2016-17 NFL Prediction Column

In a little more than two hours, the NFL season will officially kick off.  Here are my predictions for the new season:

AFC East:

Patriots: 11-5

Bills: 8-8

Dolphins: 8-8

Jets: 7-9

Again, the Patriots are gonna be fine.  There’s a serious chance that Tom Brady goes 12-0 once he returns.  I can already tell Buffalo is gonna be the team I whiff terribly on.  I’ve pondered giving them a record as high as 10-6 and as low as 6-10.  They’re way too hard to figure out, and the division they play in doesn’t help for many reasons.  I expect improvement from Miami, and think Ryan Tannehill is going to improve greatly this year, but their defense isn’t talented enough as playoff teams like Kansas City and Cincinnati.  New York could be a little better than the record I have them finishing at.  I’m not on the Ryan Fitzpatrick bandwagon, and have concerns about this defense.  No matter what, the Jets won’t be shorted in media coverage.

AFC North:

Steelers: 13-3

Bengals: 10-6

Ravens: 8-8

Browns: 6-10

This division didn’t get much spotlight in the preview, but thats because its more of the same.

Even with suspensions, the Steelers might be the AFC favorites.  This offense is too good.  Le’Veon Bell will come back pissed off, and Big Ben has all the weapons in the world, minus Martavis Bryant.  However, the defense isn’t all that great.  Still, Pittsburgh should be able to score enough points to win games.

Its gonna be more of the same with Cincinnati.  A lot changed offensively, but they’re still gonna be that Wild Card team that gets knocked out in the first round.

The Ravens should bounce back from last year with Joe Flacco being healthy.  However, its hard to imagine them getting into the postseason with old weapons and a front seven filled with holes.  They might pull some upsets and screw a couple teams over, but nothing else.

Some writers have the Browns going a putrid 2-14 or 1-15.  This team isn’t good, but isn’t God awful either.  If Robert Griffin lll can be competent enough, and their impact defensive players (Danny Shelton and Joe Haden) can have good seasons, then I think they can get to six wins.

AFC South:

Texans: 10-6

Jaguars: 9-7

Colts: 8-8

Titans: 7-9

This is possibly the best division in football.  Not necessarily by the amount of contenders it has, but by overall record accumulation.

No one here is a contender, but the Texans figure to be a team thats gonna get people fired up.  In fact, I think there’s a good chance they become this year’s bandwagon team (Oakland’s a candidate too).  Whats not to like?  Good defense, JJ Watt, fast receivers, and a handsome quarterback for the girls to go “Who’s he?” as their eyes turn to hearts.

The Jaguars are the hardest omission from the AFC playoffs.  I pumped them up in the preview, but when I looked at their and other team’s schedules, they fell just short.  I think the uncertainty lies in Blake Bortles, and how we’re not 100% sure he’s actually good yet.

Andrew Luck is gonna be back, which is great for the league and fans.  But I doubts about his team.  Frank Gore is anchoring a run game (Yikes!) that has no offensive line.  T.Y. Hilton is always hurt, and I don’t think Donte Moncrief is a good replacement as a No.1 wide receiver.  Oh, and this defense is practically full of 2nd-stringers.

The Titans are the most raw squad in the division, and thats why they’re at the bottom.  But hey, being 7-9 and finishing in last place says a lot about how good you are, and how it really was just bad luck.

AFC West:

Raiders: 11-5

Chiefs: 10-6

Broncos: 8-8

Chargers: 6-10

Oakland and Houston are tied for most likely to be this year’s bandwagon team.  The NFL and it’s fans love when the Raiders are good.  This is finally that year.  Derek Carr is the real deal, and Oakland possesses a nasty defense to snarl run games of others.  There’s a lot of guys to be afraid on their defense.

I think Chiefs sneak into the playoffs.  This could be a prediction that goes either way.  Its basically them, Denver or Jacksonville for the last spot.  Kansas City is the only team out of those three where we know the quarterback actually is.  Denver has a carousel at QB, and as I said above, we aren’t totally sure what Blake Bortles is.  We know what Alex Smith is, and I think his performance this year will be better than the others mentioned.

Speaking of Denver…  The Broncos have a super frisky team.  The defense is still fantastic, and I do think Paxton Lynch will be starting at some point this season.  With a decent quarterback in, they’re not gonna be fun to play.

I hate predicting teams to have too low of win totals like 4, 3, 2, or 1.  I’m giving San Diego six wins because they do have a good quarterback in Philip Rivers, but thats basically it.  Besides him, this is a team with decent weapons and a terrible, terrible defense.  In a good division like this, its hard to see the Chargers be much better.

NFC East:

Redskins: 10-6

Giants: 8-8

Cowboys: 7-9

Eagles: 5-11

I have so much trust in Kirk Cousins that he’s my quarterback for one of my five fantasy football teams.  I think Washington finally gets it done this year.  There’s actually stability at quarterback!  I really think thats what held them down for so long, but the coaching hasn’t helped either.  I’m not the biggest Jay Gruden fan, but the Redskins have a good defense that should make up for gaffes at the end of games.

The Giants added a ton of good talent in the offseason, but I don’t think it can offset the very sketchy offense this team will have.  When has Eli Manning ever moved an offense methodically?  It seems like there’s always something with him.  I don’t trust the running game either.  I don’t know; its just very hard to put trust into a team like this.  It doesn’t mean they’ll be bad, but you can’t expect rock solid outings from this offense every week.

See, I told you the Cowboys weren’t totally screwed!  I think there’s a really good chance that most of these wins come from Dak Prescott and not Tony Romo.

NFC North: 

Packers: 13-3

Vikings: 8-8

Lions: 6-10

Bears: 5-11

I remember rambling with a friend back in May, when no one cares about football, about how I thought the Packers would win the Super Bowl next year.  Well, its coming true.

Thats not an official pick, but I think they’re definitely gonna be in contention.  They have no holes, and have everyone back and healthy.  Be afraid.

I don’t expect a total disaster from the Vikings.  Adrian Peterson and the defense will keep them afloat and lead them through the albatross at QB.

The Bears and Lions could easily be the two worse teams in the league.  Neither have trustworthy QBs, and both have horrendous lacks of talent.

NFC South:

Panthers: 12-4

Buccaneers: 10-6

Falcons: 8-8

Saints: 7-9

There’s nothing holding the Panthers back this season.  If anything, its motivation after how last year ended.  Plus, Kelvin Benjamin is returning.

The Falcons feel a lot like the Giants this year.  A team with a “Are we sure he’s good?” QB and can’t move an offense to save their life.

I’m being extremely generous with the Saints this year.  Drew Brees still has it, but thats all this team has going for them.  The defense has massive holes, and I don’t trust anyone expect for Brees on the offense.

NFC West:

Seahawks: 12-4

Cardinals: 11-5

Rams: 6-10

49ers: 4-12

More of the same here.  Congrats to Jared Goff on…  Oh, wait.  Case Keenum is starting.  Yikes!  Didn’t I tell the Rams Goff sucked before the draft?

The 49ers could be a lot of worse than the record I gave them too.  I’d also be shocked if Blaine Gabbert is the QB for the whole season.

Can everyone stop acting like Arizona is gonna suck?  This is super homerish, but Carson Palmer was an MVP candidate last season!  We have one of the best defenses in the league, and all the weapons in the world.  Stop it.

*Rant concludes*

Seattle might be better than their record.  I think it’ll be another battle between them and Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.

Playoff seeds:


  1. Steelers
  2. Patriots
  3. Raiders
  4. Texans
  5. Bengals
  6. Chiefs


  1. Packers
  2. Seahawks
  3. Panthers
  4. Redskins
  5. Cardinals
  6. Buccaneers