2016 NFL Season Preview!

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FINALLY, NFL week 1 is here. It feels like we have been waiting for years! Thursday Night we will see the Super Bowl rematch and we will be off for another 17 weeks of NFL action! As a preview of sorts this week we start with predicting the record for each and every team! 

It’s a lot of info, but its a fast read, so let’s get right to it! 

NFC EAST

TEAM

W

L
New York Giants 10 6
Washington Redskins 9 7
Philadelphia Eagles 5 11
Dallas Cowboys 5

11

I don’t think there is an elite team in this division, but I think the Giants have the most elite player in Odell Beckham Jr. He is the type of talent that elevates everyone around him simply by being on the field.

The Redskins have a very solid base and I think a very potentially explosive team, but I’m not so sure they can win on the road, they couldn’t last year and will need to mature as a team to jump the next level.

The Eagles are in full rebuild mode and the Sam Bradford trade confirms those suspicions.

The Cowboys didn’t prepare properly for a Tony Romo injury and will pay the price for it, again.

NFC NORTH
TEAM W L
Detroit Lions 13 3
Minnesota Vikings 11 5
Green Bay Packers 10 6
Chicago Bears 7 9

I think the Detroit Lions are on the come in a big way. Their offense clicked in a lot of ways in the second half of last year and their roster is a pretty interesting combination of talent that I think will jump forward in a big way now that the Vikings have had to take a step back due to Teddy Bridgewater’s injury.

Bridgewater’s injury wasn’t the end of the season for the Vikings even before they paid too much for Sam Bradford. Adrian Peterson can take them pretty damn far paired with their excellent defense.

The Packers have built in consistency. It does feel like they are wasting Aaron Rodgers career by not doing *quite* enough to put him a position win the Super Bowl year after year. So 10 wins feels “Packer Safe.”

The Bears get to 7 wins on the guile of John Fox. I like a lot of their talent at keys spots, but they are in a very tough division and that takes a big toll on their record. Also the fact that I have no idea how Jay Cutler does without Adam Gase as his offensive play caller.

NFC SOUTH
TEAM W L
Carolina Panthers 11 5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8 8
Atlanta Falcons 6 10
New Orleans Saints 2 14

The Panthers would be hard pressed to improve on their 15-1 regular season record from 2015. That being said they are still the class of the division and have the best player in Cam Newton.

The Bucs take the next step in their development with Jameis Winston under center. 8-8 is a good record for a second year QB.

The Atlanta Falcons take a step back. They started 2015 red hot and then disappeared into a hole of mediocrity and inconsistency. I expect more of that in 2016, than the red hot team we saw early in 2015.

Mardi Gras is over for Sean Payton and Drew Brees in New Orleans. What has been a pretty great decade for the Saints comes crashing down in 2016. The team is in cap hell and the roster isn’t exactly spectacular.

NFC WEST
TEAM W L
Seattle Seahawks 13 3
Arizona Cardinals 12 4
Los Angeles Rams 3 13
San Francisco 49ers 3 13

Few teams have put up as great a level of consistency as the Seahawks have under Pete Carroll. Double digit wins in 4 of his 5 seasons at the helm is a tough nut to crack, and I expect them to improve on 2015’s 10-6.

The Arizona Cardinals are a bit of a “darling” pick in terms of winning their division, the NFC and the Super Bowl. While that likely turns me off a little in picking them, I think they have a hell of a chance to win the Super Bowl.

The Rams move to Los Angeles and start a rookie QB and Jeff Fisher gets replaced to start 2017, which they should have done in 2016, but hey he’s been through a team move before so he will at least provide some stability to that situation.

In the end I think Chip Kelly turns into a pretty good NFL coach. I don’t think we see a whole lot of that in 2016 because the roster is just crap. Don’t overlook the little things he starts to show though, those little things will be very impressive.

AFC EAST
TEAM W L
New England Patriots 14 2
Miami Dolphins 6 10
New York Jets 6 10
Buffalo Bills 6 10

HOMER! 14-2 without Brady for 4 games! HOMER! To be fair I do have Brady losing a game, but on the other end of the spectrum I only have Jimmy G losing 1 too. It was a hard schedule to assess. If they didn’t have 3 of their first 4 games at home, I’d surely have Jimmy G losing more on the road. But the schedule just lines up well for them to really make a run to 14 wins.

3 6-10 teams? HOMER! Here is the deal, I don’t know how these 3 teams work out. I think one will be 8-8, one will be 6-10 and one will be 4-12. I just don’t have any clue which will be which.

The Miami Dolphins, under first year coach Adam Gase mimic their record from 2015. Though they show a great deal improvement in more areas than not. Gase doesn’t need to make Ryan Tannehill the best QB in the league, but if he can make him reliable and a stable presence on the offense and make sure the defense lives up to its potential, the Dolphins are likely the 8-8 team.

The Jets toyed around with their QB and so Ryan Fitzpatrick missed a bunch of time in the offense. With veterans like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker I don’t think that will be a huge issue, but these things tend to be more of a bad sign than a good one when they involved a middle of the road QB. If there is no hiccup with Fitz and the offense and the defense lives up the potential Todd Bowles has delivered on in the past then the Jets can be the 8-8 team.

I’m going to be up front so My Friend Craig isn’t waiting in agony, there is no way I see the Bills being the 8-8 team out of these 3. I think it’s most likely they are the 4-12 team. Luckily it lines up well enough for them that 6-10 is more likely than 4-12. Sorry My Friend Craig but 6 wins is the best I can see for the Bills.

AFC NORTH
TEAM W L
Cincinnati Bengals 13 3
Pittsburgh Steelers 11 5
Baltimore Ravens 8 8
Cleveland Browns 3 13

I know the Bengals lost a lot of weapons, and have lost a lot of coordinators over the last few years, but the system seems to work for Marvin Lewis and keep him employed for years with the Bengals despite the fact that many think he is overrated.

When I pick the number of wins, I don’t look and add them up as I go, I look at the matchups and post bye weeks and the stretch of games teams have to play and then add it all up. I didn’t think I was going to get to 11 with the Steelers. I did, partly because their schedule works out well for them and partly because, much like the Bengals, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have created a system and environment that works to produce wins.

I shouldn’t have the Ravens at 8 wins, but I guess we can call the AFC North the division of systems. John Harbaugh and maybe even more so Ozzie Newsome have created an environment that breeds success. I think 5-11 is a total aberration last year and while I don’t think they have the ability to get back to the playoffs I believe they have the ability to get back to 500.

The Browns are the exception to prove the rule that the AFC North is a bunch of teams with great systems. Do I think Hue Jackson can right the ship? If he gets a QB, yes. I think there are plenty of weapons for the Browns on offense that a QB can excel with, I just don’t think that RGIII is that guy.

AFC SOUTH
TEAM W L
Jacksonville Jaguars 12 4
Indianapolis Colts 9 7
Houston Texans 3 13
Tennessee Titans 2 14

Apparently I am all in on Jacksonville. Part of that is the addition of their 2015 and 2016 first round picks to a defense that desperately needs playmakers. I also like how well their offense has developed, as long as it continues to develop. Both wideouts are studs, they are 3 deep at running back, and Julius Thomas can be a star if healthy. The big question is Blake Bortles and can he be aggressive, successful QB he was when he was behind in games in 2015 all the time and avoid the horrible interceptions that put his team in a hole early in the game in 2015.

I don’t buy in with the Indy bouncing back to being a AFC championship contender. Sure Andrew Luck is healthy, but their offensive line isn’t any good and I’m not sure their defense is either.

Bill O’Brien’s Brock Osweiler experiment goes horribly wrong and it costs the Texans a season and probably O’Brien his job. J.J. Watt can only do so much.

The Titans decided to remove the interim tag from Mike Mularkey’s duties as head coach. It won’t be the last mistake the Titans make, but it costs them any chance of being a contender in 2016.

AFC WEST
TEAM W L
Kansas City Chiefs 12 4
Oakland Raiders 12 4
San Diego Chargers 9 7
Denver Broncos 6 10

The Chiefs have all the tools to win the division and make a serious run at the AFC, oh wait, except for the fact that their QB isn’t good enough. There is a plateau that people reach and Alex Smith’s is about the second round of the playoffs.

Big jump for the Raiders, but they are due. They have cobbled together a very nice set of weapons balanced well on offense and defense. I believe it can all come together pretty well for the Raiders to run right into the playoffs be the team that no one wants to play.

I think the Chargers are poised to rebound from their 4 and 12 lack of offensive lineman season of 2015. Ken Whisenhunt has come back and Philip Rivers was amazing when he was the head coach, and in all honesty he was pretty amazing in 2015 when he wasn’t flat on his back.

Super Bowl champs to Trevor Siemian led chumps. I’m totally fine with Northwestern, and good for Siemian that he won the job over Mark Sanchez, but he is a placeholder for Paxton Lynch. I think it makes them bad early in 2016 under Siemian and bad in late 2016 under Lynch.

So that gives us a playoff bracket, so why don’t we just play that out now!

DIVISION WINNERS SEED DIVISION WINNERS SEED
AFC EAST New England Patriots 1 NFC EAST New York Giants 4
AFC NORTH Cincinnati Bengals 2 NFC NORTH Detroit Lions 2
AFC SOUTH Jacksonville Jaguars 3 NFC SOUTH Carolina Panthers 3
AFC WEST Oakland Raiders 4 NFC WEST Seattle Seahawks 1
WILD CARD Kansas City Chiefs 5 WILD CARD Arizona Cardinals 5
WILD CARD Pittsburgh Steelers 6 WILD CARD Minnesota Vikings 6

There are two tiebreaker scenarios there.

  • The Raiders beat the Chiefs for the Division Title by winning 1 more conference game.
  • The Seahawks beat the Lions for the number 1 seed by winning 1 more conference game as well.

The AFC Bracket:

AFC
1. New England Patriots
1. New England Patriots
4. Oakland Raiders 4. Oakland Raiders
5. Kansas City Chiefs 1. New England Patriots
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 2. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 3. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Cincinnati Bengals
2. Cincinnati Bengals

The NFC Bracket:

NFC
1. Seattle Seahawks
1. Seattle Seahawks
4. New York Giants 5. Arizona Cardinals
5. Arizona Cardinals 5. Arizona Cardinals
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
3. Carolina Panthers 2. Detroit Lions
6. Minnesota Vikings 3. Carolina Panthers
2. Detroit Lions
2. Detroit Lions

The Super Bowl Matchup is…….

  1. New England Patriots versus the 5. Arizona Cardinals

The Super Bowl Winner is…..

The New England Patriots.

The roster got better while I feel the AFC got worse. I think it lines up too well for the Patriots not to pick them, despite all the times I’ll be called a “HOMER” by My Friend Craig.

So here we go now with team win over unders!

It’s all based on the picks from above and all the over unders are from BetDsi.com  where I have a wager on each of them, not a big one, but my money is where my mouth is for sure.

In alphabetical order!

  • Arizona Cardinals over/under 10, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Atlanta Falcons over/under 7.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Baltimore Ravens over/under 8, Sully chooses PUSH! Oh wait, dammit. Ok I’ll take under because its pays better.
  • My Friend Craig’s Buffalo Bills over/under 8, Sully chooses UNDER! (And not just to troll the MFC.)
  • Carolina Panthers over/under 10.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Chicago Bears over/under 7.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Cincinnati Bengals over/under 9.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Cleveland Browns over/under 4.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Dallas Cowboys over/under 8.5, Sully chooses UNDER! (BEST BET)
  • Denver Broncos over/under 9.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Detroit Lions over/under 7, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Green Bay Packers over/under 10.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Houston Texans over/under 8.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Indianapolis Colts over/under 9.5,  Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Jacksonville Jaguars over/under 7.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Kansas City Chiefs over/under 9.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Los Angeles Rams over/under 7.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Miami Dolphins over/under 7, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Minnesota Vikings over/under 9.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • New England Patriots over/under 10.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • New Orleans Saints over/under 7, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • New York Giants over/under 8, Sully chooses OVER!
  • New York Jets over/under 8, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Oakland Raiders over/under 8.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Philadelphia Eagles over/under 6.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Pittsburgh Steelers over/under 10.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • San Diego Chargers over/under 7, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Seattle Seahawks over/under 10.5, Sully chooses OVER!
  • San Francisco 49ers over/under 5.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers over/under 7, Sully chooses OVER!
  • Tennessee Titans over/under 5.5, Sully chooses UNDER!
  • Washington Redskins 7.5, Sully chooses OVER!
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