Ok, here we are again, Football is back and not a moment too soon as far as I’m concerned. I went back and took a look at 2014 NFL Predictions post and I was struck by how little I want to change. All my picks for both AFC and NFC division winners remain the same. However, I did end up selecting a different team to win the NFC championship this season.
Here are my picks for each Division:
AFC East: New England. I picked the Patriots to win it all last season and Belichick, Brady, Gronk, and Co. rewarded my faith in them. Gotta go with New England again in the AFC East. Sure, they lost a few good players on D, but I have confidence in NE’s coaching staff to keep the D defense competitive. The offense is still very tough to stop, so the D just has to be good, not great.
AFC North: Cincinnati. No reason to change anything I wrote last year: “This division is really a toss up to me. I could see Cincy, Pittsburgh or Baltimore winning this division. I don’t think Cleveland has any shot of winning the division, although the Browns will be a lot of fun to watch once Johnny Manziel becomes the starting QB. I’m going to have to give the Bengals a slight edge.”
AFC South: Indianapolis. Andrew Luck, need I say more? Of course, there is more to the Colts than star QB Andrew Luck, but he is the key to that team emerging as bona fide threat to win the Conference. Houston will be competitive simply because of JJ Watt and their outstanding defense, but the Colts are a better all around team imo.
AFC West: Denver. Peyton Manning ain’t what he once was, but he is still better than most starting QB’s in the league. The Broncos defense may be better than their offense and that combination should be enough to secure this division. KC and San Diego should also be good and I expect them to seriously challenge Denver, but I still have to give the edge to Denver.
NFC East: Philadelphia. Last year I wrote… “I think the Eagles will rule the NFC East for at least the next 2 to 3 years and will probably make it to a Superbowl within that time frame.” I would stand by that. I think Kelly wins a SB within the next 2 to 3 years…or he will end up getting fired/quitting and going back to the college game, probably on the West Coast.
NFC North: Green Bay. “I picked the Packers last year and I’m picking them again this year.” Yeah, again, no reason to change what I wrote last year. The loss of star WR Jordy Nelson certainly hurts, but the Packers are too talented on both sides of the ball for that to prevent them from winning the division. Detroit might challenge again, but the Packers are the best team in the division.
NFC South: New Orleans. Quite a bit of parity in division, but no great teams. I can’t say that I will be shocked if Atlanta and Carolina wins this division either. I bet 9-7 will be good enough to win this division.
NFC West: Seatlle. Last year I wrote….”The new league Champions look every bit as good as last season, if not even a little better. The 49ers should once again provide stiff competition, but there has clearly been a changing of the guard in the NFC West.” The Seahawks remain the best team in AFC West, but the 49ers have clearly gone into decline and may have to spend the next few years rebuilding. Arizona steps forward as the primary threat to Seattle within the division. If Arizona starting QB Carson Palmer stays healthy the Cardinals have a real chance of taking the division crown.
AFC Conference Champion: New England. Again, I don’t see any reason to change what I wrote last year, which was the following….”It will probably again come down to Denver vs New England in AFC Conference championship game. However, one of these seasons we are going to see a changing of the guard in the AFC. Both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are still top tier QB’s, but they are also in the end stage of their respective careers, which will both ultimately end in the NFL Hall of Fame. At some point, another contending team or teams will knock the Broncos or the Patriots or both off”. Yeah, gotts stick with that. At this point I think it will be at least another year before we see a changing of the guard in the AFC.
NFC Conference Champion: Philadelphia. The Eagles over the Seahawks and the Packers? Yes, although I will freely admit that this was an extremely difficult choice for me because I think there are at least 4 or 5 teams that will have a legit shot at winning the NFC. I’m just betting on Chip Kelly here. I admire Kelly for not playing it safe after a pretty successful season and making some big trades, replacing his starting QB and RB, among others. Just getting to to playoffs clearly was not satisfactory for Kelly. It is Super Bowl or bust for Philly.
Superbowl Champion: New England. I know the odds don’t favor the Patriots repeating as Champs, but I can’t make a stronger case for any other team. I think a SB that featured the Patriots vs the Eagles would be fascinating and I would have to give a slight edge to defending Champions.