Most of the free agents are settled in their new teams, the draftees are progressively acclimatizing to life as pros, the schedules are out and the NFL odds to win this year’s divisions have been around for quite a while. So, although a number of teams are yet to decide on starters in certain key positions, we already know enough to give us a glimpse of what is likely to happen in the 2016 NFL lines. With that in mind, here are our bold 2016 NFL division predictions.
5 Bold 2016 NFL Division Predictions
New England Patriots Will Win the AFC East Title…Again!
Even if the Patriots won’t have Tom Brady for their first four games of the season due to suspension, Head Coach Bill Belichick has enough talent to ensure that New England wins the AFC East title again. Beating Arizona in Week 1 won’t be easy, but the Pats have a chance of winning at least two of their next three games after that against Miami, Houston and Buffalo. After that, normalcy should resume when Brady comes back. The Jets, Dolphins and Bills will bloody each other with blows, giving New England a chance to win the eighth straight AFC East title. FYI, New England has won 13 of the last 15 AFC East titles since Brady got the starting QB role in 2001, so it will take something really special to stop the Pats from continuing to own this division.
Indianapolis Will Return to the Helm of the AFC South
Like most teams in this division, Tennessee has a decent QB that will allow the Titans to make some noise; the Jaguars will be a more competitive team this year more so on the defensive side of the ball; Houston will take some offensive strides (thanks to the offseason addition of talent at QB, RB and WR); but is the Colts who look primed to rule in the AFC South. Andrew Luck’s return guarantees better offense for Indy and that is likely to give the Colts some crucial edge over the Mariota-led Titans, Bortles-led Jags and Osweiler-led Texans.
Dallas Will be the Class of the NFC East
Barring another calamitous season riddled with injuries like in 2015, Tony Romo and the deeply-talented Cowboys should return to the top of the NFC East. The Redskins and the Giants will give the Cowboys a run for their money, but both teams are too iffy to be trusted for consistent wins. The Eagles, there is a forgone case… Plenty of work and luck will be needed for the disarrayed Philly to avoid becoming a top-5 pick team in the 2017 draft.
Carolina Will Own the NFC South
No, I don’t expect the Panthers to finish 15-1 or better in the upcoming season, but the depth in Carolina will allow them to cruise to an NFC South title, and it won’t even be close. The Bucs, Saints and Falcons all tick in the offense (just like the Cam Newton-led attack), but no team compared even remotely to the Panthers’ excellent front seven, putting Carolina miles ahead of the rest in this division.
Arizona Will Beat Seattle to the NFC West Crown
I know most of you are on the Seattle bandwagon and, admittedly, I was tempted to go with the same pick here. Unfortunately, I saw enough balance in Arizona to believe that the team will be taking a step back in the upcoming season. I mean, the Cards ranked in the top-5 of the league in both offensive and defensive categories, and their core has remained intact in the offseason, giving them a chance to shine again. QB Russell Wilson will be a beast in Seattle’s offense and so will be the Legion of Boom defnsively, but when all is said and done, I strongly believe that Arizona will narrowly come through as divisional winners.