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
I know, I know, Kyle Shannahan is no longer their as the offensive coordinator, and their are concerns if Matt Ryan will be able to maintain last years numbers. I’m here to say to don’t expect him to repeat what were career highs in passer rating, QBR, touchdown passes, and passing yards. But don’t expect him to fall off either. Atlanta still has a bevy of offensive weapons, and a favorable schedule(AFC East, NFC North). The Falcons will be crowned as the NFC South Champions for a second straight year.
4. New York Giants (10-6)
For the eighth straight year a new team will claim the NFC East crown. I believe this could be a 4 team race, but the best roster on paper belongs to the Giants. The defense had a chance to be one of the best in the league. They added Brandon Marshall to an offense that already has Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. People are still enamored with the Cowboys, but the defense is still lousy, and the distraction of the Ezekiel Elliot may be too much for them to handle.
5. Carolina Panthers (10-6)
This one may come as a surprise to some people, but with a favorable schedule, facing off with AFC East, and the NFC North, I have the Carolina Panthers claiming the first wild card spot. Being blunt, Cam Newton was awful last season. Career lows in completion percentage, QBR, and passer rating. The Panthers made it a priority to help Newton bounce back by drafting Christian McCaffery and Curtis Samuel. Superman Cam makes the 2016-2017 season a distant memory and leads to way for a 10 win season.
6. Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
History says the NFL playoffs will have four new teams in the post-season. The Cardinals are one of them. I picked this team to win the Super Bowl last season. Striving that far may not be in their future, but this roster is good enough to win 10 games. The defense is still one of the better ones in the league, Carson Palmer will bounce back, and David Johnson will be best the running back in NFL, this season.
Just Missed Out:
Dallas Cowboys (9-7), Minnesota Vikings (9-7), Tampa Buccaneers (8-8)
Wild Card Weekend:
(6) Cardinals def. (3) Falcons
(4) Giants def. (5) Panthers
(1) Packers def. (6) Cardinals
(4) Giants def. (2) Seahawks
(1) Packers def. (4) Giants
If the Giants had a halfway decent offensive line the result would be reversed. I still have major concerns with the offensive line and the running game, those two components holds this team back. Coupled with this game probably would have to be played in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, and he finally gets back to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 52:
I really hope fans enjoy high scoring affairs. These two defenses are average at best, but what ever the over/under would be for this game, take the over. The fun, young, high flying Oakland Raiders going up against Aaron Rodgers who will be desperate for his second Lombardi Trophy. When clock strikes zero, Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr will have the same amount of Super Bowl Championships.
(3) Raiders def. (1) Packers
MVP: Derek Carr
DPOY: Landon Collins
DROY: Myles Garrett
OROY: Leonard Fournette