Now that the NFL draft has concluded, every teams roster for the upcoming season is pretty much set. Yes, injuries will happen between now and the start of the season but just for the fun of it why not make some predictions.
Is there any doubt that this isn’t the best team in the league? They went 14-2 last season and won the superbowl, with their superstar TE Rob Gronkowski missing over half the season. They got better in the offseason by adding Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks.
The Dolphins mainly made the playoffs last season in large part because of the emergence of Jay Ajayi. Their strong late season push last year was could be contributed to by having an easy schedule, they won’t make the playoffs again this year.
The Bills haven’t made the playoffs in a long time, and I only see that trend continuing. They didn’t add any huge difference makers in the offseason.
I love the addition of Jamal Adams, but it’s not nearly enough to make the Jets realistic playoff contenders for next season. Their cornerbacks are a huge concern and they still lack a proven reliable QB.
The Steelers offense is loaded, it might be the best in the entire league. The Steelers are obviously a good team, however their defense is a huge question mark and for that reason I can’t see them realistically challenging the Patriots for the AFC crown.
The Ravens offense is far from perfect, but they will be a wildcard team mainly because of their tremendous defense.
This is a hard team to predict, after making the playoffs 5 seasons in a row they won just 6 games last season and missed the playoffs. They added some nice offensive pieces in the draft in John Ross and Joe Mixon, but leapfrogging the Ravens and Steelers is no easy task.
The Browns have some talented young players on their team, most notably being Myles Garrett, but they are still nowhere near realistically contending for a playoff spot.
It’s hard to find a better quarterback than Andrew Luck, if it wasn’t for him the Colts would have probably been just as bad if not worse than the Browns last year. However, they were able to add Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson in the draft, two defensive backs who were supposed to be picked early than they were and two players who will help the Colts defense.
The Titans think they have their #1 WR in Corey Davis. They were so close to making the playoffs last season, it wouldn’t be shocking if they made it this season.
The Jaguars have a handful of nice young pieces on defense, and I think they had a good draft headlined by the selection of Leonard Fournette, they will show improvement this season.
If Deshaun Watson lives up to his hype, they will win more than seven games. However, we don’t know how he will fare against NFL defense and how much he will even play.
On paper this isn’t a great team, they don’t have a ton of flashy players, but despite all that they able to win games. They have won 12 and 11 games the past two regular seasons respectively, I don’t see why that trend won’t continue.
The Raiders are coming off of a very good season, who knows how far they would have gotten if Derek Carr didn’t get hurt before the playoffs. They will be a playoff team this year, if Marshawn Lynch can play like how he did 2-3 years ago the Raiders will be even scarier.
Coming off of a superbowl winning season, the Denver Broncos missed the playoffs last season. Their defense is excellent, but their offense has some question marks.
The Chargers have some nice pieces on both sides of the ball, but it’s hard to see them doing much in this very tough division.
I think the Giants will get the 1 seed in the NFC next season, they have an excellent defense and their offense contains an excellent trio of receivers.
No one expected the Cowboys to be as good as they were last season. However, their defense is a question mark, with a brutal schedule this year they’ll take a slight step back in the regular season but still be a playoff team.
The Redskins will contend for a playoff spot this year, as they did last season. Yes, they lost Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in the offseason but still have Jordan Reed Jamison Crowder and last years first round pick Josh Doctson, they also signed Terrelle Pryor in free agency. Their defense made two nice offseason acquisitions in Zach Brown, last years 2nd leading tackaler and Jonathan Allen, a player who many analysts thought should be a top 5 draft pick.
The Eagles made a good move by signing Torrey Smith, but a far greater one by signing Alshon Jeffrey, they needed to give Carson Wentz more help. The Eagles new look offense and their solid defense will have them competing for a playoff spot just like every other team in the NFC East.
It’s hard to see the Packers missing the playoffs with Aaron Rodgers playing at a high level, but at the same time it’s hard to see them as serious superbowl contenders with their horrendous defense.
Coming off of a division winning season, the Vikings started this past season 5-0 only to completely collapse and miss the playoffs, their offensive line struggles were a big factor in why things went wrong. Dalvin Cook could be a steal, especially if their offensive line improves.
Despite making the playoffs last season, the Lions never stood out as a great team to me. They needed several late 4th quarter comebacks against bad teams, games that could have easily went the other way. They won’t be as good this season.
The Bears were one of the worst teams in football last season, Mitchell Tribusky won’t change that, for now at least.
The Falcons are coming off a tremendous season, they marched all the way to the superbowl and almost won it. Losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will hurt, but their offense should still be effective. The acquisition of Dontari Poe will help their defense
This team is headed in a very good direction. After almost making the playoffs last season with a late season surge, the Buccaneers only got better in the offseason. They signed DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafted a stud at tight end in OJ Howard, 2 new weapons for Jameis Winston.
There’s no reason to think that Drew Brees won’t put up big numbers again this season, but their defense is still terrible.
Are the Panthers more reminiscent of the team that went 15-1 and marched all the way to the superbowl, or the team that finished 6-10 this past season? Only time will tell, but playing in this tough division won’t help Carolinas chances.
I’m not as high on the Seahawks as some others may be, their offense isn’t that good, they may have the worst offensive line in all of football, and their defense isn’t as dominating as it once was. They better pray Earl Thomas returns as the same player as he was before his gruesome leg injury.
Coming off of an NFC title game appearance, the Cardinals surprisingly missed the playoffs last season. I question their offense outside of David Johnson, and their defense lost two important pieces in the offseason in Tony Jefferson and Calais Campbell
49ers rookie GM John Lynch did an excellent job in his NFL draft, not only did they get Solemon Thomas 3rd overall, they were able to snag Reuben Foster with the 31st pick, a player who was widely thought of as a top 10 talent. However, those rookies don’t change the fact that they are currently horrible.
The Rams were one of the worst teams in football this past season, that could change if Jared Goff improves, but I’m not sure if he has the pieces around him to realistically expect that to happen.
Superbowl: Patriots over Cowboys
I know I said the Cowboys would take a slight step back in the regular season, but the top part of the NFC is wide open and after losing their first playoff game last season I think the Cowboys will go all the way to the superbowl. The Patriots on the other hand, are just the best team in the league, and I don’t think it’s close. They’ll repeat as superbowl champs