2016 NFL Predictions

The 2016 NFL season is about to begin, so I think it is fitting to make some predictions for this fall. Last season, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Can they repeat this year after Peyton Manning’s retirement? Will Carolina’s Cam Newton put up similar numbers this season?  I will begin by breaking down each division, including an overview and projected records. Here are my predictions for this season!

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers : 11-5

2. Cincinnati Bengals : 8-8*

3. Baltimore Ravens : 6-10

4. Cleveland Browns : 3-13

Although Le’Veon Bell is out the first 4 games of the season, the Steelers will have Big Ben and Antonio Brown. I think these two at full health should make Pittsburgh the favorite in this division. The Bengals will have a .500 season with mediocre Andy Dalton behind the center. The Ravens will be a below average team with little improvement from last year’s squad and no legitimate receivers. The Browns will struggle because they’re the Browns.


AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts : 12-4

2. Jacksonville Jaguars : 8-8

3. Tennessee Titans : 7-9

4. Houston Texans : 7-9

The Colts finished 8-8 last season without Andrew Luck. With him back in the lineup, I believe he takes a large step forward and leads Indianapolis to the best record in the AFC. The Jaguars also improve as Blake Bortles is getting better each day. The Titans and Texans both finish 7-9 at the bottom of the AFC  South.


AFC West

1. Oakland Raiders : 9-7

2. Kansas City Chiefs : 8-8

3. Denver Broncos : 7-9

4. San Diego Chargers : 7-9

The Raiders get over the hump and finally reach the postseason. This team has a lot of young talent to combine with a successful offseason. The Chiefs will continue to be average and finish at 8-8. The defending champion Broncos take a major hit this season. Mark Sanchez is their likely starter, and he isn’t going to get them to the postseason. Their defense is still elite, but won’t be as dominant as last season with several key losses.


AFC East

1. New England Patriots : 10-6

2. New York Jets : 9-7*

3. Buffalo Bills : 7-9

4. Miami Dolphins : 6-10

Although New England begins the season without Tom Brady, this division is their’s to lose in 2016. If they can hold on until Brady’s return, expect yet another division title for the Pats. The Jets will challenge the Patriots and will sneak in as a wild card team. The Bills and Dolphins don’t have the talented rosters or quarterbacks to compete, leading to their 3rd and 4th place respective finishes.


NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers : 12-4

2. Minnesota Vikings : 8-8

3. Chicago Bears : 6-10

4. Detroit Lions : 5-11

The Vikings won the NFC North in 2015, but I think Aaron Rodgers and the Packers bounce back and take the title. Minnesota will take a few steps back with Teddy Bridgewater out, but they won’t be as bad as people think. The Bears will be a below average team with Jay Cutler at quarterback. Detroit will take a major hit following the departure of Calvin Johnson.


NFC South

1. Carolina Panthers : 13-3

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : 9-7*

3. New Orleans Saints : 7-9

4. Atlanta Falcons : 7-9

The defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers keep rolling as Cam Newton has another MVP season. The Bucs, Saints, and Falcons as finish the season at 7-9. Tampa Bay will be a growing team as Jameis Winston improves throughout the year. I have the Bucs as a surprise wild card team. New Orleans has Drew Brees, but is arguably the worst defensive team in the NFL. Atlanta will not get over the hump with Matt Ryan.


NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks : 11-5

2. Arizona Cardinals : 11-5*

3. Los Angeles Rams : 7-9

4. San Francisco 49ers : 4-12

The most competitive division in football, the NFC West offers two of the elite teams in the NFL. I will give the Seahawks the edge over the Cardinals because I like Russell Wilson more than Carson Palmer. Los Angeles will have a decent year after moving to a new city, but will struggle with Jared Goff. San Francisco will battle, but just do not have the roster to keep up with the other teams in the NFC West.


NFC East

1.New York Giants : 10-6

2. Washington Redskins : 8-8

3. Dallas Cowboys : 7-9

4. Philadelphia Eagles : 6-10

The Cowboys are back! Just kidding, Tony Romo got hurt, again. Dak Prescott is overrated and won’t be anywhere near the value of Tony Romo. New York greatly improved their roster over the summer, and should be the favorite in this division. This team appears to have filled major holes from their awful defense in 2015. Kirk Cousins and the Redskins will battle, but fall just short of the postseason.  Philadelphia will finish at the bottom of the division with Wentz being only a rookie.


Final Standings:

AFC

1. Indianapolis Colts : 12-4

2. Pittsburgh Steelers : 11-5

3. New England Patriots : 10-6

4. Oakland Raiders : 9-7

5. New York Jets : 9-7

6. Cincinnati Bengals : 8-8

NFC

1. Carolina Panthers : 13-3

2. Green Bay Packers : 12-4

3. Seattle Seahawks : 11-5

4. New York Giants : 9-7

5. Arizona Cardinals : 11-5

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : 9-7


 

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