For some time now, I’ve kinda discovered that I love to just rank things, and give my own predictions. Now that can be said about various different things. Whether it be someone telling me to ‘rank your favorite Star Wars movies from worst to best’ or something like ‘rank your 7 favorite candy bars’, I always seem to have fun doing it. Or like March Madness for another example. I’m not a huge College Sports fan, but I always like to fill out a bracket every year just like everyone else, and I did in fact pick Wisconsin to upset Kentucky in that semi finals game, just thought I’d bring it up since I had the chance. One thing I always really like to do though is predict the divisional standings for the upcoming NFL season. I like to do it in August right before the NFL season starts , so I guess that takes us to here. In this article I’ll give my predictions for every team in the NFL. I’ll predict which teams cruise to the playoffs, and which teams kinda sink to the bottom of their division. I hope you enjoy my picks, and feel free to give your own predictions in the comments section below, or you can always just chat with me on twitter : @AlexWbergeR Enjoy!
Note : z = Divison winner, y = WildCard spot
AFC North –
- Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) z
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) y
- Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
- Cleveland Browns (5-11)
Why the Bengals will win the division : This is their time. For the past couple of seasons the Cincinnati Bengals have found success in the regular season, but it’s been shared with both the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Baltimore Ravens. For years now, the Pittsburgh Steelers have thrived off of their relentless, and tough defense. Not so much the case anymore. Heading into the season, it’s the Steelers offense that impresses everyone, and that seems to be their focal point. If the defense can play good enough, they should be fine. Same thing for Baltimore. The Ravens Offense looks okay, and their defense still has some talent left in it. But to me, out of all of the teams, the favorites in the AFC North should be the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals appear to have the best defense in the North going into the season, they have a good receiving core, and with Jeremy Hill, and Giovani Bernard rushing the ball, the running game should be fantastic. Along with that, If Andy Dalton can play better than we’ve seen him play so far, this team could actually do something big this year. In the end I expect it to be a VERY tough division race between all four teams, but I generally see the Bengals coming out on top, with the Steelers finishing very close behind. No playoffs for Baltimore this season.
Why the Browns will lose the division : The Cleveland Browns definitely look like they’re improving every year, but this division is one of the toughest divisions in all of sports, not just one of the toughest in the NFL, all of sports. The Browns could be able do some damage, but nothing serious enough to earn them a Playoff Spot this season.
Playoff Teams : Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South –
- Indianapolis Colts (12-4) z
- Houston Texans (8-7-1)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)
- Tennessee Titans (2-14)
Yes, Texans get a tie.
Why the Colts will win the division : The Colts had a good offense last season, and now with the additions of running back, Frank Gore, and wide receiver, Andre Johnson, it looks like it’s only going to get much better. If you thought Andrew Luck put up monstrous stats before, wait until this season. I expect Luck to put up MVP type numbers this year, and I expect the Colts to flat out throttle the rest of the division. If the Houston Texans had Arian Foster for more than half of the season, then I’d put them in the conversation to possibly reach the playoffs, but no Foster, I mean that’s a huge blow to the team. And I like what the Jaguars are doing, but they still have a long way to go until they can actually call themselves a playoff bound team.
Why the Titans will lose the division : They had a really bad season last year, and I expect a very similar outcome again this season. Defense is still bad, and I expect Mariota to struggle heavily in his rookie season, and the offense should go right along with him. Lots of problems for the Titans still. In fact, I’m so tempted to even say they go winless this season … but they do have three easy games in a row lined up for them where they play the Jaguars,Raiders, and then Jaguars again. If you can’t win at least one of those games, there’s a real problem Tennessee.
Playoff Teams : Indianapolis Colts
AFC East –
- New England Patriots (12-4) z
- Miami Dolphins (10-6) y
- Buffalo Bills (9-7)
- New York Jets (5-11)
Why the Patriots will win the division : If for some reason Tom Brady doesn’t miss those first four games, the Patriots will win the division. And if Tom Brady does miss those first four games, the Patriots will still win the division. Let’s face it, they still have an overall really good team, the best coach in the NFL in Bill Belichick, the schedule isn’t terribly hard, and well they’re still the New England Patriots. Sure there’s going to be a time again when the Pats dominance over the rest of AFC East comes to an abrupt end, but it’s not this year. Frankly, I don’t even see that happening until Brady, and Belichick are long gone, and far away from the Patriots. Yes, even though every team in the East has improved their team in some way or another this offseason, the Patriots are still the Champions, and they’re still the team to beat in the East. I could see the Bills, and Dolphins possibly fighting for a Wild Card spot throughout the entire season, and in the end could see Miami pulling through. Not so fast Rex.
Why the Jets will lose the division : They’re still the Jets. Seriously though. When your starting quarterback gets sucker punched by one of his own teammates, you know there’s a real problem. It’s like their season is over before it even started. I mean, come on! Like I said before, every team in the AFC East (besides New England) upgraded in one way or another this offseason, and the Jets surely did that by getting back Pro Bowl Cornerback, Darrelle Revis, and also getting offensive weapons like Brandon Marshall, but it’s not nearly enough to win a division. Especially one with the New England Patriots.
Playoff Teams : New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins
AFC West –
- Denver Broncos (10-6) z
- San Diego Chargers (8-8)
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)
- Oakland Raiders (4-12)
Why the Broncos will win the division : Sure they’ve lost a couple of key pieces this offseason including Head Coach John Fox, and Tight End Julius Thomas, but other than that, they should be fine. Even though everyone’s yet again doubting Peyton Manning, calling his career over, I expect another great year from Manning and the Broncos offense, and if the defense can do their part, they should be fine. The Chargers look good, but you hear the phrase ‘defense wins games’ and their defense isn’t strong enough to win them more games than the Broncos will. As for the KC Chiefs, they look good as well, but as of now I still think the Broncos are the best in the West.
Why the Raiders will lose the division : The Raiders offense looks better going into the season with the addition of rookie wide receiver, Amari Cooper, and running back Latavius Murray, who seems to be showing a lot of growth, and who should have a great season this year. However, the defense is still a very big problem, and it’s one that needs to be fixed if they want to go anywhere anytime soon.
Playoff Teams : Denver Broncos
AFC Playoff Teams :
- New England Patriots (12-4)
- Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
- Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
- Denver Broncos (10-6)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) – WildCard
- Miami Dolphins (10-6) – WildCard
NFC North –
- Green Bay Packers (13-3) z
- Detroit Lions (9-7)
- Chicago Bears (8-8)
- Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
Why the Packers will win the division : When I look at this division I see the Packers in one category, and the other three teams in another category. Once I saw the Green Bay Packers blow the NFC Championship game to the Seattle Seahawks last season, I immediately thought to myself : ‘ wow, they’re going to have a great season next year’ … True Story! Everyone on the team that was there last season knows who really should’ve won that game, and possibly even won the Super Bowl, and that’s going to sit in the back of their head for a long, long time. Led by Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay offense should be AMAZING this year. Expect running back, Eddie Lacy to have a great season as well. If the defense can give Rodgers and the offense some help, I think the Packers will be the best regular season team in the NFL this season.
Why the Vikings will lose the division : As of now, the Lions, Bears, and Vikings all look better than they did towards the end of last season. Detroit gets Calvin Johnson back, and even though Ndamakong Suh may be gone, the defense still looks great. The Bears have a new head coach in John Fox, who since becoming an NFL coach in 2002 has taken both the Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl. So it’s very likely that in a few years from now the Chicago Bears are representing the NFC in the big game. As for the Vikings, well they get back their Pro Bowl running back, Adrian Peterson, and not only that, but sophomore quarterback Terry Bridgewater sure looks good right now. The defense is getting better as well. I could see any of these teams possibly contending for a Wild Card spot, but then again I could also see them all with a top fifteen draft pick next April as well. As of now the Vikings look the weakest from the bunch. But I’m going to say all three miss out of the playoffs this season.
Playoff Teams : Green Bay Packers
NFC South –
- Atlanta Falcons (11-5) z
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
- Carolina Panthers (7-9)
- New Orleans Saints (6-9-1)
Tie’s are VERY hard to predict, but because I’m having fun, Saints at Texans (week 12, November 29) ends in a tie.
Why the Falcons will win the division : When you look back to last season and how the Falcons season unfolded, the Falcons were only just a few wins away from possibly earning a Playoff Spot. This season I expect a breakout season from Matt Ryan, and the Falcons offense, which should be enough to carry them to an 11 win season, considering their defense is very mediocre, but it shouldn’t be too bad. I REALLY like the Falcons going into this season. I also expect the Buccaneers to have a good season as well, but a playoff berth is still one or two seasons away. But hey, you’re almost there Tampa! And as for Carolina, on paper I originally had them as a much better team, but the loss of their best wide-out, Kelvin Benjamin is going to sting the Panthers tremendously.
Why the Saints will lose the division : The defense isn’t great, and the offense got a lot worse. Need I say anymore? That’s all there really is to it. Drew Brees lost a lot of his favorite targets this offseason, and the running game isn’t strong enough to provide help. And like I said, the defense isn’t great.
Playoff Teams : Atlanta Falcons
NFC East –
- Dallas Cowboys (11-5) z
- Philidelphia Eagles (10-6) y
- New York Giants (8-8)
- Washington Redskins (5-11)
Why the Cowboys will win the division : Last season the Dallas Cowboys had their best season they’ve had in a long time. Led by Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, and Dez Bryant, the offense put up numbers like no other, and with that the Cowboys earned themselves a very respectable third seed. In the playoffs the Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions in round one, only to barely lose to the Green Bay Packers in the next. Even without their leading rusher in Murray, I still fully expect the Cowboys to walk out as the division leaders when it’s all said and done. Behind them should be the Eagles fighting for a playoff spot, and the New York Giants shouldn’t be too far behind either. A very tough division because all four teams are capable of competing for the top spot.
Why the Redskins will lose the division : In a few years from now I could definitley see the Redskins getting back into possible title contention. Let’s not forget that only two years ago the Redskins did make the playoffs. Robert Griffin III had a great Rookie season, but then he kind of fell off of the football world, and the Redskins went crashing down with him. Now in my opinion RGIII may not be the best QB in the NFL like he says he is, but he does have the right attitude, and if he continues to improve from here on out, I could see the Redskins getting back into playoff contention in a season or two. I like Alfred Morris and other pieces of the team, but I just don’t think there’s enough talent for them at the moment.
Playoff Teams : Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles
NFC West –
- Seattle Seahawks (12-4) z
- Arizona Cardinals (11-5) y
- St. Louis Rams (8-8)
- San Francisco 49ers (5-11)
Why the Seahawks will win the division : Think about this. The Seattle Seahawks were already one of the leagues best teams. Made it to two consecutive Super Bowls, won one of them. Their weakest part was easily their receiving core. Okay, and now, they got Jimmy Graham. I know right. Graham fixes the Seahawks Receiving problem, Marshawn Lynch is back for another season, Wilson got a big-money contract, the Seahawks offense looks pretty good. The defense still looks scary as usual. The Seahawks are lined up for what should be an another successful season. Behind them, I like the Arizona Cardinals to also make the playoffs. The Cardinals have a very underrated defense, and when Carson Palmer stays healthy the offense is a clock that just keeps ticking. Seriously, they’re a very tough team to beat when everything’s clicking. Rams are looking better, but they’re not there yet.
Why the 49ers will lose the division : It seems like just yesterday the 49ers were in the Super Bowl. But in reality, it was like three years ago. Since then, the 49ers have lost a lot of big players on both the defensive, and offensive side. Patrick Willis retired, Frank Gore’s now in Indianapolis, and a handful of players have called it quits due to concussion scares. The 49ers did add a few good pieces like Wide Receiver, Torrey Smith, but let’s face it, they’re definitely not Super Bowl Contenders anymore.
Playoff Teams : Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals
NFC Playoff Teams :
- Green Bay Packers (13-3)
- Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
- Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
- Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
- Arizona Cardinals (11-5) – WildCard
- Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – WildCard
Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out more great stuff on the website, and please share our content with anyone who you think might like our stuff. Also, do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Feel free to leave your own predictions for the 2015 NFL Divisional standings in the comments section below, or you can also head over to my Twitter and let me know your picks for the season there as well! Again, these are just my picks, and I go with what I see happening. Be sure to stay updated, as more great articles from me, and others are on the way here at Real Ball Insiders! And as for a playoffs prediction article? Well, that’s for a much later article. See ya next time.