2017 NFL Mock Draft

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This year, I’ve decided I have to jump on the NFL Mock Draft train. I can never recall a year in which every Mock Draft is almost completely different, showing how talented this draft class is and how no one really knows what’s going to happen on draft day.

Take a look at my predictions (without trades, which I believe there will be 2-3 of in the first round):

1. Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett, DE

This is the only no-brainer in this draft class. Garrett has unparalleled athleticism and can be considered more of a lock than DE Jadeveon Clowney was when he came into the league. By pairing Garrett on the D-Line with DT Danny Shelton, LB Jamie Collins at the next level, and CB Joe Haden in the secondary, the Browns would have the makings of a strong defensive unit.

 

2. San Francisco 49ers

Mitchell Trubisky, QB

There is only one quarterback in this draft that I deem worthy of a first round selection, and that is not Trubisky. However, new coach Kyle Shanahan will want to draft a signal caller he can develop and mold into the player he wants. Trubisky has very limited experience at the NCAA level, and would most likely sit for half the season behind veteran QB Brian Hoyer. And yes, I am assuming that QB Kirk Cousins stays in Washington.

 

3. Chicago Bears

Solomon Thomas, DE

Thomas is one of those players that I didn’t hear about too much during the season, but once the workouts and projections began, he flew up draft boards. Now, he’s a projected Top-5 pick. Bears’ coach John Fox loves to build a strong defense, and there is no better way than to start in the trenches.

 

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Fournette, RB

Yes, the Jaguars will make a splash and take the first running back off the board at the NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Louisiana StateNo. 4 spot. Jacksonville hasn’t had a consistent rushing attack since Fred Taylor donned the uniform, and QB Blake Bortles is just a year removed from a Pro Bowl caliber season. By adding Fournette, the Jaguars gain an immediate starter and power running game that will set Bortles up to succeed in the passing game. While Fournette is not the best option through the air, he is still the best running back in this class.

 

5. Tennessee Titans

Malik Hooker, S

Hooker is one of the top defensive back prospects in the draft. Coming from Ohio State, Hooker has the experience and playmaking ability NFL teams need in the secondary. The Titans boasted one of the league’s worse defensive backfields last season, and recently just cut CB Jason McCourty. The team needs reinforcements in the worst way.

 

6. New York Jets

DeShaun Watson, QB

At the No. 6 spot, the Jets could end up walking away with the draft’s best quarterback. Watson has the most experience and playmaking ability of any of this year’s signal callers, and would be a Day One starter for NY. Pairing Watson with WR Eric Decker could make for some highlights in what should be yet another tough season for the Jets.

 

7. Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams, WR

QB Philip Rivers time is running short with the team, and he needs weapons on offense. Last year after WR Keenan Allen went down, Rivers was left with an aging TE Antonio Gates in an otherwise stagnant offense. Williams would provide the big target that Rivers has never had on the outside, and would open up the passing game with three legitimate threats down the field.

 

8. Carolina Panthers

Jonathan Allen, DL

If there’s one team that values the defensive line heavily, its the Carolina Panthers. At the No. 8 spot, the team can pick Allen, who was once projected to be one of the top two picks in the draft. Allen can immediately start at either a defensive tackle or defensive end, depending on where the team views him as the best fit.

 

9. Cincinnati Bengals

Reuben Foster, LB

Foster is the best linebacker in the draft, and the Bengals love to add dominant linebackers. Plus, the team recently released LB Rey Maulaluga, a mainstay in the middle of the defense. By adding Foster, the team would pair him with LB Vontaze Burfict, to give them a solid duo in the middle of the field for the next few seasons.

 

10. Buffalo Bills

Cam Robinson, T

If there were a team that I believe would trade down in this draft, it would be the Buffalo Bills. This team has a lot of holes, and by adding some picks later in the draft, they can fill them with young players. However, if they were to stay at 10, Robinson is a great choice to plug in as a Day One starter on the offensive line, to help protect QB Tyrod Taylor.

 

11. New Orleans Saints

Corey Davis, WR

I believe Davis is the best all-around wide receiver in this draft. Despite playing at a smaller school, Davis’s all around package of size, speed, and playmaking ability makes him an ideal fit for the NFL. QB Drew Brees only has a few years left in the league, so bringing in Davis gives them an immediate weapon while also providing a target for the QB of the future.

 

12. Cleveland Browns

O.J. Howard, TE

Assuming that the Browns don’t trade this pick, they will need to provide their signal caller some weapons in the passing game. My predictions have the Browns missing out on their QB of the future in the first round, but adding a young stud like Howard provides pieces for down the road. Howard is the unquestioned top tight end of this draft, and can be a Day One starter in the NFL. His size and athletic ability give Howard the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler.

 

13. Arizona Cardinals

Derek Barnett, DE

The Cardinals defense has been a nasty, tough unit over the past few seasons. The team has relied on its defensive front getting pressure on the quarterback and stuffing the running game to gain the advantage on defense. Barnett fits right into the nasty, tough mold, and gives the Cardinals a much needed edge rush presence.

 

14. Philadelphia Eagles

Gareon Conley, CB

The Eagles biggest need is cornerbacks, so it should be no surprise that the team will 74715_hjump on the chance to select one with its first round pick. Conley has shown that he has everything necessary to be a solid starter in the NFL, and would be immediately thrown into the fire with this Philadelphia team.

 

15. Indianapolis Colts

Ryan Ramczyk, T

The Colts have struggled protecting QB Andrew Luck. In the past few seasons, Luck has been forced to miss time with injury. By adding Ramczyk to the O-Line, the team has the tackle positions covered, which should create some depth for the interior of the line.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens

Tre’Davious White, CB

The Ravens are lacking in the secondary. Outside of S Eric Weddle and CB Jimmy Smith, the Dirty Birds are rather pedestrian in the defensive backfield. White would immediately become a starter on the opposite side of Smith, and would form a formidable core for the future.

 

17. Washington Redskins

John Ross, WR

After losing both WRs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to free agency, the Redskins brought in WR Terrelle Pryor as a replacement. However, with just one year of receiving experience under his belt, and with WR Josh Doctson basically redshirting his rookie season, QB Kirk Cousins will need some targets. Adding Ross gives the Redskins a deep threat and dangerous slot option as that group of receivers could grow together over the next few seasons.

 

18. Tennessee Titans

Marshon Lattimore, S

This is my big drop prediction for the draft. Teams have concerns about Lattimore’s ability to stay healthy, but no one doubts his potential to become a solid defensive back. In this draft, with so many players that seem to be safe picks, you want to nail your first rounder. It’s all about finding a team willing to take a bet on Lattimore. After all the problems the Titans have had in the secondary, I’m sure they would be thrilled to get Lattimore near the bottom of the first round.

 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dalvin Cook, RB

florida-state-dalvin-cook-1000Cook is a no-brainer to the Bucs. To me, it’s amazing that he would fall this far, but this is what many are projecting to happen on Draft Day, and I don’t see it being out of the realm of possibility. Of course, the team already has concerns at the position with RB Doug Martin facing a PED suspension, and Cook would give the team an all-around back with fresh legs in the league. Plus, Cook could reunite with QB Jameis Winston to keep the Florida State connection going.

 

20. Denver Broncos

Forrest Lamp, G

Lamp is coming from a smaller school in Western Kentucky, but has shown scouts what they need to believe he is one of the best interior lineman of this class. The Broncos need to bulk up on the line to protect whoever they have start at QB.

 

21. Detroit Lions

Haason Reddick, LB

The Lions have a hole at LB that has been there since Stephen Tulloch left and grew now that the team released DeAndre Levy this off season. Reddick can step in to start in the middle of the defense, and is athletic enough to make plays all over the field. This is a good fit for both sides.

 

22. Miami Dolphins

David Njoku, TE

The Dolphins are in need of a tight end to be QB Ryan Tannehill’s safety blanket. This would help the Fins’ offense, creating room for WR Jarvis Landry on the outside while opening up space for the running game.

 

23. New York Giants

Garett Bolles, T

The Giants need to add an offensive lineman, and I have Bolles as the best available left in the first round. It will be interesting to see where the G-Men would slot Bolles and T Ereck Flowers, but Bolles gives them a strong option along the line.

 

24. Oakland Raiders

Kevin King, CB

The Raiders’ defense is almost complete, and adding to the secondary is the best way to get there. King would be able to step in and start on the outside or at the nickelback position.

 

25. Houston Texans

Taco Charlton, DE

The Texans need to bulk up on the defensive line as DEs Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt are injury prone. Adding Charlton to the group creates some depth and a potentially dominate pass rush for Houston.

 

26. Seattle Seahawks

Malik McDowell, DT

The Seahawks are at there best when the defensive line is the primary source of a solid pass rush. Adding McDowell to the middle of a defensive front with ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett frees them up to get pressure on the outside and to the quarterback.

 

27. Kansas City Chiefs

Christian McCaffrey, RBChristian-McCaffrey

Many have McCaffrey higher on their draft boards, but not too long ago, he was slotted to go in the back of the first round. There are a few that compare McCaffrey to former Eagles’ RB Brian Westbrook, and Westbrook’s former coach leads the Chiefs. I’m one that believes McCaffrey is a part time back, but can still be a dynamic playmaker.

28. Dallas Cowboys

T.J. Watt, OLB

Another Watt to the state of Texas. The Cowboys need to add a pass rusher, and Watt would be able to play a little bit of end in 4-3 sets.

29. Green Bay Packers

Charles Harris, OLB

Harris has been flying up some draft boards, but I think he drops and fits in well with the Packers, who need to add pass rushers as well. With many concerns in the secondary, rushing the passer may be the best way to limit big plays for the Pack.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jarrad Davis, LB

Another linebacker for the Steelers. Davis is a player could play well in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, and should fit in well next to MLB Ryan Shazier.

31. Atlanta Falcons

Takkarist McKinley, DE

The Falcons, like so many teams, need to add pass rushers. McKinley should slot in at an end spot, and provide a well-rounded game for Atlanta.

32. New Orleans Saints

Patrick Mahomes, QB

The Saints get their quarterback of the future in Mahomes. While he may have tools to be an NFL quarterback, he definitely needs development. Now, he can learn from QB Drew Brees and sit for quite possibly the next two full seasons behind him. That would give Mahomes time to develop (think Aaron Rodgers) before getting the chance to start.

On the bubble: Marlon Humphrey – CB, Jabrill Peppers – S, Jordan Willis – OLB, Adoree’ Jackson – CB

 

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NFL Season 3/4 Mark

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WOW! It’s already fantasy football playoff time, as we are entering Week 14 of the NFL season. With only four games left, its time to see where the contenders are, and who still has a shot at making the NFL playoffs.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots (9-3)

T-2. Buffalo Bills (7-5)

T-2. Miami Dolphins (7-5)

4. New York Jets (2-10)

Since the last update, the Patriots continued to extend their lead atop the division, while the Bills and Dolphins are dueling it out for second. As for the lowly Jets, they are already looking forward to their top 5 draft pick, and their upcoming coaching search that should begin early next month. The AFC East is a pretty straightforward division, and expect Brady to add yet another division title to his resume.

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1)

T-2. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)

T-2. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

T-2. Cleveland Browns (7-5)

Johnny Manziel (above) may be named the Browns' starting quarterback for their late season playoff chase.

Johnny Manziel (above) may be named the Browns’ starting quarterback for their late season playoff chase.

This is the most competitive division in the NFL and continues to surprise fans around the league. It’s still possible that three teams from this division make the playoffs, while a team that could finish .500 or above could miss the postseason. Now, the Cleveland Browns are thinking of starting rookie QB Johnny Manziel in the midst of their playoff push. Could this division get any crazier? If I had to guess, I’m going to say that Cincinnati will win the division, much in part to the tie they have in their record. However, I still believe the Steelers and Ravens have a good shot at making the AFC Playoffs, while I expect to Cleveland to crumble under the pressure late in the season. This should be fun to watch.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)

2. Houston Texans (6-6)

T-3. Tennessee Titans (2-10)

T-3. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)

Not much has changed with this division. The Colts are the clear favorites, the Texans are stuck in mediocrity during their new head coach’s first season, and the Titans and Jaguars are in the midst of rebuilding projects. This continues to be the most predictable division in the NFL.

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos (9-3)

2. San Diego Chargers (8-4)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-5)

4. Oakland Raiders (1-11)

This division has gotten tighter, as both the Chargers and Chiefs are waiting for the Broncos to stumble and take advantage of their mistakes. However, QB Peyton Manning is as steady as anyone, and will help lead his team to the postseason again. Although, the Chargers and Chiefs will definitely be battling it out for a playoff spot against the bottom three teams from the AFC North. It should be an interesting race down the stretch. Oh, and Oakland won a game. Woo.

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)

2. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)

T-3. New York Giants (3-9)

T-3. Washington Redskins (3-9)

The Philadelphia Eagles have shown that they are the class of this division and one of the best teams

The Philadelphia Eagles (above) are looking to secure their postseason spot in the coming weeks.

The Philadelphia Eagles (above) are looking to secure their postseason spot in the coming weeks.

in the NFL. So far, the Eagles are a perfect 3-0 in their division, with three of their last four games coming against those same division opponents. I fully expect them to be a top seed heading into the playoffs. The biggest question is how the Dallas Cowboys will respond to their Thanksgiving Day blowout at home against the aforementioned Eagles. While Dallas was a surprise for much of this season, it will be interesting to see if they are able to rebound and make a push for a Wild Card spot. The Giants and Redskins are already looking forward to the changes they will make during the off season.

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

2. Detroit Lions (8-4)

T-3. Chicago Bears (5-7)

T-3. Minnesota Vikings (5-7)

Of course, QB Aaron Rodgers has helped lead his Packers back to the top of the NFC North. However, the Detroit Lions are right on their heels, and have the makings of a playoff team. Lions’ coach Jim Caldwell has truly gotten the most out of his players, and has them in position to at least challenge the Packers. While the Bears are immensely talented on offense, QB Jay Cutler has played awfully this past month, and the defense has matched his effort. The surprise of the division may be the Vikings, who are only two games under .500 while starting rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. The future is now for Minnesota!

NFC South

T-1. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)

T-1. New Orleans Saints (5-7)

3. Carolina Panthers (3-8-1)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10)

Currently, the winner of this division could finish the season with a record of 5-11…. 6 games under .500. Obviously, that would be a record, but it’s something I can’t imagine. While every team in this division has been disappointing, the New Orleans Saints have taken the cake, after being picked by many to pick the Super Bowl during the preseason. Both the offense and defense have looked lost this season, and yet, the Saints are still the best team in this division. The Atlanta Falcons hurt themselves too often late in games to trust them, and the Panthers and Bucs are already looking forward to adding pieces to their rosters this off season. I’d expect the Saints to take this division, but with a .500 record at 8-8.

NFC West

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-3)

2. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)

3. San Francisco 49ers (7-5)

4. St. Louis Rams (5-7)

The Cardinals are continuing their surprise run, but for how much longer? The entire division has gained ground on Arizona in the past month, which has seen them lose QB Carson Palmer to an ACL injury. The Seahawks’ defense is hot again, and looks as if it is coming into form just in time for the postseason. I’d definitely expect both of this teams to be in the post season. On the other hand, the 49ers are struggling with injuries, and it’s showing on the field. There are many rumors that coach Jim Harbaugh will be moving onto a different team after this season, and so far, the performance is matching the reports. At the bottom of the division, the Rams are showing why they are a team on the rise, after beating Oakland down 52-0 this past Sunday. St. Louis isn’t technically out of it yet, but this season is more about gaining experience for the upcoming seasons, when they should be good enough to make a playoff run.


It’s hard to believe that the NFL season is moving by so quickly, but there are already only four games left! Watch and enjoy as we watch the playoff picture take form during this last month of the regular season.

NFL Season – 1/2 Way Mark

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It’s crazy to think that half of the NFL’s regular season is over, but this is the harsh reality as we are entering Week 9 beginning on Thursday night. At this point in the year, the contenders are pretty well defined, and those who will most likely miss the playoffs are pretty well known. Let’s take a look at where each team stands, and how my predictions are looking halfway through the season:

Tom Brady (above) has silenced the doubters, and led the Patriots to an early division lead.

Tom Brady (above) has silenced the doubters, and led the Patriots to an early division lead.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots (6-2)

2. Buffalo Bills (5-3)

3. Miami Dolphins (4-3)

4. New York Jets (1-7)

So far, this division is mostly going how I predicted, with the Patriots out front and the Jets in the cellar. However, Ididn’t have the Bills winning as many games as they have, and the team has shown to be formidable, even on the road.  While this division looks tight, with Buffalo only trailing New England by a game, it really is the Patriots’ division to lose. Now that RB C.J. Spiller is injured for the Bills, I expect them to fall off the pace, and miss the playoffs.

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1)

T-2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

T-2. Baltimore Ravens (5-3)

4. Cleveland Browns (4-3)

This division is still about as tight as it was at the 1/4 way mark of the season, and I wouldn’t expect this trend to end any time soon. The AFC North will probably provide the closest division race in the NFL this season, with both the Steelers and Ravens looking like they are hitting their stride. While Cincinnati has struggled the past few weeks, I expect their offense to improve once WR A.J. Green returns from injury. The biggest surprise in the division has to be the Cleveland Browns, who are still above the .500 mark. Obviously, Cleveland is a better team than I gave them credit for, and it will be interesting to see how long they can keep the pace.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

2. Houston Texans (4-4)

3. Tennessee Titans (2-6)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)

This division was as easy to predict as any in the NFL. The Colts have a solid grip on first place, despite Houston only trailing by a game. Simply, the Colts are in a class above every other team in their division. I don’t expect the Texans to remain at the .500 mark for the rest of the season, making it a cakewalk to the division title for the Colts. Obviously, the Titans and Jaguars are only in the hunt for the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. I wouldn’t expect any changes to these standings.

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos (6-1)

2. San Diego Chargers (5-3)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)

4. Oakland Raiders (0-7)

I predicted this division perfectly thus far, as the Denver Broncos have shown that they are the NFL’s best team thus far, and the class of the AFC West. The Chargers have also looked impressive, and should continue to be in the hunt for the playoffs. On the other hand, the Chiefs are a team on the fringe. They need to find some consistency, or else they may end up being an 8-8 team at season’s end. Finally, the Oakland Raiders’ are already planning their off season vacations, and awaiting their chance at taking FSU QB Jameis Winston in the 2015 NFL Draft. Oakland could be the next team to go 0-16.

NFC East

1. Dallas Cowboys (6-2)

2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-2)

3. New York Giants (3-4)

4. Washington Redskins (3-5)

The surprise of the year thus far in the NFL has been the Dallas Cowboys. I predicted that this team would finish in last place, and man, was I wrong. Despite being touted as one of the worst defenses in the NFL, the Cowboys have shown the ability to compete with anyone. It will be interesting to see if they falter, as many doubters of the Cowboys believe they will. The only other competitor in the division is the Philadelphia Eagles, who are coming off a tough loss in Arizona. If the Eagles can improve their running game behind a healthy offensive line, I still expect them to take this division from the Cowboys. On the other hand, the Giants and Redskins have been the definition of mediocre this season, and have suffered a variety of injuries that have severely hurt their chances to compete this season. I’d expect both teams to be on the outside, looking in come playoff time.

NFC North

Matthew Stafford (above) has lead the surprising Lions to the lead in the NFC North standings.

Matthew Stafford (above) has lead the surprising Lions to the lead in the NFC North standings.

1. Detroit Lions (6-2)

2. Green Bay Packers (5-3)

T-3. Chicago Bears (3-5)

T-3. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

When was the last time the Detroit Lions were in first place halfway through the season? They are quite the surprise, as I only had the Lions finishing 8-8. The team would need to majorly falter down the stretch for my prediction to come true, and despite an injury to WR Calvin Johnson, the Lions look like a legitimate playoff team for the first time in a long time. The team I predicted would win the division, the Green Bay Packers, is looking like it’s defense is made of Swiss cheese after losing to struggling New Orleans. I expect the Packers to get back on track, but it shall be an interesting two-team race down the stretch. Unfortunately for the Bears and Vikings, they have stumbled to 3-5 records respectively, and don’t have any hope at making the playoffs the way they are playing.

NFC South

T-1. Carolina Panthers (3-4)

T-1. New Orleans Saints (3-4)

3. Atlanta Falcons (2-6)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6)

There are surprises to this NFL season, and there are also disappointments. After being anointed a Super Bowl contender before the season, the New Orleans Saints haven’t even looked like a playoff team, and are the biggest disappointment thus far. The Saints’ defense is one of the worst groups in the NFL, despite the addition of S Jairus Byrd in the off season. However, I still think the Saints will end up taking this division. The Panthers, Falcons, and Buccaneers are three of the worst teams in football this season, and I don’t expect the tide to change for any of the teams. Expect New Orleans to wake up at some point, and take this division with either 9 or 10 wins.

NFC West

1. Arizona Cardinals (6-1)

T-2. San Francisco 49ers (4-3)

T-2. Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

4. St. Louis Rams (2-5)

I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted these division standings for halfway through the season. The defending champion Seattle Seahawks have lost three games already, and the San Francisco 49ers haven’t looked any better. To top it off, the division’s hottest team to end last season, the Arizona Cardinals, picked up where they left off, and have jumped out to a 6-1 start despite many injuries to crucial players. The Cardinals have shown that they are true playoff contenders, and despite my prediction, I now know that they will make the playoffs. It will be interesting to watch the Seahawks and 49ers battle it out for what could be the final playoff spot in the NFC. Finally, the Rams are a team already planning for their off season.


As the season has gone on, some of my predictions are looking less and less accurate, but that comes with the craziness that is the NFL Regular Season! Keep watching and enjoy as the season continues to get closer to playoff time.

 

NFL Season – 1/4 Way Mark

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It’s hard to believe, but the NFL regular season is already 25% complete. This is an opportune time to take a look at the standings, and see where the teams stand.

AFC East

T-1. Buffalo Bills (2-2)

T-1. Miami Dolphins (2-2)

T-1. New England Patriots (2-2)

4. New York Jets (1-3)

For now, this division is tight, but I honestly can’t expect it to stay that way for long. The Patriots are coming off of a beat-down they took Monday night against Kansas City, and I expect that they will perform much better this Sunday. That being said, the rest of the division looks awful. It’s painfully obvious that Jets QB Geno Smith is not fit to lead any NFL team, the Bills look confused on Sundays, and the Dolphins are dealing with injuries and an ever-inconsistent QB Ryan Tannehill. I’d say that my prediction of the Patriots coming out on top should stick.

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)

2. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)

4. Cleveland Browns (1-2)

The Bengals are one of the least talked about undefeated teams that I can remember in recent history, and coach Marvin

The Bengals (above) are undefeated so far this season

The Bengals (above) are undefeated so far this season

Lewis is showing that he’s one of the NFL’s longest tenured head coaches because he’s a model of consistency. Baltimore is also surprising me, and don’t seemed to be phased one bit by the Ray Rice saga. It’s also looking like WR Steve Smith might be the pickup of the off season, as he has totaled 429 yds. and 3 TDs thus far. On the other hand, things are looking bad in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are rattled by injuries, and are coming off a crushing defeat against the Bucs, one of the NFL’s worst teams. It will be interesting to see if they can rebound and compete in this tough division. As usual, the Browns are by themselves, at the bottom of the standings. It’s unfair to criticize them after just three games, but they will go up against much better competition the rest of the way.

AFC South

1. Houston Texans (3-1)

2. Indianapolis Colts (2-2)

3. Tennessee Titans (1-3)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)

A surprise to me, and a possible bust to my predictions, the Houston Texans are the early frontrunner in this division. DE J.J. Watt should be an early-MVP candidate, after scoring multiple offensive TDs this season, on top of his outstanding defensive work. The Colts have had a couple of tough early games, but QB Andrew Luck is having an MVP-caliber season as well. I expect these teams to head in separate directions, with the Colts reeling off some wins, and the Texans slowing down their winning pace. As far as the lower half of the division, both the Titans and Jaguars are performing as expected, and both should earn Top 5 picks in the NFL Draft.

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers (3-1)

2. Denver Broncos (2-1)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)

4. Oakland Raiders (0-4)

To me, this is the most interesting division in the NFL right now. The Chargers are legitimate contenders, as they beat the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks earlier this season. QB Philip Rivers has shown that San Diego isn’t intimidated by competing with division rival Denver, and it should make for an interesting race down the stretch. The Broncos appear to be a better defensive team this season, and QB Peyton Manning should be able to lead this team back to the playoffs one way or another. The wild card of this division is the Kansas City Chiefs. Who, or what is this team? One week, they struggle, the next, they blow out QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on MNF. I can see the Chiefs contending for a Wild Card spot come playoff time. Finally, the Oakland Raiders are currently the frontrunner for the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. This brings up an interesting potential storyline; will the Raiders draft Florida State QB Jameis Winston in the upcoming draft, despite recently fired coach Dennis Allen selecting QB Derek Carr in this past draft? Yes, the Raiders can already look forward to next season, as wins should be hard to come by for this group.

NFC East

T-1. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

T-1. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

3. New York Giants (2-2)

4. Washington Redskins (1-3)

It’s not a surprise to me, but the Philadelphia Eagles hold the division’s top spot with the Dallas Cowboys. While the two don’t face each other until later in the season, it will be interesting to see how they match up against similar foes that they shall play down the stretch. A team that could catch fire and make an interesting run would be the New York Giants, who looked like a different team against the Redskins on TNF. If QB Eli Manning can grasp the new offense, and take pressure off the defense, the Giants could make some noise in the NFC. On the other hand, the Redskins should start focusing on the off season, where it will be time to decide between QB Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins. That will be the biggest storyline in D.C. this season.

NFC North

1. Detroit Lions (3-1)

T-2. Green Bay Packers (2-2)

T-2. Chicago Bears (2-2)

T-2. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

Despite this being one of the closer races thus far, I think it’s pretty clear cut and visible who the true competitors of the division are. Even though Detroit has started hot, they have shown that they can be inconsistent in the past, and this can still be evidenced in QB Matt Stafford‘s play. This should be cause for concern, especially after QB Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to victory this past weekend, and looked fantastic doing it. Green Bay is still the class of this division. The Bears have the potential to make a run at the playoffs, but injuries and a weak defense will have them struggling to keep up. Even though Minnesota has kept up thus far, I can’t expect it to keep up. QB Teddy Bridgewater was injured this past week, and is still a rookie in the NFL playing without his best weapon in RB Adrian Peterson. The Vikings should be in contention for a Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft when the year is through.

NFC South

T-1. Atlanta Falcons (2-2)

T-1. Carolina Panthers (2-2)

T-3. New Orleans Saints (1-3)

T-3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)

The biggest disappointment in the NFL this season has to be the New Orleans Saints. Many experts were predicting the Saints to win the Super Bowl, but the team currently has the NFL’s worst defense, and QB Drew Brees has looked unspectacular thus far. Meanwhile, Atlanta is showing that they aren’t a bad team when they are healthy, but still have holes on defense. Carolina still has a strong defense, but QB Cam Newton is going to struggle without targets at the wide receiver position, and that began to show against the Ravens this past week. The most predictable part of the NFC South is the Buccaneers, who despite a big comeback win against Pittsburgh on Sunday, are in last and should expect to stay there and compete for a Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft as well.

NFC West

1. Arizona Cardinals (3-0)

2. Seattle Seahawks (2-1)

3. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)

4. St. Louis Rams (1-2)

The Arizona Cardinals (above) have outperformed expectations thus far.

The Arizona Cardinals (above) have outperformed expectations thus far.

The surprise in the NFL season has to be the Arizona Cardinals, who are undefeated, and have been led to two wins by backup QB Drew Stanton. Boasting the NFL’s top defense thus far, the Cardinals have only allowed 45 points through 3 games. Seattle is a close second, and is coming off a big OT win versus Denver and a relaxing bye week. These two teams may be the class of the division, as the normally dominant 49ers have struggled thus far. San Francisco will need to hope that the return of LB NaVorro Bowman and a healthy TE Vernon Davis is the key to the team’s success. Another season will be spent in the cellar for the Rams, who lost QB Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury, and have suffered the effects of an under-performing defense.


Overall, my predictions look fairly accurate at the 25% mark of the season. We’ll check back in at the 50% mark to see what teams really show their true colors as the season progresses!

 

NFC Predictions

Standard

Can you smell it football fans? Football is back and is mere hours away….NFC

That’s the perfect time to release the NFC predictions for this coming season. It should be an entertaining season, as the league is arguably as talented as ever.

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6
  2. New York Giants 8-8
  3. Washington Redskins 6-10
  4. Dallas Cowboys 5-11

This is the most common order I’ve seen in predictions for the NFC East, but my records are slightly different. I give the Redskins and Cowboys more credit, and believe they will win more games than most cellar teams, but nonetheless, I believe they will bring up the rear. The Eagles high-powered offense is reportedly moving even faster this season, and off season additions plus a second season in the new 3-4 system should bring improvements as well. I also believe the Giants will be much improved this season, with QB Eli Manning looking to rebound off an awful season.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers 11-5
  2. Chicago Bears 9-7
  3. Detroit Lions 8-8
  4. Minnesota Vikings 4-12

The Green Bay Packers have QB Aaron Rodgers. That’s an almost guaranteed ticket to the playoffs. I have them taking this division with relative ease, as Chicago and Detroit battle it out for a final wild card spot. All in all, I believe the Bears will take it, as I expect their offense to really take off this season. Detroit will be in an adjustment year under first year head coach, Jim Caldwell. The lowly Vikings will ease rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater along, and bring him partway into this lost season. It will be another wasted season for RB Adrian Peterson, whose window on winning a championship is closing rapidly.

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints 13-3
  2. Atlanta Falcons 7-9
  3. Carolina Panthers 5-11
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-12

This could be the Saints’ year. After additions on defense, and reworking some pieces on offense, QB Drew Brees looks primed to take the Saints on another Super Bowl quest. Of course, it also helps that the NFC South is relatively weak as well. Atlanta is looking to rebound off a miserable season that was ravished by injuries, but they still have many holes on the defensive side of the ball. The team making the biggest fall will be the Panthers, who simply lost too many pieces via free agency. QB Cam Newton has one of the weakest receiving cores in the NFL, and is coming off an off season ankle surgery. The Buccaneers are another team that will be under a first year head coach, but they are also starting QB Josh McCown, who has been a career backup. It looks like a move with the potential to backfire.

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks 14-2
  2. San Francisco 49ers 10-6
  3. Arizona Cardinals 7-9
  4. St. Louis Rams 6-10

The Seahawks will dominate the regular season, and look like experienced vets. Think the Miami Heat of football. Their division rivals, the 49ers, will struggle a little bit more this season, as they have to overcome an injury to LB NaVorro Bowman and a suspension of LB Aldon Smith. Yet, coach Jim Harbaugh will find a way to get his team to the playoffs. However, for the Cardinals and Rams, they will suffer the consequences of playing in the best division in football. The Cardinals are good enough to make the playoffs out of other divisions, but suspensions and injuries will ail them. The same could be said for the Rams, but I believe one drastic move (like acquiring a bonafide QB) and another year of development for young players could put the Rams over the hump in 2015.

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Round

Bears vs. Packers –> 35-24, Packers

49ers vs. Eagles –> 30-24, 49ers

I have the Packers taking down division rival Chicago with relative ease at home. Green Bay is just a superior team to Chicago. On the other hand, the 49ers will invade Philadelphia, and pull out a hard fought win. The Eagles defense is still a year away from helping it contend as one of the NFL’s elite teams.

Divisional Round

49ers vs. Seahawks –> 28-24, Seahawks

Packers vs. Saints –> 35-30, Packers

Another 49ers and Seahawks match up in the postseason will yield the same results in my opinion, as the Carroll-led ‘Hawks will continue their dominance of the Harbaugh-led 49ers. The other game of the divisional round should be an extremely entertaining match up, as Green Bay and New Orleans’ offenses will attempt to match each other all game. In the end, I believe QB Aaron Rodgers will come up with the big play or final drive that gets Green Bay over the hump and into the NFC Championship game.

NFC Championship Game

Packers vs. Seahawks –> 30-24, Packers

Say what!? Yes, I really believe that the Packers can go into Seattle and beat them in the NFC Championship game. If there is a quarterback that could do it, it’s Aaron Rodgers. Also, I just simply don’t believe Seattle can repeat. I feel as if too many breaks will have to go the ‘Hawks ways for them to bring home another Super Bowl ring, while I think the time is right for Rodgers to attempt to add another trophy to his collection.