It's time for my predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Here is how I see the divisions followed by playoff seeding predictions.
2 New England
4 New York Jets
Buffalo is the class of this division. Josh Allen just keeps getting better and better. He looked really good in the preseason. It's a tough call between New England and Miami. I think the Patriots will be better than many might think since they have a lot of defensive starters returning this year who opted out last year due to the coronavirus. The Jets won't be as bad as last year, but they will be hard-pressed to escape the cellar.
This will be a really tough division. Many pick Cleveland to win it. I think they could, but that will mean Baker Mayfield will have to improve further to jump to the top of the division. Baltimore has had bad break after bad break in the preseason. Their first round draft pick, WR Rashod Bateman, will miss a number of weeks, Lamar Jackson has been unable to practice fully due to COVID-19, and their top running back, J. K. Dobbins, will miss the year with an ACL injury. However, they still have RB Gus Edwards, and Lamar will get things in gear sooner rather than later. Many people are sleeping on the Steelers. Don't do it. This is a proud franchise, and rumors of Big Ben's demise are GREATLY exaggerated. It wouldn't shock me if they win the division. If Joe Burrow can stay healthy, the Bengals will win more games than some might think.
Lots of people like the Colts to win this division, and they might, but they have a lot of "hopes." They hope Carson Wentz can return to health from his foot injury, and they hope he's not a complete head case like he was in Philly last year. They hope Quenton Nelson can overcome his foot injury. They do have a very good defense, but that's a lot of "hopes" for me to pick them to win the division. I'll take the steady and sure Titans to win it. Jacksonville and Houston can fight it out for third place. Both will bring water pistols to this year's gun fights. At least the future looks bright for the Jaguars.
1 Kansas City
2 Los Angeles Chargers
4 Las Vegas
The Chiefs get the nod in this division. They have the best QB in football. If you swapped Mahomes and Brady in last year's Super Bowl, Tampa Bay would have won 57-9, so I don't want to hear Brady is better than Mahomes at this stage of his career. Everyone brags about the Chiefs new offensive line. Thankfully for them, it's new, but it does have three rookies. I'd like to see a couple of games to decide just how good the Chiefs are, but early indications are good. The Chargers have too many good players to be a bad team. I think they will be good, but it'll be a lot to ask for them to win the division. Watch out for Denver. They have named Teddy Bridgewater the starting QB. He's a "don't mess it up" kind of QB which is just what Denver needs with the strong defense they plan to put on the field. The Raiders could finish anywhere from second to fourth. They just don't seem to have a lot of momentum, but Derek Carr was a really good QB last year, and if he doesn't regress, the Raiders could win more than they lose this year.
3 New York Giants
Throw these teams in a hat, draw them out one at a time, and you will have about as good of a chance as ANYONE else to predict how these teams will finish. I was all set to pick the Cowboys to win this division, but the preseason has not gone well for Dak Prescott. The Giants have to hope Daniel Jones can avoid the turnovers that plagued him last year, and the Eagles have to hope Jalen Hurts takes a big step forward. Washington has a super good defense. Does defense still win in the NFL? Not always, but it sure keeps you in a lot of games, so I'll take Washington to eke out the division.
1 Green Bay
The Packers had a lot of drama in the offseason, but they ended up with Aaron Rodgers playing one more year with them, so they are the big favorites to win the division. I picked the Bears to finish second. That's not because I love what they have. It's more of how much I dislike the Vikings this year. Kirk Cousins is a decent QB at best. He's just not going to elevate a team to great heights. The Lions will bite off a few kneecaps before they finish last in this division.
1 Tampa Bay
2 New Orleans
The Bucs are the champs until someone knocks them off, but this talk of them going undefeated is completely ridiculous. People seem to forget just how bad Tom Brady looked in a few games last year. He's still an excellent QB. Don't get me wrong. But, when he faces a pass rush, he remembers how old he is and throws the ball up for grabs. Forty-four year old QBs don't like to take hits. The Saints might fall off a little, but I think it will only be a little. Drew Brees showed his age toward the end of last season, and Jameis Winston can be an excellent replacement if head coach Sean Payton can coach down his turnovers. The Panthers will go as far as Sam Darnold will take them. They have the ability to make the playoffs, but I'm not counting on it. The Falcons will score a lot of points. The Falcons will give up even more points.
1 San Francisco
3 Los Angeles Rams
I wouldn't want to be in this division. The three teams at the top are killer teams, and the Cardinals aren't bad at all. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jimmy Garoppolo will stay reasonably healthy, and when he does, the 49ers win... a lot. Everyone likes the Rams, and so do I. We will see how quickly Matt Stafford can get them rolling. And, if Russell Wilson is your QB, you have a chance to win the division, so don't count out the Seahawks. I might pick the Cardinals to finish second in any other division in the NFC, but they are stuck in this one.
Playoff Seeding Projections
1 Kansas City
I almost picked the Patriots, the Dolphins and the Chargers to make the playoffs. It wouldn't surprise me at all.
1 Green Bay
2 San Francisco
3 Tampa Bay
6 Los Angeles Rams
Watch out for the Saints. Basically, I flipped a coin to decide whether the Cowboys or the Saints make the playoffs.
May God always be your number 1 draft pick!