So I got up at 3 am yesterday morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I thought that yesterday might as well be the day that I do every year, between early and mid august, where I take – and I’m kinda bizarre about this, like there are some things I really get into and in this case, I like predicting the record of every NFL team. I go over every schedule in the league and unlike everybody else; I absolutely believe you can predict things. I thought Atlanta and Green Bay would be very good last year and called it right here on my blog, I thought Kansas City would be a dark horse team as well.
It’s not that impossible to predict these things, especially this year, as to where teams are going to end up. The lack of OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) is a huge hindrance to teams like Cincinnati with a young QB. Teams like San Francisco that still have to sort out their QB issues. So I went – and I don’t wanna be Andrew the “dream killer”, but unfortunately I’m going to pop some balloons because there are some teams – and I’ll tell you right now, I think the Redskins are a disaster! I think they’re an absolute mess! I mean, they’re always sort of a mess, but at times they are a talented mess…now they’re just a mess! But I’m going to give you – and let’s start with the AFC, every team, every division, how the standings will work out. I’ll tell you right now, I’ll probably whiff on a few, but I really believe I’ll be pretty accurate. By the way, in both the AFC and NFC, there is a “step-up” team and a “step-back” team. Here we go!
So let’s start in the AFC East, Belicheck, and Brady – never forget what they were in the regular season last year, I think they’ve upgraded on both sides of the ball…New England wins the East 13-3. I’ve got my beloved Jets at 11-5 – although 12-4 is also possible. Now I’ve been kinda cool on the Jets’ free agency movements. But if you look at their schedule, they face: Jacksonville, Oakland, Miami twice, Buffalo twice, Denver, Washington, Kansas City…a lot of average QB’s They will grind their way to 11 or 12 wins defensively. I think they’ve stepped back on special teams, I think offensively is sorta a push, their defense is aging…they will grind out defensively 11 or 12 wins, though I’ll pencil in 11-5 based solely on that defense and the weak QB’s they face. Miami, I don’t like them but I’ll be optimistic though at 8-8, I still don’t think offensively in that division they can compete. Buffalo, with Ryan Fitzpatrick, he’s not terrible, he’s an Ivy leaguer, he’s not the future but he’s smart…that’s a 6-10 football team. So Pats win it with the Bills last (sorry Mike!)
Let’s move out to the AFC North – always a coin flip really between Pittsburgh and Baltimore, I’m going to go Big Ben and Tomlin over Joe Flacco and Harbaugh, Pittsburgh wins the division at 12-4, Baltimore at 11-5. I think Cleveland will be a very rock solid and emerging 7-9. They did not go out and upgrade at Wide Receiver, Malcolm Floyd of the Chargers is still out there, I’d go after him, they still haven’t signed their #1 pick, they are still $35 million under the cap, I think Cleveland has been bizarrely quiet, Mike Holmgren is sitting and lurking, waiting to make a move, I wish they’d do something outside the hash marks, Cleveland finishes at 7-9 but a very formidable 7-9. I think Cincinnati is a mess for the time being – I think they rebound next year, Cincinnati at 2-14. Pittsburgh wins it and finishes Cincinnati last!
In the AFC South, I was getting rip for this yesterday morning, but I’m going to go Indianapolis at 11-5. This league is still built on star QB’s, pass rushers and team cultures. They are excellent! I don’t love their defense on the back end, they are getting old, they’re not very big but there is a lot of guaranteed W’s in this division, Indy wins it at 11-5. My “step-up” is in the AFC and they are…the Houston Texans and let me explain why they are my step up team. From October 9th to November 27th, so that’s 7 of 8 weeks, they face very average QB’s: Raiders, Titans, Jaguar’s, Browns, Jaguar’s again…those kinds of teams – often at home, we’ll they’ll be a favourite and they end the year against 3 out of 4 teams that will probably be long gone from the playoff chase: Bengals, Panthers and Titans. So they end with 3 real dogs that may have nothing to play for – I have Houston penned in as a 10-6 football team and finally jumping to the next level because they’ve always been a good watch. Jacksonville, 6-10 and Tennessee at 5-11, pretty reasonably even talent, but Jacksonville has more stability at QB and at head coach. Indy wins it at 11-5, Tennessee last at 5-11 and I had the Titans as a one win team until they got Hasselback.
In the AFC West, San Diego – though under coached and often underwhelming, still has head and shoulders the best QB in that division. Philip Rivers leads them to a 9-7 and possible 10-6 record. Oakland will be a very very solid 8-8, perhaps a 9-7. Don’t forget, they swept the division last year, coaching change is a guy in-house and much like the Cowboys, though you have a new coach, there is some in-house stability. Kansas City is my “step-back” team in the AFC this year. I have them at 7-9 and not really a playoff team, why? First of all, 3 of 5 games: @ Lions, @ Chargers, @ Colts…they could lose all 3 of those games. Then, in my opinion, from November 21st to mid December, they have the toughest 5 games stretch in the NFL: @ Patriots, Steelers, @ Bears, @ Jets, and Green Bay. Sorry! The schedule is too brutal, so my “step-up” team in the AFC is Houston and my “step-back” team in the AFC is Kansas City, Chargers win the division. I’ll go Denver at 5-11 and worse if Tebow starts and that’s how I see the AFC.
Check out the next rant where I’ll break down the NFC records! Disagree? Think I’m giving too much or too little credit to a tea? Rant away on why you think so!