Well, it’s finally here. The long wait is over, and all is right in the world, because football is back. With numerous storylines, highly touted rookies and fantasy football, this season couldn’t come any sooner. As the season is just about under way, I am going to tell you how this year will pan out. For you technical people out there, these will be my “predictions.”
As much as it pains me to say this, the football team located in Washington D.C. will win this year’s NFC East division crown for the second straight year.
They are just the most well-rounded team in the division, plus they’re competing against two rookie quarterbacks, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz, and a Giants team that can’t play defense. Like last year, this division can and will be won with a 9-7 or 10-6 record. Don’t get too ecstatic, Redskin fans: You will still lose in the first round of the playoffs because of Kirk Cousins.
I expect the Panthers to win the NFC South division pretty easily. I know they lost Josh Norman, which was huge. However, their bread and butter on defense is and will always be that front seven. If Cam can continue to play at an elite level, the Panthers team should find themselves back in the mix for another late playoff run come January, but I’d look out for those guys in Tampa Bay. Behind “Famous Jameis” Winston, they could possibly squeeze in as a Wild Card.
The Packers should win the NFC North division with ease. I know the Vikings have a great defense and Adrian Peterson. However, Sam Bradford is their starting quarterback. Having no offseason with the Vikings and having just learned the playbook, this season has another “Sam Bradford excuse” written all over it.
I’ll admit the NFC West division was not as easy to pick. The Seahawks and Cardinals are two pretty evenly matched teams. When comparing the two teams, the real difference is the most important position: quarterback.
Russell Wilson is an elite quarterback in this league, and I believe he’ll pick up right where he left off at the end of last season. Carson Palmer on the other hand, not so much. I realize Palmer played magnificent football last season. However, he did not play up to par in the playoffs, and that is why I can never bet on him. Pro Tip #1: Always bet against Carson Palmer in big games. The dude just can’t get it done. Winners of this division: the Seattle Seahawks.
Finally, Tom Brady is suspended. As a salty Eagles fan, nothing pleases me more than to see Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of the season.
With that being said, the Patriots will still win the AFC East. The Bills are a disaster waiting to happen with Rex Ryan at the helm, and Ryan Tannehill will always be the face of the mediocre NFL quarterback making absurd amounts of money. The Jets intrigue me a little bit, and maybe they’ll sneak in as a Wild Card this year, but that’s all. There’s a reason Ryan Fitzpatrick has never been in the playoffs, and there is a reason the New England Patriots won the AFC East almost every year since 2001.
First, I’d like to give props where it is due in the AFC South division. The Jacksonville Jaguars went from being the laughing stock of the league once upon a time, to having some good drafts, to becoming a legitimate NFL team, possibly a Wild Card one. Even though they are still young, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that is on the rise. A division that went from being the softest in the NFL could soon be a tough division to play against.
Now with a healthy Andrew Luck, one would think the Colts will start right where they left off, and it will be happily ever after for Coach Chuck Pagano and company. Not so fast: The Texans will win this division. Not because Brock Osweiler is better than Luck, but because everyone else is. The Colts have no running game to speak of, and Luck can’t throw a ball without ending up on the ground. I can’t remember the last time the Colts sacked a quarterback. The Texans roster is simply better.
The AFC North division will come down to two teams: the Bengals and Steelers. I apologize, Raven fans, but your team hasn’t been the same since Ray Lewis left. Browns fans, well, just keep praying. I expect the Bengals to win the division. The x-factor between the top two teams will be defense. We all know the Steelers can score, but until they show they can at least be a viable defense in this league, forget them. Let the record show, Andy Dalton was on track for an MVP-caliber season last year until he hurt his thumb.
I know the Denver Broncos are the defending Super Bowl champs, and you have to pay them respect because they earned it. They still aren’t going to win the AFC West division behind Trevor Siemian. Just based on their inexperience, the Raiders, who are currently on the rise, will fall short to the eventual division champion: the Kansas City Chiefs. They have more experience, and this isn’t Andy Reid’s first rodeo. The Chiefs will be an interesting team to look out for this year. Good luck, Big Red.
Just as another season comes to end, so does this article. It can’t be over without a champion, though.
The winner of Super Bowl LI will be the Green Bay Packers over the New England Patriots, 27-23.
It is the Packers’ year. Aaron Rodgers is due for a big year,and he is too great of a quarterback to have another disappointing season. With Jordy Nelson returning, expect big things from the Packers.
For the guys on the other side: Tom Brady, Bill Bellichick and Rob Gronkowski, and until I’m convinced otherwise, these guys own, have owned and will continue to own the AFC.
Ferris Berlin is a second-year student majoring in accounting. He can be reached at FB845767@wcupa.edu.